BS in Public Health

  • two women looking at a tablet in a workplace, a man working in a laboratory, and a professor holding a model of a brain speaking to a class

    Lead the Effort to Save Lives through Public Health

    The BS in Public Health prepares you to meet the growing demand for public health professionals. Public health seeks to prevent disease, prolong life, and promote health through organized efforts and informed choices by communities, organizations, and individuals.

    As a public health major, you’ll study the science of human health and the epidemiology of infectious and chronic diseases. You’ll also examine US and global health care systems, access to health care, and the ethics of disparities in health care delivery. You’ll take classes in statistics, community health, epidemiology, environmental health, global health, health policy, health promotion, social and behavioral health, and more.

    In addition, you’ll choose one of four tracks, each aligned with current needs in the public health profession:

    Epidemiology and Biostatistics Track

    Students in this track learn to apply epidemiology and statistics to understand why diseases occur, where they occur, and how to control and prevent them.

    Environmental and Occupational Health Track

    Students in this track learn to evaluate and control environmental and occupational health hazards. You’ll assess the risks of chemical, physical, and biological exposures to health hazards.

    Behavioral and Mental Health Track

    Students in this track apply public health concepts and methods to understand issues related to behavioral and mental health. You’ll use psychological and sociological perspectives to examine individual, social, and societal contributors to and consequences of health and illness.

    Global and Rural Communities Track

    Students in this track prioritize improving health, access, and equity among global and rural populations. You’ll understand major health disparities, with particular emphasis on vulnerable populations based on gender, race and ethnicity, social class, refugee and citizen status, and other important characteristics in the context of rural location and globalization.

    Why Public Health?

    Student working on a laptop in a classroom

    Data analysis is a key skill for public health professionals.

    Public health efforts can assist people to change their health habits such as smoking and substance use and can reduce deaths from leading chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Through prevention, it can lead to reductions in overall spending on health care. Typical roles for public health professionals include:

    • monitoring health
    • investigating health hazards
    • educating the public on health issues
    • recommending public health policy
    • coordinating with private and public agencies to ensure community health
    • identifying novel solutions to health problems

    IUP’s program in public health prepares you to become a leader in efforts to meet the health challenges of the twenty-first century.

    The World Needs Public Health Majors

    According to the World Health Organization, “globally … 24 percent of the burden of disease and 23 percent of all deaths can be attributed to environmental factors.” Reduction of environmental and social risk factors could prevent nearly a quarter of the global burden of disease.

    Public health majors are prepared to address these risk factors and make a difference in the lives of individuals across Pennsylvania, the nation, and the globe.

    Expected Outcomes with an Undergraduate Degree in Public Health

    Safety Sciences classroom

    Students learning about occupational health in a safety sciences class. As a public health major, you’ll take classes in a variety of disciplines.

    National and regional studies indicate a strong demand for trained public health professionals. Professional jobs related to public health (for example, epidemiologists, environmental scientists and protection technicians, health educators, and medical social workers) are projected to increase in number from 2014 to 2024 by at least 23 percent.

    Graduates in public health will be prepared to enter the field immediately after graduation or go on to a competitive advanced degree program.

    The IUP Difference

    Interdisciplinary emphasis. Faculty, resources, and courses for the public health program come from three academic colleges (Health and Human Services, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics) and seventeen different academic departments at IUP. The interdisciplinary, multicultural perspective you’ll gain will prepare you with a broad understanding of the practice of public health, from biology and mathematics to nutrition, psychology, philosophy, and geographic information systems.

    Sultan Magruder and Professor Jay Mills discussing a psychology research project

    Working closely with your professors is an IUP tradition.

    Experiential learning and field experiences. Real-world experiences in professional settings allow you to put your classroom learning to work. IUP’s strong network of relationships with hospitals, nursing agencies, public and private practice offices, rehabilitation centers, wellness clinics, government agencies, and human service agencies provides students with a diversity of options for field experiences.

    Standards-based program. This brand-new program incorporates a solid grounding in social, natural, and health sciences; mathematics; and humanities. It follows the Accreditation Criteria for Standalone Baccalaureate Programs in Public Health (PDF) adopted by the Council on Education for Public Health in 2013. (IUP will seek official accreditation of this program at the earliest possible date.)


    For more information about this program, contact Associate Professor Diane Shinberg, Director, Public Health Program at

    Our office is located in Sutton Hall, Room 352. 724-357-0137.

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