The UAAC encourages all students interested in a career in public health to meet with a health professions adviser during their freshmen or sophomore year. Click here to schedule an appointment!
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- Professional Responsibilities
- Resources: Learn More About Public Health
- Professional Education
- Applying to Public Health Programs
Public health professionals strive to protect and improve the health of communities through:
- Promotion of healthy lifestyles
- Research for disease and injury prevention
There are many different types of public health careers, most requiring at minimum a master's degree from an accredited school of public health.
Resources: Lean More About Public Health
There are seven different types of advanced degrees in this field:
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Master of Science (MS)
- Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
- Doctor of Science (ScD)
Students pursuing an advanced degree in public health will be expected to focus in one of the following core areas:
- Environmental Health
- Behavioral Science/Health Education
- Health Services Administration/Management
- Maternal and Child Health
- International/Global Health
- Public Health Laboratory Practice
- Public Health Policy
- Public Health Practice
Applying to Public Health Programs
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While there is no specific undergraduate major required by public health programs, certain courses or majors may be required by specific core areas within a public health program. For example, environmental health concentrations may require/prefer an applicant with a chemistry/physical sciences background; biostatistics and epidemiology core areas may require an applicant with a strong math and science background. At NU, the Global Health Studies minor provides a strong foundation for students interested in public health on a global level.
Choosing a Public Health Program
Choose a program carefully based upon factors that are important to your own learning needs. Consider program content, geographic location, faculty; facilities, experiential training opportunities, class size, student demographics, extracurricular opportunities, and cost.
For state-supported public institutions, legal residence may have a significant impact on admissions decisions. Private institutions may offer out-of-state and foreign applicants a greater number of positions as compared to state-supported, public institutions.
Admission factors may vary among the wide variety of public health programs, but in general, competitive applicants will have:
- Strong academic background, usually with a GPA of 3.0 or above
- Experience/exposure to public health issues through community service, academic study, study abroad, and/or student organization involvement
- Ability to express in their application and interviews why an advance degree in public health is necessary for their career goals
Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) is the centralized application service for public health programs that allows students to:
- Apply to 31 out of the 40 accredited schools of public health
- Access a directory of programs
- Learn about the degrees offered and requirements
- Register their letters of recommendation writers
- Write personal essays/statements for specific programs
Although the University Academic Advising Center (UAAC) provides a recommendation file service, applicants applying through SOPHAS should use the SOPHAS letters service and not the UAAC service.