PHP3: Planning for Public Health - Course Outline


Evidence-based practice is a cornerstone of public health. Planning, as a component of an evidence-based approach, is essential to effective public health practice. This course builds on the skills and knowledge acquired through completion of PHP2: Evidence-Based Public Health Practice.

This course will introduce you to the various approaches to planning in a public health context. Learning activities focus on the steps of the planning process, including situational analysis, programming, implementation, and evaluation. It aims to increase your ability to apply public health resources to public health problems.


You must complete PHP2: Evidence-Based Public Health Practice before taking this course.

Content from this course builds directly on content from PHP2: Evidence-Based Public Health Practice and introduces concepts that are covered in more detail in EVA1: Introduction to Evaluation, recommended as a follow up course.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will:


Successful completion of this course contributes to the attainment of the following Core Competencies for Public Health In Canada:

The Learning Process

This course is divided into five lessons, and includes assignments and discussion forum activities. Each lesson ends with a self‐assessment test. You will have eight weeks to complete the 25-34 hours of work required (about 3‐5 hours per week is suggested; see the learning schedule below).

A trained online facilitator, knowledgeable in public health, is assigned to your group to provide support and guidance. The facilitator is available to answer content‐related questions, provide feedback on assignments, and encourage discussion among participants through discussion forums.

PHP3 Learning Schedule

This schedule is a guide to help you pace yourself as you go through the course. Please aim to complete the discussion activities "in sync" with the other learners.

Time Period Course Work Estimated # of hours
Week 1

Getting Started: what you need to know and do

  • Make sure you can access all parts of the site
  • Review material
  • Introduce yourself and respond to fellow learners on the Discussion Forum

Lesson 1: Introduction to Planning

  • Start Lesson 1
3-4 hours
Week 2

Lesson 1: Introduction to Planning

  • Finish Lesson 1
  • Complete Discussion Activity 1
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 1

Lesson 2: Planning for Public Health

  • Start Lesson 2
3-5 hours
Week 3

Lesson 2: Planning for Public Health

  • Finish Lesson 2
  • Complete Discussion Activity 2
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 2
  • Complete Assignment 1

Lesson 3: The Planning Process: Overview and Situation Analysis

  • Start Lesson 3
4-5 hours
Week 4

Lesson 3: The Planning Process: Overview and Situation Analysis

  • Finish Lesson 3
  • Complete Discussion Activity 3
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 3
  • Complete Assignment 2

Lesson 4: Programming and Implementation

  • Start Lesson 4
4-5 hours
Week 5

Lesson 4: Programming and Implementation

  • Finish Lesson 4
  • Complete Discussion Activity 4
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 4
  • Complete Assignment 3
4-5 hours
Week 6

Lesson 5: Evaluation

  • Complete Lesson 5
3-4 hours
Week 7

Lesson 5: Evaluation

  • Complete Discussion Activity 5
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 5
  • Complete Assignment 4
3-4 hours
Week 8

Finishing Up

  • Ensure you have completed all parts of the course, have submitted all assignments and completed discussion activities.
  • Complete final Feedback Survey
2-3 hours

26-35 hours

Course Features


The lessons in this course utilize a mix of text, figures and links to:

Discussion Forums

Discussion forums are integral to the course. Messages can be posted and read on the forum system whenever convenient — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Assignments feature in all the courses, allowing you to reflect on the course content and to apply some of the concepts and principles to your work as a public health practitioner.

The four assignments in this course ask you to apply the concepts related to initiating planning for a public health scenario by:

  1. identifying, verifying and documenting a need
  2. constructing a matrix table
  3. developing a planned intervention
  4. defining indicators and activities for the intervention.

Assignments are usually one or two pages in length. Your facilitator will review, grade and provide individual feedback for each assignment. An incomplete assignment is returned with your facilitator’s comments and a request to resubmit.


Following each lesson you will be able to complete a short quiz to evaluate your understanding of the subject matter presented within each lesson. You will receive automatic feedback on your performance.


Successful completion of this course requires you to:

  1. complete all activities within the prescribed time frame for each;
  2. receive a satisfactory rating for all four assignments;
  3. participate in each of the five discussion forums;
  4. complete the final feedback survey questionnaire.


Participants receive a certificate from the Public Health Agency of Canada upon successful completion of the course.

Registration information is available at Skills Online-Register For Courses page. Note: you must be registered and logged in to access the registration page.

Note: Completion of this course contributes to the following Learning Pathcertificates: