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Public and Community Health


Programs in public and community health prepare people to protect and promote the health of people and communities. This program is sometimes called public health, health promotion, or community health.

Public and community health programs include topics such as:


In community and public health programs, students may be able to specialize in:

At some schools public and community health may be offered as an interdisciplinary program. Interdisciplinary programs combine courses from several college departments. For public and community health it may include courses in health sciences, health care management, or social work.


Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in public and community health. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Some universities offer graduate degrees in public and community health. Some schools offer a Master of Public Health (MPH) or Doctor of Public Health (DPH) degree. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

Related Educational Programs

Related Careers

Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

Other Careers Related to this Program of Study

Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

You should major in a related field such as community health education, a behavioral science, or health teacher education. Nursing, social work, and nutrition are also good choices. However, for some programs, an undergraduate major does not have to be in any particular field. In this case, be sure to take several courses in both the natural and social sciences. A statistics or advanced math course may be required as well.

If you want to apply to a doctoral program, you need to have a master's degree in public health.

Additional requirements at most schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs varies. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

You typically take core courses such as the following:

After taking these courses, you usually take additional elective courses on public health topics that match your specific research interests. This additional course work helps you define your thesis or dissertation topic.

Both undergraduate and graduate programs require you to complete fieldwork (also known as a practicum, an internship, or an externship) as part of their curriculum. This gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you learn in the classroom to any of a wide range of public health settings.

You could serve as a temporary member of a local, state, or national health organization, participating in its day-to-day activities and working on a specific project. You might go to a community of interest and do field research, collecting samples and analyzing them in a lab at a local university.

Whatever the setting and whatever the application, you benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced public health specialist.

Things to Know

Several schools offer programs where you can combine your degree in public health with a degree in another program such as medicine, social work, or law.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla Community College

Walla Walla University

King-Snohomish Area

Bastyr University

Cascadia College

Highline College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

North Seattle College

Renton Technical College

Seattle Central College

Shoreline Community College

South Seattle College

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University (Spokane Campus)

Washington State University Health Sciences - Spokane

Whitworth University

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

Tacoma Area

Tacoma Community College

University of Washington - Tacoma

Vancouver Area

Washington State University - Vancouver

West Side Area

Evergreen State College, The

Western Washington University

Whatcom Community College

Yakima Area

Washington State University - Pullman (Yakima)

Yakima Valley College