Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2012 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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NOTE: This course has been updated - please refer to the 2012 handbook change register for details.

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleBHSc
CRICOS code068365J
Total credit points required144
Standard duration of study (years)3 years FT, 6 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Caulfield)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Telephone: +61 3 9903 1657, email: or visit

Course coordinator

Associate Professor Catherine Joyce


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • This course requires students to undertake off-campus site visits and fieldwork placements.


NOTE: This course has had one or more changes made to it since publication on 1 October 2011. For details of change/s, please consult the change register at

The Bachelor of Health Science is a multidisciplinary flexible degree that provides students with opportunities to choose pathways in public health/health promotion programs and policy, and public health sciences, leading to a wide range of careers. It also provides a pathway to postgraduate clinical programs (eg medicine, social work, nursing and allied health) as well as honours and higher degrees by research. This course offers learning that encompasses the biomedical and social aspects of health, including the physiology of disease, epidemiology, health care systems, health promotion, policy analysis and health sociology. The course has a global orientation, examining Australian and international health challenges. Graduates will be able to undertake roles as health policy and health promotion practitioners or to move into clinical or public health research. Employment may be found in hospitals and community health organisations, government health departments, non-government health agencies and research centres. Students may also take the course as a preparation for graduate study in medicine, nursing or allied health.


On successful completion of this course, it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate the knowledge, skills and technical competency appropriate for an entry level practitioner in public health
  • conduct research; and access, critically appraise and apply the best available evidence to the professional practice of public health
  • demonstrate knowledge and skills in the development, implementation and evaluation of public health policy and programs
  • display an in-depth understanding of social and cultural diversity and the skills and resources required for working across diverse populations in global and Australian contexts
  • demonstrate awareness of equity, human rights and social justice in relation to health in Australian and international contexts
  • demonstrate awareness of the determinants of illness, health and wellbeing
  • integrate knowledge of relevant public policy and health and social care systems into practice
  • demonstrate critical awareness of the role of health and social care systems in relation to population health and wellbeing
  • demonstrate professional skills such as, critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, operating from an ethical framework, and a commitment to life-long learning

Special requirements

Police and Working with Children checks

Organisations that host clinical and community placements require students to have current police and Working with Children checks regarding their suitability to undertake such placements. All enrolled and prospective students will be required to obtain these checks prior to undertaking their course. Working with Children checks are valid for five years and are available free. Police checks must be applied and paid for annually, however, in some community-partnered programs there may be a requirement to have a police check renewed every six months.

Health requirements

In order to meet health requirements for working in the healthcare facilities and for the protection of other students, and themselves, students may need to comply with certain precautionary procedures. These may consist of confidential tests for immune status (including blood tests and skin tests), receiving vaccines and having x-rays where the evidence indicates that these are appropriate.


The faculty recommends that all students accept responsibility for having up-to-date immunisations before commencing this course. Recommended immunisations include diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis and hepatitis B.


Fieldwork practice units

This course requires students to undertake off-campus fieldwork placements. In the fieldwork setting students will have an opportunity to apply theory to practice under supervision. Attendance is mandatory for the fieldwork component of each unit.

Where a student's skill or knowledge is found to be inadequate, access to the fieldwork component of the unit will be denied. A student may be withdrawn from a fieldwork practicum if required skills and knowledge are deemed inadequate, or on other grounds deemed appropriate by the head of school.

Fieldwork expenses

Students are responsible for all travel and accommodation expenses during fieldwork placements.

Professional recognition

Graduates of this course are eligible to join the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Health Promotion Association and the Australian Epidemiology Association.


This course comprises:

(a.) health science core units (78 points)

(b.) units in a health science major sequence (36 points)

(c.) electives at first, second and third-year level (36 points)

(d.) a maximum of eight first-year level units (48 points)

(e.) a minimum of 36 points at third-year level including those completed in the major

Health science major

Majors are available in:

  • clinical and public health sciences
  • health programs and policy.


Electives may be taken from the lists of major sequence units provided and/or from anywhere in the University. Electives must be taken at first, second and third year.


Core units

First year

Semester one

  • HSC1061 Data evidence and critical thinking in health
  • HSC1081 Foundations of public health
  • HSC1101 Biological bases of health and disease 1
  • one first-year level elective

Semester two

  • HSC1052 Health and social care systems and policy
  • HSC1102 Biological bases of health and disease 2
  • HSC1112 Global health: Opportunities and challenges
  • one first-year level elective

Second year

Semester one

  • HSC2141 Analysing patterns of health and disease
  • HSC2101 Health promotion: global and local
  • one major sequence unit
  • one second-year level elective

Semester two

  • HSC2022 Culture, society and health
  • HSC2142 Research methods in the health sciences
  • one major sequence unit
  • one second-year level elective

Third year

Semester one

  • HSC3041 Disease prevention and control
  • two major sequence units
  • one third-year level elective

Semester two

  • HSC3002 Health for all in a global world
  • two major sequence units
  • one third-year level elective

Major sequences

Students select six units from one of the following streams.

Health programs and policy

  • HSC2051 Health program planning*
  • HSC2052 Health and social care systems and policy 2
  • HSC2062 Communicating health *
  • HSC2092 Community development and partnerships
  • HSC3011 Contemporary health challenges
  • HSC3052 Health promotion in primary and clinical settings
  • HSC3061 Health promotion evaluation *
  • HSC3072 Health policy and politics*
  • HSC3082 Health program and practicum*

* This unit is compulsory in a health programs and policy major.

Clinical and public health sciences

  • BIO1011 Biology 1
  • BIO1022 Biology 2
  • HSC2102 Introduction to clinical research
  • HSC2111 Treatments and technologies**
  • HSC3102 Environmental determinants of health and disease**
  • HSC3131 Quantitative research design and methodology **
  • MTH2222 Mathematics of uncertainty
  • PHY2021 Body systems physiology
  • one or more of MTH1010 Functions and their applications, MTH1020 Analysis of change, MTH1030 Techniques for modelling
  • one second-year level unit from the health program and policy major
  • one third-year level unit from the health program and policy major

** This unit is compulsory in a clinical and public health sciences major.


Bachelor of Health Science