UCC Undergraduate courses

Public Health Sciences

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Public Health Sciences

  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    1 x H4, 1 x H5, 4 x O6/H7. Maths, Other Language and Lab Science required. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2020: 454

  • CAO Points Range

    2020: 454-566

Course Outline

The BSc Public Health Sciences offers an integrated learning experience in an interdisciplinary setting. It provides training in the range of skills involved in keeping people healthy and preventing disease, including:

  • Assessing the health and wellbeing of populations
  • Investigating complex public health problems such as obesity and HIV/AIDS
  • Assessing the health impact of policy at local, national and global level
  • Communicating effectively with colleagues in public health and the wider health system, as well as with society at large.

The BSc Public Health Sciences in UCC is the only undergraduate degree in public health in Ireland. It offers an integrated learning experience in an interdisciplinary environment, to produce graduates who are passionate about public health.  

Year 1 modules

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

Core (50 credits):

EH1004 Epidemiology I (10 credits)
Perspectives on Public Health 
Introduction to Health Information Systems (HIS) 
Determinants of Health  
Introduction to Public Health 
The Environment and Human Health 
Microbiology in Society 
Sociology of Health, Public Health and Health Promotion
Introduction to Health Statistics

Plus 10 credits from the following:

BC1001 Introduction to Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Disease*
FE1013 Introduction to Development Studies I
FR1105 Threshold French**
FR1107 French for Reading Purposes I**
GE0005 German Language (CEFR-Level A2.1)#
GE0008 German Language (CEFR-Level A2.2)#
GV1218 International Politics
HS0028 Spanish Language (Beginner Level) (10 credits)##
HS1009 Spanish Language (Post Leaving Cert) (10 credits)###
MX1004 Introducing Medical Students to Irish as a Spoken Language
MX1007 Special Study Module – Advanced Irish Language####
PL1025 Fundamentals of Physiology

*BC1001 must be taken if planning to take BC modules in second year.

**Both FR1105 and FR1107 must be taken together if planning to take FR modules in second year, otherwise either FR1105 or FR1107 can be taken.

#GE0005 and #GE0008 must be taken together.

##HS0028 must be taken if planning to take HS0128 in second year.

###HS1009 must be taken if planning to take HS2101 in second year.

####MX1007 must be taken if planning to take MX2009 in second year.

Year 2 modules

Principles of Social Research; Epidemiology II; Public Health Research Report; Introduction to Theories and Practices of Health Promotion; Public Health Issues; Introduction to Food and Industrial Microbiology; Management and Planning of Public Health Systems; Fundamentals of Nutrition Part 1; Critical Perspectives on Irish Health Policy; Social Research and Survey Methods; Cities of Diversity; Sociology of the Body, Health and Illness.

Year 3 modules

Epidemiology III; Work Placement; Public Health Practice; Data Analysis for Public Health Research; Medical Microbiology; Transmission and Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases; Nutrition in Growth, Development and Ageing; Professional Ethics; Health and Scientific Deviance; Global Urbanism; Medical Microbiology. 

Year 4 modules

Health Economics; Health Protection; Health Services; Final Year Project; Public Health Advocacy; Primary Health Care; Science, Technology and Public Controversy; Advanced Applied Epidemiology; Gender and Development; Global Health Issues and Perspectives; Humanitarian Action in Development. 

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture/lab/practical hours

Teaching is delivered from Monday to Friday, with approximately 16 hours of scheduled lectures, tutorials and practical sessions per week. Students must undertake a compulsory 12-week work placement in Year 3, outside the university.

Field trips

Field trips are included within the scheduled teaching time. 

Student vetting

Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on this progamme. See Garda Vetting and Infectious Diseases Policy for further details.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have written examinations.  Many modules use other type of assessment.

Who teaches this course

The BSc Public Health Sciences is a multidisciplinary degree led by the School of Public Health. In addition to core teaching from staff in their home department, students will also benefit from the range of expertise relevant to Public Health which is available in the university as a whole.

Why Choose This Course

I would encourage anybody interested in the broad area of health to consider this well managed programme. It is the ideal springboard.

Deirdre Ryan

Graduate, BSc Public Health (2009)

View Student

The BSc Public Health Sciences in UCC is the only undergraduate degree in public health in Ireland. Students study across the spectrum of health-related disciplines, which opens up a wide range of career opportunities or further study on graduation.

The 12-week work placement is an essential element of the course and placement options are available for students across all public health practice areas, both in Ireland and abroad.

The School of Public Health is involved in major national research focusing on nutritional epidemiology, looking at causes and prevention of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disesase, tobacco control and health services research. As such, the degree programme is facilitated to prepare graduates for the complex working world.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Students undertake a 12-week work placement at the end of Year 3, providing them with the opportunity to experience the working world and apply theory to practice.  The BSc Public Health Sciences has built strong relationships with national and international organisations including HSE Public Health Departments, Safefood, Public Health England and the WHO in Copenhagen, all of which accept UCC students on placement.  The work placement opens doors to future work opportunities with a larger number of employers recruiting graduates for positions in Ireland, elsewhere in Europe and in other economically developed or developing countries.

Alternatively, a limited number of students may be permitted to undertake the Third Year of their BSc Public Health Sciences studies abroad, at an approved institution.

Skills and Careers Information

Public Health is a rapidly expanding field both at home and internationally. The degree will open up a range of career opportunities with our graduates employed in Ireland and further afield in diverse public health roles including:

  • Public Health Research
  • Health Promotion
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Community Work
  • Media and Public Relations
  • Health and Safety.

BSc Public Health Sciences graduates have a solid foundation for further study to Masters and Doctorate level in a wide range of disciplines including health research, health promotion and global health. The School of Public Health offers graduates a Masters in Public Health (MPH) and Masters in Occupational Health.

Some students have completed accredited two-year Masters programmes in related health disciplines such as Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Dietetics. The BSc can also facilitate graduate entry to other undergraduate degrees such as medicine.


Leaving Certificate entry requirements

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.
Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab ScienceOther LanguageNote
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 or H4*
O6/H7 or H4* O6/H7 H4 in Maths or Applied Maths or a Lab Science*

If the H4 is in Maths or Applied Maths an 06/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

FETAC applicants

FETAC requirements can be found here


Mature entry applicants


Find out about the mature entry requirements here.


Student Garda vetting

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme.

Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on the programme. It involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Síochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence).

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

In year 3 of this course, students undertake a 12-week unpaid work placement. You may incur costs of living away from home or term-time accommodation, depending on the location of your placement.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

EU applicants

Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Mature applicants

Application is made through the CAO and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of proposed entry.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact