School of Health and Social Development

Advancing equality and community wellbeing

Our school embraces the understanding that health is about the capacity of individuals and communities to cope with life’s ever-changing challenges. This is reflected in our teaching and research, which focuses on the importance of positive outcomes.

Progressive, real-world learning and research

Our teaching and research are informed by the need for equity in an unequal society. We uphold human rights and ensure that health and welfare provision promote human dignity by valuing identity and respecting diversity.

Many of our courses include industry placements – where you'll gain real-world experience – and professional accreditations that are globally recognised. You'll also have the option to travel abroad on a study tour or an exchange.

Study with us

Learn in advanced occupational therapy facilities

Learn in a simulation facility equipped with the latest in assistive technology and equipment at our Occupational Therapy Learning Hub, Geelong Waterfront Campus. The hub reflects real working conditions and means you’ll gain first-hand experience with equipment used in professional occupational therapy settings.

Explore our hub

Our courses are built on international collaborations, meaningful research and strong connections between the University, industry, communities and the public. We're committed to research that results in real, tangible outcomes for improving health.

Jennifer Watts

Head of School of Health and Social Development

Meet our school staff

Professor Jennifer Watts is the Head of School of Health and Social Development. She is a health economist and over the past 20 years has established a strong record in health economics, in both teaching and research. Jenny leads a large and diverse school, with staff specialising across community health, inclusion, disability, environment and social work.

Find a school staff member

Our go-to expert on public health and epidemiology

Alfred Deakin Professor Catherine Bennett is the inaugural chair in Epidemiology at Deakin. Catherine specialises in infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance and leads a large cohort study into community transmission of staph aureus in Melbourne households. She was Director of Population Health Practice in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health before joining Deakin.

Join Australia's fastest growing industry

Health care and social assistance is Australia’s largest and fastest-growing employment sector.* As a Deakin graduate, you’ll have the grounding in multiple fields to prepare you for a successful career advancing health and wellbeing at an individual and community level.

Get involved in innovative research

We're always looking to welcome masters and PhD students with a passion for improving the world's health and wellbeing. We have a research focus on the links between humans and the natural environment. Our renowned research makes a global impact across diverse fields, from obesity to health economics.

Find out more about our research

Our partnerships

We have strong links with universities around the world for academic collaborations and student exchange. As a student, you'll also be able to take advantage of our wide range of industry partners who can provide applied research opportunities and work placements.

Learn more about our partners

Advisory boards

The School of Health and Social Development benefits from the support of several advisory boards that all contribute to the relevance and currency of our courses and the success of our graduates.

Learn more about our boards


*Jobs and Skills Australia 2023-2028 employment projections
Deakin references data from a range of government, higher education and reputable media sources. For more information, visit our list of sources.

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any further questions regarding the School of Health and Social Development.

+61 3 9251 7777

Email the School of Health and Social Development