PBHL20001 - Understanding Public Health

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Understanding Public Health introduces you to ways of thinking and perspectives that form the foundations of public health. These include examining the received wisdom of public health from the last 200 years such as different models of health and theoretical frameworks, and critiquing the approaches used in the past. You will be introduced to the social-ecological model of health that forms the basis of community-based and community-led public health. As such, you will consider the different types of leadership required for various approaches to public health practice and consider your own positionality. You will explore the differences between evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence and how these types of evidence can apply to the various approaches in public health. Finally, you will be introduced to strengths-based and disease prevention approaches as they are applied in public health.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level 8
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2023

Term 1 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 40%
2. Group Work 40%
3. Reflective Practice Assignment 20%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

To view Past Exams,
please login
Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2023 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 93.33% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 25.10% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student feedback to Unit Coordinator.
Student comprehension and experience is improved when part of the classes are used to discuss the assigned readings.
It is recommended that time be allocated for discussion of readings and background material in each week's class to support better understanding on the part of students.
Action Taken
The first half of each class has been allocated to discuss the week's material in an interactive format. An explanation from the lecturer is provided but there are also opportunities for students to ask questions and discuss their views.
Source: Direct comments from students
Real life examples (both current and past) are of more interest than theoretical ones.
Mini case studies be developed to complement existing topics.
Action Taken
Source: Email feedback from students.
Guest lecture (recorded) provided by a colleague in Agriculture was very interesting and showed how Public Health was linked to other fields.
Include prerecorded guest lectures from Public Health as well as staff in other parts of the College as part of the material for the unit.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

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

  1. Analyse the history of public health and its changing philosophical, theoretical and practice models over the last 200 years
  2. Critique the ethics associated with different scales and approaches to public health, particularly in relation to First Nations Peoples
  3. Discuss the impact of a social ecological model of health on public health practice
  4. Differentiate between transactional and collaborative leadership and the related implications for public health practice
  5. Reflect on own positionality regarding approach to health practice and relationships with others, especially those from different backgrounds
  6. Distinguish between practice-based and evidence-based approaches used in public health and relate each to different models of health and approaches to practice
  7. Justify taking a strengths-based or disease prevention approach to public health practice.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Group Work
3 - Reflective Practice Assignment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
7 - Leadership
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Group Work
3 - Reflective Practice Assignment