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UCC Undergraduate courses

Public Health Sciences

Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesEU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 423
CAO Points Range2023: 423 - 566

Course Outline

Our BSc Public Health Sciences programme 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 well-being of populations;
  • Investigating complex public health problems such as obesity, HIV/AIDS and the impact of COVID-19;
  • Assessing the health impact of policy at local, national, and global levels;
  • Communicating effectively with colleagues in public health and the wider health system, as well as with society at large.

This degree in Public Health Sciences is one of the few public health undergraduate degrees in Ireland. We offer an integrated learning experience, in an interdisciplinary environment, that produces graduates who are passionate about public health. 

Programme Content

Year 1 Modules (60 credits total)

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

Core Modules (50 credits)

  • EH1004 Epidemiology I (10 credits)
  • EH1006 Perspectives on Public Health 
  • EH1007 Introduction to Health Information Systems (HIS) 
  • EH1009 Determinants of Health  
  • EH1010 Introduction to Public Health 
  • EV2002 The Environment and Human Health 
  • MB1003 Microbiology in Society 
  • SC1011 Sociology of Health, Public Health and Health Promotion
  • ST1002 Introduction to Health Statistics

Elective Modules (choose 10 credits)

  • 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

The following years comprise a selection of modules from various disciplines across campus together with a 12-week placement in Year 3. 

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 (plus 12-week work placement)

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. 

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of 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 Garda Vetting

Student Garda Vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on this progamme. Please see the Student Garda Vetting page for further details.


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

Who teaches this course?

The BSc in 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 that is available in the university as a whole.

Why Choose This Course

"... a strong sense of community exists between lecturers and students, making it a unique and rewarding learning experience."

Martin Keenan

Student, Public Health Sciences

Read more

Our BSc Public Health Sciences undergraduate course is one of the few available in Ireland. This timely programme engages students across the spectrum of health-related disciplines; it opens up a wide range of career opportunities or the possibility of 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.

At the School of Public Health we are involved in major national research projects, including focusing on nutritional epidemiology; looking at causes and prevention of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease; tobacco control and health services research.  Most recently we were awarded significant funding to research the impact COVID-19 public health measures have had on the people of Ireland.

Connected Curriculum

Our learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between topics such as nursing, healthcare, science, leadership and management.

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. We have 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 Year 3 of their BSc Public Health Sciences studies abroad at an approved institution.

Skills and Careers Information

Public Health is a rapidly expanding and timely field both at home and internationally. This degree will open up a range of career opportunities and our graduates have found employment in a diverse range of public health roles, at home and abroad, in areas including:

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

Our graduates can also apply for further study at 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 complete an accredited two-year Master's 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 (Graduate Entry) 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 O6/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.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Students are required to have studied Maths and a Laboratory Science subject.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

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. 

Vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (the Acts) once a student has accepted their place on the programme. This 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 Siochána 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. 

Further information can be found on our Student Garda Vetting page. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants 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 visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • 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.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

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.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact