Health Behaviours and Behaviour Change

Key facts

  • Module codeNURP026
  • Start date 1 Feb 2021 1 February 2021
  • Application deadline18 Jan 2021
  • Duration11 weeks
  • Credit value SCQF SCQF 11 20
  • Fees £945
  • Study mode


The behaviours we engage in and the choices we make in our daily lives (e.g. smoking, alcohol, physical activity, diet, vaccination, health screening) have a major effect on our health and well-being. These behaviours and choices play a key role in determining the health of the population and lead to several public health issues (e.g. increased prevalence of obesity and other long-term conditions, infectious disease outbreaks etc). On this module students will learn about how our behaviours and choices impact on health, what influences our behaviours and choices, and how public health goes about trying to change health behaviours in the context of the complex world people live in.

The key aims within the module are to:

  • Outline key health behaviours and choices that affect the health of the population across the lifecourse.
  • Demonstrate the role these health behaviours and choices play in determining health in relation to other determinants.
  • Introduce students to current policies related to health behaviour and public health strategies that aim to change health behaviour.
  • Develop a knowledge base and critical understanding of key theories of health behaviour and theory-based behaviour change techniques.

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2:1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

A flexible payment scheme is operated by the University for students who are self-funding

By the completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of different health behaviours as determinants of population health.
  • Analyse current policy relating to health behaviour.
  • Synthesise and critically appraise the evidence on public health interventions to change health behaviour
  • Critically examine the role of health behaviour theory in explaining and changing health behaviours.

The module will be structured around nine learning units, which will enable you to develop an understanding of health behaviours impacting on individual and population health, their role in relation to other determinants of health, various micro and macro level factors influencing the health behaviours, and approaches and interventions used in public health to tackle behaviour change. 

This module will be taught online using a mixture of brief recorded podcasts, guided study activities, group discussion boards, live tutorial sessions and independent reading.

The assessment for this module is composed of two parts to address the learning outcomes:

Assessment 1: Students will be assessed on health behaviours, policy and public health strategies addressing health behaviour, behaviour change theories and techniques.
Assessment 2 : Students will select one health behaviour and evaluate the evidence for a public health intervention that aims to change this behaviour. Students will identify and critique the role of behaviour change theory in the intervention.

You will develop an understanding of public health in a real-world context which will be directly applicable to the working environment. 

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