If making a real difference in people’s lives through being an advocate for health, or by developing well-rounded methodologies in healthcare, drives you, then this new degree will set you on a career path in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.

Community health professionals hold valuable jobs as health workers, educators, researchers, and policy-makers as well as a wide array of other roles. They look for ways to improve the holistic wellbeing of individuals, whānau/families, organizations, and communities.

With the Bachelor of Community Health, you’ll study a mix of core and specialist papers, developing your knowledge of health-related theory and practice. You’ll choose to specialize in either public health or occupational health and safety and develop specific knowledge and skills in these areas that will assist you to work effectively.

This three-year degree will prepare you for work in the community with a strong knowledge base ranging from health basics (including anatomy and physiology) through to applied research and professional practice.

Key points:

  • Focus on improving holistic wellbeing, along with reducing disease and injury through preventative medicine and lifestyle changes
  • Specialise in public health or occupational health and safety
  • Small classes and personalized tuition – you will get more time with friendly tutors who work to attend to your individual learning needs

Content Details

You’ll study a mix of core and specialist papers, developing your knowledge of health-related theory and practice, and choose to specialize in either public health or occupational health and safety.

The programme comprises 360 credits with 120 credits at level 5, 120 credits at level 6 and the final 120 credits at level 7. A total of 225 credits are common core to both majors and there is the opportunity to have up to 15 unspecified credits depending on the major studied. Each major consists of 135 discipline-specific credits.

Year One

The first year is made up of eight level 5 common courses that are studied by all students. These provide a broad base of knowledge and skills that prepare you for specialization in your second year of study.

Year Two

The second-year contains four common core courses that all students study along with four specialist courses required for your selected major. Choose from:

  • Public Health OR
  • Occupational Health and Safety

Along with your second-year courses further developing your understanding of your specialist topics, you'll build your skills and understanding of professional practice.

Year Three

In your third year of study, you'll complete two common core courses at level 7 and a further 4 specialist courses. A 30 credit professional practice course enables you to embed your learning in work experiences to develop your professional practice models for use on graduation.


You can study full-time or part-time, as long as you complete the programme within six years.

Indicative Fees

  • Domestic students Year One $5,790.00 (8 compulsory courses)
  • International students Year One $19,944.00 (8 compulsory courses)

You MAY be eligible for a StudyLink Student Loan for your tuition fees.

Qualifications Gained

Upon successful completion of the programme you will receive:

  • Bachelor of Community Health (Public Health)
  • Bachelor of Community Health (Occupational Health and Safety)

Entry Criteria

The following minimum criteria apply for entry to this programme:

  • University Entrance as specified on the NZQA website
  • OR successful completion of a qualification at Level 4 or above
  • All applications are required to attend an interview
  • Students will be required to supply two referees that can be contacted to determine their suitability for work in the community health sector
  • Student will be required to complete a statutory declaration around soundness of character
  • A criminal record check will be carried out on prospective students. Student entry will be provisional until these checks have been completed. The outcome of the police check will be kept on record.

Special Admission

The Polytechnic will consider students for special admission who do not satisfy the standard academic entry requirements of a programme but who in the opinion of the Programme Coordinator is capable of achieving the programme outcomes.

English Language Requirements

International applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to show evidence of language competency, issued within the last two years, before being eligible to enroll in any non-English programme. The level of competency required is outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013. And below under the title English Competency.

English Competency

Level 7 certificate, diploma, degree, postgraduate certificate or diploma IELTS Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language L4 with the Academic Endorsement or meets a relevant English Proficiency Outcome as outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013.

For domestic applicants for whom English is not their first language, evidence of language competency may be required.

Career Opportunities

Public Health Major

Potential positions for graduates within relevant organizations and agencies are Community Health Officer, Environmental Health Officer, Youth Health Worker, Child Health Officer, Health Promotion Officer, Health Worker, and Health Promotion Nutritionist.

  • Aged care facilities and hospitals
  • Rural and regional settings
  • Asthma / diabetes / cancer prevention
  • Heart foundations
  • Family planning associations
  • Alcohol and other drug agencies
  • Community development agencies
  • Local government organizations
  • Disability services
  • Justice and correctional agencies
  • Research institutes
  • International aid organizations
  • Mental health support agencies
  • Whānau Ora providers

Occupational Health and Safety Major

Potential positions for graduates within the following organizations and agencies are Occupational Safety and Health Management Officer, Occupational Hygiene Technician, Compensation Administrator, Rehabilitation Officer, Risk Manager, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant, Human Resource Manager or Advisor.

  • Stress management and injury prevention in social care organizations
  • Local government agencies
  • Medium-large and large private companies
  • ACC
  • Worksafe New Zealand
Program taught in:

See 3 more programs offered by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology »

Last updated November 16, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
July 2019
3 - 6 years
19,944 NZD
International students Year One: $19,944
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