Why Global and Public Health Sciences?

Public health is the prevention of illness and promotion of wellness in small and large communities—every place from small villages to counties or continents. Using the tools of public health research and action, you will identify health issues in communities in the United States and around the world, and implement actions to protect or improve individuals’ lives.

The Global and Public Health Sciences major is intended for students who are interested in the health problems of communities and the actions that will protect or improve the lives of large numbers of individuals. These actions typically require a multidisciplinary approach—carefully considering cultural and ethnic contexts —that involves the biomedical, social, behavioral, political and environmental sciences.

Public health actions often address such issues as obesity and diabetes, food security, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; quality of food, water and air; and health care access.

This major is offered through the College of Human Ecology or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Enrolling in this major is especially appropriate if you wish to pursue advanced study to prepare for leadership positions in governmental or nongovernmental organizations,working directly with current and emerging health concerns in the U.S. or internationally.


Core courses in GPHS

  • NS 1600: Introduction to Public Health
  • NS 2060: Preparation for Engaged Learning in Global & Public Health Sciences
  • NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health
  • NS 3600: Epidemiology
  • Supervised Experiential Learning in Global and Public Health (minimum of 3 credits in a community or laboratory setting)
  • NS 4600: Explorations in Global and Public Health (capstone)

In addition to completing the core courses in public health, global health and epidemiology, you will take a minimum of one advanced course in each of the following areas:

  1. Social and behavioral health
  2. Biological aspects of public health
  3. Environmental health
  4. Health policy and management 

Other major requirements include:

  • Introductory Chemistry with lab
  • Introductory Biology (2 lectures, 1 lab)
  • Two different Social Science courses (Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Sociology)
  • One Humanities course
  • Two Written Communications courses
  • Introductory Biostatistics (STSCI 2150)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology

Sample four-year schedule of a student in the GPHS major.

After the completion of the experiential learning opportunity, seniors enroll in the capstone course, Explorations in Global and Public Health. You will complete a reflective document and presentation that connects the experiential component with the core principles of public health you learned through your coursework over the previous three years.

Your classroom and experiential learning, and the completion of your capstone course, will prepare you for any number of satisfying careers.

For more information on electives and major requirements, see the DNS Road Map.

Global and Public Health Sciences Experiential Learning

The experiential component of the Global and Public Health Sciences major will help connect your classroom learning to practice in the field.

You will learn in unfamiliar contexts and interact with people different from you. You will be challenged to engage more effectively with your course content, while gaining a deeper understanding of public health issues through research, writing and critical thinking.

A broad range of opportunities are available in domestic and international settings. You also may work with DNS faculty on their research.

GPHS Careers

Opportunities in public health are numerous and growing. Students completing the major in Global and Public Health Sciences will be prepared to pursue careers in public health, public service, research, social entrepreneurship, medicine and other health careers both domestically and globally.

Public health fields include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health education/behavior
  • International health
  • Health policy and management
  • Environmental health

Depending on the position and the employer, some opportunities may require an advanced degree, such as a Master’s in Public Health.