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

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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.
 
The Public Health Bachelor of Arts degree is a 49-credit interdisciplinary program that explores the social, behavioral, cultural, economic, and administrative dimensions of health and health policy. All Public Health BA students build a strong foundation in the principal competencies of public health and choose a specialization in Health Policy and Administration or Community and Health Equity for their elective and field experience coursework. Both tracks examine how the social environment, broadly defined, affects population health outcomes but each track emphasizes a different dimension of the health-society relationship.
 
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

Foundational Requirement:

ANTH100Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
BIO103Biology I and Lab 
BIO104Biology II and Lab 
CHEM191Principles of Chemistry I and Lab 
MATH136Precalculus 
MATH/BIO250Intro to Biostatistics 

Public Health Sequence:

PH201Public Health Essentials 
PH265Foundations of Epidemiology 
PH/ANTH270/270Global Health 
PH/POLSC375/375Health Policy 
PH350Applied Practicum in Public Health 
PH460Public Health Senior Capstone 

and

Select one of the following courses:

BIO231Bioethics 
PHIL200Ethics 
S&SH413Moral & Ethical Issues in Healthcare 

BS Electives: Public Health BS majors must complete 4 courses: 2 courses, including 1 lab course, from Group A – Infectious Disease; 2 courses from Group B – Basic Science. PH/BS majors may not choose a biology or marine biology core concentration.

Group A – Infectious Disease (choose two electives; one must be a lab course)

*Indicates course with pre-requisites outside the Public Health Major

BIO230Microbiology and Lab 
BIO363*Immunology 
BIO370*Virology and Lab 

Group B – Basic Science (choose two electives)

*Indicates course with pre-requisites outside the Public Health Major

BIO200Genetics and Lab 
BIO215Human Anatomy & Physiology I and Lab 
BIO330*Neurobiology 
BIO331*Bioinformatics 
BIO392Animal Nutrition 
S&SH110Health and Nutrition 
PH431Special Topics in Public Health Science 

Requirements for the BA in Public Health

Foundational Requirement:

ANTH100Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
PSYCH100Introduction to Psychology 
BIO103Biology I and Lab 

MATH 124 Basic Statistics OR MATH 136 Precalculus (prerequisite for MATH/BIO 250) PSYCH 240 Quantitative Analysis OR MATH/BIO 250 Intro to Biostatistics*

Public Health Sequence:

PH201Public Health Essentials 
PH265Foundations of Epidemiology 
PH/ANTH270/270Global Health 
PH/POLSC375/375Health Policy 
PH350Applied Practicum in Public Health 
PH460Public Health Senior Capstone 

and

Select one of the following courses:

BIO231Bioethics 
PHIL200Ethics 
S&SH413Moral & Ethical Issues in Healthcare 
BA Electives: Public Health BA majors must complete 4 courses from ONE of the tracks listed below. Course selection must include a mix of perspectives, with no more than 2 courses from one department (or prefix). At least 2 courses must be at 300-level or above.

BA Track 1 – Health Policy and Administration (choose four courses)

*Indicates course with pre-requisites outside the Public Health Major

- Indicates a variable content course that students may take twice to count for the Public Health Major.

AMST371*-Topics in Ethnicity, Class, and Region in America 
COMM100Introduction to Communication Studies 
ECON112Principles of Macroeconomics 
ECON111Principles of Microeconomics 
ECON330*Economics of Developing Countries 
MGMT200Management Principles 
MGMT302*Organizational Behavior 
MGNT/PA352/352*Non-profit Management 
PA/POLSC201/260Public Administration 
PA/POLSC340/380*Public Policy 
PA/COMM360/360Communication in Organization 
PA370*Comparative Public Administration 
PA/S&SH411/411Grant Writing 
PH430Special Topics in Public Health 
PSYCH205Psychology and Work: Industrial/ Organization Psychology 
PSYCH214Group Dynamics 
S&SH100Foundations of Social and Health Services 
S&SH352Social and Health Services Policy 
S&SH415Health Care Administration I 
S&SH416*Health Care Administration II 
SOC230*Population and Society 
SOC240*Sociology of Disasters 
SOC250*Social Perspectives on Social Problems 
WTNG320Writing for Business Organizations 

BA Track 2 – Community and Health Equity

*Indicates course with pre-requisites outside the Public Health Major

- Indicates a variable content course that students may take twice to count for the Public Health Major.

AMST370*-Topics in Race, Gender, Sexuality in America 
AMST371*-Topics in Ethnicity, Class, and Region in America 
ANTH310Applied Anthropology 
ANTH370Medical Anthropology 
COMM100Introduction to Communication Studies 
COMM240*Electronic Communication 
COMM250*Intercultural Communication 
CJS305*Drugs, Society, and Behavior 
CJS307*Violence and the Family 
CJS408*Social Justice 
MRKT200Marketing Principles 
PH431Special Topics in Public Health 
PSYCH201Psychology of Learning 
PSYCH211Child Development 
PSYCH255Social Psychology 
PSYCH295Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology 
PSYCH310Applied Social Psychology 
PSYCH326Health Psychology 
PSYCH360Multicultural Psychology 
PSYCH426*Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology 
S&SH110Health and Nutrition 
S&SH258Social and Health Services and Family Systems 
SOC201*Social Stratification 
SOC316*Sociology of Gender 
WTNG320Writing for Business Organizations 
WTNG400Writing for Social Change 

 

The Public Health Minor

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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.

Requirements for the Minor in Public Health

BIO103Biology I and Lab 
Select one of the following courses:
BIO/MATH250Introduction to Biostatistics# 
PSYCH240Quantitative Analysis# 
and
ANTH100Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
PH201Public Health Essentials* 
PH/ANTH270/250Global Health* 
PH350Applied Practicum in Public Health* 

#The course has pre-requisite requirements that do not fulfill requirements for the completion of the Minor in Public Health. Some pre-requisites may be waived with the instructors’ permission or by placement exam.

*These courses have pre-requisites that fulfill requirements for the Minor in Public Health

A headshot of Mary Dinnean

Making an Impact

Mary Dinnean, RWU Class of 2018 Public Health

Mary Dinnean, a junior double-major in psychology and public health, is a student making an impact addressing social justice and public health issues. In fact, she received a national award for her service.

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