Careers in Public Health

What is public health? According to the Association of Schools of Public Health, the mission of public health is to fulfill society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy.

Public health carries out its mission through organized, interdisciplinary efforts that address the physical, mental and environmental health concerns of communities and populations at risk for disease and injury. Its mission is achieved through the application of health promotion and disease prevention technologies and interventions designed to improve and enhance quality of life. Health promotion and disease prevention technologies encompass a broad array of functions and expertise, including the assessment of the health of communities, formulating public policy and assuring all populations have access to appropriate and cost-effective care.

There are several degrees encompassed by the large area of Public Health. Some include: Bachelors in Public Health, Masters in Public Health, Master of Science in Public Health, Master of Healthcare Administration, Master of Science, Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, Doctor of Public Health, and a Doctor of Philosophy.

Departments of Public Health often include: Biostatics, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Human Genetics, Health Services Administration and Infectious Diseases & Microbiology.

Most of these programs encourage applicants to have:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  • Substantial knowledge in a discipline relevant to public health (either through study or experience).
  • A solid background in the natural sciences (particularly biology and including physiology and microbiology) or a solid background in the social sciences, including sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, or economics; or a combination of both a natural sciences and social sciences background.

Some previous professional or other relevant work experience is highly desirable for all candidates.


Association of Schools of Public Health
American Public Health Association

The following are some of the top Public Health Schools in the country as ranked by U.S. News:
Johns Hopkins U.
Boston U.
U of Pittsburgh
UC Berkeley
UNC Chapel Hill
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Columbia University
University of Washington