Public Health

Program Overview

Public health is one of the fastest growing majors in undergraduate education and covers the five core public health disciplines:  biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, and social and behavioral sciences.

The public health major emphasizes problem solving skills, critical thinking, practical application, career exploration and an understanding of both clinical- and population-based ethics. Early in the program, students will build a strong foundation of knowledge in the natural and social sciences and become familiar with cultural and socioeconomic differences among populations. Further study will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to identify evidence-based techniques for disease prevention and promotion of health, both at home and from a global perspective.

Preparing Students for Future Opportunities

The Community and Population Health Area of Emphasis prepares students for entry into social science-based and public health graduate programs.

The Public Health Sciences Area of Emphasis prepares students for entry into graduate programs in public health sciences or clinical professional degree programs.

The Patient Navigation Area of Emphasis prepares students for positions in clinical and health insurance settings, as well as entry into graduate and professional programs. 

The public health program also prepares graduates for entry-level public health positions in a wide array of agencies involved in public and private health, including local, regional and state health departments, consulting and advocacy organizations, healthcare organizations and government agencies.

PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE AREA OF EMPHASIS

  • Recognize how environmental and occupational factors impact the health status of individuals and populations.
  • Apply skills in biostatistical and epidemiologic methods in public health practice and research. 

COMMUNITY AND POPULATION HEALTH AREA OF EMPHASIS

  • Recognize how social and behavioral factors impact the health status of individuals and populations.
  • Identify appropriate theories, methods, strategies and policies to address the public health needs of communities and populations.

PATIENT NAVIGATION AREA OF EMPHASIS

  • Attain productive and effective communication skills with all members of the patient care team, including those that may not traditionally be included in this team (e.g., social workers, food pantries, transportation, childcare)
  • Recognize how to improve patient quality of life and care via multiple systems and processes.
  • Apply chronic disease management techniques and constructs.    

Admission Guidelines for the School of Public Health's Undergraduate Program 

SPH Admissions for BS in Public Health

The WVU School of Public Health (SPH) will admit students for fall and spring semesters. 

Direct admissions relates to students applying upon graduation from high school and those with no previous undergraduate credits. Applicants who meet the minimum standards (see below) will be accepted directly into the program by WVU Admissions.  

Students who do not meet direct admit minimum standards, but who are interested in pursuing a degree in public health, have two options:

1) apply to transfer into the program via a WVU Academic Status Update form once a college GPA of 2.5 is established.

2) apply for pre-public health status by meeting those guidelines listed below.  Students in Pre-Public Health can take the same courses and can request access to the same academic advising as majors do.  However, these students will have to meet internal transfer requirements of a 2.5 college GPA within 2 semesters of entering this program.  

External transfer students (those who have completed undergraduate credits at another institution) who meet the transfer admission guidelines (see below) should apply to WVU as transfer students and will be accepted directly into the program by WVU Admissions.

Admission Guidelines

● Students are eligible for direct freshman admission if they meet these minimum guidelines:  

  • 3.0 Cumulative High School GPA

OR

  • ACT of 21 (superscored) and 2.75 Cumulative High School GPA

OR

  • SAT of 990 (superscored) and 2.75 Cumulative High School GPA

● Students are eligible for admission into pre-public health if they meet these minimum guidelines:  

  • 2.75 Cumulative High School GPA

OR

  • ACT of 19 (superscored) and 2.5 Cumulative High School GPA

OR

  • SAT of 910 (superscored) and 2.5 Cumulative High School GPA

Internal (WVU) and External transfer students who have completed undergraduate coursework at WVU or another institution of higher education prior to applying to the Public Health major are eligible if they meet the following minimum guidelines:

  • 2.5 Cumulative Undergraduate GPA 

Please note, the School of Public Health reserves the right to limit student enrollment in the program but cutting off admissions based on school-wide capacity for new students.   

Click the link below to view the corresponding AOE requirements and Suggested Plans of Study.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to maintain a cumulative and major GPA of 2.5
General Education Foundations Requirements25
Core Foundational Coursework
PUBH 191First-Year Seminar1
PUBH 101Introduction to Public and Community Health3
PUBH 200Introduction to Public Health Careers and Information1
PUBH 201Global Perspectives of Public Health3
PUBH 202Social Determinants of Health3
PUBH 205Writing for Public Health Audiences3
PUBH 241Biological Basis of Public Health3
Discipline-Specific Coursework
PUBH 211Biostatistics for Population Health3
PUBH 222Epidemiology for Public Health3
PUBH 243Issues in Environmental Health3
PUBH 331Introduction to Health Policy3
PUBH 352Introduction to Social and Behavioral Science and Practice3
Culminating Experience Coursework
PUBH 400Field Placement and Capstone Preparation Seminar1
Select one of the following: *6
Public Health Field Experience and Capstone
Patient Navigator Experiential Agency Rotations and Capstone
Area of Emphasis Requirements 15
Required Minor15
Electives 26
Community Service Requirement **
Total Hours120

 

Public Health Sciences Area of Emphasis Requirements

Minimum grade of C- or higher required in all AoE courses
CHPR 440Clinical Research Methods and Practice3
PUBH 311Health Research Data Management and Reporting3
PUBH 423Introduction to Modern Epidemiologic Research3
PUBH 442Public Health in the Workplace3
PUBH/CHPR Elective3
Total Hours15

Suggested Plan of Study for Public Health Sciences Area of Emphasis

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 2001PUBH 2013
PUBH 1911PUBH 2023
PUBH 1013GEF 33
GEF 24GEF3
GEF3GEF3
GEF3 
 15 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 2113PUBH 2053
PUBH 2413PUBH 2223
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 2433PUBH 3113
PUBH 3523PUBH 3313
PUBH 4233Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH Elective3CHPR 4403
PUBH 4001PUBH 4816
PUBH 4423Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3 
Minor/Elective2 
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

patient navigation area of emphasis requirements

A minimum of 2.5 GPA in all courses.
PUBH 260Principles of Patient Navigation3
PUBH 360Health Navigation: Prevention and Community Health3
PUBH 361Health Insurance for Patient Navigators3
PUBH 460The US Healthcare System: Structures and Incentives3
PUBH 461Legal and Ethical Issues for Patient Navigators3
Total Hours15

SUGGESTED PLAN OF STUDY FOR Patient navigation AREA OF EMPHASIS

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 1013PUBH 2013
PUBH 1911PUBH 2023
PUBH 2001GEF 33
GEF 24GEF3
GEF3GEF3
GEF3 
 15 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 2113PUBH 2053
PUBH 2413PUBH 2223
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 2433PUBH 3313
PUBH 2603PUBH 3603
PUBH 3523PUBH 3613
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 4603PUBH 4866
PUBH 4613Minor/Elective3
PUBH 4801Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3 
Minor/Elective2 
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

Community and Population Health Area of Emphasis Requirements

A minimum of 2.5 GPA in all courses.
CHPR 305Disease Across the Life Span3
PUBH 338Public Health Project Management3
PUBH 454Introduction to Public Health Research Methods3
PUBH 460The US Healthcare System: Structures and Incentives3
PUBH or CHPR Elective3
Total Hours15

Suggested Plan of Study for Community and Population Health Area of Emphasis

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 1013PUBH 2013
PUBH 1911PUBH 2023
PUBH 2001GEF 33
GEF 24GEF3
GEF3GEF3
GEF3 
 15 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 2113PUBH 2053
PUBH 2413PUBH 2223
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
CHPR 3053PUBH 3313
PUBH 2433PUBH 3383
PUBH 3523Minor/Elective3
PUBH/CHPR Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
PUBH 4001PUBH 4543
PUBH 4603PUBH 4816
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3Minor/Elective3
Minor/Elective3 
Minor/Elective2 
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Outcomes

Public Health Major 

At the conclusion of the program students will be able to:

  • Discuss the historic milestones, core disciplines and core functions of public health.
  • Appreciate human cultures and social determinants of health as they relate to individual and population health.
  • Explain the impact of natural processes and systems on health and patterns of disease and injury among diverse populations.
  • Apply critical and creative thinking, and analysis and synthesis of information processes to inform, assist and promote public health.
  • Disseminate knowledge and information to address current public health issues effectively through both oral and written communications.
  • Engage in public health-related activities with local, regional, national and/or global organizations.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE AREA OF EMPHASIS

  • Recognize how environmental and occupational factors impact the health status of individuals and populations.
  • Apply skills in biostatistical and epidemiologic methods in public health practice and research. 

COMMUNITY AND POPULATION HEALTH AREA OF EMPHASIS

  • Recognize how social and behavioral factors impact the health status of individuals and populations.
  • Identify appropriate theories, methods, strategies and policies to address the public health needs of communities and populations.

PATIENT NAVIGATION AREA OF EMPHASIS

  • Attain productive and effective communication skills with all members of the patient care team, including those that may not traditionally be included in this team (e.g., social workers, food pantries, transportation, childcare)
  • Recognize how to improve patient quality of life and care via multiple systems and processes.
  • Apply chronic disease management techniques and constructs.    
 

PUBH 101. Introduction to Public and Community Health. 3 Hours.

This course will provide students with an overview of the principles and practice of public and community health. Students will learn about the history, core function and essential services of public health, as well as engage in discussions about current public health events and issues.

PUBH 191. First-Year Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

Engages students in active learning strategies that enable effective transition to college life at WVU. Students will explore school, college and university programs, policies and services relevant to academic success. Provides active learning activities that enable effective transition to the academic environment. Students examine school, college and university programs, policies and services.

PUBH 199. Orientation to Public Health. 1,2 Hour.

Orientation to degree programs and requirements, departmental resources, curriculum options, student responsibilities, and opportunities.

PUBH 200. Introduction to Public Health Careers and Information. 1 Hour.

Students will explore public health careers and popular public health websites, identify and present public health data, and develop information literacy skills.

PUBH 201. Global Perspectives of Public Health. 3 Hours.

This introduction to global public health will strengthen students' perspectives and understanding of disease prevention and treatment issues in westernized and developing/underdeveloped countries. Topics include health disparities, economic/political structures/systems impacting health, maternal and child health (including family planning), socio-cultural factors affecting health care delivery and the global burden of infectious and chronic diseases, injuries and disasters.

PUBH 202. Social Determinants of Health. 3 Hours.

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the social factors/determinants that influence health. Theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of social determinants will be discussed from a social ecological perspective. The course is designed to help students develop basic literacy regarding social concepts and processes that influence health status and health disparities.

PUBH 205. Writing for Public Health Audiences. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 101 and PUBH 202. Students will develop original written materials pertaining to current public health issues that target specific populations. They will also gain a basic understanding of health, information and functional literacy; and evaluate existing materials for literacy levels and readability.

PUBH 211. Biostatistics for Population Health. 3 Hours.

PR: MATH 121 or higher and PUBH 101. This course provides students with an introduction to statistical concepts that are important for solving real-world public health problems. This course will present statistical principles and associated scientific reasoning underlying public health practice and health policy decision-making. Topics include data visualization, summary statistics, statistical inference, and strategies for articulating and evaluating claims using statistical constructs.

PUBH 222. Epidemiology for Public Health. 3 Hours.

PR or CONC: PUBH 211 or STAT 211. This introductory course explores the historical roots of the practice of epidemiology. The course will provide students with a foundation in the study of the distributions of health-related states or events (including injury and disease) in human populations and the control of these health-related problems.

PUBH 241. Biological Basis of Public Health. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 101 and ((BIOL 101 and BIOL 103) or (BIOL 102 and BIOL 104) or higher). Provides a basic understanding of human changes associated with or resulting from those chronic or infectious diseases or injuries that are of public health importance in the US and globally. Students will: 1) understand core concepts of health and disease, 2) recognize common infectious diseases and their influence on public health, and 3) identify chronic disease burden.

PUBH 243. Issues in Environmental Health. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 101. Provides an overview of environmental and occupational issues relating to air, water, and solid waste as they relate to human health. Basic environmental health concepts, technologies and underlying data will be examined to better understand local, national and global solutions to environmental health problems.

PUBH 260. Principles of Patient Navigation. 3 Hours.

Reviews roles and responsibilities of Patient Navigators. Provides overview of Patient Navigator competencies, comprising: the basics of health services delivery and health insurance; health of the individual; accessing and analyzing health information; approaches to communication, including motivational interviewing and group dynamics; and healthcare ethics. Includes required shadowing experience.

PUBH 293. . 1-6 Hours.

Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

PUBH 311. Health Research Data Management and Reporting. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 211. This course will provide an introduction to data management and reporting principles, and the associated tools that are instrumental in public health research. Topics include data documentation, data structure, relational database theory, data manipulation, basic logic for programming, literate programming, and reporting.

PUBH 331. Introduction to Health Policy. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 101. This course provides an overview of the inner workings of health care policy making, from the legislative process to socioeconomic impacts, with both historical and modern perspectives. Students will explore factors that shape the United States health care system and policy, such as values, models, and stakeholders, and compare them to other countries for international context.

PUBH 333. Comparative Health Systems and Policy. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 331. In this course, students will examine the structure of healthcare systems in selected countries worldwide. Specific attention is paid to the developmental history of the national healthcare systems, financing, and delivery infrastructure. The impact of international relations is also examined.

PUBH 334. Emergency Preparedness for Public Health. 3 Hours.

This course provides an overview of the dimensions of disasters and emergencies through the lens of Public Health professionals with special focus on the rural environment and uses the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) model for the final exercise. Students completing this course will also complete several FEMA certifications during the course.

PUBH 338. Public Health Project Management. 3 Hours.

Introduces students to the basics of project management: the process of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing out a project. Project leadership is explored in the context of building effective project teams and maintaining stakeholder relationships. Concepts include developing and monitoring budgets, developing Gantt charts, reporting, working with stakeholders, flow charts and more.

PUBH 352. Introduction to Social and Behavioral Science and Practice. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 101 and PUBH 202. Introduces the historical and philosophical background of the social and behavioral sciences, covering theories of behavioral science applied to health behaviors; socio-cultural factors of disease etiology, prevention and population health; individual, group, community, and technology-based strategies for health behavior change; and current issues in behavioral sciences for health promotion including its application to achieving the Healthy People 2020 goals.

PUBH 360. Health Navigation: Prevention and Community Health. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 260. Students will explore the relationship between psychosocial, behavioral and biological risk factors as they affect chronic conditions; learn about screening, prevention, diagnosis and treatment for the most common chronic diseases, and discuss proven methods and strategies (including immunizations, health screenings, educational programs, behavior change programs and health policies) to promote prevention among targeted communities.

PUBH 361. Health Insurance for Patient Navigators. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 260. Covers basic concepts, terminology and processes pertaining to Medicaid, Medicare, worker’s compensation, major insurers, and disability insurance, including eligibility, billing, claims and reimbursement. Provides the skills needed to communicate sometimes complex health insurance information to patients and facilitate patient decision making.

PUBH 423. Introduction to Modern Epidemiologic Research. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 222. This intermediate course will provide students with a foundation in the research tools utilized to explore the determinants of health-related states or events (including injury and disease) in human populations.

PUBH 442. Public Health in the Workplace. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 222 and PUBH 243. Overview of workplace health issues as they affect human health, including exposure to chemical, physical, biological and mechanical hazards. Basic occupational safety and health concepts, technologies and underlying data will be examined to better understand the potential solutions for workplace safety and human health issues.

PUBH 454. Introduction to Public Health Research Methods. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 222 and PUBH 352. This course provides an overview of public and community health research methods. Content includes the purpose and foundations of research, identifying and framing topic of interest and formulating research questions, ethical standards and reviews, study populations and samples, study designs, question construction and questionnaire development, data collection and analyses approaches, and the reporting and dissemination of findings.

PUBH 481. Public Health Field Experience and Capstone. 6 Hours.

PR: PUBH 480. Students complete a 75 hour group project with a local agency, supervised by a community partner. The capstone portion includes reflective journal essays, meetings to discuss observations and connections to program skills and knowledge, and a poster presentation to stakeholders.

PUBH 486. Patient Navigator Experiential Agency Rotations and Capstone. 6 Hours.

PR: PUBH 460 and PUBH 461. Students complete three rotations, two in health-related agencies and one with a community health worker, supervised by a mentor (patient navigator, community health worker or care coordinator). Each placement comprises 25 hours (total of 75 hours). Capstone portion includes reflective journal essays, meetings to discuss observations and connections to program skills and knowledge and a poster presentation to various stakeholders.

PUBH 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a miximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

PUBH 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

PUBH 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.