Public Health is a vast interdisciplinary field of study that incorporates all the perspectives, roles, policies, and institutions required to keep our populations safe from illness and injury. Unlike the medical field, which focuses on the health of individuals, public health focuses on the health of communities and populations at local, national, and global levels. The study of public health covers a broad range of topics from the safety of food, water, and highways to examining how individual behaviors and the social environment contribute to the prevention of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Knowledge of public health is an asset to all undergraduate students who, as world citizens, must cooperate in the effort to manage multiple, simultaneous threats to public health including: infectious diseases such as flu and SARS; chronic disease risk factors such as obesity and smoking; the unequal distribution disease and risk factors in the population; and shifts in environmental risk factors resulting from climate change. All of these issues entail complex ethical questions about individual freedom, social responsibility, and human rights.
The Public Health Program offers two degrees in public health: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. Each degree prepares graduates for exciting careers in the diverse domains of the field. All Public Health majors should have strong skills in science, mathematics, ethics, social analysis, and cultural awareness along with excellence in written and oral communication. Students pursuing a major in Public Health complete a semester-long field experience that integrates their skills in connection with a contemporary public health issue. The major pairs well with a second major in the Arts and Sciences and a variety of minors in interdisciplinary and professional fields.
The Public Health Bachelor of Science degree is a 56-credit interdisciplinary program designed for students interested in careers in the biomedical and epidemiological applications of public health, or those preparing for graduate study in research, medicine, or the health professions. The Bachelor of Science in Public Health provides instruction that addresses and builds knowledge in the following domains of public health: the foundations of scientific knowledge, including the biological and life sciences and the concepts of health and disease; application of biological principles in public health interventions to promote and protect health; and the fundamental concepts, methods and tools of public health data collection, use and analysis. The Bachelor of Science in Public Health prepares students for careers in biomedical laboratory research, health education, occupational health and safety, laboratory research, public health preparedness and for graduate work in public health, research, medicine or the health professions.