Health Sciences


Bachelor of Health Sciences
Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences
Master of Health Sciences
Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice

Health Sciences_laboratory


Health Sciences students are passionate about getting involved in their communities and improving the health of the population. We promote opportunities for volunteering and gaining a well rounded education.

Health Sciences at UC provides students with a non-clinical degree and a multidisciplinary introduction to a range of important health issues: from genetics, to the health of populations, evidence-based decision making, psychology, education and public policy.

Many Health Sciences courses may be taken as part of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) or included in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (not as a major or minor).

Why study Health Sciences at UC?

  • UC has the top ranked research department in New Zealand for ‘other health studies’ (the most recent Tertiary Education Commission 2012 PBRF Assessment).
  • There are many different paths that you can go down at UC, and the good thing about the BHSc is that it has a wide variety of courses, which allows you to keep your options open and learn about lots of different areas before embarking on your career.
  • Some of the majors in the BHSc offer the opportunity for practical placement and skills development in health-related workplaces.
  • The School of Health Sciences is well-equipped for conducting a wide range of research and projects.
  • Thanks to involved academic staff, most of the lecturers know who you are, what your interests are and look at ways to help you to achieve your goals.
  • Students who complete the Public Health major for the BHSc will be able to meet the generic public health competencies and the health promotion competencies for New Zealand.


See all Health Sciences courses

100-level courses

The compulsory first-year courses for the Bachelor of Health Sciences are:


As well as the core courses above, students select a BHSc major from the list below:

For BHSc required and recommended courses by major, see the Regulations to the Bachelor of Health Sciences.

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.

200-level and beyond

Students can continue to study health-related courses at 200, 300 and postgraduate level. Whether it is looking at technological interventions, health education, sociology behind health and illness, the pros and cons of New Zealand’s health system, how to build resilience or public and policy issues, there is broad scope to find an area of health that interests you.

Students who are not enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Sciences and wish to continue examining national and international health issues can consult the Programme Coordinator for advice on which courses they can include in their degree.

Postgraduate health studies at UC

Postgraduate students in Health Sciences come from a range of backgrounds. Students with an interest in the health sector and a good (and relevant) bachelor's degree, or health professional qualification, may apply for entry to a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma or master's programme. Endorsements are available in Health Behaviour Change, Health and Community, Health Information Management, Environment and Health, Nursing, and Palliative Care.

With the appropriate prerequisites students may take a postgraduate programme of study specialising in Counselling, Child and Family Psychology, Palliative Care or Specialist Teaching.

UC also offers a professional practice-based master's and a joint opportunity (through UC and the Ara Institute of Canterbury) to gain a Nursing degree and a Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice in just two and a half years. 

Career opportunities

The health workforce includes a wide variety of clinical roles defined by legislation. There are also many non-clinical roles which make up about one third of the total health workforce.

The undergraduate Health Sciences courses will provide an essential foundation for those seeking non-clinical health sector roles. Depending on the major(s) taken, an interdisciplinary non-clinical Health Sciences background has high prospects of employment in such areas as health promotion, environmental health, health psychology, community health, Māori and iwi health, behaviour change, health policy, administration, health education, health technology assessment and health research.

These courses will also help those who already have clinical or other health-related qualifications to extend their knowledge and skills and to prepare for new career opportunities.

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

More information

School of Health Sciences

Phone +64 3 369 3333

Please see the School's website for up-to-date location details.

Postal address
College of Education | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

James Hayes

James Hayes

'The University of Canterbury reputation is second to none...'

Jai Chung

Jai Chung

'There are numerous opportunities to carry on a variety of research and learning opportunities...'