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Pre-Public Health Track at Hope College
What is Public Health?
Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. The best public health is invisible because prevention well done means communities are healthier without anyone noticing. To learn more about Public Health, visit the URL, “What is Pubic Health?”
Schools of Public Health generally have 5 core disciplines:
1. Biostatistics; 2. Environmental Health; 3. Epidemiology; 4. Health Behavior & Health Education; and 5. Health Management & Health Policy
In addition to the core areas, other areas of concentration may include maternal and child health, genetics and public health, biomedical and laboratory practice, nutrition, and international or global health, etc. Also many schools of public health have joint programs with schools of medicine, physical therap, vet medicine, or law.
What do degree do I earn?
The most common degree for Public Health professionals is the Master of Public Health (MPH). Other degrees are Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) or PhD in Public Health.
What is the admissions process?
Typically, the 5 core fields of Public Health are in separate departments within a School of Public Health (SPH), & each department has a different set of requirements for admission.
Therefore, it's important for you to refer to individual departments for specific admissions requirements. You must check the school's website to determine the course requirements. To help you get started, here is a list of Accredited Schools of Public Health. Many SPHs now use the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) for primary applications to their programs, but some schools still use their own individual school application.
What classes do I need to take? What should I major in?
All SPHs expect a high level of academic competency. Pre-public health track students may have a variety of academic majors, but there is coursework that may better prepare you for the specific core disciplines. Below are some suggested guidelines, but refer to the paragraph above because each department within each school has specific requirements.
For pre-public health tracks students preparing for:
Biostatistics, you should take coursework biology, chemistry, and mathematics including upper level math especially statistics, along with a strong liberal arts education.
Epidemiology, you hould take coursework in biology including upper level biology, chemistry through organic chemistry, and mathematics including upper level statistics, along with a strong liberal arts education.
Environmental Health, you should take coursework in biology including upper level biology, chemistry through biochemistry I, environmental science, mathematics including introductory stats along with a strong liberal arts education.
Health Behavior & Health Education, you should take coursework in sociology, psychology, general biology, introductory stats, along with a strong liberal arts education.
Health Management & Health Policy, you should take coursework in business and economics, sociology, psychology, introductory stats, along with a strong liberal arts education.
All Schools of Public Health require competence in verbal and written communication. Therefore, students should take advantage of their liberal arts education (i.e., gen. eds.) to develop these skills. Another way to assess competence is the Graduate record exam (GRE).
While SPHs look for students high level of academic competency (strong GRE and GPAs), other aspects of an applicant's profile, such as demonstrated motivation to service orientation, cultural competency, teamwork, exposure to pubic health work are expected.
Useful Web Links to Information on Careers and Training in Public Health
Links to General Information