Public and Community Health (B.S.)

Concerned about the prevalence of diabetes, lack of safe water supplies, emerging infectious diseases, cancer, or the widespread use of prescription drugs? Inspired by the debates over health care legislation? Want to take a role in confronting the monumental health challenges facing undeveloped nations? With a degree in public and community health, you’ll be ready to help people make sense of conflicting societal messages about how best to eat, live, work, and exercise, or to help governments, nonprofit organizations, and communities adopt more ethical, fair, and cost-effective public health policies.

Depending on your career and intellectual interests, you’ll customize your studies with a program, policy, or planned interdisciplinary combination (PIC) in health emphasis.

If you see yourself working with individuals in a teaching or directing role, the program emphasis will help you focus your learning on nutrition, sexuality, family health problems, consumer health, teaching strategies, and how to develop and evaluate community health programs.

If you’re interested in working at the state, national, or global level, choose the policy emphasis; classes like Food and Society, International Health Issues, Economics of Health, and War, Hunger, and Genocide, as well as writing and politics courses, will teach you to advocate legislation, develop program policy, and help shape rules around public and community health issues.

The PIC emphasis allows you to immerse yourself in a specific niche -- health in marginalized populations and women’s health are just two examples. You’ll work with an adviser to design your own 24-credit specialty with a mix of courses from within and outside the department.

If you aspire to advanced or additional study, such as a master’s degree in public health or an advanced nursing degree, you’ll be well prepared; courses taken in the major may even satisfy some of the requirements for these postgraduate programs. All majors do an internship in a community health organization, government agency, or nonprofit, which gives them firsthand experience in a health profession they may ultimately choose as a career: grant writer, teacher, researcher, manager, organizer, advocate, policy maker, analyst, administrator, activist, or international relief worker.