Public Health and Community Studies BA (Hons) with foundation year

Study level: Undergraduate
HNC/HND courses
A Public Health student using an exercise bike for testing, with a tutor stood next to him.

Public health is considered the science and art of promoting and protecting health and wellbeing, preventing ill-health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society.

Course option

Year of entry


CU London (Dagenham, London)

Study mode



4 years full-time
5 years sandwich

UCAS codes


Start date

September 2024
November 2024
January 2025
March 2025
May 2025
June 2025

Course overview

Foundation year

The foundation year aims to provide you with a solid grounding for building a career in health and social care-related disciplines.


The Public Health and Community Studies BA (Hons) course aims to provide you with a solid grounding for building a career in health-related disciplines.

  • The Public Health and Community Studies (Hons) degree has been designed to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to excel in a multidisciplinary community environment and to effectively support a variety of agencies, communities and individuals in promoting health and wellbeing.
  • With increased attention from government on the improvement of population health, this is an excellent time to study the underlying factors that contribute to ill health and how you as a practitioner can work to promote health and wellbeing as well as tackling the social inequalities within the localities you serve.

Why CU London

We offer a style of education which is flexible and designed to fit around your life, allowing you to benefit from a modern, forward-thinking higher education institution, reinforced by the quality and reputation of Coventry University. We aim to provide career-focused courses, wherever possible, coupled with placement opportunities to help prepare you for the world of work. We are dedicated to making higher education accessible and enjoyable to everyone, so we keep our fees low and made it a policy to cover one module at a time, allowing you to become a specialist in each topic before moving onto the next.

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What you'll study

The Public Health and Community Studies BA (Hons) degree aims to teach the skills and knowledge relevant for progression into statutory, voluntary or private sectors. Opportunities can be found in areas that address the wider determinants of health, such as education, housing and transport, by developing public approaches to promote health.

Throughout the course you will address health inequalities, including tackling the damaging effects of smoking, alcohol, drugs and poor nutrition, as well as analysing government initiatives.

The first year is designed to explore the core fundamentals of modern public health. Throughout the year, the programme aims to develop skills in decision-making and information management, providing you with a solid foundation for further exploration in years two and three. Students who successfully complete year one are eligible for an HNC in Public Health and Community Studies.


  • The module aims to develop your awareness of the skills needed to work with individuals and groups in communities and to provide effective public health practice which promotes health and wellbeing. It examines the central importance of effective communication and inclusive practice and its importance for good service delivery across a range of service users and groups in diverse contexts. In addition, you will examine communication systems gain an understanding of the legal frameworks surrounding the recording of information about people. The module also explores the importance of valuing diversity when working with service users with specific needs relating to ethnicity, language, disability, age and gender. In addition to developing an understanding of communication and inclusivity, you will aim to develop practical skills for academic success, including paraphrasing, referencing, source location and application of theory.


  • This module aims to equip you with an understanding of the ways in which contemporary communities are changing, and the challenges that such change presents to a range of agencies working to support and develop them. Changes in demographic patterns, cultural tastes, working practices and communication methods, as well as the wider context of globalisation have served to transform UK communities in a range of ways. Many of these changes have been positive, however they also present difficulties as new social risks emerge and social integration and cohesion become more difficult to achieve.

    You will analyse the concept of community and the ideological dimensions in which it can be represented as well as its changing nature within contemporary society, before examining the forces that have begun to reshape community life in the late modern period. The module will also examine approaches to community development, and their effectiveness and appropriateness in the context of changing community structures and contemporary social problems.


  • This module aims to introduce you to the role of public health in contemporary UK society. Public health has many facets and involves the promotion of healthy lifestyles linked to behaviour and individual responsibility supported by government action. It deals with complex and dynamic issues which are determined and influenced by a range of social, cultural, economic, environmental, political and individual factors. Contemporary challenges include issues such as changes in the population profile produced by migration and ageing, social and health inequalities, globalisation, and climate change, global health concerns, policies underpinning global development and global health, e.g. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

    As well as being introduced to public health theory and practice, you will aim to develop an understanding of the application and challenges faced by public health professionals in contemporary society. This module focuses on the social and interpersonal aspects of public health work and the wider determinants of health by investigating the debates and dilemmas surrounding persistent health inequalities.


  • This module aims to provide you with an understanding of human lifespan development. It examines the holistic influences on development and their interrelationship and how this accounts for the formation of self. You will examine stages of human growth and development and there is an introduction to the main theoretical perspectives and how they account for our personality and behaviour. Practical examples are used to explore the influences on our behaviour and lifestyle. You are encouraged to think about current issues and debates that relate to life course experiences and formation of identity. The impact of this on an individual’s ability to cope with challenges and change throughout the life cycle is investigated.


In your second year, you will refine key analytical skills as you examine the ways in which social factors and institutions are constructed and represented and their implications on everyday life. Students who successfully complete year two are eligible for an HND in Public Health and Community Studies.


  • This module aims to enable you to gain an understanding of the nature of contemporary society from a sociological perspective, with an emphasis on linking social theory and sociological insights to your own life experiences, as well as applying them to the study of wider social problems. Sociology focuses on the systematic study of human societies, particularly modern industrial and post-industrial societies, by exploring social interaction, social structures and social change. You will analyse the social construction and representation of social institutions and social groups within society and study how social divisions and inequalities are generated and sustained in terms of the health and wellbeing of individuals and groups. You will study the major sociological concepts and theories that relate to studying social life and their relevance for accounting for social divisions and inequalities.


  • This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the key concepts of mental health, mental wellbeing and mental health promotion. Mental health problems are very common; however, the stigma attached to those experiencing such problems is long-standing and impacts widely on those experiencing mental ill health, their family and wider society. You will study the concept of mental ill health and misconceptions that often arise when considering such conditions. The module focuses on helping you to develop insights into the support needs of people with mental health problems and their families within the context of service provision. You will assess current perspectives in these debates by exploring a number of important practice issues such as service-user perspectives, the impact of recent mental health legislation, the role of the approved mental health professional and the development of mental health services.


  • This module will develop your ability to recognise and evaluate core research strategies and methods in social science research. You will learn about a range of research methods and tools, and place these within the context of broader research strategy along qualitative and quantitative lines, examining each critically and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. You will develop skills in literature reviewing, research design and ethical literacy, and will have the opportunity to develop a small-scale research proposal of your own devising. You will develop your own analytical abilities by examining previously conducted research and making the links between research findings and the methods used to gather data.


  • This module aims to raise your awareness of contemporary lifestyle behaviour and its impact on health and wellbeing and health promotion methods that can be used to enable behaviour change. A healthy lifestyle is important in terms of quality of life and plays a key role in the prevention of a large number of diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer and obesity. You will analyse national epidemiological studies and data relating to sexual behaviour, physical activity, substance abuse, alcohol consumption, smoking, diet and stress, looking at how each factor can affect the health of an individual and its effect on society as a whole. Factors relating to why behaviour change may take place and relevant theoretical arguments are also examined.


There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur before your final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, while developing transferable skills for the future.

If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time, you will receive guidance from your employer or participating institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


This exciting year aims to enhance your existing knowledge, giving you a broad overview of research methods and processes that are used to study health or social factors in communities. This year examines the skills, behaviours and techniques of effective management and the role of leadership in relation to business themes. Upon successful completion of this final year, you should be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful leader, with the ability to identify the core processes and mechanisms that underpin innovation.


  • This modules aims to provide you with the opportunity to critically analyse the requirements and expectations for effective leadership and management in community and public health settings in a challenging and ever-changing environment. It will draw upon global, contemporary debates, and cover topic areas such as social economy, strategic, operational and project planning and management, human resource management, funding and finance, marketing and business analysis. This will be done in the context of your role as stakeholders working towards economic, social and environmental regeneration and sustainability. This module examines the knowledge, skills, behaviours, and techniques required for managing projects, initiatives and organisations and explores the role of leadership in relation to business themes such as globalisation, strategy, innovation and organisational development.

    The aim of this module is to not only equip you with the skills and knowledge to become a successful leader and manager, but also identify the core processes and mechanisms that underpin innovation and enterprise, allowing you to consider becoming a social entrepreneur and set up your own organisation in the future.


  • Community-based and ecological approaches to health promotion have evolved steadily over a number of decades to become an alternative to individually focused efforts to improve health. This module will enable students to develop a critical understanding of health promotion by asking them to examine the relationship between theory and real-life experiences of professional practice.

    The module builds on the different conceptions of health and health promotion models covered in previous years and asks you to analyse the wider contextual factors, policies and drivers that shape health promotion practices. It enhances your critical awareness of approaches, methods and techniques that different professionals in different settings apply to promote community participation, change and better health. You are encouraged to share a reflective account of the practices you observed and contributed to and produce a report that offers insights into whether and how community engagement and change, as a process and an outcome of health promotion efforts, is facilitated, or hindered, in real life.


  • This module aims to introduce social policy and its application in the UK, as well as making comparisons between UK and global welfare services. It investigates the origins of social policies in the UK and their development as well as delivery mechanisms in contemporary society and the impact that policy has on service users. The many factors that influence social policy, including conceptual, political, and other agents of social change will be explored. Tracing developments primarily from 1945 to the present, you will compare and contrast major competing perspectives and examine key contemporary issues for policy makers, welfare recipients, providers and stakeholders. You should develop an understanding of sources of state welfare services and other diverse sources such as the market, family and voluntary sectors.


  • This module allows you to undertake a research project using secondary research. You are expected to formulate a research question and demonstrate an ability to critically analyse secondary research. A critical analysis of either a postcode locality, vulnerable group, social problem or policy agenda in the UK will be undertaken. You will extend this through evaluation of academic research and examine potential processes that could be facilitated for community development. As part of the project you should demonstrate an ability to work independently, a high level of organisational skills as well as demonstrating awareness of issues of health and safety, ethical considerations and time management.


The foundation year aims to provide the skills and knowledge relevant for progression onto a degree in health, social work or social care in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors.


  • The module is aimed at creating a culture of careful learning and self-reflection, where you will be encouraged to recognise the strengths and weaknesses and take ownership of your development. You will be introduced to a range of skills that will aid you throughout the programme and further study, such as time management, cultural awareness, resource management and interpersonal skills.


  • This introduction begins with exploration of health and social care services, roles and responsibilities of people working in this sector. You will understand the key influences that affect the provision and delivery of these services in UK contemporary society.

    This module also explores the role of multi-agency/disciplinary working, using real life situations to highlight the strengths and limitations of partnership working. A key part of working in health and social care is being able to assess the holistic needs of a service user and plan for their care using the care planning cycle. Concepts such as personalisation, empowerment, the Care Value Base, effective communication, equality and diversity, legislation, safeguarding and ethics will also be covered.


  • This module provides you with knowledge of the life processes in the body. You will have the opportunity to undertake practical activities which require you to take measurements of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system and body temperature using non-invasive techniques.

    You will even investigate normal responses to routine variations in body functioning. Knowledge and understanding of the needs of service users, types of illness and disease is developed by exploring some of the more common disorders, their causes, symptoms and effects. Factors influencing changes in patterns of health and disease in a community are investigated and how the prevention of ill-health can reduce the occurrence of disease. You will also explore the approaches and models used to achieve positive health in individuals.


  • As a sociological module, this topic focuses on developing your critical awareness of the impact social factors has on the life chances of individuals and groups in society. You will analyse demographic changes, patterns of behaviour and lifestyle highlights of social groups. The inequalities in life chances of social groups has been a major focus of governmental, national and local initiatives following the release of the Black Report in 1980. You will begin to understand how social care compliments and supports the wider healthcare agenda. You will study the concepts of relative and absolute poverty and the impact of this within society. There will also be an opportunity to investigate domestic violence and deprivation.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Your initial foundation year focuses on applied learning geared to high-intensity teaching and study throughout the course. The delivery of course content is a blend of lectures, tutorials and online mediums.

Teaching contact hours

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from module to module, however, on average, it is likely to be around 20 contact hours per week. Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 30 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


During your foundation year, the learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve these learning outcomes and your final feedback will refer to each outcome, as well as providing an overall percentage grade.

Course breakdown:

  • Coursework
  • Phased tests 

This course is available as a full-time three-year or optional four-year sandwich course, the latter incorporating a work placement or study year in a related field.

Our teaching methods are varied, offering a number of teaching styles to suit the needs of all our students, so in addition to lectures, we also utilise a blended learning approach, including online aspects, workshops and group work. We also operate an open-door policy, with additional availability via email and our online learning platform, Aula.

Progression through the modules develops knowledge and skills, including communication (written and oral), study skills, research methods, project management, presentation and career development. We will also encourage you to consider your employability and/or entrepreneurial development.

Unlike traditional institutions, there are no end of year exams. Instead, learning is assessed through coursework and phase tests, which is more reflective of our learning model.

Teaching contact hours

You can expect up to 20 hours of learning activities per week of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, online classes and independent learning.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake up to 30 hours of self-directed study, depending on the demands of individual modules.

The learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve these learning outcomes and your final feedback will refer to each outcome, as well as providing an overall percentage grade.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


The learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve these learning outcomes and your final feedback will refer to each outcome, as well as providing an overall percentage grade.

Assessment methods vary and include practical class and project performance, written practical reports, project thesis, oral presentations, tutorial tasks and assessments.

Breakdown of final grade assessment (subject to change):

  • Coursework
  • Assessments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

With our Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects, you may have the opportunity to take part in online seminars, lectures, and network with students and course leaders in universities across the world2.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

40 UCAS tariff points. All Foundation courses require 5 GCSEs at A-C including Maths and English, and at least one A2 level or a BTEC equivalent qualification.

If you don’t fulfil the entry criteria your application may be considered on an individual basis, taking into account any work experience, other qualifications and/or any training you have completed. Speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Are you eligible for the CU Support Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

CU Support Scheme

Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Foundation year

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £7,950 Not available
International/EU £18,300 Not available


Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £7,950 per year Not available
International/EU Not currently available*** Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see the University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees3:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**This course with foundation year is not currently available to international students. If you do not meet the entry requirements to directly join year 1 of the degree, please take a look at our International Pathways Programme for additional options.


You’ll be based in the spacious Civic Centre building, which provides an outstanding learning environment.

You will have access to our Library & Learning Services, fully equipped seminar rooms and impressive IT suites.

Careers and opportunities

With a growing demand for skilled health professionals, graduates of this course have an expansive list of career paths to explore.

  • demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the theoretical, analytical and practical aspects of legislation, strategies and policies within a changing environment, to meet stakeholder interests
  • critically appraise theories related to the development of a health promotion strategy, considering social determinants that could influence the effectiveness
  • develop appropriate research and analysis techniques, alongside the ability to undertake reliable market research activities
  • operate, lead and collaborate in a team to solve problems of a practical (experimental) nature and to provide appropriate solutions
  • apply appropriate presentation and evaluation tools to establish the significance of research data produced.

While the majority of graduates go directly into a public health profession, others have chosen to study further in the field, with several students undertaking a master’s degree in subjects such as Public Health and Nutrition, International Business Management and Social Policy.

Where our graduates work

There are a variety of career paths from this degree programme. Graduates have gone on to work successfully in following careers:

  • Briefing Advisor (higher executive officer) with the parliamentary and public accountability team within UKHSA
  • Digital Care Coordinator for Primary Care network
  • Independence Advisor
  • Programme Leader, FE
  • Addiction Support Worker
  • Community Support Officer for local authority
  • Health Intervention Officer for HM Prison Services
  • Mental Health Link Worker
  • Social Prescribing Worker

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


    Satisfactory health clearance and enhanced criminal record disclosure may be required. As part of the health clearance checks you will be required to provide information about your immunity and vaccination status. You will also be required to provide information about your COVID-19 vaccination status. We therefore recommend that you are fully vaccinated including the COVID-19 vaccine. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility to go on placement(s). Placements are provided at the placement provider’s discretion. The University is therefore unable to guarantee the provision of placements or the location and type of placement offered.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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