Paul Lowe of Middlesex University reviews a new and expanding family of related areas of study drawing from many scientific disciplines and backgrounds

Health studies/sciences programmes are focused on human lifestyles, life sciences, medical sciences, social sciences, psychology and sport sciences.

A typical programme should equip the student to work in health care, health care management, community care, hospital/surgery management and administration or health analysis. You will be aware that many of the activities we undertake in our lifestyle can interfere with our health. Sitting around watching too much television means that we do not take enough exercise. This may make us fat and this in turn can damage our leg joints because of the additional weight they carry when we walk. Eating too much fat can harm the arteries of our heart and put us in danger of having a stroke. Stroke and heart disease are two of the biggest killers of people in the UK today. A degree in health sciences/studies could allow you to become involved in promoting health for all, so that people can learn how to live a healthy life and suffer less as they become older from the adverse effects of a bad lifestyle. You may wish to teach health promotion in health centres/hospitals rather than to manage health care. A degree in health studies could allow you to achieve such an aim. It is also possible that you may choose in time to take a professional course such as physiotherapy or speech therapy. A degree in health studies could shorten your professional course as well as making it easier to gain admission to other competitive programmes.

Subjects studied within the area of health studies/sciences include an understanding of life sciences in order to understand the physiological nature of health problems. It is also widely recognised that an individual's health is affected by socio-economic, political and psychological factors. Studying the following subjects provides the initial understanding:

  • Life sciences for health
  • Health, fitness and well-being
  • Aetiology of illness
  • Health and the individual
  • Our healthier nation
  • Health care in Britain

Middlesex University has established links with a variety of universities throughout Europe. It is possible therefore for students to undertake some study in another European country. This is of particular interest to students who combine health studies with language studies, although some universities do teach certain subjects in English and it is not always necessary to speak another European language in order to study abroad.

Students should develop a body of knowledge and skills using current research based information, along with the development of critical and analytical skills. Key skills are incorporated into the programme, including such activities as how to timetable your studies so that you meet assessment deadlines without getting too stressed.

Assessment of learning is undertaken at Middlesex at the end of each module of study. A full-time student completes three modules of learning per semester, with the academic year being divided into two semesters. Assessment methods include examinations, laboratory reports, written assignments, reflective essays and seminar presentations either in groups or individually.

Admission requirements

Entry to the health studies/sciences programme can be direct from school or from college. Candidates are normally expected to have the equivalent of two A-levels plus three GCSE passes at grade C or above or three A levels plus 2 GCSE passes at grade C or above. The A-level requirement at Middlesex University is in the range of 12­18 points. Other entry qualifications include BTEC National Diploma, GNVQ, Access Certificate, Scottish Highers, the Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) and the International Baccalaureate.

For further Information

Details of all degree courses in health studies/sciences can be accessed through the UCAS website at:

Specific Information about the programme can be obtained from:

Catherine Kerr, Pathway Co-ordinator Health Studies, Tel 020 8411 4595Email:

Middlesex University has undertaken developments in the area of health studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The undergraduate level leads to one of two possible awards: single honours in health sciences or joint honours in health studies. The joint honours programme enables the student to undertake health studies alongside another area of study, such as social sciences, psychology, Third World studies, interprofessional health and health promotion. Students can attend on a full- or part-time basis, usually taking from three to five years to complete the course. Postgraduate studies lead to a Masters Degree in interprofessional health. Students enrolled on the programme come from a variety of backgrounds. An increasing number of students are entering direct from school as they see the need to establish a good career base early as very important for their future employment.