Every piece of data tells a story. 

This non-credit professional specialization certificate program is offered in partnership with Population Data BC and the University of Victoria Department of Geography. It is designed to meet the needs of professionals in population and public health (and related social science disciplines) including analysts, policy makers and researchers who are seeking education and professional development in advanced population health analysis.

The goal of the program is to provide participants with strong foundational knowledge and data analysis skills that can support their work within the field of population health. Subject matter and related skill development covered in our PHDA courses support professional development in many key core competency domains as identified by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Core Competencies for Public Health in Canada.

The multidisciplinary focus of the program attracts a diverse cross-section of health and social science professionals seeking to update their skills and knowledge or learn new analytic techniques. Our students bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with their online colleagues, supporting a rich, practice based learning environment.

PHDA students represent a wide scope of academic backgrounds from Masters degrees in Population and Public Health, Epidemiology, Environmental Studies, Statistics, Sociology, Kinesiology and Biomedical Communications to PhD’s in Medicine, Psychology, Geography, Biostatistics and International Health.

The benefits students realize from completing courses are multifaceted and diverse:

  • Graduate students enrolled in a related academic program can broaden their knowledge base by taking one of our specialized courses for potential elective credit.
  • Masters graduates can gain new analytic skills to enhance or redirect the focus of their specialization or career path.
  • Working health professionals can learn new software skills and upgrade applied techniques and knowledge for use with large datasets.
  • Managers and policy makers can benefit from learning new analytic approaches and sharing knowledge with colleagues in their related disciplines.

The program is a unique opportunity to learn a diverse set of skills from many disciplines. All courses include a balance of theory and practical work. In particular, the hands-on lab exercises and/or final project components address the practical analysis of administrative and survey data. They are key elements of student learning, comprehension and knowledge application.

Program outcomes

  • Working with and analyzing administrative health data.
  • Evaluating the benefits and limitations of specific types of population health-related data.
  • Gaining practical experience in statistical and geographical analysis of health data.
  • Developing health data analysis and interpretation skills using a variety of techniques and related software through hands-on exercises and labs.
  • Analyzing case examples involving health data analysis and related health outcomes.

Admission and completion requirements

In order to be accepted into this program, prospective students must have:

  • an undergraduate degree
  • a minimum of two years working experience in the field of Public Health or a combination of education and experience and approval from the Chair of the Steering Committee
  • successful completion of an introductory statistics course at the undergraduate or graduate level (or equivalent)

Professional Specialization Certificate

Certificate students apply and are admitted to the program for non-credit study (application to the university is not required). The certificate requires completion of four courses, including completion of core and elective courses. Participants are evaluated on course assignments and projects.

Students will receive a transcript identifying their marks from the Division of Continuing Studies. Those who successfully complete the program requirements will be granted a professional specialization certificate by the University of Victoria. Courses do not need to be taken in any specific order as long as the pre-requisites are met, so students may apply at any time.

Individual courses

When space is available, individuals may register in a maximum of two courses for professional development without having to enroll as a certificate student. These registrants will be expected to meet the same prerequisites as certificate students. A specific fee for participating in individual courses will apply.

Career options

Some of our grads have pursued careers in the following roles:
  • Data Analyst
  • Researcher
  • Manager of Health Information/Analysis
  • Health Informatics professional
  • Health Information Administrator
  • Health Programs Evaluator



Estimated fees

Description Fee
Program application fee $120.00
Three required courses ($1,250 per course: $1,400 per course for non-certificate students) $3,750.00
One elective course $1,250.00
Data access fee ($125 per course) $500.00
One-time secure ID token $100.00
Graduation fee $40.00
Estimated Total $5,760.00*
Fees listed in this section are only an estimate. Total program fees will vary depending on course selections, student fees, textbooks and taxes.

Application dates

Starting in
January 2017
Accepting Applications
Delivery Style
Apply by
Dec. 9, 2016
Apply online Contact us for more info
Starting in
May 2017
Accepting Applications
Delivery Style
Apply by
April 14, 2017
Apply online Contact us for more info

How to apply

To apply to the program, individuals complete the online or paper-based program application form outlining previous work and educational experience, and submit the application along with:

  • verification of an undergraduate degree(s)
  • proof of successful completion of an introductory statistics course at the undergraduate or graduate level (or equivalent)
  • resume documenting relevant work experience

Individuals requesting exemption from PHDA 02 or 03 must include documentation of successful completion of coursework—including relevant course outline(s)—in epidemiology and/or Population Health and GIS.

Applications for the PHDA Program are accepted on an ongoing basis. We recommend that you apply to the program at least one month before you want to begin your studies. One to two courses are offered per term. You may begin with any course as long as you meet both program and course specific admission requirements. We recommend that you consult personally with the program admission staff if you are unsure about the strength of your pre-requisite skillset.