Bachelor in Public Health

General

Program Description

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:

  • Identifying social and behavioral determinants of health,
  • Developing and evaluating interventions and policies leading to the improvement of population health, and
  • 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 leadership roles in public and private organizations. These organizations may include hospitals, group practices, community health centers, and community-based nonprofit organizations, public and private corporations, foundations, workplaces, schools, colleges, and local, state and federal public health agencies.

What Will You Learn?

UT’s multidisciplinary public health major focuses on:

  • Identifying social and behavioral determinants of health
  • Developing and evaluating interventions and policies leading to the improvement of population health
  • Advocating for policy development and programmatic change
  • Investigating and trending diseases from the community level to the national level
  • Assessing and advocating for environmental health improvement

Courses emphasize health promotion and education, illness and disease tracking, environmental assessment, public policy, and collaborative leadership and partnership. A solid foundation in behavioral sciences principles and theories is provided, along with advanced skills in program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Students may select among three concentration areas, based on their interests: behavioral health, public policy and social change, and wellness.

Although there are several required courses, students have flexibility in the curriculum to take courses outside the major. For instance, students may wish to pursue additional coursework in adolescent health, women’s health, gerontology, biology, environmental science, criminology, international and cultural studies, Latin American studies, psychology, sociology, communication or research methods.

Sample Courses

  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Social and Behavioral Health Science
  • Nutrition
  • Applied Kinesiology
  • Health Policy and Social Change
  • Biostatistics
  • Applied Sociology

CHES Certification

Students who successfully complete the public health degree program 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 competence and commitment to continued professional development. The exam covers subjects such as public health program planning, implementation, administration, and evaluation.

Practical Experience and Networking

Internships

An internship (12 credit hours) is required for all public health majors. Internships provide students with an opportunity, under supervision, to apply the knowledge and skills from the classroom to real-world public health practice. Examples of recent student internships include:

  • Assisting with public health policy with the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Gathering data for a Costa Rican national study on preventing the spread of syphilis and HIV from mother to child.
  • Working on improving pediatric health care quality at Tampa General Hospital.
  • Working with One Bay Healthy Communities on health care access and health disparities within the Tampa Bay area.
  • Working with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
  • Assisting the Florida Asthma Coalition with developing programs.

Research

The public health field is research and data-driven. Thus, excellent research skills are fundamental to analyzing the broad impact of health problems on entire populations. UT students assist faculty with their research and conduct their own. Students have:

  • Conducted in-depth interviews among parents with children with special health care needs to determine health care quality improvement strategies.
  • Interviewed key stakeholders in Florida who have implemented asthma education in K-12 schools.
  • Conducted interviews and performed data analysis related to hookah smoking and binge drinking among students.
  • Conducted focus groups among asthmatic college students to understand their health needs on campus.
  • Conducted focus groups among students to gain a deeper understanding of binge drinking and potential reduction strategies.

Community Service

Students apply their knowledge and gain valuable experience by volunteering with public health agencies in the community. 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 have also participated in community health fairs conducting respiratory and other health screenings.

Many public health majors are leaders in campus wellness initiatives and have helped coordinate events to educate students, faculty, and staff on the benefits of proper nutrition and exercise and the negative health consequences of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and driving while texting. Two campus-wide initiatives, in collaboration with the Dickey Health and Wellness Center, are the Watch Your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) and Breathe Easy UT campaigns.

What Can You Do With This Degree?

The field of public health is extremely broad and encompasses a variety of careers, so career options range from local to international. No matter where you choose to reside, there is a need for your skills. Upon completion of the program, students are qualified for graduate studies and/or leadership roles in many public and private organizations. These organizations may include hospital outreach programs, community health centers, community-based nonprofit organizations, public and private corporations, foundations, workplaces, schools, colleges, and local, state and federal public health agencies.

Most jobs in public health require at least an undergraduate degree and offer a competitive salary. Some jobs may require the completion of a master’s degree or doctorate. Salaries in this field can vary greatly.

Students might also consider combining a public health major with another major or minor in a complementary field such as sociology, communication, leadership studies, international studies, etc.

The demand for public health professionals continues to rise in response to global concerns such as bioterrorism, pandemics, HIV/AIDS and environmental issues. Rising insurance costs and increased awareness of health and wellness have also generated corporate and government support for prevention and education programs in areas such as diet, diabetes and tobacco use. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health educators is expected to grow by 37 percent by 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Sample Job Titles

  • Community health coordinator
  • Health services administrator
  • Corporate wellness director
  • Epidemiologist
  • Infectious disease specialist
  • Biostatistician
  • Clinical researcher
  • Emergency management specialist
  • Environmental specialist
  • Health educator
  • Research analyst

Admissions

Local Freshman Admissions

  • Official high school or secondary school transcript or GED results
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • SAT and/or ACT scores
  • Completed guidance counselor recommendation form or recommendation letter from a teacher (not required if you graduated from high school more than two years ago)
  • Essay
  • Official college/university transcripts for any credits completed

Undergraduate International Admissions

With students enrolled from over 100 countries, U.T. proudly considers students from around the globe for freshman or transfer admission. Proof of English proficiency is required. (This is waived for international students from the Commonwealth Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.)

Students should apply through U.T.'s online application. In order to review a student’s application, the University must receive the following:

  • Official transcripts for all secondary school or college coursework, with grades translated into English ("Official" means that you must request your school to send your transcript directly to the UT Office of Admissions. If that is impossible, send a copy that has been certified by your school as a "true copy" of the original after it is copied. An official at your school should sign the document as "true copy of the original.")
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • Essay, written in English (not required if you already graduated from high school and have completed some college credits)
  • Completed guidance counselor recommendation form (first-year students only)
  • Proof of English proficiency (please submit one of the following):
    • TOEFL: the minimum acceptable score is 550 or 213 (computer-based) or 79 (Internet-based)
    • IELTS: International English Language Testing System – minimum grade of 6.5
    • Successful completion of the English 112 certificate offered by ELS Language Centers accompanied by a letter of recommendation from an administrator and a 500-word English writing sample
  • Proof of available funds to cover expenses for the first year of study
  • Essay (first-year students only)
  • Copy of biographical page of your passport (if available)
  • International Student Clearance Form (if currently studying in the U.S.)

International students who meet admission requirements but need additional English language training prior to entering as a full-time degree student may enroll in one of the several E.S.L. programs.

International students also must furnish proof of available funds to cover their first year of study and each subsequent year. Exceptional new entering students with excellent academic achievement receive partial scholarships ($4,000-$7,000 per academic year) which covers only a small portion of the total costs. Students may work on campus up to 20 hours per week.

Upon admission to the University and satisfactory completion of the financial statement, an I-20 form will be sent to applicants from U.T.’s admissions office. Applicants must take the I-20 form, a copy of their acceptance letter and financial statement to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. After an interview, the embassy or consulate will decide if an F-1 student visa can be issued. To enter the United States, students need this visa in their passport and the I-20 form. Students may not enter the country on a tourist visa with the intention to study in the U.S.

The staff in the Office of International Programs assists students with pre-arrival information, orientation, and advice on academic, social, cultural and employment matters.

Note: For special circumstances, additional documentation may be required in all categories.

Admission deadlines

The deadlines for Bachelors are as follows:

  • November 15 - Early Action I deadline; decision by December 15.
  • January 15 - Early Action II deadline; decision by February 15.
  • March 1 - Regular Decision deadline; decision by April 1.
  • March 2 - Applications completed after March 1 are evaluated on a rolling basis.

Average cost for full-time undergraduate students

Tuition (12-18 credit hours per semester): $13,603
Student Government Fee (required): $96
Student Service Fee (required): $480
Student Health Fee (required): $425
Room (double room): $2,853
Board (average 15-meal/week plan): $2,552

Total:

$19,584
Last updated July 2019

About the School

The sciences afford the opportunity for exploration and discovery in the pursuit of new knowledge, understanding systems in the physical and natural world, and for bettering the human condition. With ... Read More

The sciences afford the opportunity for exploration and discovery in the pursuit of new knowledge, understanding systems in the physical and natural world, and for bettering the human condition. With the challenges the world faces, there has never been a better time to pursue an education in the sciences, health care or sport studies. Read less