Graduate Certificate in Public Health

Course Information

View entry requirements, career options and what’s available to you, through our extensive student support network below.

Entry requirements

To apply for the online Graduate Certificate in Public Health, you are required to have:

  • Completed an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in any discipline; OR
  • 5 years of approved work experience

Career options

Roles in public health are diverse and in high demand. They cover areas of health promotion, disease prevention and policy. Depending on your career goals and skill set, studying the Graduate Certificate in Public Health course with VU Online will open up numerous roles that may interest you.


Typical job titles

  • Public Health Officer
  • Non Government Organisation Worker
  • Community Development Officer
  • Health Promoter
  • Public Health Researcher
  • Health Educator
  • Program Officer
  • Project Officer

Student support

VU Online provides you with the support you need, when you need it, during your course. Our support network has a single focus on ensuring you are entirely supported to succeed in your studies.

Our highly experienced academics are responsive and accessible and understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience. You will also be introduced to your very own Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and one-on-one personalised assistance with non-academic matters throughout your course.

You’ll experience the support of your community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Remember, your support network is only a phone call and email away.

Fees and FEE-Help

A Graduate Certificate in Public Health from VU Online costs $3,050 per unit*, taking the total for 4 units to $12,200*.

This depends on the number of units you study and whether you are eligible for Advanced Standing, which is assessed after you submit your application.

Note that you may be eligible for the Australian Government’s loan scheme, FEE-HELP. The loans are available to assist eligible full-fee paying students with the cost of a university program. It can be used for all or part of the tuition. To determine your eligibility, visit the FEE-HELP website.

*2023 student fees are shown and are subject to change.

For more information on fees and student support, download a brochure.

How online study works

Studying with VU Online means that you can undertake postgraduate study without having to attend on-campus classes. This makes it easy to fit study around existing commitments including work and family. You will be able to access your coursework, resources, assignment details and individual feedback from facilitators, all from your online learning environment, VU Collaborate.

Chat with fellow students, compare research notes and collaborate on group tasks – it’s all possible with our seamless, community-focused platform.

With VU Online, you will study just one unit at a time under our award-winning Block Model. Learn about our postgraduate online Block Model with this YouTube video.

With VU Online, you will receive support from our responsive academics and facilitators, as well as your dedicated Student Success Advisor throughout your study.

How to apply

VU Online has simplified the application process, involving just three key steps.

  1. Speak to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors, who will help you determine your eligibility for the program and whether it suits your career goals. Our advisor will keep you informed of all the application requirements and what to expect during the process. They can also suggest flexible study plans for your circumstances.
  2. Begin your online application and submit the required documentation. This may include a copy of your CV and academic transcript.
  3. Upon completing your application, you will receive a confirmation email or an email letting you know if you need to provide any additional information.

Learn about our postgraduate online Block Model and how it can empower you to create your own success story.

What you'll study

This course covers four core areas of public health. Each unit of study lasts for seven weeks.

Foundations of Public Health - Unit code: HMG7100

This unit is designed to introduce students to the main theories, principles and values of public health illustrated by selected major topics in nutrition and in active living from a global perspective. It investigates policy, systematic and multi-discipline public health approaches as a global and local effort to address contemporary health challenges.

The origins and evolution of public health and major global achievements in public health and their impact on the health of populations are explored. The role and interface of political, cultural, social, behavioural and environmental determinants of health of populations informs critique and discussion throughout the unit.

View unit page

Epidemiology and Biostatistics 1 - Unit code: HPO6001

The disciplines of Epidemiology and Biostatistics provide the foundation for designing studies to better understand the distribution of exposures and outcomes among specific population groups, and work to identify the causal nature between these. In this subject, you will be introduced to the basic principles, concepts and skills of descriptive epidemiology and related biostatistics. You will learn how observational data are collected and analysed using statistical methods and communicated to a variety of audiences.

These skills will enable students to evaluate existing epidemiological studies, and undertake basic epidemiological analysis using biostatistical approaches.

View unit page

Public Health in Practice - Unit code: HMG7200

This unit explores how public health theories, principles and values have informed the practice of public health with a focus on program planning for health promotion. The origins and purpose of health promotion and the theories which inform health promotion practice are examined along with the potential of health promotion to positively influence the determinants of health and reduce health inequalities.

You will gain skills in a range of practical approaches and methods for promoting health. You will use a project management cycle to assess needs, set priorities for action and plan and manage interventions that promote health in populations. Theoretical aspects of the unit will be reinforced through their application to local, national and global issues in nutrition and active living.

View unit page

Culture and Society in Public Health - Unit code: HMG7220

This unit examines the contribution of the social sciences in understanding and improving public health. The influence of culture and society on beliefs, attitudes and behaviours around health and how these shape disease risk and health outcomes are critically appraised. You will explore the complex relationships between gender, culture and health inequalities. The efficacy of policies and strategies to address such inequalities will be evaluated.

Concepts of cultural competence and its relevance to public health practice and cross-cultural communication models are examined to facilitate enhanced professional practice when working with diverse communities.

View unit page

Get your free pdf brochure

Read more about the units you will study in this course and more, by downloading our comprehensive free brochure

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

To apply for the online Graduate Certificate in Public Health, you are required to have:

Completed an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in any discipline.

OR

5 years of approved work experience.

Units of study

Units of study

This course covers four core areas of public health. Each unit of study lasts for seven weeks.

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Foundations of Public Health - Unit code: HMG7100

This unit is designed to introduce students to the main theories, principles and values of public health illustrated by selected major topics in nutrition and in active living from a global perspective. It investigates policy, systematic and multi-discipline public health approaches as a global and local effort to address contemporary health challenges.

The origins and evolution of public health and major global achievements in public health and their impact on the health of populations are explored. The role and interface of political, cultural, social, behavioural and environmental determinants of health of populations informs critique and discussion throughout the unit.
View unit page

Epidemiology and Biostatistics 1 - Unit code: HPO6001

The disciplines of Epidemiology and Biostatistics provide the foundation for designing studies to better understand the distribution of exposures and outcomes among specific population groups, and work to identify the causal nature between these. In this subject, you will be introduced to the basic principles, concepts and skills of descriptive epidemiology and related biostatistics. You will learn how observational data are collected and analysed using statistical methods and communicated to a variety of audiences.

These skills will enable students to evaluate existing epidemiological studies, and undertake basic epidemiological analysis using biostatistical approaches.
View unit page

Public Health in Practice - Unit code: HMG7200

This unit explores how public health theories, principles and values have informed the practice of public health with a focus on program planning for health promotion. The origins and purpose of health promotion and the theories which inform health promotion practice are examined along with the potential of health promotion to positively influence the determinants of health and reduce health inequalities.

You will gain skills in a range of practical approaches and methods for promoting health. You will use a project management cycle to assess needs, set priorities for action and plan and manage interventions that promote health in populations. Theoretical aspects of the unit will be reinforced through their application to local, national and global issues in nutrition and active living.
View unit page

Culture and Society in Public Health - Unit code: HMG7220

This unit examines the contribution of the social sciences in understanding and improving public health. The influence of culture and society on beliefs, attitudes and behaviours around health and how these shape disease risk and health outcomes are critically appraised. You will explore the complex relationships between gender, culture and health inequalities. The efficacy of policies and strategies to address such inequalities will be evaluated.

Concepts of cultural competence and its relevance to public health practice and cross-cultural communication models are examined to facilitate enhanced professional practice when working with diverse communities.
View unit page

Career options

Career options

Roles in public health are diverse and in high demand. They cover areas of health promotion, disease prevention and policy. Depending on your career goals and skill set, studying the Graduate Certificate in Public Health course with VU Online will open up numerous roles that may interest you.

  • Public Health Officer
  • Non Government Organisation Worker
  • Community Development Officer
  • Health Promoter
  • Public Health Researcher
  • Health Educator
  • Program Officer
  • Project Officer
Student support

Student support

VU Online provides you with the support you need, when you need it, throughout the course. With four layers of student support, our goal is to ensure you succeed in your studies.

Our highly experienced academics understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience and are highly responsive and accessible.

You will also have access to a dedicated Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and one-on-one personalised assistance with non-academic matters for the duration of the course. You will experience the support of a community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Your support network is only a phone call or email away.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to access specific software in this degree?

Students will need to use SPSS while studying this degree. Free access to this software will be provided by VU Online.

Does this degree offer specialisations?

Our Master of Public Health allows you to choose from one of two specialisations. The Health Promotion specialisation allows you to explore how effective health promotion works. The Global Health leadership specialisation empowers you to lead responses to public health challenges in an increasingly globalised world.

Can I apply for a Master of Public Health if I do not have a background in health?

You are not required to have a background in health to apply for our Master of Public Health. To apply, you will need an Australian bachelor degree (or equivalent) in any discipline or an Australian graduate diploma (or equivalent) in a similar discipline. Applicants without an undergraduate degree may be able to gain entry to our Graduate Certificate in Public Health based on approved work experience and use that as a pathway to the master's degree.

Does this degree include placements?

No, our Master of Public Health does not require placements or in-person assessments.

Is there a demand for public health experts in Australia?

Roles in public health are diverse and in high demand. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian government data showed that health care and social assistance was Australia's fastest-growing industry, projected to add another 250,000 jobs by 2023. You can learn more about reasons to study public health on our blog.

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