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What can I do with a degree in Health Sciences?

17 August 2023

Whether you want to be an Environmental Health Officer or a Health Promoter, see what you can do with a degree in Health Sciences from UC.


Health Sciences at UC provides a multidisciplinary introduction to a range of health issues: from genetics, to the health of populations, to health policy and politics. Our courses introduce students to important health issues in New Zealand such as health promotion and evidence-based health.

Academics across most faculties provide teaching expertise for the health sciences programme and more than 20 academics in the Health Sciences Centre contribute to our programmes.

Through their Health Sciences degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferable to a range of careers. These skills include:

  • Multidisciplinary understanding and perspectives of health
  • Knowledge of healthcare and related services
  • Understanding of the ethical, social, cultural and political determinants of health
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Indigenous and cross-cultural awareness
  • Ability to work in inter-professional teams
  • Oral and written communication.

Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom are available in this major, through internships, community-based research, and applied projects such as designing health promotion programs, writing policy submissions and analysing health data. These experiences deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge, and employability.

Health Sciences graduates are employed in a wide variety of sectors. Depending on your major/s, you can go on to work in:

  • Environmental health eg, health laboratories, research centres, local government, businesses, District Health Boards
  • Health education eg, drug and alcohol agencies, non-governmental organisations like Family Planning, the Mental Health Foundation and the Cancer Society, professional guilds/ associations, and teaching Health in schools
  • Māori and indigenous health eg, Iwi communitybased health and development organisations, District Health Boards and local government
  • Psychology eg, District Health Boards, the Ministry of Health, professional associations, the Department of Corrections, social service and social welfare agencies, hospitals, and charities like the Salvation Army
  • Public health and social policy eg, District Health Boards, Primary Care Organisations, Public Health Units, Māori health organisations, Ministry of Health, ACC, research centres, local government, and non-governmental organisations like Youthlink.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Health promoter

  • Identifies health concerns and needs for a range of groups eg, healthy lifestyles
  • Develops strategies to motivate and help people manage their health
  • Assists government and organisations to improve unhealthy conditions

Community development / support worker

  • Recognises problems and concerns within communities eg, mental health
  • Raises awareness of local issues
  • Develops programmes to address issues

Health protection officer

  • Investigates public health concerns
  • Provides advice and information to health officials and the public
  • Assists with the maintenance of a sustainable and healthy environment

Programme coordinator / facilitator

  • Conducts research and plans programmes
  • Assists in the implementation of programmes
  • Evaluates programmes and developments

Policy analyst / advisor

  • Identifies and investigates issues and opportunities eg, in public health
  • Interprets existing policies and advises leaders
  • Prepares reports and recommendations for policy development

Environmental health officer

  • Evaluates the effects of environmental hazards on a population’s health eg, pollution
  • Grants licences, writes reports and ensures compliance with regulations
  • Raises awareness about health matters

Child and family psychologist

  • Works with the complexities of children, adolescents, families, school systems, mental health systems and welfare systems
  • Provides assessment and interventions

Operations coordinator, service manager

  • Coordinates staff resources eg, rosters and holiday cover for health personnel
  • Handles queries and liaises with stakeholders
  • Administration tasks in a clinical or service environment

Social / youth / case worker

  • Provides support and guidance to young people, individuals and whānau
  • Builds relationships and links people to resources, services, groups and events
  • Writes reports and coordinates budgets

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Offers freelance or consultancy services

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress in their studies and into a career, our students and graduates often join professional bodies specific to their area of interest. These organisations offer the opportunity to network and collaborate with others within the same community. Other relevant organisations are also listed.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

What can I do with a degree in Health Sciences?

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For more information

see the Health Sciences subject page

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