We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. We will inform applicants of any changes to the course structure before enrolment.
The Year 1 modules are about understanding health, and how to study at university level.
Major Health and Lifestyle Issues
This module will introduce you to the diseases and risk behaviours that have a major impact on the health of the UK population such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, sexually transmitted infections, poor mental health, smoking, physical inactivity and substance misuse. You will be able to define and discuss these, and will learn what informs the Government’s advice to improve healthy lifestyles and promote health.
Social Context of Health and Illness
This module will describe people’s understandings of what makes people healthy or ill, as these have changed over time. Some people may believe that they have become ill because they have sinned, others will believe that the cause is a germ, and others will blame their housing. These understandings are grouped as traditional, medical or social. We start with people’s beliefs about the causes of plague during in the Great Plague of 1665, and end with current public health policy and practice in England. The module includes an introduction to social aspects of health including poverty, inequality and how social factors shape our health from childhood to old age.
Environment and Health
In the Environment and Health module, you will learn about how the physical environment affects people’s health through housing, food security, air/noise and water pollution, waste disposal, climate change, and degradation. You will be introduced to the principles of sustainability. You will find out how we identify and map the health problems, resources and strengths of a population. You will learn how to assess whether a health intervention has worked for a population. During the module, you will be asked to go out and explore a neighbourhood and to identify what is health promoting and what is health negating for the people who live and work there. You will also learn about how communities can come together to improve their own health, for themselves.
Psychosocial Aspects of Health and Team Skills
This module is about understanding yourself and other people, and the psychological and social factors that affect our health and wellbeing. It uses problem based learning, which means that you will be given case studies of people who are experiencing challenges in their lives. For each case study, you will consider how people’s self-concepts and their behaviour are influenced by factors such as stress, inequality, age, ethnicity, gender, ethics, the law and practical issues. Throughout this module, you will be asked to work in groups with other students. Through your group work, you will reflect on your own communication and team skills because these are core skills for anyone wishing to work in health promotion or public health.
Communicating Health Information
This module is about how to communicate health information to others using a range of media such as mass technology, print and electronic media. You will learn about verbal, non-verbal and graphic (visual) forms of communication. The module will help you to develop and practice your own communication skills, and to explore the importance of good communication when working with others in public health and the general population. The module will help you to apply your learning from other Year 1 modules.
The Academic Development module will help you to develop the academic skills which you will need whilst at university, and beyond. These include how to get the best from lectures, seminars, personal reflection and directed activities. You will be helped with how to develop your writing and oral communication, including presentation skills, and how to manage your own learning. We will explain the skills that are required by any employer who seeks to employ a graduate, and those skills which are core to working in health promotion or public health. You will be introduced to the core health promotion competences outlined by the International Union for Health Promotion and Health Education (IUHPHE) and the public health competences contained in the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (PHSKF). In this way, this module provides a sound foundation from which you can succeed in your degree and be well prepared for future employment.
The Year 2 modules are about the key approaches to how we improve people’s health.
Promoting and Improving Health
This health promotion module will encourage you to examine the meaning of health and wellbeing in depth. The module will explain the theory and principles of how to improve the health of an individual, a group or a community using communication, education, environmental or social change. Health promotion practice includes how we organize, communicate and evaluate a plan to improve the health of others in an ethical way, and how we work with ‘settings’ such as schools, hospitals and prisons. The module explains the skills that professionals who work in a health promotion role need. These are outlined in the health promotion competences of the International Union for Health Promotion and Health Education (IUHPHE) and the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (PHSKF).
Working in Health
This module will help you to prepare for working in public health or health promotion in the UK or abroad. It focuses on the key knowledge, skills and competences required for relevant jobs. UK job specifications will be examined and you will be asked to identify how your Curriculum Vitae will meet the required knowledge and skills for the job. The module will explain the context of the world of work, how to prepare for working within the public health workforce, and the factors that affect how public health is organised, managed, funded and delivered in England. In this module, you will learn more about the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework and about how to work towards becoming a professionally registered public health practitioner.
Inequalities in Health
Health and illness do not necessarily occur randomly. We know that some groups of people suffer more ill health and early death compared to others. This module builds on the Social Context of Health and Illness module in Year 1. You will learn about how and why people have different health experiences e.g. men and women, people who live in different geographical areas and people who have different jobs. This inequality is unfair, and it is recognised as a serious national and international problem. In England there has been much work, in terms of policies and initiatives to try to reduce these health inequalities and to make a fairer and healthier society.
In this module, you will learn about how we protect people’s health by making sure that our food, water, air and the general environment are all safe and of good quality. You will discover some of the important health risks associated with infectious diseases and chemical and nuclear incidents, using examples from the UK and abroad. You will find out how these threats are prevented and dealt with.
Health Research and Evidence Based Practice
Research is about finding, examining and applying the evidence. It underpins all health promotion and public health work. During this module you will learn about the different types of research, and how to conduct a small research study of your own. You will be provided with a step-by-step explanation of the research process. This starts with learning how to search for evidence, how to set your aims and objectives, how to find the participants for your study, and then how to make sense of your findings in order to answer your research question.
Year 3 is about applying the core principles, learnt in Year 1 and 2, to a specific topic, population or issue, depending on your own interests and career aspirations.
Aspects of Mental Health Promotion
The Aspects of Mental Health Promotion module will deepen your understanding of mental health, wellbeing and happiness, and help you to think about how such concepts can be measured. The module will include many examples of activities which support people’s good mental health such as physical activity, art, drama, literature, music, spirituality and complementary and alternative medicine. You will consider how these activities work, how they can be part of a health promotion plan, and how effective they are.
This international module will give you the opportunity to explore, in depth, the factors that influence people’s health and wellbeing across the world. You will learn about the role of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank and other international agencies and non-governmental organisations. In addition to biological causes of ill health, the module will focus on global poverty, food insecurity, gender inequality, the lack of health services, housing, sanitation, trade, conflicts, climate change, resource depletion, pollution, and migration.
Principles of Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of how, where and when diseases occur in different groups of people. You will learn how to describe patterns of disease, how we measure them and how we look for the causes. Epidemiology helps to guide the work of public health, it helps us to decide what is a priority and what action to take. The module will include examples of how epidemiology has helped us to understand some of our major health concerns today, and how we use epidemiological data to plan what we do.
Your dissertation is a large project. It allows you to study a health topic or issue that is of particular interest to you. You will be given the choice of completing an empirical (research) study or a literaturebased study. You will select an area of personal interest, which may relate to your career aspirations. You will be invited to start considering what you would like to do during Year 2, and staff will provide you with guidance. You will need to consider where to find relevant reading, how to set out your aims and objectives and what methods you wish to use. A lecturer will provide you with support during Year 3 while you are working on your dissertation.
Likely optional modules
Ethics and Law in Health
Whenever we are considering how to prevent an illness or promote good health, we need to be aware that these matters are highly sensitive. What affects one person may affect many others. This module will introduce you to some of the basic principles that inform English law. Both statute and common law informs health promotion and public health practice. In this module you will be discussing a range of current ethical issues and learning how some of these have been approached and resolved. This will include exploring health equity law and ethics at the beginning, during and at the end of life. The module will increase your awareness of some of the complexities that individuals, families and society face when seeking to improve health.
The module will look at how psychology can help us to gain a better understanding of the health of individuals and whole populations. You will learn about theories of motivation, group processes and social perceptions. Psychology can help us to understand why people behave in healthy or less healthy ways, and can provide guidance about how to help people. The module will use a number of examples such as physical activity and exercise, sexual behaviour, substance misuse and eating behaviour.
Health Education and Children
This module is ideal for students who want to know how to educate children about their health. It takes you through the principles and practice of health education for children. We look at the key health concerns of children themselves as well as what the government and other ‘experts’ think. We understand how children learn by exploring theories of child development and recent research. We use this understanding, and our understanding of health promotion principles, to inform how we teach children. The module includes a range of practical teaching activities to develop children’s skills such as problem solving, decision making and social skills, and it includes how to develop a health promoting school.
Negotiated Workplace Learning
Many students are working part-time whilst they are studying at university; some will have used the university careers service to help them to find voluntary work, perhaps in public health. Every workplace contains people, and wherever there are people we need to consider their health and wellbeing. This module gives you the opportunity to bring your work-place experience together with your university studies. Here, you can carry out a piece of work that allows you to apply your learning to date. This will be based on your observations of a work place, not an intervention, and you will need to get permission from your workplace manager. A member of staff will support you through this small project.
Physical Activity and Health
Getting people to be more active is a public health priority across many areas of the world, and in this module you will learn why. You will discover how activity keeps us healthy, and what type of activity is best to prevent long term diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. You will also learn about sedentary, non-active, behaviour and what it does to our bodies. You will find out how we carry out research to measure people’s active or sedentary behaviour. By the end of the module, you will understand the theory and practice of promoting people’s activity.
Public Health Nutrition
Public health nutrition is about preventing illness and promoting good health through what we eat and drink. The module takes you through what the UK population is eating, what we should be eating, why we make our food choices, how to work out what we are eating and how we can improve people’s nutritional health. It shows how food is related to major international health concerns such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, and how it can support health during pregnancy, childhood and the rest of our lives.
Sex and Relationships Education
Relationships and sex are often positive and enjoyable aspects of our health, but teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, discrimination and abuse are serious health concerns. This module is ideal for those who wish to work with young people or those who are interested in working in the field of sexual health. In this module you will learn how to communicate well with young people, colleagues and other professionals about relationships, sex education, sexual health and screening. You will explore a range of influences that we need to consider when trying to support healthy sexual relationships such as: social and cultural influences, age, sexual orientation, and people’s personal beliefs and constraints. You will learn about international, national and local services that support sex and relationships education.
Substance Misuse and Health
Drugs and alcohol can cause health concerns for everyone in society. In this module we will discuss how drugs and alcohol affects people’s physical, mental and social health. We see how drug and alcohol is used in different ways across different groups of people. These patterns are shaped by personal factors and the environment in which people are living and working. We will look at examples of how we try to reduce drug and alcohol use in individuals, groups, the UK and the world, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. This is an important module for those who are thinking of working for drug and alcohol services.