Graduate Certificate in Public Health

Course information
  • Entry requirements
  • Units of Study
  • Career options
  • Student support
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.


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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.