Courses in public health are open to people from different backgrounds. You'll learn how to promote community health using evidence-based interventions and programs. Let's explore the best online courses from Australian universities.
The ultimate goal of a public health professional is pretty simple. It's to improve the health and welfare of the community. By doing an online public health course, you may be laying the foundations to contribute to a happier and healthier Australian population.
Unlike many health fields, the job relies on tools such as community education, health regulations, public programs and improvements in our knowledge base. While public health officials don't directly handle patients, they work in many ways to advances the health interests of people everywhere. And the impacts can be profound, as we've witnessed in our responses to pandemics.
People arrive at careers in this field in many different ways, often after working in a different health sector. You might also have a science or administration background. Postgraduate courses are available to help all kinds of professionals build the skills they need for future public health roles.
A Bachelor of Public Health offers a well-rounded education in how to address health challenges and improve individual and community wellbeing. As well as electives from related disciplines, you'll study disease, epidemiology, statistics, health policy, research and communications. Online bachelor degrees are similar to on-campus programs but with all academic content delivered online.
Deakin Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion
Deakin University offers a bachelor degree that is available in the cloud (online) format, combined with 120+ hours of practical experience in a health-related agency. One-third of the three-year program are elective units. Apart from those, you'll study topics such as disease prevention and control, health protection, health information and data, population health, epidemiology and biostatistics, policy and research. With fieldwork replicated throughout the program plus the work placement component, graduates are primed to enter the workforce with job-ready skills. Graduates are also eligible to become members of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and for professional accreditation with the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA).
The first of the public health postgraduate courses is a Graduate Certificate in Public Health online. This is a four-subject course that you can complete over 8 months of part-time study.
A relatively short course typically forms part of a master's program. If you enjoy your post graduate studies, you can easily continue on to earn a graduate diploma or Master of Public Health.
Topics this foundations course could cover include epidemiology fundamentals, social perspectives in public health, biostatics, and health systems... READ MORE
We all acquired communicable disease knowledge from the COVID-19 pandemic. You can gain university credentials in this field with a postgraduate course.
A Graduate Certificate in Communicable Disease provides foundational education in public health, with an emphasis on monitoring and controlling spreadable diseases of the human population.
Topics student examine in communicable disease courses include epidemiology fundamentals, communicable disease, consumer engagement, qualitative research, and biostatistics... READ MORE
Many healthcare professionals have an interest in health analytics because you learn how to extract value from the large amounts of health data being collected every day. You can study this discipline in a postgraduate program.
Graduate Certificate in Health Analytics courses may cover topics such as measuring health system performance, data visualisation and visual analytics, biostatistics, and health risk models.
The mathematical courses provide useful knowledge of health analytics, though further study may be needed to specialise in this quite technical field... READ MORE
A Graduate Diploma in Public Health might offer the ideal amount of learning for you. Comprised of 8 subjects, the course is halfway in duration between a graduate certificate and masters. You can earn the qualification over 16 months of part-time study online.
UTS Online Graduate Diploma in Public Health
The UTS Online Graduate Diploma in Public Health is designed for professionals who are looking to advance their skills and gain a global perspective on public health. Students acquire tools with which to positively impact population and community health. Through this course, you will develop specialist knowledge and skills in health education, data and promotion, enabling you to contribute to public health programs. Delivered part-time and 100% online, the course enables you continue full-time work while gaining skills to add value to your public health career.
An outstanding career could be built on the education foundation of a Master of Public Health. The degree qualifies you for almost any high-level role within Australia's healthcare system or public service.
In a 12-subject master's degree, you could cover advanced topics such as global health systems, advanced biostatistics, planetary health, leading health and social care, and using health data for decision-making.
An online postgraduate program can be completed in 2 year's of part-time study – without requiring you to be away from work... READ MORE
Public health university programs may be general or specialised. For a general course, you'll cover key topics such as epidemiology, public health research, use of statistics, communicable disease, non-communicable disease, inequality of health outcomes, and health promotion. Popular specialisations include health analytics and communicable disease.
A bachelor degree is made up of 24 subjects and takes three years while graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and masters degrees normally consist of 4, 8 and 12 subjects respectively. Most university courses are a combination of core subjects and electives. For bachelor and master's degrees especially, electives may be drawn from other programs such as health science, management or data analytics.
If you're a working professional, flexible study options are available. Most postgraduate courses are designed for you to study online part-time while working full-time. Students typically complete one subject at a time over a 6-7 week study period. With accelerated online study, you can complete six subjects annually as a part-time student.
You can achieve foundational as well as specialised and advanced learning from online public health courses. Students consider different public health issues and explore the tools available to achieve better health outcomes.
Foundational knowledge and skills are often gained through bachelor degrees, graduate certificates and the core subjects in a Master of Public Health. You'll gain essential knowledge such as how the Australian health system works, use of evidence in public health, key threats from communicable and non-communicable diseases, and intervention principles and strategies.
An advanced education in certain areas can be achieved with a specialist short course or by your choice of major in a longer program. Epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics and healthcare leadership are examples of fields where you can build expertise through online courses.
Job titles for public health course graduates include community health and wellbeing officer, data analyst, epidemiologist, health coordinator, health planning and evaluation officer, health researcher, policy analyst, program manager, health promotion officer, and public health consultant.
If you have a strong professional skillset already, you may be able to use that as part of your future job. Public health is a multidisciplinary profession that attracts people from many fields, such as healthcare, health management, law, the social sciences and data analytics.
Where are public health professionals employed? According to a University of Melbourne alumni survey, common employers of public health graduates are non-government organisations (such as global health and disease-specific agencies), government-affiliated organisations such as hospitals and health agencies, governments at multiple levels, universities and research institutes, and health and communications consultancies.
The entry requirements for public health degrees online are quite typical. For bachelor degrees, you'll generally need to achieve the required ATAR. For postgraduate courses, you'll qualify with a bachelor degree in any discipline or significant relevant professional experience.
Please check individual programs for detailed course admission requirements and alternative pathways. Fully online courses are unavailable to international students on a student visa.
The most common entry requirement for a public health bachelor's program is to achieve the required Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in senior secondary school. However, alternative admission criteria are available for international students and others. Additional factors that may be considered include higher education study, vocational education and training (VET) courses, and work and life experience.
Upwards adjustments to your ATAR score may be available for successfully completing subjects such as Biology, English and Mathematics.
English language proficiency requirements apply if you're an international student.
Deakin University Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion
While the the lowest selection rank for an accepted student was not published in 2022, minimum ATAR scores or 62.2 and 59.75 were shown for the Burwood and Waurn Ponds campuses respectively.
The entry requirements for postgraduate public health courses are normally that you have a bachelor degree or higher qualification. Public health is a broad field that's open to graduates from different disciplines.
If you can't gain course admission via academic qualifications, you may still be eligible to enrol if you have substantial job experience in healthcare or human services. Admission requirements may be lower for graduate certificates, which often serve as pathways into masters programs.
English language proficiency requirements apply to international students from a non English speaking background.
UTS Online Public Health
Applicants need a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent or higher qualification OR other evidence of general and professional qualifications demonstrating potential to succeed with graduate studies. Applicants without academic qualifications may be considered eligible based on extensive relevant work experience in healthcare or human services fields.
Tuition fees are $3,006 per subject in 2022. FEE-HELP loans are available to cover course fees.
Key dates: Intakes are available in Jan, Mar, May, July, Sep, Oct.
The best degree to set up a career in public health is not obvious. If you haven't studied at university before, you could consider a bachelor degree in public health or a related degree in health, science or allied health. At a postgraduate level, the ultimate degree is normally a Master of Public Health (MPH), though other options exist.
You need to consider that public health practice is made up a number of specialist disciplines that require expertise in their own right. Purely studying as a generalist may leave you without the strong specialist skills to forge a career in the area you're most passionate about. But you may be well placed for a career in administration or public policy.
For a career as an epidemiologist, College Transitions recommends undergraduate coursework in "biology, chemistry, calculus, the behavioural sciences, and the health sciences". After that, you could earn a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). For epidemiology research, an MPH or PhD may be appropriate.
To be a biostatistician, a bachelor degree in statistics, biostatistics or mathematics would be ideal. A future microbiologist should do a science degree with a microbiology major. An infection disease pharmacist needs to study pharmacy.
As a public health advisor, you may be best served by majoring in a health or science-related major followed by a Master of Public Health.
Public health officials often arrive at their career after starting somewhere else. They train in a related field in their undergraduate studies, gain professional experience, and then gravitate towards public policy or heading up health programs or agencies. That's why most people study public health at a postgraduate level and the typical public health student is an experienced professional.
Some great examples of health interventions that were highly effective at scale in Australia are provided by the Public Health Association of Australia. Focusing on the period 1998 to 2018, successful outcomes in public health practice include:
- Using folate to reduce neural tube defects (national health promotion campaign for pregnant women to consume folic acid)
- Immunisation requirements to eliminate disease (campaigns to immunise young people greatly reduced the incidence of measles, rubella, meningococcal disease and rotavirus)
- Reducing cervical cancer by containing the spread of HPV (cervical screening and vaccination campaign against the human papilloma virus)
- Improved oral health and reduced dental decay (community water fluoridation and preventative child oral health services)
- Lower incidence of skin cancer (public awareness campaigns about the value of avoiding UV exposure, covering up and using sunscreen)
- Fewer deaths due to smoking (tobacco controls, taxes and plain cigarette packaging)
- Reduced death and injury toll from car accidents (numerous measures including road infrastructure, vehicle safety standards, graduated licensing)
- Gun control to lower gun deaths in Australia (national firearms agreement)
- Lower AIDS related deaths (disease control over the spread of HIV including needle exchange programs and subsidised treatments)
- Screening to lower deaths from bowel and breast cancer (National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and free mammograms).