Degree programs in Public Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and related fields consider the relationship between culture and health, explore the design and implementation of health policy programs, and focus on the general well-being of the public population.
Careers in public health are wide-ranging. They can focus on a variety of issues like communicable diseases to environmental hazards. They can engage these issues in various capacities as well. And with online options the way there are, now is the time to earn your degree from any place that works best for you! If you’re leaning that way, check out our best online bachelor’s in public health and best master’s rankings.
What kind of public health degree should you get?
While the career paths are numerous, undergraduate degrees in public health fields are not. The required education for most entry-level public health professions is an upper-level degree, often at least a master’s in public health (MPH). Thus undergraduate degrees in public health are not offered as widely as similar graduate programs.
There are, however, a growing number of schools offering Bachelor’s of Science or Art in Public Health. In addition, many colleges and universities, while not offering stand-alone undergraduate degrees in public health, do provide certificates programs, minors, or co-majors that undergraduates in complementary degree programs can pursue.
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What can you do with a public health degree?
Some public health graduates go on to pursue careers in research or data collection and analysis. Others go into administration and management in places like government agencies, HMO offices, community medical centers, or the offices of city health planners. Still others become educators and policy makers, working with state or federal legislative committees, consumer advocacy organizations, and non-profit organizations.
Epidemiologists, for instance, investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans, seeking to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy.
A medical service manager, alternatively, might manage an entire facility or clinical department in a hospital or other health organization. And a health educator would plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate health education programs that help individuals, families, and their communities maximize and maintain healthy lifestyles.
How much money can you make with a public health degree?
As you can see, the career options for public health graduates are vast. That means your potential salary is hard to pin down, unless you look at specific career paths. So let’s take a look! With the help of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s a glance at some of the average annual incomes you can expect with this degree:
Health educator: $53,940
Medical service manager: $98,350
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 5-25% growth in many of the more popular public health careers between now and 2024. Most public health careers are expected to grow faster than other occupations nationwide, and the median income for the jobs is equal to or exceeds the national average.
What are the requirements for a public health degree?
Curricula for a public health degree will focus on a broad education, ensuring students have knowledge in all of the main public health tracks or specializations, so that future public health professionals understand the multi-disciplinary nature of public health.
Getting a solid public health foundation in your undergraduate years can prepare you to enter the workforce straight away or it can lay the groundwork for pursuing a masters or doctorate in public health or related field. To get that solid foundation, you will want to select a program that fits your desired outcome. If you are more interested in policy, then explore those programs that excel in the political aspects of public health education. If you are more interested in field or lab work, there are programs that better emphasize the compiling and analyzing of data.
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What are the best public health degrees?
We have compiled this list of the best public health programs in the nation as a way to help you in your exploration. By taking into consideration tuition, reputation of the schools, anticipated salary, and other factors, we have put together a list that includes a variety of options as far as degrees, majors, programs, certificates, minors, and emphases. Prospective undergraduates interested in public health have a great place to start their journey.
Drawing together a curriculum that reaches communities on a local, national, and global level, the Public Health degree at the University of Washington offers students numerous opportunities to jump into field the wherever they find a niche. Among the focus areas of the major are Assessment and Measurement, Environment, Ethics and Social Justice, Communication, Natural Science, Population Health, Policy, and Social Science.
Though students may choose between a BA or BS in Public Health, the degree requirements are relatively similar. The BA is designed for students interested in health education promotion, policy and non-profit work, or public health nursing, whereas the BS prepares students for science-focused graduate programs, epidemiology, medicine, pharmacy, and biostatistics.
In total, students must complete 180 credits within the degree on top of the 84 credits of general education requirements. With an emphasis on experiential learning, many students in this major choose to take advantage of study abroad programs (like a semester-long course on Race, Health, and Society in London), research opportunities, and internships.
The University of Washington, located in Seattle, is one of the oldest universities on the west coast. It consistently ranks among the top five research universities in the United States. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Located in the heart of Minnesota, with some of the leading health-care companies and organizations in the nation, the Public Health program at the University of Minnesota provides top-notch access to hands-on learning in the field. At the undergraduate level, the program offers a minor in Public Health or a 4+1 program, which allows students to earn a MPH in Environmental Health or MS in Biostatistics in addition to their bachelor’s degree in just one extra year of coursework.
Even though the course requirements for the minor in Public Health are relatively small—just 14 to 16 credits—adding this degree to an undergraduate diploma will serve students well in their future academic pursuits. Because the university offers Public Health degrees at the masters and graduate level (MPH, MS, MHA, and PhD in Public Health), undergraduates have the opportunity to take upper level courses, on top of getting access to some of the best faculty and research in the nation.
Within the minor curriculum, students may choose from numerous classes in four different areas: Introduction to the Discipline, Understanding Health Issues from Varying Social Scientific Contexts, Applying Public Health Theory, and Global Impact.
The University of Minnesota—Twin Cities is a public research university split between its two campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul with an impressive student body of over 50,000. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Center for Global Health at the University of Pittsburgh was developed to “effectively address health issues that affect populations around the globe.” Through its collaboration with several schools and institutions within the university, the Center for Global Health provides a number of opportunities for undergraduates interested in Public Health.
The BA of Philosophy in International and Area Studies degree gives students an interdisciplinary and research-based approach to Global Studies and Public Health. Because this dual-degree is intended for students who will eventually build careers outside of the United States, students must complete three years of language study and complete a study abroad experience in addition to the 24 credits of coursework.
Regardless of their major, students can also earn a Global Studies Certificate with a concentration in Global Health, which requires students to do the following: take Introduction to Global Studies, take three classes in global health, take two courses in regional health, earn a second-year-level proficiency in a foreign language, and complete an interdisciplinary capstone research project.
The University of Pittsburgh is made up of seventeen undergraduate and graduate schools and is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University offers a BS in Public Health, with a special focus on health statistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health behavior, and health administration/policy. Rather than focusing on individual health, the curriculum at ASU prepares students to study and shape populations at the local, state, national, and international level.
Spread out between eight terms, this degree requires 120 credits of coursework, with classes ranging from General Biology and Anatomy & Physiology to Epidemiology and Health Care Legislation. Unlike some schools, this program does not require or a incorporate a second language into the curriculum.
Graduates from the program at ASU have gone on to fill a wide range of positions in the work force. Some are in the growing field of Community Health Workers, who typically make a yearly salary of around $35,000. Others are are in the health care system as Medical and Health Service Managers, making an average salary of $93,000 a year. Whatever your end goal is in the field of Public Health, the BS program at ASU is a fantastic place to start.
The Arizona State University, located in Phoenix, Arizona, is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States, with over 82,000 students. ASU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Committee (HLC).
Undergraduate students at Ohio State University may choose from a variety of degrees within the College of Public Health: Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH), BSPH for Pre-Health Professions, BSPH and MPH Combined degree program, Global Public Health Minor, and Epidemiology Minor. Furthermore, within the BS in Public Health, students have the option of specializing in either Public Health Sociology or Environmental Public Health.
While both specializations within the BS in Public Health major require around 120 credits, the curriculum is shaped around different core classes for each focus; whereas Public Health Sociology blends the social sciences with research and data, Environmental Public Health emphasizes applied earth science and math courses, both with the intention to address social and environmental issues and inequalities.
This degree highly encourages the exploration of public health in a global setting by offering study abroad programs in China, Japan, India, and Finland/Estonia. In addition, all students are required to complete a capstone project related to their area of interest. This could include a public health internship, a research project, or a field experience in public health.
Located in Columbus, Ohio State University, is known for its strong showing in agricultural research, its extensive student life programs, and its Division I football team, among other things. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Established in 1992, the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University provides a cutting-edge academic and research environment for students interested in public policy, urban planning, public health, and health administration at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The Bloustein School emphasizes their commitment to collaboration and research across the four areas.
In addition to completing the 24 credits of general education coursework, the BS in Public Health at Rutgers requires 46 credits, which includes 31 core credits and 15 additional elective credits. If you are a particularly engaged and ambitious student, you can choose to complete the joint BA/MPH or BS/MPH program, which allows you to finish both your bachelor and masters degrees in five years.
Or, if you want to specialize even further within the field, the program at Rutgers offers four different Public Health Certificate Programs—each requiring 18 credits—to any student interested, regardless of their major. The Public Health Certificate include Health Disparities, Public Health Advocacy/Education, Public Health Management, and Public Health Preparedness.
Rutgers University is a public research university in New Jersey, and the largest academic institution in the state. Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The BS in Health Policy and Administration at Pennsylvania State University blends together courses in liberal arts, business administration, and health sciences. Whereas some schools on our list promote the study of public health in many different contexts, the program at Penn State specializes within the healthcare system.
This 120-credit-hour program promises their graduates jobs in one of six positions: health care providers, health insurers, health care consultants, health care suppliers, health services researchers and policy makers, and health department promoters. Students who would like to continue their education can participate in the Integrated Degree Program, which allows them to earn both their BS and Masters of Health Administration (MHA) in five years.
In addition to studying with an impressive list of faculty, undergraduates in this program are encouraged to travel the country through study abroad programs. The semester-long Health Practice and Policy program takes students to London or Kingston, Jamaica, immersing them in a new culture through field experience and hands-on learning. Students can also choose from short-term, three-week courses in Costa Rica or Sweden.
Pennsylvania State University—and its flagship school, University Park—is a public research insitution with a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Since 1958, the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida has been educating over 2,200 students a year in cutting-edge research and health systems. Its Bachelor of Public Health (BPH) is a competitive, two-year program intended for motivated students going into the healthcare system.
Students apply to the program in their second year of undergraduate study. Although the program requires a total of 120 credits to graduate, it only requires 60 credit hours of 3000-level coursework within the Public Health degree. Because of the limited space within the department, students receive personal and specific mentorship from the ten core faculty members.
Among the many student organizations available to Public Health students at the University of Florida (like the Undergraduate Public Health Association and the Public Health College Council), the L.E.A.P. Mentorship Program, created in 2014, invites junior and senior Public Health majors to guide and mentor freshman and sophomore students who show interest in the degree.
One of the nation’s largest research universities, the University of Florida is a public institution in Gainesville that is also considered a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The 120-credit-hour BS in Public Health Science degree at the University of Maryland, College Park integrates earth science with public health, giving students truly an interdisciplinary experience in subjects ranging from ecology to statistics to policy.
The curriculum is organized into five main areas: scientific foundation, public health science foundation, public health science options, general education options, and general electives. The degree also incorporates a 3-credit capstone research project in the final year. This capstone project requires students to complete an in-depth, global study into a real-world issue, and is often the highlight of the program at University of Maryland.
This program also offers two winter-term study abroad options that are unique to Public Health undergraduates. “East Meets West: Contrasting Public Health Priorities, Pragmatics, and Polemics in the US and India” is a class that exposes students to global policy in the context of two very different cultures. “Thailand: Human Trafficking in Context” sends students to explore a number of NGOs in Thailand that are working against child and human trafficking.
Located just four miles from the nation’s capitol, The University of Maryland, College Park is a public research university. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
While there is no bachelor’s degree of Public Health offered at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, the school awards an Undergraduate Certificate in Global Health to all interested undergraduate students.
Seen as an effective introduction to public health, and complementary add-on to another related degree, this 15-credit certificate requires a core class (Introduction to Global Health), at least one of the other core classes (Local to Global Perspectives or Global Environmental Health: An Interdisciplinary Introduction), a field experience, and 6 to 9 credits of electives.
The field experience usually involves a one-on-one mentorship between you and a faculty member to choose a field location that suits your interests and needs. Students may either choose to stay local or within the United States, or they may travel to other countries, including Mexico, Ecuador, Uganda, Kenya, China, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
The oldest and largest public university in the state, the University of Wisconsin is a public research institution in Madison. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
For over seventy-five years, the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill has been preparing students to venture into the world as public health experts. Split between the four majors—Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy and Management, and Nutrition, the Global Public Health department houses around 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students per year.
Unlike some other programs who only have focus areas, this degree lets you hone in on a specific area as a major and specialize at the undergraduate level. Students aiming for the 120-credit-hour Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree typically declare a major in one of the four areas above during their sophomore year. In order to be enrolled in the degree, students must have 60 hours of coursework already under their belt, with specific science prerequisites.
Because of this program’s long history of Public Health education, students will find a multitude of resources in the department—renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, top internships, and the opportunity to continue their degree at the graduate level in the same program.
The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (known as UNC) is a public research institution, and one of the oldest three public universities in the nation. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The University of Illinois at Chicago (known as UIC) offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Health through its School of Public Health. Before students can be enrolled in the program, they must complete 60 credit hours of prerequisite courses (including three courses specifically in public health) and general education requirements.
Once you are admitted to the Public Health program (usually in the spring of your sophomore year), students take an additional 60 credit hours of classes, with around 40 credits in Public Health courses, 15 credits in pre-approved courses within other departments, and around 10 credits in electives, giving students a chance to study the depth and breadth of the field.
Woven throughout the entire Public Health curriculum at UIC are six themes and goals: Health as a Moral Endeavor, Health Equity, Life Course Perspective, One Health (animal-human environment), Cultural Relevance, and Local-Global Impact.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is a state-funded public research-intensive university. UIC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
If you’re interested in Public Health, but not quite sure if you want to take all the science and math courses that are usually required, Massachusetts Institute of Technology might be the perfect place for you. The Anthropology department at MIT devotes a significant portion of its undergraduate classes to Global and Public Health. By getting a BA in Anthropology, with a focus in Global Health, you’ll get a chance to approach the Public Health from a new angle.
Anthropology is the comparative study of humans in cultures and societies. At MIT, the Anthropology major focuses specifically on cultures and societies outside the United States—faculty and students are currently working on research projects in Colombia and Mongolia, just to name a few.
Some of the classes you can expect to take include Disease and Health: Culture, Society, and Ethics, or Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Health Care, or Infections and Inequalities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Health. On top of this particular focus, other classes within the major cover material on the environment, cross-cultural dialogue, and ethnicity.
Founded in 1861, MIT is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
The Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of Texas in Austin will give you both flexibility and depth. Students who complete this program are well-equipped in the core areas of public health, and many go on to pursue both entry-level public health positions and graduate degrees in medicine and other health fields.
Public Health undergraduates at UT Austin may choose from three different tracks: General Public Health, Public Health Honors, and Advanced Public Health. All students, however, must complete foundation courses in Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Global Health, Health Policy and Systems, and Health Behavior Theory and Practice.
Because Public Health professions often end up taking graduates to other parts of the world to study and work, this program also includes beginning-level proficiency in another language. The students who graduate from the program at UT Austin truly live up to the school’s motto: “What starts here, changes the world.”
Considered a “Public Ivy” school, the University of Texas in Austin is a public research university that enrolls over 50,000 students across its multi-school system. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Students at Stanford University not only enjoy the idyllic landscape of the northern Santa Clara Valley, but they also get the chance to study at one of the most prestigious institutions in the country.
The Public Health program is designed for students who are intrinsically motivated. Stanford offers a co-terminal Master of Science degree in Community Health and Prevention Research that can be paired with an undergraduate degree and completed in five years.
Undergraduate students enter this program from various other fields, including Public Policy, Education, Anthropology, and more. Within the program, all students complete a two-quarter long research internship in the community where they get a chance to apply their coursework learning. Because of the emphasis on prevention research, the program culminates in a final master’s thesis.
Stanford University consistently ranks as one of the top private research universities in the world. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The University of California—Los Angeles (known as UCLA) provides a number of degrees in Public Health through its Fielding School of Public Health. The only one offered to undergraduates, however, is a minor in Public Health.
Combined with the world-renowned educational reputation at UCLA and the 125 undergraduate degrees, adding this minor to an undergraduate major is a solid investment. Because of the robust graduate programs in Public Health, undergraduates can enjoy all the perks of the solid faculty, research centers, and integrated curriculum.
The curriculum is organized around five core departments: Biostatistics, Community Health Services, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management. Undergraduate minors in Public Health can pick and choose from classes in all five areas. The minor is a highly selective program; out of the roughly 125 applications the school receives, they only admit about 25 into the minor.
UCLA is a public research university in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
A highly competitive, and highly regarded program, the Public Health undergraduate major at the University of California—Berkeley is a strong choice for highly motivated and academic students. After working through general education courses and pre-requisites, students may apply to the major their sophomore year.
The program curriculum is divided between two end-goal purposes: pre-health professions and policy/education. Both approaches are required to take the same five core Public Health classes, as well as the final capstone course. The main differences between the two are found in the biology classes—prehealth professions include upper level biology, while policy/education does not require any biology.
Besides public health positions, students who graduate from this program have gone on to pursue various fields, including public policy, nutrition, medicine, and more. In general, Berkeley students can expect to earn around an impressive $60,500 once they graduate, making this degree a worthwhile investment.
University of California—Berkeley is a public research university that is globally ranked for its reputation. It is accredited by Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC).
The Health and Societies major at the University of Pennsylvania takes the methodology of three core disciplines—history, anthropology, and sociology—and uses them to think about health-related issues. While this degree is not specifically housed under Public Health, it uses all the same core ideas and subjects.
The program at UPenn keeps it simple. This major is split into fourteen classes: 4 core courses, 3 department courses, 6 courses in a concentration of your choice, and 1 capstone research course. Among the concentrations are Bioethics and Society, Global Health, Health Policy and Law, Public Health, Environment and Health, and more.
The flexibility of this major, as well as the integration of other disciplines within the degree, make it an attractive choice for any student who isn’t quite ready to only specialize in Public Health. Students who graduate from this program have gone on to find jobs in the business sector, in public and international health, and in government policy.
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university in Philadelphia whose academic mission emphasises multidisciplinary study. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Arizona offers a Bachelors of Science in Public Health through the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. In addition to the major in Public Health, this department houses a Pre-Public Health major and a Public Health minor.
While most schools offer similar concentration tracks, this program is designed around three unique tracks that are catered toward future professions: Environmental and Occupational Health (e.g., epidemiology, research, biostatistics), Health Behaviors (e.g., education, promotion, outreach), and Health Deliveries (e.g., pharmacy, nursing, medicine).
For exceptional students who are aiming to get their Master of Public Health degree, the Environmental and Occupational Health program has an accelerated five-year program that allows undergraduates to fast-track their degree and start taking upper-level courses during their junior and senior years.
The University of Arizona is a public research university in Tucson, and the first to be established in the state. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
If you’re looking for a hands-on experience in Public Health, Johns Hopkins University might be the school for you. Students in this program earn a Bachelors of Arts in Public Health Studies (BA) or they may choose to complete the accelerated masters program to earn a Master of Health Science (MHS) or Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH).
One of the biggest components of the Public Health program at Johns Hopkins is the Applied Experience requirement, which requires all students to complete an 80-hour public health experience in the community. Students work one-on-one with public health professionals in their area of interest. Some examples include interning with an NGO, or volunteering at a health clinic, or conducting a research project with a faculty member.
The program also offers two unique study abroad programs in South Africa and Uganda. During the month-long programs, students take two public health courses related to the health concerns of the particular place. In addition to class, these trips include homestays and field trips.
The Johns Hopkins University is a private research institution in Baltimore, Maryland. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
If you have your eyes set on going to Princeton University, you’ve picked a solid place to explore the global initiatives of Public Health. While they don’t offer an official major or minor in Public Health, Princeton gives just as many opportunities through its well-established Global Health and Health Policy Certificate.
The requirements are pretty straightforward: two core classes (global health and epidemiology), a handful of electives, a summer research project, and a global health thesis project. Students have complete freedom to design their 8-week summer research project. Some past highlights have included studying the rubella virus in India, researching breast cancer in Turkey, and more.
Every year, two to three students are selected as Princeton Brazil Global Fellows. Along with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty, they travel to Brazil to conduct an original research project in their area of interest. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to study in a new country and make first-hand connections to your learning.
Located in Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University is a private, Ivy League research university. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program at University of California—San Diego get the chance to engage in both the rigorous academic setting and the culturally diverse coastal community of San Diego.
The degree requirements make sure students graduate with a solid understanding of Public Health Sciences, Biology, Quantitative Methods, and Social/Behavioral Sciences. On top of those core disciplines, students are given over fifty Public Health elective options to supplement their interest or specialization.
Since this is a capped major, with limited space, students get the chance to work one-on-one with faculty in their research. This not only allows for valuable research experience for the student, but also the chance to work under faculty who are in the midst of cutting-edge projects. Some of the current research studies include the effects of nutrition on aging, Gulf War illness, effects of yoga for back and neck pain in military personnel, and more.
Located in the beautiful coastal La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, UC San Diego is a public research university, and known as a “Public Ivy” school. It is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
The Bachelor of Science in Global Disease Biology (GDB) at the University of California—Davis roots its curriculum particularly in the study of epidemiology and its relationship to the health of people, animals, plants, and the environment.
With a minimum total of around 138 credits, this science-heavy program requires students to take courses in Preparatory Subject Matter, Depth Subject Matter, and Electives. The major also includes a final senior research project or independent study under the guidance of a faculty member. Graduates from UC Davis have gone on to pursue careers in veterinary medicine, plant pathology, medicine, and government health agencies.
Because of this program’s emphasis on disease study at a global level, students at UC Davis are given an impressive list of options for study abroad programs. Some highlights include Pediatric Health in Bolivia, Pharmaceutical Chemistry in Taiwan, Biology Science in Ireland, and many more.
UC Davis is a public research university located just west of Sacramento. It is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges—Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Yale University takes an interdisciplinary approach to Public Health with its History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health major, which takes into account the interwoven relationships between these three subjects, and opens the door to a wide variety of careers post-graduation.
The program at Yale offers six areas of focus, or what they call “pathways”: Medicine & Public Health; Global Health; Science, Technology, & Society; Gender, Reproduction, and the Body; Media, Knowledge & Visual Cultures; and a self-designed pathway. Students must take seven courses that relate to their particular pathway.
Whereas some programs are science- and research-heavy, this major at Yale resembles more of a liberal arts degree. The final project is a year-long senior thesis, which begins as a proposal and seminar, and ends up as either a thesis or an alternative project such as a film, art exhibition, atlas, or historical data reconstruction. If you envision yourself finding a career that blends science, technology, and public life together, this program should make your list.
Yale University, a private, Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut, is consistently ranked among the top ten universities in the world. It is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
The Public Health options at Vanderbilt University are extensive; between a major, a minor, an honors program, and a 4+1 combined bachelors and masters program, you can be sure that you’ll find the best degree for your interests and needs here.
The major in Medicine, Health, and Society takes an interdisciplinary approach to public health by offering courses in medical sciences, humanities, social sciences, and more. The curriculum narrows into six areas of concentration: global health; health policies and economies; health behaviors and health sciences; race, inequality and health; medicine, humanities, and the arts; and critical health studies.
For high-achieving students, Vanderbilt might be the perfect place for you. The honors degree is a highly selective, two-semester program that puts particular emphasis on research. Students also must complete final thesis and an oral examination. The 4+1 program gives undergraduates the chance to finish their MA in just one extra year, giving them an excellent education for a great deal.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a private research university with a beautiful, 330-acre campus. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
At Michigan State University, both graduate and undergraduate students are engaged in public health through the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. However, for undergraduates, the only degree available is a minor in Global Public Health and Epidemiology.
This minor is a great pairing with another four-year bachelor’s degree program, and can be flexible depending on your focus. For pre-medicine and pre-veterinary students, this is a great way to gain a broader understanding of medicine and health at a global level. For anthropology or history majors, this minor will help you understand the complexities of public health in societies.
In order to complete the minor, students must complete 16–17 credits (or around five classes). This includes a Statistical Methods class and the choice of four electives such as History of Scientific Reasoning, Disease in Society, or Advanced Topics & Methods.
Michigan State University, or MSU, is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Just south of MSU, you’ll find the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, which offers a number of undergraduate degrees in Public Health: BA in Community and Global Public Health, BS in Public Health Sciences, a Fundamentals of Public Health Supplemental Studies program, and a 4+1 program.
The degree requirements for the BA and BS in Public Health are relatively similar; however, whereas the BS degree is intended for students planning on graduate school or future training in the health sciences (medicine, kinesiology, pharmacy, etc.), the BA degree is for students who plan on pursuing careers in health advocacy, education, and non-profit work.
If you’re not quite ready to settle into a four-year Public Health program, you can opt for the Fundamentals of Public Health Supplemental Studies program, which is a 10-credit course that gives students a solid introduction to the field. Many students who go through the program see it as a useful add-on to a health-related major.
The University of Michigan (known also as UM) is public research university in Ann Arbor with a strong reputation. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The study of Anthropology and Public Health are often intertwined, and students who attend Washington University in St. Louis are able to choose the Global Health and Environment track within the Anthropology major. The program also offers a minor in Global Health and Environment.
Because this major is housed within the Anthropology department, students are required to take at least 34 credits within the department. Two introductory courses are designated specifically to Global Health—Introduction to Global Health and Culture & Environment—and then the rest of the requirements consist of 18 elective credits.
Unique to this program is the Medicine and Society Program, which is a four-year fellowship awarded to twenty incoming freshman who are interested in combining medicine with the greater good of society. Students in this program participate in a seminar on medical anthropology, a community health internship, and a senior thesis project.
Named after George Washington, our first president, Washington University in St. Louis is a private research institution in Missouri. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Unique to other schools on this list, the Public Health program at Duke University is only offered as a co-major (so, you need to pair it with another major). In total, students co-majoring in Global Health complete ten classes, a statistics co-requisite, and an experiential learning credit.
The minor in Public Health requires students to take two core classes in Fundamentals and Ethics, and then three elective courses. Both minors and majors enjoy a faculty who represent a wide range of disciplines, from sociologists to physicians to demographers.
Duke University emphasizes their quality experiential learning programs. The 8-week or 320-hour program is designed to address a public health question, context, or challenge. Students can choose to study in one of over sixteen countries. Some current experiential learning projects include researching Sickle Cell disease in Cameroon, mental health in Kenya, and environmental epidemiology in Peru. These are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
One of the most innovative universities in the country, Duke University—located in Durham, North Carolina—is a private research institution that is known and respected all over the world. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
The Global and Public Health Sciences major at Cornell University takes a multidisciplinary approach to public health by combining biomedical, social, behavioral, political, and environmental sciences in their rigorous curriculum.
Unlike some programs that approach public health from more of a liberal arts perspective, this program jumps into the heavy sciences in year one—biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry—to lay a solid foundation in medicine. The course load branches into the core public health classes in year two, requiring epidemiology, biostatistics, and health policy courses.
The program at Cornell also encourages experiential learning in a three-credit-hour course that takes place in a research lab or community setting. Some students choose to complete this credit in an off-campus academic setting too. For example, the Urban Semester in New York City, Cornell in Washington, or the Capital Semester in Albany.
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a private Ivy League institution that has been non-sectarian in its enrollment since its founding in 1865. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The College of Global Public Health at New York University offers an impressive ten different majors related to global public health. Treated as co-disciplines, Global Public Health can be paired with the following for a major: Anthropology, Applied Psychology, Food Studies, History, Media, Culture & Communication, Nursing, Nutrition & Dietetics, Social Work, Sociology, and Science.
The classes in this program are grouped around six core public health areas: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Policy, Environmental Health, Sociobehavioral Health, and an internship. The major also requires an experiential learning element, which can be completed either with a faculty member on campus or as a study abroad credit in places like Madrid, Berlin, Tel Aviv, or more.
This department also offers a Public Health minor, which requires two courses—Health and Society in a Global Context, and Epidemiology for Global Health—as well as two additional courses from one of the ten disciplines.
Located in the heart of New York City, New York University is a private research university. NYU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
For students who know they want to pursue Public Health beyond their undergraduate, Emory University might be a good option for them. The Bachelor of Science/Master in Public Health (BS/MPH) joint degree gives you the chance to finish both your bachelors and masters in five years.
Students end their five years of study with either a capstone project or a thesis paper. Graduates from Emory jump into the professional world well equipped to be leaders in their field. Regardless of the work sector, graduates make an average of $59,000 upon graduation.
This program puts a special emphasis on research by collaborating with several other agencies, universities, and associations. Some of these include Center for Global Safe Water, Emory/Georgia Tech EPA Clean Air Research Center, and more. Students and faculty are engaged in research that ranges from the cellular level to global trends.
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University is a private research university that excels in health care education, among other things. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Global Health Studies minor at Northwestern University might not require many credits, but it packs in quality content and unique opportunities in its program. The minor offers a broad understanding of public health, though many students go on to pursue graduate studies in a specific subject.
The minor is a great complement to majors such as Anthropology, Biology, Economics, Political Science, and more. In addition to four core courses in Public Health, minors in Global Health Studies also take at least three elective courses in a concentration.
One of the most compelling parts of the program at Northwestern is the study abroad requirement. The program offers nine different international public health experiences: China, Cuba, France, Israel, Mexico, Serbia, South Africa, and Tanzania. Northwestern also offers a class in London called Maternal Health in the 20th Century, where they get the chance to study with a faculty member and work on archival research.
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Boston is a hub for some of the nation’s strongest public health institutions, and the Public Health program at Boston University reflects those connections and history.
Undergraduates at Boston University can jump right into the fast-track of the professional world by enrolling in the five-year Bachelor of Arts or Science and Master of Public Health program. Though the class requirements differ slightly, these two programs operate under a similar structure—requiring 128 credits for the BA/BS and an additional 48 credits for the MPH.
Students enjoy the vast network of nonprofits, research institutions, and healthcare facilities to use for networking, volunteer opportunities, internships, and practicums. On top of that, Boston University is a top-tier research institution with faculty who are working on cutting-edge research projects, and readily integrate students into their work.
Located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University is a private research university that enrolls over 33,000 students. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
The University of Southern California offers two different Bachelor of Science degrees: BS in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention and BS in Global Health. The department also offers seven unique minor programs for pre-health students.
The Health Promotion & Disease Prevention major is intended for students who want to go into medicine or other related fields, whereas the Global Health major is established for students who are interested in the global community by combining international relations, health promotion, and the natural sciences.
Both BS degrees require 128 credits in total (general USC requirements in addition to 66 core major credits). Undergraduates also have a number of research opportunities, both independently and collaboratively. Some of the current projects students are working on include work on nutrition, HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, and environmental health.
The University of Southern California (known as USC) is a private research university in Los Angeles. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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