Public Health

Embrace your role as a world citizen through the study of Public Health, an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the health of populations at the local, national and global levels. You’ll tackle a broad range of pressing health topics, from food safety to infectious diseases to climate change, as you prepare for a career managing and evaluating programs that keep our communities safe from illness and injury.

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 of 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 Major

Click to Open
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 ScienceSee course requirements 
 
The Public Health Bachelor of Arts See course requirements 
 
The Health Policy and Administration Track — The Health Policy and Administration track prepares students for careers related to health advocacy, policy analysis, health legislation, and public administration. Students who pursue a specialization in this track should complete a range of electives that reflect the breadth of knowledge and skills relevant to the fields of health policy and health administration. Competency areas include: public policy, health policy, and law; social dynamics and organization; market economics; and administration and management.
 
Community and Health Equity Track — The Community and Health Equity track prepares students for careers related to community health education and community outreach as well as community assessment, health communication, and project management. Students who pursue a specialization in this track should choose a variety of electives that reflect the breadth of knowledge and skills required in public health practice and research at the community level. Competency areas include: human behavior and development; communication; social and cultural diversity; social justice and inequalities; social and behavioral determinants of health.

Requirements for the BS in Public Health

 

The Public Health Minor

Click to Open
The Minor in Public Health engages students in an interdisciplinary exploration of Public Health and the field’s overarching goal to protect and improve the health of individuals and communities. Foundation courses in Biostatistics and Biological and Social sciences provide students with an opportunity to examine Public Health sub-fields. Public Health-specific courses facilitate student understanding of public health assessment, policy development and health promotion education, including associated activities such as health status monitoring, health problem and environmental hazard identification, citizen education, community mobilization and evaluation of program effectiveness. Students pursuing the Minor in Public Health complete a relevant field-based experience and contextualize the experience with primary literature, gaining unique perspectives on Public Health as a career.

See course requirements 

A headshot of Mary Dinnean

Making an Impact

Mary Dinnean, RWU Class of 2018
Public Health

Mary Dinnean, who graduated with bachelors degrees in psychology and public health, made an impact as a student addressing social justice and public health issues. In fact, she received a national award for her service. She's now a graduate student at Boston University School of Public Health.

Read full story
Student interning as medical assistant.Learn About Health Professions Advising

Are you interested in a career in the health professions and want more information on developing your studies toward professional preparation? Visit Health Professions Advising for resources on how you can explore your options for health professions pathways.

Explore Health Professions Advising