Bachelor of Health Sciences

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The Bachelor of Health Sciences is a three-year degree leading to careers in health and public policy, public health, health management, health research and other non-clinical roles. Graduates will play an important role in improving public health through disease prevention, health promotion, and health service planning, delivery, and evaluation.

The minimum prerequisite is University Entrance but NCEA Biology is recommended.

UC offers Headstart preparatory programmes for students who do not have the required background.

The six majors were designed to fill identified gaps in skills in New Zealand's health sector. Combinations can be taken as a double major. Students may take up an internship as part of their degree.


The BHSc is a multi-disciplinary qualification and our graduates are using their skills in the health sector and beyond. Our graduates have been employed as health promoters, case managers, policy analysts or in health management and research.

It is ideal preparation for working in settings such as district health boards, government ministries, local government, non-government organisations, Māori provider organisations, hospices, aged residential care, schools, primary care organisations, universities and polytechnics.

The health sector is one of New Zealand’s biggest employers with a wide range of career opportunities. In New Zealand’s increasingly diverse and ageing society, health needs and health workforce opportunities will continue to expand.

Major subjects

You will develop an understanding of risk factors in the natural and built environment, underlying biological processes and the scientific methods used to investigate, monitor, and assess the effects of environmental hazards - such as pollution, unsafe food and infectious diseases - on people's health and wellbeing.


Graduates of the BHSc majoring in Environmental Health will potentially find employment as environmental health officers (with a further qualification), laboratory roles in health laboratories, in local and national environmental health roles, or progress to postgraduate research in environmental health science.

Graduates of the Health Education major will have specific knowledge that is applicable in a variety of settings.  Hands-on learning in different contexts, for example, sexual health, mental health or nutrition, teaches students to recognise factors that influence health and develop strategies to address them.

Debate and critical reflection on a range of contemporary health issues develops students' understanding of ethical issues and principles, respect for the autonomy and choice of both individuals and groups and competency in collaborative and consultative ways of working.


Graduates find employment in health-related institutions and agencies such as Community and Public Health (in nutrition, sexuality, school and mental health teams, health promotion teams), drug and alcohol agencies, Family Planning, the Mental Health Foundation, nutrition advisories, Red Cross and teaching Health Education in secondary schools to a senior NCEA level (with an additional teaching qualification).

Graduates of Māori and Indigenous Health are culturally competent, able to use, apply and integrate Māori, bicultural and indigenous knowledge and practices in their health and social services-related careers. The holistic Māori view of health and wellbeing is central to our teaching and students will learn skills in:

  • Te Ao Tangata – Engaging with Māori
  • Te Ao Hauora – Working with health professionals
  • Ngā Rātonga Hauora – Working with health services and health systems

Career options include research and policy analysis/advice, health promotion and community/health liaison roles in nongovernmental organisations focused on health and wellbeing, Māori and iwi health/development organisations, District Health Boards and local government.

Health Psychology is a branch of Psychology that applies psychological research and methods to:

  • Promotion and maintenance of health
  • Prevention and management of illness
  • Identification of psychological factors contributing to physical illness
  • Improvement of the health care system
  • Formulation of health policy

The BHSc major in Psychology is a pathway to the postgraduate qualifications required for professional or research careers. Those who exit after a BHSc majoring in Psychology will look for work in areas resembling those open to other Psychology majors, but with a particular bias to health-related jobs. These will generally be in some kind of human service organisation or in roles such as health and safety trainers/promoters. We anticipate that most BHSc graduates majoring in Psychology will seek postgraduate qualifications.

Students majoring in Public Health will develop knowledge and skills in science and health, experience in critical appraisal and scientific investigation, an understanding of values and ethics in health and the ability to apply these to improving health and wellbeing. Graduates will meet the knowledge components of the generic public health competencies and the health promotion competencies for New Zealand.


Graduates are able to work effectively as members of multidisciplinary teams. Examples of career pathways include community development roles in public health units, DHBs, NGOs, local government, health promoters, public health analysts, and postgraduate students studying towards a research career in public health.

The Society and Policy major introduces students to the ethical, policy, and geographic challenges of improving the health outcomes of communities and populations. The interdisciplinary core ensures students graduate with strong skills in critical thinking, qualitative social science research methods and specialised knowledge of public policy development, bioethics and the sociology of mental health.


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 also go on to postgraduate work in Sociology. Those who don’t 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 in public health units, District Health Boards, Māori and Iwi health/development organisations, NGOsand local government agencies
  • Health policy analysis
  • Postgraduate studies towards a research career in health
  • Social and health research

The programme is designed so that students will be able to take a double major in Public Health and Society and Policy. These students would additionally meet all public health and health promotion competencies.

For all enquiries about undergraduate study in Health Sciences

contact UC Student Liaison

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