Interested in studying health but don’t know where to start? There are many options to consider when it comes to choosing which health degree is right for you.

As Deakin’s Associate Dean Teaching and Learning from the Faculty of Health, Professor Lynn Riddell, suggests, taking your interests and values into consideration is the first step to setting yourself up for success.

‘When thinking about careers in health or the types of degrees you’d like to study, it’s important to focus in on what motivates you, what your values are, and what you’d like to spend time doing. The more you’re studying in an area of interest to you, the more likely you are to succeed.’

In Australia, the healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth, increasing by 249,500 jobs over the next five years*. With a huge range of health jobs available across clinical, community and research spaces, you can choose a degree based on the type of work you’d like to do once you begin your career.

You may even find yourself exploring areas of health you aren’t already familiar with. By studying at Deakin, you’ll discover the many exciting and empowering career paths available in the health industry, beyond the most well-known options such as nursing or medicine.

What kind of health degrees can you study?

Depending on your interests or preferred career path, you can choose a Deakin health degree from a range of disciplines in health sciences and allied health.

Optometry

Interested in working one-on-one with patients and improving their quality of life with a focus on visual health? Deakin’s combined Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Optometry degree offers deep insight into the impacts and treatment of visual health issues like myopia control and low vision.

With a high employability rate and flexible career options, you can explore work in both clinical and community settings, across private practices, government organisations and health services. Or you can move into research to contribute to technology development in the field.

Medical imaging

Want a career in the medical field, but not sure the journey to becoming a doctor is right for you? Deakin’s Bachelor of Medical Imaging degree is based on maths and physics, and equips you with the latest knowledge in medical radiation science. Be ready for a career as a diagnostic radiographer with skills in techniques including general radiography, CT and MRI.

There is also the option to explore careers contributing to the improvement and application of medical imaging technologies in clinical settings.

Nutrition and dietetics

Want to turn your passion for food, nutrition and human health into a meaningful career? Deakin’s Bachelor of Nutrition Science will enable you to explore the link between nutrition and human health and disease prevention.

You can also complement your studies in nutrition with exercise and sport science or commerce expertise, by studying the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science/Bachelor of Nutrition Science or Bachelor of Nutrition Science/Bachelor of Commerce.

If exploring food and nutrition in a clinical setting piques your interest, a career in dietetics may suit you. Deakin’s Bachelor of Nutrition Science (Dietetics Pathway) offers a guaranteed entry^ to the Master of Dietetics, which can lead to Accredited Practising Dietitian status.

All of Deakin’s food and nutrition degrees encompass a strong focus on food innovation, with graduates with an interest in the food industry going on to specialist roles in food science, food analysis, nutrition for disease prevention, sensory analysis, product development and more.

Psychology

Have you always had an interest in the people around you, how they think and interact, and why they behave the way they do? Studying psychology is the perfect way to learn more about our minds, personalities and behaviours. You can study psychology as its own bachelor degree, or as a major within a degree in arts, business, marketing, or human resource management, or as part of a double degree paired with criminology or nursing.

Your psychology studies will equip you with widely applicable skills – including problem solving, communication, and empathy – that are highly valued across the health industry and beyond. While becoming a registered psychologist requires postgraduate studies, there are plenty of career options available upon graduating with a bachelor degree in psychology.

Your career could include working as a counsellor, family therapist, health psychologist, sport psychologist, organisational psychologist, or youth psychologist. Or, you might branch out into areas including child protection, human services, marketing, public health and not-for-profit aid.

Social work

Do you have a strong sense of social justice, and a drive to help people experiencing disadvantage? Studying a Bachelor of Social Work will teach you how to advocate for human rights and support for people of all ages and backgrounds who are experiencing difficulty and inequality.

With an emphasis on progressive and student-centered teaching, you’ll learn the latest approaches to enable social change and improve people’s lives. A degree in social work will lead you to diverse career opportunities in the growing human services field across community-based and clinical settings at both a policy and individual level. With an emphasis on progressive and student-centered teaching, you’ll learn the latest approaches to enable social change and improve people’s lives.

Exercise and sport science

Have you always lived an active lifestyle, and are intrigued by how you can turn your passion for physical activity and sport into a career? By studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, you will focus applying skills to improve the health and performance of teams, athletes, and individuals through the provision of specialised training and advice.

This degree focuses on many principles of sport and allied health fields, with a focus on the biological, sociological, and behavioural bases of exercise and sport science. You could either complete a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, or choose a double degree which pairs sport science with either sport management or nutrition science.

Public health and health promotion

If you like the idea of improving health outcomes on a broad scale, without focusing on clinical settings, public health and health promotion could be the perfect study option for you. With a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion, you will learn how to advocate for the health and wellbeing of the local and global communities and populations. Studying a degree in public health and health promotion will give you the skills to be able to make a difference and tackle the biggest health issues facing our communities today.

You could also pair your studies with nursing or commerce as part of a double degree. Once you graduate, you can begin a career in roles across areas including public health policy, community development, social planning, indigenous health, women’s health, disease prevention, and health education.

Occupational therapy

Are you passionate about promoting health and wellbeing and supporting people when they need it most?

Possibly one of the most diverse health careers, studying occupational therapy can lead you to work in clinical, community or organisational settings as you help people get back to doing what is most meaningful to them. By studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, you will become qualified to help groups and individuals achieve optimal health and wellbeing by empowering them to reach their goals. This degree will give you an insight into how to approach therapy and rehabilitation using a ‘whole person’ perspective.

You might find yourself working for community health organisations, mental health services, hospitals, schools, workplace departments and private practices.

Choosing a health degree that combines your passions

If you have your heart set on a degree in health but you’re still unsure of which degree to study, a good place to start is with a Bachelor of Health Sciences, in which you can study up to three majors that most appeal to you. By combining multiple majors, you can get a taste for different areas of interest and open up your career opportunities.

‘The Bachelor of Health Sciences is one our most broad degrees on offer in the Faculty of Health at Deakin University,’ Prof. Riddell explains.

‘The majors we have available to study within your health sciences degree include nutrition, exercise science, family, society and health, disability and inclusion, environmental health and psychological science, just to name a few.

‘The health sciences degree sets you up very well for various postgraduate study options. This degree is a great choice if you’re not quite certain which area of health you really want to get into, or if you see elements of two or three degrees that resonate with you, and you want to combine them.’

It’s okay to change your mind

Ultimately, though, you don’t have to have it figured out from the start. It’s okay to change your mind, even once you’ve started studying.

‘I can’t reiterate enough, that what you study now does not define or limit what work you engage in, in later parts of your career,’ Prof. Riddell advises.

‘Each degree at Deakin is designed to provide you with transferable skills that help you engage in meaningful, satisfying, rewarding careers outside of what you may have originally studied.’

Take the first step towards your degree in health. Explore undergraduate health degrees  at Deakin.

Footnotes

*2020 Industry Projections for the five years to November 2025, Australian Government National Skills Commission

^With a weighted average mark of 75 or above. Bachelor of Nutrition Science students can still be eligible for the Master of Dietetics if they study the prerequisite units.