Undergraduate Public Health Programs

Maintaining and improving public health is one of the great mandates of our time, both in the US and abroad. Aging populations, global pandemics, increasing environmental degradation, and a rise in childhood obesity are just some of the many challenges to which the field directly responds.

The Public Health Program prepares students to

  • Pursue professional endeavors informed by a social justice approach and dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of local neighborhoods or national populations: explore recent post-graduate results for the Public Health BA and BS degrees.
  • Participate in original research and scholarly writing with faculty in areas including epidemiology, global health, health equity, health policy, maternal and child health, nutrition, mental health, and health promotion.
  • Engage with the DC community-and your community abroad-through internships and service-learning activities.

Students can choose the Public Health BS, BA, or minor, in addition to our accelerated Three-Year Scholars Program:

At the heart of the BA, BS, and minor are sets of core courses that ensure that students gain both foundational knowledge and practical skills in the field of public health. Through their electives, students then learn about health issues from the perspective of several disciplines. The electives are set up into four clusters:

  • Global Health
  • Health Science
  • Social and Community Health
  • Policy, Program Planning, and Evaluation

Compare typical pathways to the BS and BA degrees below.

Upon completion of the Public Health program, students will be able to: 

  1. Explain the philosophy and essential services of Public Health.
    1. Explain the history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, and functions across the globe and in society
    2. Identify and address the concepts of population health, and the basic processes, approaches, and interventions which focus on the major health-related needs and concerns of populations
  2. Apply and utilize an epidemiological approach through engagement in collaborative public health research.
    1. Identify, explain, and utilize the basic concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, use, and analysis
    2. Apply evidence-based approaches to public health practice
  3. Evaluate and compare healthcare systems and public health initiatives in the United States and abroad.
    1. Describe the basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of health care and public health policy, and the roles, influences and responsibilities of the different agencies and branches of government
    2. Explain the fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the U.S. health system as well the differences in systems in other countries       
  4. Convey an understanding of the determinants of health and health disparities.
    1. Describe the underlying science of human health and disease including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the life course
    2. Identify and explain the socio-economic, behavioral, biological, environmental, and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities
    3. Appraise cultural differences among populations and interact sensitively, effectively, and professionally with persons from diverse backgrounds
  5. Plan, implement, and evaluate public health programs.
    1. Utilize the fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation
    2. Utilize the basic concepts of public health-specific communication, including technical and professional writing and the use of mass media and electronic technology

Complete your MS Degree in 1 Year!

Health Studies students now have the opportunity to complete a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s program in 5 years (4 years for Public Health Scholars).

Students are eligible to apply if they meet the following requirements:

  • Cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Have earned 75 – 90 academic credits
  • Students are not required to take Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

If accepted into the combined program, graduate regulations permit 500 and 600 level approved courses to be shared between the BA/BS in Public Health or Health Promotion and the MS programs.

  • Health Promotion Management is a 30-credit MS program and permits 12 approved credits to be shared between degrees.
  • Nutrition Education is a 30-credit MS online program and permits 9 approved credits to be shared between degrees.

Students must apply for the Bachelor’s/Master’s option when they have earned between 75 – 90 credits; therefore, early planning is essential!

For more information, email healthstudies@american.edu.

Washington DC is the top paying region in America for health workers and educators, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018).

Top employers for AU undergraduates with a degree in Public Health:

  • American Institutes for Research
  • FHI 360
  • French Ministry of Education
  • HealthCorps, Inc.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)
  • Peace Corps
  • RTI International
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research


See more about Public Health alumni career outcomes.

CEPH Accreditation

Bachelor's Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health

Congratulations to AU’s Public Health Program, which has earned accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) for a 5-year term.

Read the CEPH Report (PDF).
Read the Self-Study Report (PDF).

Group shot of global health competitions winners

Achievements ·

AU 2019 Global Health Competition Winners Announced

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Public Health BS & BA: Typical Four-Year Plans

Public Health Degree Four-Year Academic Plan
Yr 1 BS Degree, Fall BS Degree, Spring BA Degree, Fall BA Degree, Spring

* Students need to take only one of the following: SISU 349 or SISU 358
* Students need to take only one of the following: SOCY 320 or HLTH 350

 

STAT 202 (Q1), 4 credits

PHIL 241, 3 credits

STAT 202 (Q1), 4 credits

PHIL 241, 3 credits

 

BIO 110, 4 credits

HLTH 240, 3 credits

HLTH 240, 3 credits

HLTH 110, 3 credits

 

HLTH 110, 3 credits

WRTG 101, 3 credits

AUX 1, 1.5 credits

AUX 2, 1.5 credits

 

AUX 1, 1.5 credits

AUX 2, 1.5 credits

WRTG 100 (W1), 3 credits

WRTG 101, 3 credits

 

WRTG 100 (W1), 3 credits

Complex Problems, 3 credits

Complex Problems, 3 credits

First Habit of Mind, 3 credits

 

 

1st Habit of Mind, 3 credits

 

Free elective, 3 credits

Yr 2 BS Degree, Fall BS Degree, Spring BA Degree, Fall BA Degree, Spring

 

HLTH 210, 3 credits

STAT 320, 3 credits

HLTH 210, 3 credits

HLTH 340 (Q2), 3 credits

 

HLTH 245, 3 credits

HLTH 340 (Q2), 3 credits

HLTH 245, 3 credits

Fourth Habit of Mind, 3 credits

 

2nd Habit of Mind, 3 credits

4th Habit of Mind, 3 credits

Second Habit of Mind, 3 credits

Fifth Habit of Mind, 3 credits

 

3rd Habit of Mind, 3 credits

5th Habit of Mind, 3 credits

Third Habit of Mind, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

 

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Yr 3 BS Degree, Fall BS Degree, Spring BA Degree, Fall BA Degree, Spring

 

HLTH 335, 3 credits

HLTH 441, 3 credits

HLTH 335, 3 credits

HLTH 441, 3 credits

 

Major Selective, 3 credits

HLTH 350 (W2), 3 credits

SISU 349 or SOCY 320 * , 3 credits

HLTH 350 (W2) or SISU 358 * , 3 credits

 

Major Selective, 3 credits

Major Selective, 3 credits

Major selective, 3 credits

Major selective, 3 credits

 

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

 

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Yr 4 BS Degree, Fall BS Degree, Spring BA Degree, Fall BA Degree, Spring

 

   See testimonials, locations, and more about HLTH 480 and 491, Internships and Capstones.

 

HLTH 491, 3 credits

HLTH 480, 3 credits

HLTH 491, 3 credits

HLTH 480, 3 credits

 

HLTH 320, 4 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

HLTH 320, 4 credits

Major selective, 3 credits

 

HLTH 470, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

HLTH 470, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

 

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

 

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits

Free elective, 3 credits