Society and Health at the UNB Saint John campus | UNB

Society and Health

Faculty: Interdisciplinary
Degree(s): Bachelor of Health
Campus: Saint John


Health is not merely the absence of disease, but a state of physical, mental and social well-being. How do we promote the health and well-being of all members of society?

Society faces significant health challenges. Healthcare is the biggest ticket item in most provincial government budgets in Canada. Still, many people don’t get the care they need. They spend hours in emergency waiting rooms or months to get into an addiction treatment program. At the same time, the Canadian population is getting older. An increasing number are overweight and suffer from chronic diseases. This puts even more pressure on healthcare services.

The average life expectancy for an aboriginal male in Canada is ten years less than that of a non-aboriginal male. How can we explain this and what can be done to reduce health inequalities? Research shows that regular exercise can prevent many health problems, yet many people still don’t do it. Why not, and how can we get them to change their behaviour? In general, how do we build communities that enhance the health and well-being of all residents? 

If these questions interest you, the Health and Society major might be the program for you.

The Bachelor of Health is a 4-year interdisciplinary program focused on all aspects of health. Students develop the knowledge and the skills necessary for success in a variety of careers in the health sector. The program is also comprehensive preparation for further professional or graduate studies.  All students complete core courses covering the biological and social determinants of health, current health issues, health policy, the management of healthcare services, research methods, and data analysis.

In addition to the core Health courses taken each year, Health and Society Majors take a series of courses which further develop their knowledge and skills in health policy and policy analysis; their understanding of how income, education, place of residence and other social factors affect individual and population health; and their social science research and communications skills.

Why Society and Health at UNB?

This is a unique interdisciplinary program providing students with a solid grounding in health and wellness in all its dimensions, healthcare systems, as well as in-depth training in their chosen major in healthcare management, biomedical sciences, or health policy and the social determinants of health. As they will in their careers, students work together in multidisciplinary teams addressing current health issues.

Hands-on learning

Bachelor of Health students experience a variety of work settings in the healthcare system and in the community through job-shadowing and internships. Beginning in their first year, students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in practical lab experiences and community-based research assignments.

In the fourth year capstone course, students from all three majors come together to work in multidisciplinary teams to analyze and address a critical health issue identified in consultation with experts in the healthcare sector.   

Skills you will acquire

  • Knowledge of the biological and social determinants of health
  • An understanding of how the Canadian healthcare system works
  • An overview of global health issues
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Communicating effectively in the workplace and with a variety of audiences
  • How to work effectively in an interdisciplinary team
  • How to design, conduct and evaluate research in the field of health


  • UNB’s Health program is unique in Canada in offering an interdisciplinary core curriculum integrating arts, science and business and offering corresponding majors in management, biological sciences, and health and society.
  • This is the only Bachelor of Health program offered in New Brunswick.
  • The teaching faculty are drawn from all three Faculties at UNB Saint John, and include researchers in health sciences, the social sciences and humanities, and business.
  • All Health students have a common first year. They take their HEAL classes together and progress through their degree as a group.
  • The interdisciplinary core courses in the Health program are team-taught.
  • Students in the Health program at UNB Saint John benefit from its location at Tucker Park, alongside Dalhousie Medicine NB (DalMedNB), the Horizon Health Network (HHN) Saint John Regional Hospital and New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Allied Health programs. The shared location provides students with access to unique learning opportunities. Together, UNB Saint John, DalMedNB, NBCC and Horizon Health Network form a collaborative group united by the common goal of improving health outcomes for New Brunswickers by marshalling the skills and talents of a multitude of disciplines and units.
  • UNB Saint John also has partnerships with community organizations in the Saint John region focused on community health issues.

Sample courses

All Bachelor of Health students take a series of interdisciplinary courses in Health, including:

  • HEAL 1001 Current Issues and Future Trends in Health
  • HEAL 2002 Health Communications
  • HEAL 3001 History and Structure of the Canadian Health Care System
  • HEAL 3002 Indigenous Health Determinants

Health and Society Majors also take a set of required and elective courses in the social sciences and humanities. For example:

  • PSYC 3033 Health Psychology
  • ECON 3813 Introduction to Health Economics
  • POLS 3501 Contemporary Issues in Public Policy
  • SOCI 4379 Community-Based Health Research Seminar
  • HIST 4945 Women, Science, and Medicine

Career opportunities

  • Health policy analyst
  • Health program development and evaluation
  • Employee wellness coordinator
  • Community health educator
  • Patient advocate
  • Health journalist
  • Human rights advocate

With further study:

  • Teacher
  • Lawyer
  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • Medical doctor
  • Social Worker
  • Graduate school in Public Health, Population Health, Health Policy, Public Administration or other fields in the social sciences and humanities.

For more information, see the Bachelor of Health.