Certificate in Public Health course content

What is the content of the Certificate in Public Health?

The Certificate in Public Health is made up of four courses as outlined below. Please click on the links for more information. 

Schedule A: Compulsory courses (30 credits)

231.106 Introduction to Public Health 
231.108 Health Intervention Management 

Schedule B: At least 30 credits (2 courses) from:

231.107 Social Determinants of Health 
250.100 Introduction to Communication in Health 
150.112 Hauora Tangata: Māori and Global Indigenous Health 
214.102 Applied Science for Health Professionals

Duration of study

Massey has two semesters per calendar year. You can complete either one or two courses per semester.  

  • If you do two courses per semester, you can complete all four Certificate in Public Health courses in one year.  
  • If you do one course per semester, it will take you four semesters (two years) to complete all four Certificate in Public Health courses.

Note that courses 231.106, 231.107 and 250.100 are only offered in semester one and courses 231.108, 214.102 and 150.112 are only offered in semester two.

Contact Workshops

There are contact workshops for each course in Certificate in Public Health which equates to one days on campus, per course. Students can attend contact workshops at the Albany (Auckland) or central Wellington campus

Will I need to leave my job or work part time in order to study?

The Certificate in Public Health is offered as on online distance learning programme that can be done outside of your work hours. Alternatively you can negotiate with your employer to study within your usual work hours or to receive study leave.

If you receive a Ministry of Health Fees Grant for your study, your employer is required to give you paid leave for the contact workshop days.

How much time will I need to be on campus?

You can choose to attend the one-day contact workshops in either Auckland or Wellington on the Massey University campuses.

How does the “distance learning” component of the Certificate in Public Health work?

Massey University’s online distance learning environment relies on three key aspects: 

Anywhere: Online learning makes it possible for a student living out of a main centre to access a quality education that would otherwise not be available. For example, a student living in Kaitaia will have the same advantages as a student living in Auckland.

Anytime: Students are not confined by the timetable of a university – they can study at any time of the day, making it possible for working students to upskill and remain financially stable.

Anyplace: Students need not be confined to a specific place, they can study from home, from work or from a public space like a library. They are not confined to lecture spaces to gain new knowledge and skills.


STREAM is offered through Massey University’s online learning environment. It is a space on the internet where teachers and students can build online learning communities to support their own practice in public health.

STREAM is a customised version of the open source software package called Moodle. 

Students can network and make contact with other people in public health in these courses and in doing so enhance their own learning and practice.

How does STREAM support and create these online learning communities – through communication, collaboration, live and recorded lectures, resources and assessment. 


Students can divide into groups that reflect their backgrounds, cultures, regions or level of learning. They can then discuss or communicate with each other either just within one group, or be allocated to different groups depending on their learning styles.

The groups can meet and network with other students to form valuable connections that may be sustained beyond the Certificate in Public Health and into their future practice.


Collaborative learning is where people engaged in the learning process share and benefit from others knowledge, skills and resources.

This includes and relies on the teaching staff being part of this collaborative process. The collaborative learning takes place in a number of ways:

  • Lessons are interactive tools where students can answer questions, reflect on their experiences, make decisions, participate in case studies. 
  • Glossaries are spaces where students can work together to help define terms or phrases associated with the course. 

Forums are spaces where students can discuss the course content, ask questions and share information with other.

Live and Recorded Lectures

Lecturers can teach in a live lecture which is available in real time through the internet using this Adobe software. Students are able to log in and participate in these lecturers through listening and asking questions or sharing resources. 

These lectures can also be recorded and stored in Stream where they can be accessed by all the students and watched as often as students like.


Course guides contain all the assignments, information about timetables, how the course is run. Massey can insert links and ‘feeds’ to the latest publications and peer reviewed articles.  All the relevant readings for the course are available online and there are videos and links to other websites.

There is also online access to Massey’s Library, to order books, articles, search etc.  

Academic support is offered through the Massey University. This will help people to learn about how to write and reference.


Your work will be assessed online and a grade allocated by your assessor. The Certificate in Public Health assessment only occurs through assignments.

Will I need broadband internet access?

As the Certificate in Public Health is an online distance learning course broadband internet access is essential. You will be required to “tune” in to Massey University’s online learning environment, STREAM, and connect to other relevant websites for research and collaboration with other students. 

It is also essential for students to have the Adobe Reader programme which can be downloaded online.

How much study time do I need to factor in?

Approximately 9.2 hours per week of study hours are required per week, per course. This equates to allocating over an hour each day to study.

The Certificate in Public Health is made up of four courses. You can do the Certificate in Public Health over one year by doing two courses per semester or you can space it out over two years by doing one course per semester for two years. 

Each course is 150 hours per semester, including:

  • All assignments 
  • The contact workshop (1 day per course, 8 hours per day = 12 hours per course)
  • Estimated reading time
  • Engaging with STREAM (Massey University’s online learning environment).

150 hours per course, less the 12 hours contact workshop time per course, is 138 hours over the 15 weeks semester. 

As noted above this averages out to 9.2 hours per week of study hours per week, per course. We encourage students to take this into account when planning how many courses to enrol in.

You are encouraged to regularly engage in the online learning process and will be supported to do this. You must meet the requirements of assignments.

What student support will be offered for students taking this qualification?

The Certificate in Public Health is a well-supported and achievable study programme for new and experienced formal tertiary learners.

Massey University offers students study support through its online learning environment, which is the gateway to a wide range of study and writing resources and covers topics such as how to study, how to write assignments, how to reference and how to study for exams. 

All students, whether internal or distance, undergraduate or postgraduate, native English speaking or ESOL, can use this website to develop their academic writing and study skills. 

Additionally, the Certificate in Public Health course lecturers can offer direction and other support for students. 

How do I get my employer to support me through the Certificate in Public Health and with integrating my learning into my work?

The Certificate in Public Health programme is specifically designed to assist you to apply your learning to your current work. All course work can be customised to focus on your work programme.

We encourage you to discuss the requirements of each course with your employer and together, agree how you can apply your learning and how this might enhance your job performance.

If your employer has signed a hard copy of the Study Support Agreement and sent it to the Ministry of Health, they will already have agreed to provide you with integrated learning support.

Back to top