The Beacon

Bachelor of Science in Public Health

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health at Lira University College provides a broadly based training, reflecting the range of skills that are involved in keeping people healthy and preventing disease. These include the study of the causes of disease (Epidemiology); the biological basis of disease (Nutrition, Microbiology etc); the social influences on patters of health and ill-health (Sociology, Applied Social Studies, Politics/Community Development, Applied Public Health), and appropriate methods of both quantitative and qualitative research, including Biostatistics and Social Research. The programme is multidisciplinary in its approach, mirroring central government policies in this area of development. It addresses the prevention of disease, the prolonging of life and the promotion of health through the organised efforts of society. It offers site visits and field attachments in the last two years.

Health is now recognised to be about social, economic and cultural issues taking an equal place alongside medical technology, surgical intervention, hygiene and individual therapy. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that the non-biological factors affecting health have far greater influences: poverty, deprivation and inequality have combined with crime and addiction to create what we now call social exclusion.

This programme offers a new, socially and environmentally based approach to improving health. It aims to fill a large and increasing gap for all those who now want to work in the community to improve health. But it does not require individuals to be health workers, such as doctors and nurses.

Effective Public Health and Health Promotion involves all levels of society, from counselling individuals about their health choices, to improving the health of entire communities, to working with governments and international agencies to foster health while aware of the impact of the environment in which they live and work.

Aims and objectives

The award is designed to help the student develop knowledge and skills to lead and provide effective inter-professional evidence-based public health practice at individual, community and population levels.

Throughout this course, students are introduced to a variety of subjects that provide the knowledge base and skills for understanding the social, economic, biological, and environmental dimensions of health and health improvement. Typical courses in the programme offer students a range of options to examine, including health promotion and public health; management; finance; gender; globalisation; clinical governance; data management, quality assurance, leadership, and epidemiology. The aim of this programme is to provide students with a broad knowledge of the theories and methods of public and environmental health practice as well as skills in working with the communities on their health problems. The programme will empower the students through role transition so that they can participate equally as members of the multi-professional team.


Increasingly it is recognised that to tackle these public health problems, health care workers require relevant public health skills and knowledge. This undergraduate degree programme trains professionals with the skills and competencies to tackle public and environmental health issues in Uganda today. This programme will assist students to:


  1. Evaluate and analyse the challenges confronting public health and the provision of health services today.
  2. Engage in policy debates about global and international health; and respond to the challenge of the widening health inequalities that exist within and between communities and indeed countries.


Career options

On completing the programme students will be well prepared for further specialist training and experience in a wide number of specific areas in academic and applied public health and health promotion practice.

Opportunities exist in the National Health Service, local government, regional, national and international bodies working on improving health, and industries involved in food, transport, the environment, pollution and the media. Some of the specific career options include working as Public Health Administrator, Hygienist, Toxicologist, Environmental Health Inspector, Food Inspector/Food Safety Specialist, Vector Control Specialists, Research/Research Analyst, Occupational Health Physician, and Environmental Lawyer.

Overall Objective

The overall objective of the public health programme is to educate and train public health workers for the promotion of all aspects of health and elevation of public health practice.

Specific Objectives

Graduate of public health workers will be equipped with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to:

  • To provide both basic and advanced public health care to the community.
  • To promote and practice community-based primary health care.
  • To provide quality leadership, management and administration within the health care delivery system.
  • To initiate, promote, support and conduct research in public health and health related issues.
  • To contribute to health policy formulation.
  • To train medical professionals and to mobilize members of the community.
  • To advocate for the rights of their clients and public health workers.

 Duration of the Programme

The programme shall last three academic years each of which will comprise two semesters and one recess term. Each semester shall last 17 weeks while each recess term will last for ten weeks. Field attachment is done during the recess term of the first and second year.  During the attachment students will select either Public Health or Environmental Health track on which their thesis shall be based, hence their preferred future career path. A student who fails to complete within three years will be allowed a maximum of five years.


To be admitted into the Bachelor of Science in Public Health programme the candidate should have either:

Direct Entry Scheme

A candidate must have the following:

  • Uganda Certification of Education (UCE) or its equivalent with at least minimum of credit passes in Mathematics and English in the same sitting.
  • Uganda Advanced Certificate Education (UACE) (A level) or its equivalent with at least 2 principal passes in the Core Subjects Biology, Chemistry, Food & Nutrition, and Physics taken at the same sitting.
  • Other relevant subjects are Agriculture, Mathematics and Geography.
  • All candidates for this programme should obtain minimum weighed points as shall be determined by the Admissions Board.


Diploma Holders Entry Scheme

A candidate must have the following:

  • Good second class Diploma in health disciplines.
  • A good second class Diploma in education majoring in Biology and Chemistry.
  • In addition the candidates should hold Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education certificates in related subjects.


Mature Age Entry Scheme

Admission may be granted under mature age entry scheme after passing the appropriate mature age entry examination. The applicant under this scheme should be at least 25 years of age and must have completed formal education at least five years prior to applying for the programme.