Bachelor of Applied Public Health

  • Gain the skills to work in public health roles with this Bachelor of Applied Public Health
  • Optional work placement enables you to graduate with industry experience
  • Get a degree qualification in just two years

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At a glance

Study mode



Torrens University Australia
Career Opportunities

You will be qualified to work as a:

  • Health Policy Advisor
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Health Promotion Officer

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.
Torrens University is an affiliate member of the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia.

  • Year 12 ATAR score of 60 or equivalent, OR
  • A GPA of 3.5 in a scale of 7 through study with another university, OR
  • A Special Tertiary Admission Test (STAT) rank of 155

SA - Adelaide


Course length
Accelerated: 2 years | Full-time: 3 years | Part-time options available
Study mode





Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.


Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.


Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Essays, research projects, online discussion participation & short question tests.
Start date

3 intakes a year.

Torrens University Australia

Torrens University Australia delivers practical, career-focused education as part of a global network of leading academic institutions.

When you study with Torrens, you’ll have access to:

  • Flexible online delivery – fit your study into your schedule
  • ‘Touch-Point' sessions for online students – collaborate with lecturers and other students and build your professional network
  • Small class sizes – get valuable one-on-one interaction with lecturers and learning facilitators

You can study online via Torrens’ on-demand learning platform, or complete selected courses on-campus.

Torrens University Australia Ltd.


The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.


  • Year 12 ATAR score of 60 or equivalent, OR
  • A GPA of 3.5 in a scale of 7 through study with another university, OR
  • A Special Tertiary Admission Test (STAT) rank of 155

What you'll learn

You will learn how to:

  • Develop & manage effective public health policy at all levels of society
  • Understand the key determinants in disease control & prevention
  • Develop skills in health surveillance & epidemiology

Course structure

24 units

Core units

  1. Capstone 1

    This unit draws together all the strands of knowledge and skill to date and positions the students with an external boy that needs to write a grant for external funding for a public health initiative. Students will learn the project management skills associate with grant writing, hone their writing skills for a particular audience and further develop their expertise in data presentation.


    This capstone option give students the opportunity to plan a health promotion campaign for a special population of their choice. The unit accentuates their cultural, critical evaluations skills and system thinking as they plan a campaign to hit different elements of a system to achieve a common goal.

  2. Disease prevention and control

    Further developing students' understanding and manipulation of epidemiological data sets, this unit focuses on modifiable risk factors and behavior, taking a case approach to learning, exploring current and past public health issues, evaluating different approaches to their control and prevention.

  3. Foundations of public health

    Within this introductory unit, students learn the principles and practice of public health and improving the health populations. Students learn how public health is defined, the origins of public health and its evolution as a discipline. Students learn the key principles of the "new public health", public health practice, the functions of public health, the role of government in improving the health and well being of citizens and public health models, including comprehensive primary health care. They consider different understanding of health and illness, including professional, lay and Australian Indigenous definitions. They are introduced to key concepts in public health, including a human rights approach to health, an ecological perspective and the social determinations of health.

  4. Health policy, planning & management

    The unit draws together the strands of data analysis from the other courses thus far and puts them within a policy and management context. Students need to put together an operational plan for a public health intervention, justified with a strong evidence base to secure buy-in and budget commitment. Students also develop their systems thinking skills in this course as they start to analyse how on change in the system has a knock-on effect, planning which elements of the system to address, when and how. Students will learn about he Australian healthcare system and legislative and policy framework.

  5. Health promotion & advocacy

    This unit challenges students to make an impact and introduces students to being change agents, teaching them how to recognise health needs in a community and equipping them with the skills they need to communicate with a wide variety of audiences, preparing them to engage with communities to promote health and engage in health advocacy with intersectoral stakeholders and influencers. Special populations and social determinants of health focus strongly in this unit and students consider how to engage with different communities and the formation of partnerships with other sectors.

  6. health protection & environmental health

    Focusing on environmental influences on health, this unit introduces students to the role of environmental risk factors and determinants of disease in illness and injury. Students will understand the regulatory influences on environmental risk factors and environmental influences on health, analyse risk factors and identify vulnerable populations, and strategise interventions using real-work scenarios.

  7. Health surveillance & epidemiology

    This unit introduces students to population health patterns, epidemiology, social determinants of health, and health systems and political policies in a manner that allows them to ask questions of data, ethical issues with data, draw out points of significance and present data in different ways to different audiences. An inquiry based approach to learning underpins this unit.

  8. Introduction to social research methods

    This subject provides students with an overview of the methods used in social science research. It examines the models and techniques of social research across quantitative and qualitative methods, including surveys and sampling, questionnaires, focus groups, structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. It asks, what is the research basis of knowledge and how do we know what we know? 

    It prepares students for understanding the nature of the research process, through direct application of basic interview technique, transcription and first level analysis. Students learn to reflect on their findings and the process involved for conducting social research through their experience of interviewing using techniques such as unstructured, semi-structured and structured interviews, and through a scholarly analysis of literature on research methods.

Specialist units

  1. Global health

    In this course, students learn about the impact of globalisation upon health and the relationship between global health, foreign policy, trade, security, aid and development. They consider the relationship between human rights and health in a global context. They learn about key global health institutions including the World Health Organisation, global health governance, funding and diplomacy, and international treaties for health. Case studies within global health diplomacy and international health are used within this course..

  2. Health issues across the lifespan

    Changing demographics including the ageing of the population has major implications for the planning and delivery of public health and health care services. This course considers the way in which mental and physical health issues change over the lifespan, and according to health determinants such as one’s gender and culture. Students in this course will learn about maternal child health, the in utero environment, child development issues, adolescent health, the development of chronic conditions in adult life, carer roles and health, issues for women in the middle years and health issues facing older people, including disability and dementia. Students will learn about health promotion needs and opportunities across the lifespan and measuring mental and physical health across the lifespan.

  3. Health systems, healthcare financing & economics

    A knowledge and understanding of the Australian health care system and how it compares with the organisation of health care in other countries is fundamental for the public health professional. In this course students learn about the key building blocks of a health care system, including health service delivery, health workforce, health information, medicines, vaccines and technologies, health financing and governance (including community involvement). 

    Students learn about the Australian health care system and health care financing in a global context including an overview of the principles of universal health coverage, mechanisms of health care reimbursement (both private and public) in Australia, principles of health economics and health outcomes (measuring health and wellbeing). Students learn about health system integration across levels of the health sector (primary, secondary and tertiary care services). Health workforce issues are also be covered as health systems need to balance human resources, physical capital and consumables in order to function equitably and efficiently.

  4. Mental health, alcohol & other drugs

    Mental health problems and disorders contribute significantly to the burden of disease; unipolar depression is now the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Mental health disorders and problems with alcohol and other drugs are closely intertwined and linked to the social determinants of health such as gendered violence. 

    In this course, students will learn about the main types of mental health and AOD issues and their prevalence, comorbidity between mental health and alcohol and other drugs, Australia’s mental health policy and service system and AOD policies. Students will learn how to analyse data on mental health and AOD, health promotion and prevention for mental health problems and AOD, socio-economic determinants of mental health and AOD and the association between mental health, AOD and family and interpersonal violence. Students will also learn about the strong relationship between mental health and physical health.

  5. Industry placement

    Students will undertake an industry placement to be arranged with a partner organisation. Projects will focus one of the following areas: 

    1. A critique of current practice (based upon health promotion frameworks or relevant theory) and development of alternatives
    2. Undertaking a literature review on a given area and providing critical analysis; or
    3. Developing a policy briefing and recommendations on a topic selected by the host organisation. 

    The time commitment will be equivalent to one day per week over the trimester. Assessment will include a report from the host organisation, as well as a written report and oral presentation by the student.

  6. Nutrition & society

    This subject aims to provide an understanding of the sociology of food, nutrition and public health. Students will explore the relationships between human behaviour and dietary intake from a public health perspective. This subject will provide students with a solid understanding of the social and environmental determinants of health as it relates to nutrition. Students will be engaged in community based research to identify a public health issue which is prevalent in their community society.

  7. Public health program development, implementation & evaluation

    Relevant, accessible, effective and equitable health programs that consistently deliver high quality outcomes are the cornerstone of public health service delivery. Public health program development and implementation skills covered in this course include needs assessment, setting health priorities, development of program objectives, conducting a risk analysis and consulting with relevant stakeholders and developing options, monitoring implementation, financial management and working to deadlines. The course also provides an introduction to evaluating public health programs, including formative, process, outcome, and impact evaluations. Students in this course will be required to conduct a needs assessment and prioritise findings, and develop an evaluation plan.

  8. Social & political determinants of health

    Public health professionals take a systems or ecological approach whereby health is seen as the result of an interrelationship between biological, psychological, familial, social, economic and political factors. Political, economic and social conditions are considered major determinants of health. This course considers inequitable patterns of health and illness across the community, and the underlying determinants of these patterns. 

    Students will learn to identify the main social determinants of health including those for Indigenous Australians, and how they impact upon health. These include the social gradient of health, gender, child development, social exclusion, work conditions, social support, housing, education, culture/racism and access to health care. Students will develop an understanding of cultural competency and cultural safety. The need to consider the impact of policies in other sectors upon health and inter sectoral collaboration strategies are explored.

Elective units will be chosen from an approved list of units.

Support and delivery

You can choose whether you would like to study this course online when it’s convenient to you, or at the modern Torrens University campus in Adelaide.

Whether you study online or on-campus, you will have will have direct access to experienced lecturers and learning facilitators to support you through the course. Plus, you’re welcome to use the state-of-the-art facilities at Torrens campuses in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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