PUBH5749 Foundations of Public Health

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2OnlineOnline
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit offers a broad based introduction to postgraduate public health studies, including the contributions of theoretical and applied academic disciplines. It provides a multidisciplinary grounding in public health theory and practice that draws on the subject matter of the biomedical, behavioural and social sciences, and the principles and methods of epidemiology and other research disciplines, thereby providing an integrated view of the discipline. After exploring the origins and development of public health, the unit examines the measurement of population health, major public health challenges in developed and developing countries, and the diverse agents, host factors, social, economic, political and environmental conditions that influence the public's health. The unit also explores human rights and equity issues in public health. Examples of public health research are presented, and learning approaches are tailored, to facilitate an integrated view of public health structure and function, health planning and program evaluation.
Students are able to (1) achieve transdisciplinary grounding in public health theory and practice, and gain substantial breadth and depth of understanding to appreciate the links between public health history, structure, functions, workers and discipline-specific units required as part of their postgraduate training at the School of Population Health and (2) develop the skills for critical analysis and scientific writing in public health.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) a major writing assignment; (2) participation in tutorial activities and discussion forums; and (3) an examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Ms Leonie Gibbons
Unit rules
Advisable prior study:
public health related undergraduate and postgraduate units; all recommended readings prior to lectures/tutorials
Contact hours
seminars: 3 hours per week

This is provided on the LMS (Learning Management System).


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.