Public and Environmental Health Major - Bachelor of Health Science

Study the Bachelor of Health Science in Public and Environmental Health, and prepare yourself for a career where you can really make a difference.

Considerable change in our society means we need to have flexible, intersectoral and problem-solving approaches to a wide range of health issues and contexts as we move further into the digital age.

Our Public and Environmental Health major is committed to human rights, health equity and social justice, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and te whare tapa whā – the four cornerstones of physical, spiritual, mental, and family environments, and to the Sustainable Development Goals, which advocate for intersectoral, holistic actions to enhance human and planetary health.

This is part of the Bachelor of Health Science.

Start date: 2021

The skills you’ll develop include team collaboration, engaging with communities, using digital communications and media, data analysis and visualisation, codesign, advocacy, evaluation and leadership.

These skills will enable you to assist with developing or implementing and evaluating public and environmental health programmes. This includes mental health, violence-free, youth and community development, healthy eating and fitness, industry and lifestyle wellness, environmental sustainability, road safety and injury prevention and tobacco control, alcohol, gambling and evaluation.

Year 1

You develop a general understanding of public and environmental health, learning alongside other health science students.

Papers you study:

Year 2

You develop practical skills and further your understanding of the values and approaches of public and environmental health.

Papers you study:

Plus, 3 elective papers. We recommend the health media and communications paper to develop digital skills.

Year 3

The final year prepares you to make the transition to working within the wider sector.

Papers you study:

Plus one elective paper.

Workplace experience

At the heart of your final year is the Health Practice Cooperative paper, 150 hours of workplace experience in organisations involved in public and environmental health. Recent placements included:

  • Healthy Families: Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura
  • Manurewa Marae: Whare Oranga
  • Counties-Manukau, Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards
  • Auckland Council
  • Accessible: Environmental Health Management Services
  • Village Collective
  • Datacom
  • The Asian Network Incorporated
  • Breast Cancer Foundation NZ

You may also be able to work on one of several research, teaching and innovation projects.

Te ara hauora Māori health papers

There’s a growing need for health professionals to work with Māori. That’s why you can include Māori health papers as part of your study and develop the skills to work more effectively with Māori, an essential skill in the diverse health sector in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Through these papers you gain access to Māori networks and become comfortable working with whānau and Māori communities. We encourage all students to include at least one Māori health paper. You don’t need to know te reo to enrol in the Māori health papers.

Our graduates work in the public and private sectors; they are self-employed, advising and designing for sustainability, urban development, equity programmes, Māori and Pacific health.

They are team leaders, project designers and analysts, and increasingly they will work in the digital space, helping to create eHealth apps, serious games, and play a crucial role in social innovation and enterprise initiatives.


Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Public & Environmental Health

Broaden your options

You can combine the Public and Environmental Health major with the Psychology major in the Bachelor of Health Science:

Tailor the degree to your interests - study an individual pathway in the Bachelor of Health Science

You can choose to study the Bachelor of Health Science without choosing a major, following an individual pathway. This is a great way to tailor the degree to your interests and prepare yourself for a wide range of non-clinical careers.

Individual pathway

Other majors in the Bachelor of Health Science

Other undergraduate study options

Postgraduate study options

Key features
  • Focused on addressing major health and social issues
  • Includes 150 hours of workplace experience related to health promotion
  • Complete a double major with Psychology within 3 years
  • Offered at the North or South Campus
See yourself as
  • Versatile
  • Resourceful
  • Articulate
  • Creative
  • Committed to the promotion of sustainable health
  • Change agent
Nickola Loodin
Candace Bath
Sarah Yzendoorn

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.

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