Global & Public Health Sciences Major

Impact the health of entire communities

The work of public health professionals is distinct from the work of clinical professionals, who typically treat individuals after they have become sick or injured. Public health actions often involve educational and/or governmental approaches that influence many persons simultaneously. For example, you could help tackle issues such as obesity and diabetes, food security, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, quality of food, water and air and access to health care.

The major is especially appropriate if you wish to pursue leadership positions in governmental or non-governmental organizations that deal directly with current and emerging health concerns in the U.S. or internationally.

Major in Global and Public Health Sciences

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Sustained improvement of the health of populations often requires a multidisciplinary approach involving the biomedical, social, behavioral, political and environmental sciences, and careful consideration of the importance of cultural and ethical contexts.

The Global and Public Health Sciences major is intended for students who are interested in the health problems of communities and the actions that will protect or improve the lives of large numbers of individuals within communities.

CALS seeks students who maintain a rigorous high school curriculum and demonstrate an outstanding record of academic achievement.

  • 4 Units of English

  • 4 Units of Mathematics (including calculus)

  • 3 Units of Science (biology, chemistry and physics recommended)

  • Also recommended: an additional unit of science

The experiential component of the Global and Public Health Sciences major will help connect your classroom learning to practice in the field.

You will learn in unfamiliar contexts and interact with people different from you. You will be challenged to engage more effectively with your course content, while gaining a deeper understanding of public health issues through research, writing and critical thinking.

A broad range of opportunities are available in domestic and international settings. You also may work with DNS faculty on their research.

Core courses in GPHS:

  • NS 1600: Introduction to Public Health
  • NS 2060: Preparation for Engaged Learning in Global & Public Health Sciences
  • NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health
  • NS 3600: Epidemiology
  • Supervised Experiential Learning in Global and Public Health 
  • NS 4600: Explorations in Global and Public Health (capstone)

In addition to completing the core courses in public health, global health and epidemiology, you will take a minimum of one advanced course in each of the following areas:

  1. Social and behavioral health
  2. Biological aspects of public health
  3. Environmental health
  4. Health policy and management 

Other major requirements include:

  • Introductory Chemistry with lab
  • Introductory Biology (2 lectures, 1 lab)
  • Two different Social Science courses (Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Sociology)
  • One Humanities course
  • Two Written Communications courses
  • Introductory Biostatistics (STSCI 2150)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology

NS 1600: Introduction to Public Health

Provides the basic principles, practices and policies of public health, including an introduction to the infrastructure and organization of public health; methods of data collection and surveillance; disease promotion and prevention; health disparities; and the achievements, challenges and controversies in the field.

NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health

Explore contemporary issues, problems and controversies in global health through an interdisciplinary perspective. Introduces the global burden of disease and then examines complex social, economic, political, environmental and biological factors that structure the origins, consequences and possible treatments of global health problems. A limited number of problems are explored in depth (e.g., HIV, maternal mortality, malaria).

NS 3600: Epidemiology in Context

This course introduces students to the principles and methods used in epidemiologic research. Through a combination of didactic lectures, in-depth case studies and applied projects, students will explore epidemiologic research, including disease occurrence, measures of association and causal inference. Epidemiologic principles in the design, conduct and interpretation of findings from observational and experimental studies will be explored in detail, including the strengths and limitations of study designs and applications to global and public health.

NS 4600: Explorations in Global and Public Health

This capstone course provides guidance, conceptual tools, feedback and a dedicated space in the schedule for students to design, complete and communicate a capstone project on a topic of their choosing that allows them to demonstrate their mastery of the learning outcomes for the global and public health sciences major or global health minor.

Fall Freshman

  • NS 1600 Introduction to Public Health, 3 cr (must take in the fall of freshman year)
  • CHEM 2070 General Chemistry I, 4 cr
  • Biology Lecture (BIOG 1440 or BIOMG 1350) and/or lab (BIOG 1500), 3-5 cr (can be postponed to the spring semester)
  • FWS, 3cr
  • College Distribution Requirement

Spring Freshman

  • NS 2600 Introduction to Global Health, 3 cr (must take in the spring of freshman year)
  • CHEM 2080 General Chemistry II, 4 cr, if needed
  • Biology Lecture and/or Lab, 2-5 cr
  • FWS, 3 cr
  • STSCI 2150 Introductory Statistics for Biology, 4 cr, if not completed
  • College Distribution Requirement

Fall Sophomore

  • NS 2060 Prep for Engaged Learning 2 cr
  • NS 3600 Epidemiology (requires STSCI 2150)
  • CHEM 3570 Organic Chemistry I, 3 cr OR CHEM 3530 Principles of Org Chemistry, 3 cr
  • Biology Lecture and/or Lab, if not completed, 3 or 2 cr
  • College Distribution Requirement

Spring Sophomore

  • CHEM 3580 Organic Chemistry II, 3, if pre-med and took CHEM 3570 OR CHEM 1570 Intro to Org & Bio Chemistry, 3 cr (CHEM 2070 is a pre-req)
  • Biology Lecture and/or Lab, if not completed, 3 or 2 cr
  • GPHS Selectives
  • College Distribution Requirement AND/OR Electives

Summer Experiential Learning (if desired)

Fall Junior

  • NS 3200 Biochemistry, 4 cr
  • NS 4600 Explorations in Global and Public Health, 3 cr, if completed Experiential Learning
  • GPHS Selectives
  • Experiential Learning (if not completed)
  • Electives AND/OR College Distribution Requirement, if needed

Spring Junior

  • GPHS Selectives
  • Experiential Learning (if not completed)
  • NS 3410 Human Anatomy & Physiology (if wanted), 4 cr
  • GPHS Selectives

Summer Experiential Learning (if not completed)

Fall Senior

  • NS 4600 Explorations in Global and Public Health, 3 cr
  • GPHS Selectives, if not completed
  • Electives AND/OR College Distribution Requirement, if needed

Spring Senior

  • GPHS Selectives, if not completed
  • NS 3410 Human Anatomy & Physiology (if wanted but not completed), 4 cr
  • Electives AND/OR College Distribution Requirement, if needed

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Department Spotlight

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Explore your opportunities

A CALS education goes beyond the classroom and gives students frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.