SOPH undergrad students in a classroom. The BS in Public Health degree offers a broad overview of public health research and practice, introducing you to the multiple focus areas within public health (e.g., epidemiology, health behavior, health policy). Our students also gain hands-on experience working with community partners to improve the health of populations. Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the BS in Public Health degree is designed to prepare students to:

  • Identify key health challenges facing a community, based on evaluation and synthesis of public health information.
  • Recognize the importance of evidence-based strategies to address public health challenges facing a community.
  • Advocate for improved health in the community, both orally and in writing, to diverse audiences.

All students take a core set of courses (24 credit hours) introducing the multidisciplinary field of public health. You will have numerous opportunities to engage in Experiential Learning (including internships, service learning, directed research, Education Abroad, etc.). The Public Health Capstone course (completed at the end of the degree program) can help you prepare to enter public health practice or pursue further education by allowing you to apply what you've learned in your coursework.

At only 45 credit hours total, the BS in Public Health degree program can easily be combined with another major, a minor, or the pre-health curriculum. You can focus your degree by selecting a concentration in Environmental Health Sciences, Global Health Studies, or Public Health (a general concentration providing flexibility to pursue coursework in multiple areas of public health). Check the descriptions below to find the concentration that best matches your interests and career goals.

  • Public health draws on a variety of disciplines to investigate a broad range of health-related topics. The general Concentration in Public Health allows you the flexibility to pursue varied interests within this constantly evolving field, whether it’s learning how to warn the public about emerging epidemics like Ebola or Zika virus or developing educational campaigns to help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

    Graduates with general training in Public Health go on to work in their communities, in healthcare settings, or for agencies like the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization — anywhere that broad knowledge of the biological, environmental, social, and behavioral influences on health is needed.

  • The Concentration in Environmental Health Sciences will prepare you to identify and address health hazards in the environment such as water and air pollution, toxins, and occupational exposures to unsafe work conditions. Drawing on the disciplines of chemistry and biology, you will learn how human health is affected by the environment and see how evidence-based policies and regulations can help to protect the health of populations. Using an environmental justice framework, you will learn why some communities are at greater risk for environmental health hazards and what can be done to address these inequities.

    This concentration focuses on the most critical public health issues of the 21st century, including global climate change and the need to find sustainable solutions to protect our environment. Common career paths for graduates of this concentration include occupational health and safety, emergency preparedness response, environmental monitoring and assessment, and a wide range of positions with Health Departments or agencies focused on protecting the environment.

  • A Concentration in Global Health Studies will prepare you to advocate for the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations, both globally and here in our own community. This concentration incorporates insights from the social sciences to explore why education is so critical for improving health globally, how local cultures determine whether and how public health interventions will be adopted, and why inequality is so tightly linked with poorer health outcomes.  

    Students can gain hands-on global experience through Education Abroad opportunities or time spent at the innovative Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology. Common career paths include work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), ministries of health, or the World Health Organization, focusing on issues like maternal and child health, infectious disease surveillance, disaster response, and humanitarian crises.