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Promoting public health: skills, perspectives and practice

Public health is everyone’s business and the contribution of local authorities, education, social care, families, police, prisons, business and voluntary sectors is now acknowledged as vital. This module enables you, whatever your background and expertise, to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding of multidisciplinary public health across the UK, internationally and globally. You'll investigate health projects, experience team working and build your skills in communication, critical reflection community involvement, policy making, and delivering ethical evidence-based practice. The module is mapped against UK Public Health Register and Nursing and Midwifery Council standards.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

More specific aims of the module are to:

  • investigate the scope and nature of contemporary public health across the UK and internationally, focusing on its development, current priorities and future challenges
  • explore the major determinants of health and develop ways of promoting public health that address social and economic inequalities and are culturally sensitive and holistic
  • build knowledge and skills in communication, teamwork and computer-based collaboration
  • develop a skill set for evidence-based practice, including researching, analysing and evaluating health information and policy and accessing computer-based data
  • practise multidisciplinary and multisectoral planning, development and evaluation of programmes to improve health through learning activities and assessment
  • build an approach to promoting public health that is ethically sound and participative, recognising the need for flexibility and mutual goal setting, and respecting the rights of individuals, groups and communities to autonomy and control
  • encourage partnership, collaboration and mutual respect among different professional and lay groups working in public health
  • examine ethical, political and professional dilemmas that arise in new practices and policies for promoting health and consider how these dilemmas may be tackled.

Key features of the module include:

  • opportunity for reflection and consolidation of learning and for testing out the applicability of your learning to practice through activities, assessment and discussion with other students
  • a focus on developing communication (including computer-based communication) and information-literacy skills that will enable you keep up to date in this field as well as develop skills to critically appraise policy and practice
  • a thorough grounding in skills for evidence-based practice – this includes encouraging you to research and critically evaluate data and other information that you have searched for, to support you in becoming an independent learner
  • wide-ranging evidence and case study material about UK, international and global public health priorities, practice and policies, to help enhance your own practice
  • assessment that provides opportunities for you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, reflect on your learning and assess your progress, with an end-of-module assignment focused on a public health intervention.

You will need basic skills in using a PC and accessing the internet. Note that relevant computer and internet skills are integrated into the module.

This module is delivered online. You progress through the module by means of sixteen Learning Guides, which you access online but are also printable. The online Learning Guides contain activities, interactive quizzes and links to relevant websites, and also a range of case studies presented through video and audio clips. Consolidation weeks have been built into the study calendar to allow time for reflection, assignment writing and catching up.

Vocational relevance

This module is mapped against the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) revised standards for public health practitioners, who may come from many backgrounds but who now work in many areas of public health. The UKPHR standards have been developed to create a regulatory framework for public health practitioners who are currently unregistered.

Successful completion of K311 will enable you to meet most of the knowledge requirements of the standards (see the UKPHR website). Further details will be found on the website when you start the module.

For registered nurses, K311 forms 50 per cent of the study required for the public health pathway to the BSc (Hons) Nursing Practice. The remaining 50 per cent of study required is Exploring practice (KYN316), that enables you to use your learning from K311 to carry out a practice-related public health project. The module is mapped against the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) standards of proficiency for entry to specialist community public health nursing.

Professional recognition

If you successfully complete K311, you can claim a Certificate in Promoting Public Health provided you are not registered for another qualification. K311 meets most of the UKPHR standards for public health practitioners, which are drawn from the Public Health Skills and Career Framework, the Knowledge and Skills Framework for the NHS and the National Occupational standards for Public Health. See the UK Public Health Register website for further information about these standards.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor to help you with the study material and to assess your on-going progress by marking and commenting on your written work. You may ask your tutor for advice and guidance online or by phone as the module progresses. The contact with your tutor and other students will be through email, online discussion forums, and by telephone. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

You must submit your end-of-module assessment (EMA) online.

Future availability

Promoting public health: skills, perspectives and practice starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that starts in October 2019 when we expect it to be presented for last time.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school

    Course satisfaction survey

    See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU. You are not required to have done any study before in this subject area but if you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    You will receive guidance of how to get started online. This will provide you with information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, it explains how to access and use your website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the module starts, you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.


    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Jun 2020 £3012.00

    Registration closes 12/09/19 (places subject to availability)

    October 2019 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 16/07/2019.

    What's included

    This module is delivered online. You will have access to a website through which the assessment and teaching and library resources are available. The audio-visual components of this module are all available online through the website. 

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying K311 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.