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Department ofPublic Health

Academic Programs

The Public Health Science (PHS) major is an interdisciplinary degree focused on the health of human populations and individuals. Students will gain a solid foundation in biology and chemistry to understand the functioning of the human body in health and disease. The major further explores the influences of environmental and social factors on human health through required and elective public health courses, as well as relevant courses in the social sciences and humanities. Through the senior capstone and mandatory internship, PHS majors engage in health-focused service and research projects that apply their education to real-world public health problems and integrate learning across disciplines. Students are encouraged to study abroad to gain a perspective on global health issues.  The Public Health program also offers a minor in Public Health for those pursuing another major who are interested in this important and growing field of study.

Public Health Science majors will be well-prepared for careers, graduate education, or professional training in public health or health-related professions, including medicine and nursing. There are many career options in the field of public health, including healthcare administration, planning, and public policy; epidemiology and disease surveillance; clinical research and clinical trials management; health-related education and social work; health and science communication; and basic research.

Students intending to pursue a medical degree, or post-graduate training in other health-related professions, should visit the University health professions peer advising website to discuss prerequisites for admission to such programs. Many require a full year of physics coursework (e.g., PHYS 11–13 or 31–33) and the full general and organic chemistry series (CHEM 11, 12, 31, 32, 33).

Starting in Fall 2020, the Public Health Program will offer two emphases within the major—Health Science and Health and Society. Both emphases have a strong foundation in the social and structural determinants of health, and students will take a combination of public health, natural science, and social science courses. The Health Sciences emphasis prepares students for graduate school and career opportunities in health services (e.g. medicine, nursing), infectious disease prevention and control, and epidemiology. The Health and Society emphasis prepares students for opportunities in community health, health education, health policy, and healthcare administration. Look below for the similarities and differences!

Health Science
Health & Society
PHSC 50 (or other approved stats course)

3 Intro Biology courses
5 Intro Chemistry courses

6 approved courses from
2 Social Science Departments

2 LD Social Science Electives
Math 35, 36

Biology 2 or 11
Math 35

PHSC 100, PHSC 150, 1 PHSC elective

2 Upper Division
Natural Science Electives

PHSC 125, PHSC 175

2 Upper Division
Social Science Electives

3 Upper Division
Social Science Electives

PHSC 139, PHSC 197, and PHSC 190

To declare or change a major, minor, or emphasis, fill out the SCU Registrar's Program Petition form.

Contact Us

Sonja Mackenzie, Ph.D., Department Chair
Cory Gong, Academic Department Manager
Phone: 408-554-5422

Location: The Department of Public Health is located in Kenna Hall, First Floor.

Valeriote Goldman Symposium: Public Health & Social Justice