Society and Policy


Bachelor of Health Sciences

Society and Policy


The Society and Policy major will focus on the relationship between health science, health governance, bioethics and society. It will comprise an interdisciplinary core based in sociology of health, policy issues in health technology and health delivery at the local, national and global levels, together with research training in qualitative and quantitative social science research methods.

Graduates of the Society and Policy major will have acquired core knowledge and skills relevant to health employment and sector-defined competencies such as some of the New Zealand generic public health competencies (PHANZ 2007) and some of the New Zealand health-promotion competencies (Health Promotion Forum 2012), including competencies in bioethics which are specific to this major.

In addition, they will have in-depth knowledge in an area of specialisation relating to health policy, health geography, bioethics and social issues relating to health.


See all Society and Policy courses

In the third year of the major, students can select courses which allow them to focus either on the sociology of health or on public health policy.

Career opportunities

This major will prepare students for positions in policy analysis, social science research and development of public policy. It will also prepare them for further research in humanities and the social sciences. Students who graduate from this programme may go on to postgraduate study in Health Sciences.

If students take the Sociology option at 300-level, they may go on to postgraduate work in Sociology.

Those who do not wish to complete a postgraduate degree may look for jobs in health administration, health policy and other non-clinical roles within the broad health sector. This major also provides a foundation for graduate clinical degrees.

Examples of career pathways include:

  • careers in health-related institutions and agencies;
  • community development roles in public health units, District Health Boards, Māori and iwi health/development organisations, NGOs, and local government agencies;
  • health policy analysts;
  • postgraduate studies towards a research career in health;
  • social and health researchers.

More information

School of Health Sciences

School of Health Sciences
College of Education
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 343 9606 ext 44606

Julia O'Sullivan

Julia O'Sullivan

'I have become particularly interested in infectious disease trends and pre-hospital emergency medicine...'