The B.S. in Public Health degree program is designed for students primarily interested in the improvement of health and prevention of disease and disability. The program mission is to improve health throughout the lifespan. The program focuses on:

  1. Identifying social and behavioral determinants of health;
  2. Developing and evaluating interventions and policies leading to the improvement of population health;
  3. Advocating for policy devlopment and programmatic change;
  4. Investigating and trending diseases from the community level to national level; and
  5. Preparing professionals for leadership positions in advocacy and public health service.

Upon completion of the program, students will be well qualified for graduate studies and/or fullfilling careers in public and private organizations. 

A group of UT students sits with a group of local Hondurans.
UT students spent a week in Honduras building eco-stoves, latrines, cement floors and water storage tanks. They were part of Global Brigades, an international, student-led organization that works for positive social change in global health and sustainable development.

What is Public Health? The public health program is designed for students interested in the improvement of... more » close »

Public Health is an inherently multi-disciplinary area of study. For example, core quantitative disciplines such as epidemiology and biostatistics are essential for analysis of the broad impact of health problems, allowing us to look beyond individuals to entire populations. And, because preventing disease is at the heart of public health, the program includes the social science for a better understanding of health-related behaviors and their societal influences.

Sample Courses

  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Social and Behavioral Health Science
  • Nutrition
  • Global Health
  • Health Policy and Social Change
  • Biostatistics
  • Research Methods
  • Environmental Health

Although there are several required and recommended courses for the public health major, students still have flexibility in the curriculum to take courses of special interest. For instance, students may wish to pursue additional coursework in adolescent health, women’s health, gerontology, biology, environmental science, criminology, international and cultural studies, urban studies, Latin American studies, psychology, sociology, communication or research methods. View UT's online catalog for requirements and courses.

Real-World Experience Public health students can participate in research, internships and community service... more » close »


The Public health field is research and data driven. Excellent research skills are fundamental to analyzing the broad impact of health problems. Students are encouraged to work with faculty on research or conduct their own. 

Four public health students stand next to a St. Joseph's Children's Hospital sign.
Associate Professor Rebecca Olsen is leading a team of four UT students and collaborating with Professor Ryan Cragun on assessing the effectiveness of a grant that helped some of the nation’s most vulnerable children. Olsen said the student team is being exposed to a mix of health care quality as well as public health policy, creating an interdisciplinary experience through the research.


All public health majors must complete an internship. Internships allow students to apply their studies to real-world problems. You can read more about internships and what you can do with a degree in public health on the Career Opportunities and Graduate Compentencies page.

Community Service

Many public health students take the opportunity to volunteer with community based public health agencies. Service projects have included assisting various agencies such as DACCO (Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office) with the development, execution and evaluation of alcohol reduction strategies and the American Lung Association with programmatic needs. Students also participate in community health fairs, conducting respiratory and other health screenings.

Live Well UT A student-led organization that empowers the UT community to continually improve healthy behaviors and lifestyles. more » close »

Three students promote Live Well UT outside at a table. Participating in Live Well UT gives students practical experience in adressing public health needs through program planning, implementation and evaluation. Some of the initiatives include:

Rx Factor: educates students on the consequences of prescription drug abuse
Breathe Easy UT: tobacco/smoking/ vaping peer education program
Watch Your BAC: alcohol abuse reduction program that encourages students to lower their risk if they choose to drink alcohol
FOODS (Focusing on Optimal Dietetics for Students): promotes healthy habits through balanced living and proper nutrition
SASS (Safe and Sexy Spartans)educates students on sexual health and making safe and healthy decisions
EPC (Environmental Protection Coalition): engages in environmental conservation and advocacy
Active Minds: focuses on mental health and mental wellness

CHES Certification Become a Certified Health Education Sepcialist. more » close »

Students who successfully complete the necessary coursework are eligible to sit for the national certification exam to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). The CHES designation after a health educator’s name is one indication of professional competency and commitment to continued professional development. The exam covers subjects such as public health program planning, implementation, administration and evaluation.

I chose to study public health because of my interest in health education, promotion and prevention. Many people think that studying medicine is the only way to prevent illness, but public health goes beyond that by preventing health issues and promoting healthy lifestyles." - Claudia Jiménez '20