Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLPRAC 712 - Project Planning for Lifestyle Change

15 Points

Semester 2, 2019* 


*Offered on alternative years


Focuses on the planning and development of interventions aimed at addressing lifestyle issues such as alcohol and other dangerous consumptions, obesity, lack of exercise and mental trauma.

Students synthesise strategies from published literature and adapt them pragmatically for application in local contexts. Interventions will include those occurring in communities, primary and mental healthcare settings, hospitals, workplaces, and educational institutions.

Programme and course advice

POPLPRAC 712 is one of the core courses in the Masters of Health Practice programme. It is an optional course in a number of Faculty of Medical and Health Science programmes including the Diploma/Masters of Health Sciences as well as Public Health.

The course has a practical focus and particularly suits health professionals, including mental health professionals, alcohol and drug professionals and health psychologists, who would anticipate that at least part of their work will involve the design and implementation of health projects.

Learning and teaching

This course consists of four one-day teaching blocks, involving 24 contact hours, plus a structured reading and assignment programme requiring significant weekly work between the blocks. It is designed for a class of 12 to 20 students.

Students will be encouraged to develop their project proposals either in a team or by themselves with input from others. Each class session will involve a mix of teaching sessions and workshops that focus on facilitating and informing students in their project design.

The last hour of each class session will involve small group tutorials that discuss in more detail the development of each project. 

Goals of the course

• Facilitate critical use of research literature in developing intervention plans.

• Provide an introduction to project management skills.

• Promote innovative ways of implementing lifestyle change.

• Foster graduate student interest, knowledge and possible ongoing commitment to research and practice in alcohol, drug, mental health and related fields. 

Learning outcomes 

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

• Demonstrate an understanding of key strategies in promoting lifestyle change.

• Design an intervention plan that balances effectiveness and feasibility issues.

• Work co-operatively with others in devising an intervention plan.

• Develop evaluation protocols for an intervention plan. 

Content outline

This course focuses on the use of intervention strategies in addressing lifestyle issues with health consequences.

The first part of the course outlines the project planning process and aspects of the psychology of change; the second part explores some goal-directed intervention strategies and skills for addressing lifestyle issues; the third part examines strategies for project management, and some of the wider evaluative and political issues associated with change.

The course finishes with a discussion of key ethical dilemmas associated with lifestyle change.  

Campus teaching dates 

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details. 


The course assessment will consist of four components:

(1) Literature Review (15%)

Collate and critically review published literature on one aspect of an area of lifestyle intervention which will form the basis for the intervention project (approximately 1,500 words).

(2) Tutorial assignments x 3 (15%)

Two short assignments to guide the students through the project planning process and a class presentation on the proposed project. Each assignment is worth 5% of the final mark of the course, meaning the three tutorial assignments will contribute 15% to the final mark.

(3) Project Proposal (30%)

Plan an intervention project that requires students to integrate knowledge from relevant published literature and the pragmatic concerns associated with implementing the project in the intended setting. (approximately 3,000 words).

(4) Examination (2 hours) (40%)

The final exam has two parts. Part one has short questions on selected required readings and aspects of project implementation. Part two is an essay devoted to a project proposal. 

The semester two examination period will be announced later. Note that the examination timetables are not finalised and available to students until 6-8 weeks into the semester. 

Learning resources

Students are provided access to online course pages in CANVAS which is the University’s online Learning Management System. These pages give the course outline, objectives for each session and recommended reading. All PowerPoint presentations and additional course materials are available through CANVAS.

Students are, however, encouraged to read much more widely in preparing assignments on specific topic areas. A list of useful journals and websites will be provided during the course, and students are encouraged to seek assistance when required from the campus librarians.

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator