Bachelor of Science in Public Health


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WMU's Bachelor of Science in Public Health will prepare you to focus on primary prevention of population health issues in community settings, like what was experienced with the COVID-19 public health pandemic, the current opioid crisis, or other issues like gun violence, substance use disorder, disease prevention, environmental health issues, and many other health-related issues.

Support structure

Our program utilizes a cohort model, where you go through the entire program with same group. You'll find yourself instantly part of a team with a built-in support network. Our classes are small, which means you'll get plenty of one-on-one interaction with your faculty and advisors.

Career preparation

The curriculum is built on and fits national health education certification standards. You will be prepared to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam during your senior year.

What is public health

Public health is a growing field that addresses health at a population level. It's different from clinical medicine that focuses on individual patients or clients.

Public health looks at groups of people to understand widespread health issues and develop interventions to improve  health.

Video of What is public health?

Top 25

The WMU Bachelor of Science in Public Health has recently been identified by as being one of the top 25 undergraduate public health programs in the country, and only one of two Michigan-based universities being recognized on the list.

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Curriculum and Questions


You must complete 81 credit hours in the public health program: 51 core credits, 12 cognate credits and 18 credits in an emphasis area. The BSPH curriculum sequencing chart illustrates your pathway through these requirements. WMU also works closely with most community colleges in Michigan, providing a clear public health transfer path directly from community college to WMU. Here is one example. 


Course descriptions    Curriculum Sequence    


  • Core courses (51 credits)
    • HSV 3700 - The Health System and Its Environment - 3 credits
    • HSV 4780 - U.S. Policy in Health and Human Services - 3 credits
    • HSV 4860 – Health Literacy Practices – 3 credits
    • PH 2310 - Public Health Needs and Issues - 3 credits
    • PH 2320 - Global and Environmental Health Issues - 3 credits
    • PH 2340 - Introduction to Biostatistics in Public Health - 3 credits
    • PH 3310 - Planning Public Health Programs - 3 credits
    • PH 3320 - Applying Behavior Foundations in Public Health - 3 credits
    • PH 3340 - Epidemiology - 3 credits
    • PH 4310 - Implementing and Administering Public Health Programs - 3 credits
    • PH 4320 - Public Health Intervention Strategies - 3 credits
    • PH 4330 - Advocating for Health Policies - 3 credits
    • PH 4410 - Evaluating Public Health Programs - 3 credits
    • PH 4420 - Grant Writing in Public Health - 3 credits
    • PH 4910 - Public Health Capstone Proposal - 2 credits
    • PH 4920 - Public Health Capstone Project - 1 credits
    • PH 4930 - Public Health Seminar - 3 credits
    • PH 4940 - Public Health Internship - 3 credits
  • Cognate courses (12 credits)
    • BIOS 1120 - Principles of Biology - 3 credits
    • PSY 1000 - General Psychology - 3 credits
    • SOC 2000 - Principles of Sociology - 3 credits
    • SOC 2100 - Modern Social Problems - 3 credits - or -
      SOC 3200 - Introduction to Social Psychology - 3 credits
  • Emphasis (minimum of 18 credits)

    Select one of the following:

    • An applicable minor in:
      - Addiction Studies
      - Communication
      - Event Management
      - Healthcare Services and Sciences
      - Holistic Health
      - Leadership and Business Strategy
      - Nonprofit Leadership
      - Psychology
      - Sociology
    • At least 18 hours of public health science based courses
    • At least 18 hours of public health education based courses


If you have questions, contact Jill Hamilton in the CHHS advising office to learn more about this exciting new major.

Presidential Scholar Recipient

Logan West is a senior in WMU’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health program. Her academic interests include maternal & child health, nutrition/food security, and public policy. She has devoted much of her undergraduate work to child nutrition-related research and projects. She has attended WMU for four years and has experienced the benefits of the community firsthand through her position as a Student Ambassador for the College of Health & Human Services.

She intends to pursue a career in health policy to support creating healthy communities that can be sustained for future generations and to advocate for health equity.

This annual event honors Western Michigan University's outstanding undergraduate students. The Presidential Scholars are chosen by the faculty on the basis of academic and/or artistic excellence in their major programs, as well as their overall promise of success.

Professional development

The bachelor’s degree in public health at WMU is focused on your professional development. Because our cohorts are small, we are able to find and provide funding opportunities to support your professional growth. We believe that part of that process involves presenting your research at state and national conferences.

This kind of engagement is often reserved for students in master’s degree programs. At WMU it’s available for you.

Here's one example

International perspective

WMU’s B.S. in Public Health will take you places. Our faculty have lived, taught or worked in different countries around the world, from Europe to Africa to Central America.

Knowing how public health works around the world helps us teach an international perspective on public health here at WMU. We offer several study abroad opportunities so that you can see firsthand how public health concepts play out globally. One such travel abroad opportunity is a 3-week immersion into exploring public health and healthcare systems in South Africa taught by one of our public health professors.

Study abroad at CHHS

Real-world experience

Experience beyond the classroom is built into the public health curriculum at WMU. Our majors have worked in public health departments and non-profit agencies while in school, so by the time you graduate, you’ll have hundreds of hours of practical public health experience on your resume.

Because of that real-world experience, our graduates often compete with MPH grads in today’s job market.

students helping out

News and Media

  • Public health students engage in CDC mask wearing surveillance project

  • Governor Whitmer appoints Dr. Lopez-Jeng appointed to the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging

  • Video of #StudentFeature with Alison Yelsma
  • Dr. Bensley surpasses $21 million in total funding mostly aimed at improving parent-child feeding practices among food supplement programs