Department of Health and Human Development, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
The Public Health degree consists of two to three years of course work in Health Education and supporting areas. This includes required course work in both content and process-oriented Public Health courses, Social Sciences (Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology), Biological and Physical Sciences (Anatomy and Physiology, Exercise Physiology, and Chemistry) and electives that complement a student’s interests and professional needs.
Why Consider a Public Health Major?
Public Health professionals engage in epidemiological analysis, assess population and community needs for health interventions; plan, implement and administer health education strategies, interventions and programs; conduct evaluation and research; serve as a health education resource; and communicate and advocate for the general health of the public. Effective Public Health is ecological in its approach. When planning the focus of interventions, public health professionals consider all factors that contribute to health and disease: individual behavior; group dynamics; environmental conditions; economics; politics, laws and policies; culture, ethnicity, and gender; and the availability, accessibility, and quality of health services.
Students who are accepted into the Public Health major explore the biological, social, environmental, and individual determinants of health. The curriculum is based on the skills and competencies to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing, Inc. The program is rigorous, and faculty members emphasize diverse classroom projects and community outreach. At the end of the program, a full-time internship (40 hours per week for 10 weeks) in a health education setting is required.
The Public Health major is appropriate for students who want to work in community, public, and global health; health communication; governmental and non-profit agencies and organizations; medical care settings; worksite wellness programs; and college and university student service health education programs. It can also serve as a preparatory program for graduate or post-baccalaureate study in Public Health and related areas.
For advising, please contact Jen Leita, HHD Advising Coordinator.
Public Health Educator | Tobacco Control Specialist | Sexuality Education Coordinator | HIV/AIDS Educator | Hospital-based Wellness Program Director | Public Health Director | Substance Abuse Educator | College Health Educator | Injury Prevention Specialist | Curriculum Development Specialist | Health Consultant | Health Information Specialist | Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator | Epidemiologist
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
Admission to the Public Health major is selective, and the number of majors is limited. Students interested in applying to the major should first pre-major in Public Health. This allows students access to entry-level courses. Students may sign up to become a pre-major as early as their freshman year; however, most students sign up during their sophomore year. Pre-majors are strongly advised to complete biology prerequisites for BIOL 348 and 349 and chemistry prerequisites for CHEM 251 or 351 by the end of their sophomore year. A 2.5 GPA is required to declare Public Health as a pre-major, and a 2.5 GPA must be maintained until graduation from the Public Health Program.
See Jen Leita, HHD Advising Coordinator, in CV 201A to fill out pre-major forms. If you are a transfer student, please bring a copy of your unofficial transcript with you.
Application to the major is due in mid-October of the year prior to the senior 400-level courses (exact date will be announced on the Public Health website at chss.wwu.edu/hhd/public-health). The application includes an essay; current résumé; two letters of reference; and transcripts. Program faculty will provide information on application specifics. Fulfillment of the requirement does not automatically secure admission to the major. Applicants are notified regarding acceptance before winter quarter registration. Majors must maintain a 2.5 GPA in all major courses to enroll in the required full-time internship at the end of the program of study. Students should begin planning ahead with a faculty advisor and Financial Aid once they are accepted into the major.
A grade of C or better is required for a student’s major courses and supporting courses for majors.