Public Health Practice Major

Program Director: Tracy Zeeger, Ph.D.

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health Practice is an interdisciplinary public health degree program rooted in social and behavioral science and theory and focused on making meaningful contributions to impact health and quality of life at all levels of society.  Students learn to address the complex individual, community, and societal factors impacting health through a highly-structured, professionally-focused program that culminates in a full-time, mentored internship during the final semester. 

The program is designed to serve as a gateway to graduate studies or as a transition directly to the field as an engaged, prepared, and well-informed public health practitioner. During the program, students have opportunities to learn outside of the classroom through volunteer work, study abroad opportunities, collaboration with departmental faculty through independent study, work at the University Health Center for credit, and public health-related student groups.

Graduates of the Public Health Practice major pursue careers in research, advocacy, policy, health education, social work, community outreach, and other public health related areas. They work locally, nationally, and internationally primarily through foundations, non-profit organizations, and government services.   

Program Learning Outcomes

As a result of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Practice degree program, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, and functions across the globe and in society.
  2. Use basic public health concepts, methods, and tools for data collection and analysis.
  3. Identify the major health-related needs and concerns of populations and formulate basic processes, approaches, and interventions as possible solutions.
  4. Describe the underlying science of human health and disease including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the lifespan.
  5. Examine the socio-economic, behavioral, biological, environmental, and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities.
  6. Demonstrate the fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation.
  7. Compare and contrast the fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the health systems of the United States and other countries.
  8. Characterize the basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of health care and public policy.
  9. Illustrate the basic concepts of public health-specific writing and communication.
  10. Assess and communicate individual and community-level needs for health promotion and disease prevention.
  11. Create and apply strategies that effectively incorporate cultural competences with health promotion and community health initiatives.
  12. Synthesize and apply principles and theories of community health that are needed for the development of effective and evidence based health promotion and disease prevention strategies.
  13. Promote and advocate for effective community health initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels.
  14. Collaborate with community organizations to apply public health principles in a real-world setting.
  15. Demonstrate requisite competencies in professional etiquette and career readiness to allow for a successful transition into the workplace (adapted from NACE).
  16. Critically analyze the impact racism has on population health and reflect on what it means to be anti-racist.

The total number of credits required to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health Practice is 120, and the number of Public Health Practice major-required course credits is 69. Students must earn a grade of C- or higher in all Public Health Practice major-required coursework. HLTH491, Community Health Internship, is completed during the final semester in the Public Health Practice major, after all other coursework has been successfully completed.  Students can elect to complete an area of specialization in selected areas (Special Populations, Health Communication, Health Risk Behavior).

Course Title Credits
Public and Community Health Core13
Foundations of Public Health
Introduction to Behavioral and Community Health
Epidemiology for Public Health Practice
Biostatistics for Public Health Practice
Macro Level Influences on Community Health
Public and Community Health Foundational Science8
Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology
and Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology Laboratory
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Social and Behavioral Public Health9
Introduction to Research in Community Health
Introduction to Health Behavior
Social Media & Digital Tools for Community & Public Health
Community Public Health9
Personal and Community Health
Methods of Community Health Assessment
Making a Difference: Applying Community Health
Health Electives12
Students can select from a pre-approved list of 3-credit health elective offerings
Professional Preparation18
Effective Strategies for Public Health Practice
Professional Preparation in Community Health
Community Health Internship
Total Credits69

Click here for roadmaps for graduation plans in the School of Public Health.

Additional information on developing a graduation plan can be found on the following pages: