Health and Society (BGM) / BSc


The BSc programme Public Health and Society addresses health in the sense of physical, social and mental well-being. The study specifically focuses on the interaction between health, lifestyle and the social and physical environment. It studies health from a comparative perspective and as constituted within the context of society and the socio-economic, cultural and political factors that influence health at various analytical levels. As health is related to a diversity of interrelated factors like housing, neighbourhood, work, education, recreation, the development of intersectoral policy is essential. Several disciplines are therefore presented and discussed varying from social psychology, sociology, health promotion, economics, demography, environmental studies and life sciences. The relevance of the study domain is growing as a consequence of increasing health inequalities, diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, HIV/Aids) and health costs. Among policy makers awareness of the impact of health (policy) and health promotion is increasingly recognized in recent national and international policy documents. The study prepares students for professions such as social researchers, health promoters, health policy advisors or managers of health oriented organisations.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this BSc programme graduates are expected to:
- apply the theoretical approaches and infer the theoretical underpinnings of empirical research of sociology, social psychology and communication to current issues in public health, focusing on health care and prevention, including the interaction between health, lifestyle and the social and physical environment and their effects at various levels (micro, meso and macro);
- explain the governance of public health while applying economic, management and policy-oriented concepts;
- interpret basic social, physical and environmental determinants of health and explain how these determinants interact;
- critically analyze basic public health issues, such as obesity, chronic diseases and inequity in health;
- choose and apply (under supervision) the appropriate qualitative and quantitative social science research methods for data collection and analysis in empirical research - define public health issues, translate research outcomes into advice, and evaluate policies and programmes for health promotion in various fields of practice and at various levels, under supervision;
- effectively contribute to the design, organization and management of interventions in the field of public health and collaborate and communicate with (multiple) experts as well as other stakeholders;
- explain the ethical issues that may arise when working as experts in the field of public health;
- compare the multiple interpretations and applications of public health across time and place;
- co-operate in a (multidisciplinary) team to perform project-based work;
- communicate clearly (verbally and in writing) about the results of projects and their research and their rational underpinnings with a diversity of publics;
- reflect (under supervision) upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and functioning, both individually and in discussions with others, and design and plan their own study path.

Programme Director

Ir G.C. van Nieuwenhoven
Phone: 0317- (4)82500

Study Adviser(s)

Ir G.C. van Nieuwenhoven
Phone: 0317- (4)82500

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr ir H.W. Vaandrager
Secretary: Ir G.C. van Nieuwenhoven


Study Association

Mercurius Wageningen, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen

Unconditional Admission to the MSc

MCS Applied Communication Science
MID International Development Studies
MME Management, Economics and Consumer Studies