Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit offers a broad based introduction to postgraduate public health studies. It covers the theoretical underpinnings and applied academic disciplines of public health. It provides a multidisciplinary grounding in public health theory and practice that draws on subject matter from relevant disciplines providing an integrated view of public health. In addition to 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 social, economic, political and environmental conditions that influence the public's health. The unit also explores ethics, social justice and equity issues in public health. Examples of public health research and translation are presented, and learning approaches are tailored, to facilitate an integrated view of public health structure and function, health planning and programs.

Students will 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 and function; and develop skills in working collaboratively and for critical analysis and scientific writing in public health. Students will have the opportunity to critically consider some key issues in public health with their peers and hear from and engage with a range of experts.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline flexible

Students are able to (1) examine theoretical and analytical approaches, dominant paradigms and frameworks of major eras of public health; (2) outline key approaches towards addressing contemporary public health functions; (3) identify important public health issues in the human life-course (including maternal and child health, aging); (4) critically analyse public health related concepts such as the Sustainable Development Goals; poverty; social determinants of health, and quality in health care; (5) examine major activities of discipline specific and interdisciplinary building blocks in public health including: behavioural sciences; biostatistics; epidemiology; environmental health science; health promotion; health administration; health economics; (6) discuss applications of concepts to areas such as occupational health and safety and public health advocacy to public health practice in Australia and internationally; and (7) describe components of health systems and the concept of quality in health care.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written assignment; (2) participation and performance in tutorial activities and discussion forums; and (3) final exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Linda Slack-Smith
Unit rules
Advisable prior study
public health related undergraduate and postgraduate units.
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials: 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.