B.S. in Public Health, Public Health Sciences

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. Public health professionals engage in a variety of jobs working to prevent illness and injuries, promote wellness, encourage healthy behaviors, track disease outbreaks, and determine why some populations are more likely to suffer from poor health than others.

Program Overview

Undergraduate students engage in core public health disciplines:

  • Biostatistics and epidemiology
  • Occupational and environmental health sciences
  • Health policy, management and leadership
  • Social and behavioral sciences

Students build a strong foundation of knowledge in the natural and social sciences and become familiar with cultural and socioeconomic differences among populations. Further study provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to identify evidence-based techniques for disease prevention and promotion of health, both at home and from a global perspective.

Interested in planning beyond your undergraduate degree? The Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s (ABM) program offers highly motivated Public Health Sciences students with an interest in a Master of Public Health the opportunity to complete their B.S. in Public Health and earn an MPH degree in an accelerated format.

Field Placement and Community Service

All students complete field placement and capstone experiences as their culminating coursework. During their senior year, every undergraduate student is required to complete 75 hours of applied field placement experience in a local or regional agency or institution where they can put their classroom lessons to work. All students engage with community partners, gain experience in the workplace and demonstrate acquisition of competencies.

In addition to the field placements, all undergraduate students are required to complete a minimum 25 hours of community service before the start of their senior year, documented through iServe in the WVU Office of Service and Learning. Getting involved in the Student Association of Public Health and Delta Omega are also great ways to get involved with service projects.

And when you’re ready to apply for jobs, our career development team is here to help.

Learning Goals

  • Demonstrate a strong foundation of knowledge about the history, philosophy, core values, concepts and functions of public health in the U.S. and globally. (overview)
  • Determine appropriate public health processes, approaches and interventions needed to address health-related needs and concerns of specific populations. (population health)
  • Illustrate how socio-economic, behavioral, biological and environmental factors impact human health, contribute to health disparities and can be affected by promotion and protection programs. (determinants of health)
  • Communicate public health information to diverse audiences through a variety of mediums. (communication)
  • Apply evidence-based and ethical approaches to identifying, collecting, using, analyzing and disseminating public health data and information. (information)
  • Differentiate the basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic and regulatory dimensions of health and how they influence the US health system and public health policy. (policy and U.S. government)

In addition to the B.S. in Public Health learning goals, Public Health Sciences major, provides knowledge and skills that allow for the application of social behavioral, biostatistical and epidemiologic methods to identify and analyze public health issues.

View WVU Catalog for Learning Goals

Required Courses

The Public Health major requires completing 120 credit hours, including coursework for WVU general education foundations, public health foundation courses and Public Health Sciences major courses. The Public Health Sciences major follows the same core curriculum as the Public Health Sciences major, sharing 25 credits, so you will develop a solid foundation of public health knowledge within the program.

Each student will develop a Plan of Study with the School of Public Health’s dedicated undergraduate advising specialist, Devon Neptune. It is important to follow this plan to complete all degree requirements and graduate on time.

View WVU Catalog for Required Courses

Admissions Guidelines

The WVU School of Public Health admits undergraduate students in both fall and spring semesters. Interested students must apply and be accepted to West Virginia University. The School offers first-time freshmen direct admission to the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program for those who meet the admission standards. Applicants who are admissible to the university but do not meet the minimum GPA for the School of Public Health, will be admitted into the Center for Learning, Advising and Student Success and the Healthcare Guided Pathway until they are eligible for admission to the School of Public Health.

WVU students who are undeclared or in other majors may apply to transfer into the Public Health program via a WVU Academic Status Update form once the student meets the transfer guidelines and have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average. External transfer students who have completed undergraduate coursework at another institution of higher education prior to applying to the Public Health program are eligible if they meet the minimum guidelines.

View WVU Catalog for Admissions Guidelines
Jenna Kahwash
B.S. in Public Health, Public Health Sciences
“Gaining a public health education provides a unique opportunity to study inequities to be able to best enact change on the community level.”
Meet Jenna