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Public Health

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Public Health

Public health integrates many disciplines to prevent illness and premature death, enabling people to live healthier, more productive lives. The field covers a broad range of issues, including environmental pollution, access to health care, bioterrorism, obesity and prevention of contagious diseases. Public health students know they will make a difference in people’s lives.

The goal of public health is to create and sustain healthier communities by improving the health of people and quality of their environment. Public health professionals study environmental contamination of air, water, soil and food; seek preventive measures for cancer; and design programs that improve delivery of health care services. 

Submission of ACT or SAT scores is optional for applicants to the Columbus campus for the 2024 and 2025 spring, summer and autumn semesters. Students admitted to the university for public health are enrolled directly in the college as a pre-public health major. There is a separate application required for admission to the major once you are a student at Ohio State. Honors students are directly enrolled into the major.

Transfer students with a minimum 2.80 GPA and a minimum of 30 semester credits (or equivalent) can directly enroll as a pre-public health major.

Pursuing an undergraduate professional degree in public health is a four-year program. The major consists of a core set of public health courses and interdisciplinary courses offered through either specialization. 

Specializations in Public Health

Public health sociology: Students pursuing this specialization study how social factors impact health in order to improve the health of communities. The curriculum provides students with an interdisciplinary education in public health and sociology.

Environmental public health: This specialization is for students who have an interest in both the environment and health, how environments impact health and a desire to find solutions to the challenges of environmental effects on the health of communities. The curriculum provides students with an interdisciplinary education in public health and environmental science.

Both specializations have a capstone course that may consist of internship, research or Honors thesis (for honors students), or education abroad.

The College of Public Health has active student organizations. Buckeyes for Public Health (B4PH) is the undergraduate student organization, and their primary goal is to promote public health efforts both locally and internationally. The Multicultural Public Health Student Association (MPHSA) is another active group with a vision to serve as a catalyst for culturally competent leadership that enhances health outcomes for all. The Student Ambassadors for Public Health (SAPH) are student leaders representing their college and majors to prospective students and their families, currently enrolled students, faculty and staff, alumni, donors, and the university community, while being devoted to service and leadership.

Graduates with an undergraduate professional degree in public health will be qualified for early career, entry-level positions in public health agencies and other public or private health organizations. This degree can also prepare students for graduate study in public health, social work, law, nursing, or business and a variety of professional health programs such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, optometry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

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According to The American Public Health Association, 250,000 more public health workers will be needed by the year 2020.

Interested in a career in health care?

Check out the Health Care Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a health care career.