Find a School >
Healthcare Colleges Home > Healthcare Programs > Public Health Programs

Public Health Programs

Public Health Programs

What Are Public Health Professionals?

When people think about healthcare, they generally think about how it relates to treating the sicknesses individuals already suffer from. But, another important aspect of the healthcare industry is concerned with preventative care on a macro level. Public health professionals are charged with tasks such as creating programs to educate a community about dangerous illnesses; tracking and controlling infectious diseases; and studying environmental factors that can have an impact on health. They can be found in a number of settings, including nonprofit organizations; insurance companies; local, state and federal government health agencies; university research departments; and pharmaceutical companies.

Public Health Program Information

Students interested in studying public health in college have a multitude of options. Programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels are offered by both public and private institutions, and students can choose to enroll in traditional programs, online programs, or hybrid programs that combine both brick-and-mortar and online class options.

Public health degree programs are designed to prepare students for the challenging job of improving the quality of health in a community. Students study topics such as disease prevention and management, environmental health, health education and biostatistics. Those pursuing advanced degrees also learn about how to conduct and apply public health research.

Public Health Program Types

Public health programs are available at the following levels:

  • Undergraduate Certificate: Undergrad certificate programs introduce students to the strategies and challenges of promoting health and wellness on a large scale, from rural communities to entire cities and countries. Students majoring in subjects such as nursing, biology or sociology may want earn a certificate in public health as a supplement to their degree program.
  • Bachelor's Degree: Students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs in public health get an overview of how the public health field is designed to improve the health of individuals and communities. The curriculum aims to provide a foundation of public health knowledge, and includes subjects such as disease prevention, environmental health, health law and ethics, and health informatics.
  • Master's Degree: There are a number of options for those who want to pursue master's degrees in public health. For example, students can earn a Master of Public Health, a Master of Health Administration or a Master of Science in public health. Students in these programs build on the foundation of knowledge they received from bachelor's programs and learn about more advanced aspects of the public health field, including healthcare leadership, healthcare policy, financing options for healthcare institutions, and global factors that influence public health.
  • Graduate Certificate: These programs aim to provide similar course content as master's programs but require fewer credits. Some public health schools allow certificate courses to transfer to their master's degree public health programs, so they might be a good choice for those interested in the field, but aren't ready to commit to a degree program.
  • Doctoral Degree: Doctoral degrees in public health are designed for students who want to become leaders in the field by conducting research, crafting policy, and teaching. Students in these programs -- which include Doctor of Public Health and Ph.D. programs -- learn about advanced research methods, strategies for addressing health problems, and techniques for furthering public health scholarship.

Public Health Course Descriptions

Every public health program is different, but they tend to have similar core classes. At the undergraduate level, the following public health courses are fairly commonplace:

  • Introduction to Biostatistics: Gives an overview of the methods used in biostatistics. Course topics include probability, descriptive statistics, data analysis needed in the public health field, and statistical software used by public health professionals.
  • Health Informatics: Explores how technology is used in a public health setting to improve patient care outcomes, educate the community about public safety, and share information among professionals in the field.
  • Introduction to Epidemiology Principles: Teaches students how epidemiology is used to prevent and cure diseases, as well as educate the public about these conditions. Course topics include epidemiological research methods, how at-risk populations are identified and the limitations of epidemiology techniques.

Curriculum at the graduate level builds on the foundations made in undergraduate programs and includes courses such as:

  • Public Health Management: Teaches the different aspects of running a healthcare facility, including employee management, financial management and understanding the laws that govern the field.
  • Health Policy: Takes an in-depth look at the impact that state, local, and federal laws have on public health organizations.

Public Health Program Specialties

Public health schools often let students tailor their education to a specific area within the field through specialty tracks such as:

  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Global Health
  • Law and Public Health
  • Health and Social Behavior
  • Biostatistics
  • Women's Health
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology

Related Career Options

Those interested in earning a public health degree or certificate may also be interested in training for similar career options, including:

  • Health Educator: Teaches individuals and groups how to lead healthy lives by setting up programs for hospitals, government agencies, doctor's offices and nonprofit organizations.
  • Healthcare Administrator: Provides managerial oversight at healthcare facilities. Responsible for tasks such as employee scheduling, managing finances and ensuring compliance with laws.
  • Social and Community Service Manager: Organizes and directs community programs, supervises staff, participates in fundraising campaigns, gathers data to analyze a program's effectiveness and performs similar administrative functions.

These and other careers may be require individuals to obtain additional education and training, as well as earn a license or certification.

Links to Sources and Associations

For more information about the public health programs and careers, visit the following websites:

American Public Health Association, http://www.apha.org/

Association of Public Health Laboratories, http://www.aphl.org/

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, http://www.aspph.org/

Epidemiologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm

Medical and Health Services Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce, http://phpartners.org/

"Pathways to a Public Health Career," Minnesota Department of Public Health, http://www.health.state.mn.us/pathways/index.html

Social and Community Service Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm

What is Public Health?, Association of Schools of Public Health, http://www.whatispublichealth.org/

Explore these online and campus healthcare programs

Refine School Matches
Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
Clear All

See More




Results:  7
Matching School Ads
Master of Public Health
  • Earn your Bachelor of Science in Public Health - 100% online
  • Learn about controlling infectious disease, improving healthcare access, and more
  • South University brings over 115 years of achievement and tradition to a supportive, online classroom
  • We're now Non-Profit.
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Public Health (MPH)
Good for Working Adults
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
MPH - Epidemiology Focus

Founded in 1887, Benedictine University is dedicated to the education of undergraduate and graduate students. Benedictine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

Benedictine University provides a values-centered Liberal Arts education. Today, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students from all 50 states in the US and over 17 countries.

Why Benedictine University Online?

  • Over 130 year legacy of academic excellence
  • Ranked among America's Top Colleges by "Forbes" Magazine
  • 91% of current students report they are satisfied or very satisfied with their learning experience
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Master of Public Health: Nutrition
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 95% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Master of Public Health

St. John's is a Catholic Vincentian University that prepares students for personal and professional success in today's global society. Based in New York City, it is a diverse institution with a globally focused curriculum.

  • Online Courses
Master of Public Health Online
  • Ranked one of the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 31st among the Best Colleges for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A member of the esteemed Association of American Universities (AAU), one of 62 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Leading a first-of-its-kind mission to send a spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid in 2020.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
Medical Healthcare Administration Program
  • Offers career placement assistance services to recent graduates.
  • Our short-term allied health programs will give you the skills and knowledge to become a part of the exciting health care field.
  • Programs include Medical Office Specialist, Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant and Healthcare Administration.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • Main campus is located in Van Nuys, California, north of Los Angeles.
Show more [+]
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
We have made updates to our Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy to reflect the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.