Public Health (BSPH)

About the BSPH

What is public health?

The public health program will prepare you to focus on primary prevention of negative public health issues in community settings. The bachelor's degree is based on competencies you need to master to become a Certified Health Education Specialist. Coursework is focused on public and global health issues; psychosocial science and epidemiology; skills associated with planning, implementing, administering and evaluating community and public health programs; modifying health behaviors; grant writing; advocating for health policies; and professional preparation in the field of public health and community health education.

The program integrates classroom study with hands-on practical experiences to provide comprehensive academic preparation. In addition to classroom experiences, you'll also complete a capstone experience and a semester-long internship in your chosen career path. The program will prepare you for a career in government-based public health agencies, nonprofit organizations, managed care organizations, medical and hospital centered education settings and corporate health promotion settings. In addition, the program is appropriate if you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in public health (MPH), community health (MS) or health promotion (MS).

What do public health educators do?

  • Prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Change people's behavior so they stop smoking, abusing alcohol and drugs, engaging in unprotected sex, bullying others, putting themselves at risk to HIV, eating unhealthy, drinking lead-tainted water, leading an inactive lifestyle and other health behaviors.
  • Work to pass laws, like the "no smoking in places where people work" law in Michigan, in order to protect lives.
  • Work with media and social media to deliver health messages to populations at greatest risk.
  • Increase access to health services, regardless of race, gender, or any other factor that would discriminate one from living a long and high quality life.

Where do public health educators work?

  • Health departments.
  • Non-profit agencies like American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood and community drug prevention agencies.
  • Hospital education and outreach centers.
  • Corporate worksites.
  • Health insurance organizations, like Blue Care Network.

What's new in this program?

We have a lot of exciting and cool classes that focus on:

  • Global health issues
  • Environmental health
  • Health behavior change
  • Grant writing
  • Creating, implementing and evaluating community health programs
  • Advocating for changes in laws and policies that impact people's health
  • And much more! We even have a three-week summer travel abroad class that looks at public health and healthcare issues in South Africa.

How much do public health professionals earn?

  • The starting salary is anywhere from $35-50,000, depending on agency and type of job. The average in Michigan is about $40,000.

Are jobs available?

  • Yes! In fact the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics identified "health educator" as a career expected to increase 12% between 2014 and 2024. 

How do I get started?

Contact Jill Hamilton in CHHS Advising to learn more about this exciting new major.