About the Public Health Major

We offer two different ways to study public health, it all depends on you and your interests!

The College of Public Health offers the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (BA) in public health and the Bachelor of Science (BS) in public health. If you are interested in the health sciences, are socially-minded, and want to help people on a large scale, public health might be for you.

Both of our degree options provide you with a basic understanding of the five core public health knowledge areas: biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, and occupational and environmental health sciences. No matter which program you choose, you will be prepared to enter the workforce or continue your education into areas such as public health, medical school, or other professional health sciences schools and beyond.

Both degree programs will start with a solid foundation: a shared public health core that will give you the  necessary breadth in the biological, social, economic, quantitative, geographic, and educational components of health and health disparities within and across populations that you need in order to work in public health.

The BA program is for those of you who have an interest in political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and other social sciences, and public health. BA students will complete course work in the social sciences and humanities in addition to the public health core courses.

The BS program is for students interested in biomedical sciences such as chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science, and public health. BS students will complete additional required course work in the natural sciences, mathematics, or computer sciences with their public health course work.

Both degrees end on a high note: a cumulative capstone experience during which you will integrate, apply, and synthesize public health knowledge learned.

Additionally, as an integral part of your education, you also will be exposed to public health professionals and agencies throughout your time here in the College of Public Health.

Not sure yet if declaring a major is the right path for you? Don’t worry. Through The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, we offer the Public Health Interest Designation. This is for students who are not sure if they want to declare public health as a major or who don’t qualify for direct admission to the BA or BS degree programs. Students who are interested in public health may be eligible to apply to the College of Public Health’s undergraduate degree programs if they meet the standard admission requirements.

All students admitted to the College of Public Health must complete the College of Public Health’s General Education Program in addition to course work required for their specific degree.

Undergrad to Grad Degree Programs

If you know you want to continue your public health studies by getting a graduate degree in public health, our Undergrad to Grad degree program may be right for you! This allows you to earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

Pursuing a combined degree allows you to further explore your interest in the field of public health, expedite time to degree–five years versus the typical six years–and save money by cutting one year of tuition!

Undergraduate to graduate degree options are open to all undergraduate majors at the university. Visit www.public-health.uiowa.edu/degree-programs/ for more information about our undergrad-to-grad degree options.


Questions or comments? Contact Katie McCullough. This page was last reviewed on August 15, 2017.