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BSc (Honours) Health Sciences

If you're interested in the science behind our health - from what we can do as individuals to stay healthy, to global health issues such as epidemics and the spread of disease - the BSc (Honours) Health Sciences is for you. It's particularly relevant if you work in health-related professions, or you're thinking about doing so. You'll study the essential scientific concepts underpinning the function of the human mind and body; the incidence, diagnosis and treatment of disease and disability; and the maintenance and improvement of health in different populations. You'll also acquire a wide range of transferable skills and develop your ability to analyse and understand health and disease from a multidisciplinary, evidence-based perspective. Topics include human biology; long term conditions; infectious disease; cellular and analytical biology; neurobiology; cognitive psychology; and mental health. By the end of this degree course, you'll be well placed to develop a rewarding career in a wide variety of healthcare and other settings.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q71 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

While the BSc (Honours) Health Sciences is not attached to a specific professional endorsement, it provides a broad base of subject knowledge and skills appropriate to occupations including biomedical research, diagnostic services, health promotion, health and safety, health therapy, and health services administration and management. If you're aiming for leadership, managerial or professional roles, this degree course is useful as a stepping-stone to postgraduate research training, or vocational courses such as public health or medicine.

You'll develop a variety of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labour market, including analytical, numerical and communication skills; teamwork; problem solving; and proficiency in using computers. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment, so science graduates - particularly those who have good communication and interpersonal skills - are in demand. To succeed, graduates will need to be adaptable and multi-skilled, with the ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

This degree aims to provide a broad grounding in health sciences as a foundation for progression to a higher-level qualification (postgraduate) or further specialist training, and provides evidence of your ability to study at a higher level. Your studies will:

  • introduce you to a range of concepts, data and terminology relevant to the health sciences
  • expose you to different lines of evidence and key debates relating to topics in the health sciences and an appreciation of the limits of scientific knowledge
  • present health topics in their wider personal, cultural and social contexts
  • enable you to engage with evidence-based practice and scientific method and where appropriate apply your understanding of health sciences in your own professional role
  • enable you to develop skills in written and computer-based communication, and information literacy, using a variety of text-based, graphical, numerical, audio-visual and online sources, generating, presenting and interpreting data and using a computer to support your learning and practice
  • foster enthusiasm and confidence in studying and working in the health sciences and provide a framework that will equip you with the study skills necessary for independent learning and further study.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the fundamental facts, concepts, principles, theories, classification systems and terminology used in the health sciences
  • the role of science in human health, disease and disability, including basic concepts of cognitive psychology and mental health, and the structure and function of systems, organs, cells and processes in the human body and their interaction with external factors
  • the theoretical basis of diagnosis, screening and interventions in defined health conditions
  • appropriate methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing health sciences data and information
  • a selected area of health science, informed by research and/or literature at the forefront of the discipline.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • use and correctly apply knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to health sciences in a range of familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • describe, analyse and interpret information and data presented in a variety of ways, including texts, tables, graphs, diagrams, numerical data and computer-based visual and interactive media
  • critically evaluate information from different sources and recognise the potential uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge in the health sciences.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • conduct practical or practice-based tasks as appropriate in a responsible, safe and ethical manner taking proper account of risk assessment and health and safety regulations
  • design, conduct and report on investigations or professional competency tasks that may involve the acquisition of primary or secondary data
  • plan your own learning and be adept at time management and organisation so that you can work independently or with others in ways appropriate for continuing personal and professional development.

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • locate health sciences information from a variety of sources (e.g. textual, numerical, graphical, computer-based) and use it in defined contexts to address issues and problems associated with health sciences
  • prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques
  • communicate health sciences information accurately and effectively using written, visual and numerical forms in a style that suits purpose and audience
  • use ICT to enhance your own learning, for data analysis and for communicating scientific information to others
  • use a range of study skills appropriate to level and context to improve your own learning.

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