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

Our BSc Public Health Sciences degree 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 UCC BSc Public Health Sciences degree is one of the few public health undergraduate degrees in Ireland. It offers an integrated learning experience, in an interdisciplinary environment, that produces graduates who are passionate about public health. 

You will take 60 credits in first year comprising 50 credits from core modules and 10 credits from elective modules.

Year 1

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

Core Modules

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

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

To note:

  • *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. 

The following years comprise a selection of modules from various disciplines across campus together with a 12-week placement in third year. Please see the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

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. 

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. Please see the UCC Garda Vetting Policy 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 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

"... 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.

Available Scholarships

At UCC we support our student community by offering scholarships and prizes to prospective and current students. Please see the Scholarships & Prizes page for more information.

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 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 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 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.

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.

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. Please see the UCC Garda Vetting information page for more information.

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 the Fees Office page 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

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. 

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact