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Major in Public Health

Major in Public Health

This nationally recognized* undergraduate program provides a unique and challenging educational experience for students who wish to combine an interdisciplinary liberal arts education with a specialty focus on public health. The major provides conceptual foundations and empirical bases for analyzing the interplay between science, society, and health, and prepares students for a variety of public health careers. There are two tracks in the major (Social Analysis track and Biological Sciences track) and students choose one track but share a common core curriculum. The minor allows pre-med students and other health professions students an opportunity to augment their specialty education with this broad perspective.

There is a rising demand for public health professionals, due to increased global concerns regarding infectious and chronic disease epidemiology, food and water safety, sanitation, and environmental health issues. Public health professionals have excellent employment prospects, as researchers, community health workers, and health program managers.

Public Health Major

Majors will complete a core consisting of nine courses plus five track-specific courses spread out across their four years. The suggested sequence for core courses is:

First Year

  • BIOL 113 General Biology
  • BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • SOCI 241 Health, Illness and Society

Sophomore Year

  • BIOL 221 Microbiology — A Human Perspective
  • MATH 118 Introduction to Statistics
  • NUTR 150 International Nutrition Issues or SOCI 245 International Health

Junior Year

  • SOCI 345 Health Care Systems and Policy
  • BIOL 346 Epidemiology and Infectious Disease

Senior Year

  • PH 347 Seminar in Public Health

Majors select one of two tracks to add to the core:

(A) Biology Track

  • BIOL 246 Foundations of Exercise and Health
  • BIOL 347 Human Development and Genetics
  • CHEM 111 Introductory Chemistry: Inorganic
  • CHEM 112 Introductory Chemistry: Organic

Students must choose one additional course from the biology list:

Biology Track Electives

  • BIOL 245 Ecology
  • BIOL 338 Microbial Pathogenesis
  • BIOL 341 Microbiology of Food, Water and Waste
  • CHEM 327 Energy and Global Warming
  • HON 303 HIV/AIDS Intersections of Science
  • IDS 228 Service Learning in Nicaragua (TC)
  • IT 225 Health Informatics
  • MGMT 234 Organizational Communication and Behavior
  • MATH 227 Biostatistical Design and Analysis
  • MATH 229 Regression Models
  • NUTR 110 Sociocultural Implications of Nutrition
  • PHIL 131 Biomedical Ethics
  • POLS 217 American Public Policy
  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology

(B) Social Analysis Track

  • NUTR 150 International Nutrition Issues
  • SOCI 239 Introduction to Social Research
  • SOCI 245 International Health

Students must choose three additional courses from the social analysis list:

Social Analysis Track Electives

  • AST/SOCI/WGST 232 Race, Gender and Health
  • IT 225 Health Informatics
  • MATH 218 Biostatistics
  • MGMT 234 Organizational Communication and Behavior
  • MGMT 321 Managing the Diverse
  • PHIL 131 Biomedical Ethics
  • POLS 217 American Public Policy
  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology
  • SJ 220 Working for Social Justice
  • SJ 222 Organizing for Social Change
  • SOCI 210 Body Politics
  • SOCI 339 Qualitative Research Workshop
  • AST/SOCI/WGST 340 Intimate Family Violence
  • HON 303, HIV/AIDS Intersections of Science
  • MATH 227, Biostatistical Design and Analysis
  • MATH 229, Regression Models
  • SOCI 321, Sociology of Food

Independent Learning

This all-College independent learning requirement (eight semester hours) will be met through courses in the Biology or Sociology Departments, usually in the senior year. In the Biology Department it will be met through BIOL 350 Independent Laboratory Research or BIOL 370 Internship. In the Sociology Department, it will be met through SOCI 350 Independent Study, SOCI 355 Thesis, SOCI 370 Internship, or SOCI 380 Fieldwork. All students will be required to submit a thesis and make an oral presentation of their work at an approved internal or external symposium. Arrangements for satisfying the independent learning requirement must be made with the student's public health advisor before the end of the junior year.

Minor in Public Health

The minor consists of the following five courses:

  • BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • BIOL 346 Epidemiology and Infectious Disease
  • MATH 118 Introduction to Statistics
  • SOCI 241 Health, Illness, and Society
  • SOCI 245 International Health
    or SOCI 345 Health Care Systems and Policy

For further information about the program in Public Health, contact either Professor Leiter for the Sociology track (valerie.leiter@simmons.edu) or Professor Scott for the Biology track (elizabeth.scott2@simmons.edu). Students planning to attend medical, dental, or veterinary school should contact Bruce Gray (bruce.gray@simmons.edu), as early as possible to be sure to incorporate the courses required for admission to these professional schools.

Public Health Resources in Boston

Students will be encouraged to attend open lectures in Public Health in Boston. In addition, courses developed at Simmons will integrate guest speakers from the pool of expertise in the area.