Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL3. More information.
Protect community health
If you’re interested in protecting people’s health and wellbeing at a local community level, the Bachelor of Health Science (Environmental Health) is a great career choice.
- Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
- 3 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Some distance courses contain compulsory contact workshops.
The environmental health major of Massey’s Bachelor of Health Science (BHlthSc) is designed to give you the training needed for a professional career in human health protection.You’ll learn how to protect people and communities from threats to health from our built and natural environments.
What is environmental health?
Environmental health is the professional area concerned with all aspects of the environment that may affect human health.
Threats to human health may be biological, physical or chemical. They may come from natural processes, human activity, or a combination of the two. You’ll study topics such as:
- food safety
- infectious disease transmission
- drinking water quality
- urban air pollution.
- the hazards of excessive noise
- exposure to toxic and other hazardous substances,
- workplace monitoring
- medical geochemistry
- contaminated site assessment
- waste management
- climate change.
What isn’t environmental health?
In the health context, environmental health does not mean the health of the wider environment – for that you would study environmental science. However, there is a complex range of inter-relationships between the two areas. Climate change is a good example of an environmental impact that will have major direct and indirect impacts on human health.
Careers and further study
With a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in environmental health, you’ll be ready for a wide range of careers. Most jobs in environmental health involve working with people to promote a healthier environment in which to live. Two key occupations are: health protection officers (HPOs) with district health boards and environmental health officers (EHOs) with local councils.
Here are some examples of the types and fields of work that await you:
- Central government – Ministry of Primary Industries; Ministry of Health; Environmental Protection Authority: technical advisors; policy analysts; programme managers.
- Local government – health protection officers or environmental health officers; public health advice, food safety/Food Act compliance; building inspection; liquor licensing work; resource consenting; disaster management and emergency planning; waste management; water quality management.
- Private sector – consultancies and industry; food quality assurance; workplace and environmental safety; waste management; food safety auditing; environmental quality assurance.
In the future many of the health issues that concern us at the moment will take second stage to environmental health problems. These include climate change, an upsurge in the frequency of severe weather events, the depletion of natural resources, challenges in maintaining food security, mass migrations, the spread of zoonotic diseases (COVID-19 is only one example) and increasingly polluted air, soil and water. These are going to make the next century especially challenging for economic and socio-political systems and human civilisation as a whole.
Professionals in this area are increasingly sought after. In New Zealand these include:
- Environmental Health Officers who work with local authorities, and
- Health Protection Officers who work with District Health Boards.
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
There are no specific entry requirements for this programme, outside of university admission regulations.
English language requirements
To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.
Prior learning, credit and exemptions
For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
If you do not have the entry requirements
English language and foundation courses
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.
- English Language Proficiency
- Foundation Certificate in Academic English
- Foundation Certificate in Advanced Academic English
- Full Foundation - Certificate in Foundation Studies
If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.
Courses and planning
- Compulsory courses – 180 credits
- Compulsory course selection – 30 credits
- Major courses – 120 credits
- Electives from Schedule C – 30 credits
Ensure that overall, you have:
- Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
- At least 75 credits at 300 level
Courses for this specialisation
|214213||Toxic Substances, Human Health and the Environment||15|
|214215||Food Safety and Human Health||15|
|214216||Environmental and Public Health Law||15|
|214301||Environmental Health Risk Management for Disasters||15|
|214311||Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases||15|
|214312||Environmental Monitoring and Investigative Methods||15|
|214314||Water and Waste Treatment||15|
|214316||Bio-Physical Effects of Noise and Vibration||15|
Planning your programme
If you study full-time, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses each year.
Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.
About this major
A major is compulsory in the Bachelor of Health Science. To complete the Environmental Health major you must pass 120 credits in specified areas.
Fees and scholarships
Fees and finance
Fees, student loans and free fees scheme
Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.
There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.
- Get an estimate of the tuition fees for your qualification
- View a list of non-tuition fees that may be payable
Already know which courses you're going to choose?
You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.
Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme
You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.
The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.
Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.
A good fit if you:
- would like to play a key role in community health protection
- like communicating with people from a diverse range of backgrounds
- are comfortable with applied science and love a challenge.
Meet our students
Studying my degree has enabled me to work as an Environmental Health Officer. This has allowed me to put my knowledge into practice. Work alongside communities and providers selling food and making sure they do this safely. The help and support received from staff, lecturers and other students was invaluable in completing my degree.” Betty Holden
The staff at Massey University helped me find my way and set me in the right direction to achieve what I wanted. There is no doubt that without the support from my lecturers I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Monique Goodhew
Meet our lecturers
It is now clear that in future years many of the health issues that concern us at the moment will take second stage to environmental health problems. Climate change, an upsurge in the frequency of severe weather events, the depletion of natural resources, challenges in maintaining food security, mass migrations, the spread of zoonotic diseases, and increasingly polluted air, soil and water are going to make the next century especially challenging for both economic and socio-political systems, and human civilisation as a whole. Professionals in this area—who in New Zealand include Environmental Health Officers who work with local authorities, and the Health Protection Officers who work with District Health Boards—are being increasingly sought after.Nick Kim
Senior Lecturer in Applied Environmental Chemistry
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.
Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.
Applying and enrolling
Applying for the programme
Check you are ready
If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.
Choose your programme and click on Apply now
You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.
Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.
Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place
You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.
Enrolling in courses
You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.
When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:
- prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
- corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
- restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
- location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.
Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.
More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.
You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.
We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!
If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
What are courses and credits?
What are courses and credits?
Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).
You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.
Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.
There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.
- See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
- Courses search
Understanding course numbers
The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.
The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:
- sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
- undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
- as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
|Subject area||Level||Course ID number|
Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.
Workload and time management
Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.
For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.
In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.
Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Scholarships and awards
There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.