Bachelor of Health Sciences


The Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) is a three-year non-clinical degree designed to address gaps in the health workforce by producing graduates with multidisciplinary skills and an understanding of important national health issues.

New Zealand's health and disability sector is characterised by a diverse workforce made up of many occupations. This diversity is essential to be able to provide the range of services required to meet population health outcomes.

Features of the Bachelor of Health Sciences at UC

  • Opens up a wide range of non-clinical career opportunities, both nationally and internationally, in careers such as health and public policy, public health, health management, and health research.
  • Enables graduates to improve health and well-being through disease prevention, health promotion, and health service planning, delivery, and evaluation.
  • The programme is based on the world-leading research undertaken by UC staff in the School of Health Sciences.
  • Some majors offer the opportunity to undertake internships in health-related workplaces.
  • The Public Health major meets the New Zealand competencies for public health and health promotion.

Entry requirements

Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. Domestic applicants over 20 who do not hold University Entrance, or equivalent, may gain admission by providing evidence of their ability to complete tertiary study successfully. For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Recommended preparation

For some majors, a background in biology, chemistry and statistics can be beneficial. If you would like to brush up on your knowledge in these areas, Headstart preparatory and summer catch-up courses are available.

Qualification structure and duration

The BHSc requires a total of 360 points made up of:

  • at least 135 points from compulsory courses
  • at least 90 points from one subject major
  • the remaining points may be taken from within Health Sciences or any other degree offered at UC.

At least 225 of the total points must be above 100-level and at least 90 points must be for courses at 300-level. In the second and third years of study, students will gain specialist knowledge in their chosen major.


The BHSc can be completed in three years by full-time study or up to six years by part-time study.

Typical degree structure for Bachelor of Health Sciences (majoring in Psychology)

Year 1Year 2Year 3
    Compulsory courses
    Major courses
    Other courses from Health Sciences or other degrees
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).
Please note: some majors have different requirements. For major requirements please go to the Regulations for the Bachelor of Health Sciences.

Subjects and courses

The first year of study gives students a foundation in Health Sciences through core courses introducing students to health studies, human biology, epidemiology, and Māori health. Students will also undertake courses from their chosen major.

Major subjects

You can study a single or double major and can add courses from other degrees. Students select their specialisation from six majors, designed to provide graduates with particular skills and knowledge:

For more advice on how the degree can be structured for each major, see the Bachelor of Health Sciences brochure.

Double majors

Many students choose to enrol in a double major and this can often be completed in the same length of time as a single major. Students commonly combine majors in Public Health and Society and Policy; Health Education and Psychology; and Māori and Indigenous Health and Public Health. Elective courses may be chosen from Health Sciences or other degrees across the University.

Workplace skills and knowledge

This degree will provide students with an awareness of the critical health challenges facing New Zealand. Essential workplace skills will be gained in cultural competency and working with communities to improve health outcomes. Students will graduate able to evaluate quantitative, qualitative and Kaupapa Māori information equipping them for decision-making in the workplace.

Graduating BHSc students who complete HLTH 312 Health Planning, Implementation and Evaluation are recognised by the Health Promotion Forum as meeting the foundation knowledge and understanding of Ngā Kaiakatanga Hauora mō Aotearoa/Health Promotion Competencies for New Zealand.

Further study

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the degree, there are a wide range of postgraduate study options at UC including:

Some of these programmes offer the opportunity to gain an endorsement in subjects as wide ranging as Health Behaviour Change to Palliative Care, Health Information Management to Nursing. See the A-Z subject listing.

* Subject to Universities New Zealand CUAP approval, due December 2017.

Career opportunities

The BHSc at UC is ideal preparation to equip students to work within the many non-clinical areas of health, health management and health care. You will gain multidisciplinary skills and insights that are highly valued in these fields.

Health Sciences graduates work in settings such as district health boards, government ministries, local government, non-government organisations, Māori health providers, aged residential care, schools, primary care organisations, universities and polytechnics.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Health Sciences.

More information

For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Health Sciences. For information on resources, facilities and staff visit the College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora

For more general information email info@canterbury.ac.nz or freephone 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For assistance with planning your programme of study contact the Liaison Office (new students), or a College of Education, Health and Human Development Student Advisor (advancing students).

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