Foundations of Public Health

Unit code: HMG7100 | Study level: Postgraduate
(One credit point is usually equivalent to one hour of study per week)
City Campus
Footscray Park
St Albans
Victoria University Online


This unit is designed to introduce students to the main theories, principles and values of public health illustrated by selected major topics 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 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.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically appraise local, national and global health disparities, identify their determinants and propose strategies to address them based on a contemporary evidence-base;
  2. Critically analyse the philosophical underpinnings of public health and evaluate how these both differ from, and inform, contemporary approaches;
  3. Conceptually map and interrogate theories and frameworks used in developing and evaluating health practices in the global arena;
  4. Prescribe and apply multi-discipline public health approaches to review evidence and produce practice recommendations; and
  5. Debate global threats to, and opportunities for, public health and well-being in various authentic and simulated contexts.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: ICT (Wiki, Web sites)
Grade: 20%
Contribution to a discussion on concepts in public health (1000 words)
Assessment type: Other
Grade: 40%
Conceptual map on the social determinants of health (2000 words)
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 40%
Briefing paper on a course of action (2000 words)

Other locations

For students studying at Victoria University Online
Assessment type: Other
Grade: 10%
Contribution to a discussion board on concepts in public health (500 words)
Assessment type: Report
Grade: 50%
Critical analysis on social determinants of health (2500 words)
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 40%
Policy Brief on a cause of action (2000 words)

Required reading

Selected readings will be made available on VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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