Creating healthy communities through education, research and promotion of healthy lifestyles

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection and control of infectious diseases [CDC Foundation, 2016]. See public health in action.

At the University of Michigan-Dearborn, we offer a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Services (HHS) where you can focus on three concentrations in either Public Health, Human Services or Pre-Health Professions. Learn more about the UM-Dearborn College of Education Health and Human Services HHS program.

At the professional level, the public health field can be entered at any point. Many people enter the public health field after completing a graduate degree at a School of Public Health. Within a School of Public Health, there are generally five core disciplines of public health: biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health behavior and education, and health management and policy.

Other areas of concentration may include maternal and child health, nutrition, genetics and public health, biomedical and laboratory practice, international or global health, health information technology, etc. Many graduate schools of public health have joint programs with schools of medicine, physical therapy, veterinary medicine or law.

The most common graduate degree for public health professionals is the Master of Public Health (MPH). Other degrees are Master of Science (MS), Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health.

 

What classes do I need to take?

All graduate public health programs require competence in verbal and written communication. They also look for applicants who have a high level of academic competency, demonstrated motivation to service, cultural competency, teamwork and exposure to public health work.

Each public health field has its own additional course prerequisites, which are listed below as a general guideline. The Health Professions Advisor and ASPPH Academic Program Finder provides more information.

Biostatistics:
Biology, chemistry, and math (including upper-level statistics).

Epidemiology:
Biology (including upper level), chemistry (including organic), and math (including upper-level statistics).

Environmental health:
Biology (including upper level), chemistry (through Biochemistry I), environmental science and math.

Health behavior and education:
Biology, math (statistics), psychology and sociology.

Health management and policy:
Business and economics, pre-calculus, statistics, psychology, political science and sociology.

What is the national standardized test?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the test required by most schools/programs.

What is the admission process?

Many schools use the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) for primary applications to their programs. Some schools still use their own application.

Typically, the five core fields of public health in graduate school are in separate departments within a school and each department has a different set of requirements for admission. The ASPPH Academic Program Finder provides more information.

What else should I know?

More information, such as what you should major in at UM-Dearborn and what else you can do to prepare for the profession, can be found in our FAQ section.

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