The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree provides students with a basic understanding of the five core public health knowledge areas: biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, and occupational and environmental health sciences. Students will be prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education.

A public health core provides the degree with breadth in the biological, social, economic, quantitative, geographic, and educational components of health and health disparities within and across populations. Students complete a cumulative capstone experience during which they will integrate, apply, and synthesize public health knowledge. As an integral part of their education, students also will be exposed to public health professionals and agencies.

The Bachelor of Science with a major in public health requires a minimum of 120 s.h., including at least 62 s.h. of work for the major. Students must have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all courses for the major and in all UI courses for the major; in all college course work and in all UI course work; and in all college course work in public health and in all UI public health course work, including any courses administered by the College of Public Health in the Departments of Biostatistics, Community and Behavioral Health, Epidemiology, Health Management and Policy, and Occupational and Environmental Health. Students are required to earn a minimum of 30 s.h. in public health course work at the University of Iowa.

The B.S. with a major in public health requires the following course work.

College Success Requirement

All students are required to complete CSI:1600 Success at Iowa during the fall semester; students complete part one before participating in an orientation program. The course is designed to help students successfully transition to college life. The course covers information about online tools that are specific to the University, such as MyUI and Iowa Courses Online (ICON), and also discusses resources for navigating life on campus. Additional content includes financial aid literacy, strategies for making healthy behavior choices, sexual assault awareness and prevention, and the comprehensive transitional survey known as MAP-Works.

General Education Requirements

RHET:1030Rhetoric4
ENGL:1200The Interpretation of Literature3
World Languages0-10
Natural Sciences 7
Quantitative or Formal Reasoning3
Social Sciences3
Historical Perspectives3
Diversity and Inclusion3
International and Global Issues3
Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts3
Values and Culture3

Students may complete the world languages requirement using one of the following two options. One year of high school language study is generally equivalent to one semester of college language study.

Option One: attain fourth-level proficiency in a single world language, usually by completing four years of that language in high school or four semesters in college or an equivalent combination of high school and college course work; or pass an achievement test or evaluation at fourth-level proficiency.

Option Two: attain second-level proficiency in each of two world languages, usually by completing two years of each language in high school or two semesters of each language in college or an equivalent combination of high school and college course work; or pass achievement tests and/or evaluations at second-level proficiency in each language. Option two does not fulfill the World Languages requirement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or qualify students to earn credit under the Furthering Language Incentive Program (FLIP).

Students may count courses taken to fulfill General Education Program requirements toward other requirements for the B.S.

Prerequisites for Admission to the College

Students who wish to enter the major in public health after declaring the public health interest through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must complete the following by the end of the semester in which they apply before they may enter the major:

  • completion of at least 12 s.h. at the University of Iowa;
  • completion of CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public Health with a grade of B or higher;
  • completion of  CPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health with a grade of B-minus or higher; and
  • a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 2.75 in all courses taken at the University of Iowa and in all college-level course work attempted.

Public Health Core Courses

Students must complete all of the following (27 s.h.).

CPH:1050College of Public Health Direct Admit Seminar1
CPH:1400Fundamentals of Public Health3
CPH:1600Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health3
CPH:2050Second Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar1
CPH:2400The U.S. Health System in a Global Context3
CPH:2600Introduction to Public Health Methods3
CPH:3050Third Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar1
CPH:3400Health, Work, and the Environment3
CPH:3500Global Public Health3
CPH:3700Methods for Program Implementation and Evaluation3
CPH:4999Public Health Capstone: Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health3

B.S. Requirements

Students complete the following requirements.

All of these:
BIOL:1411Foundations of Biology4
BIOL:1412Diversity of Form and Function4
CHEM:1110Principles of Chemistry I4
CPH:3600Applied Public Health Methods (section 1)3
One of these:
MATH:1460Calculus for the Biological Sciences4
MATH:1850Calculus I4
One of these:
CS:1110Introduction to Computer Science3
CS:1210Computer Science I: Fundamentals4
One of these:
CS:2110Programming for Informatics4
ENVS:1085Fundamentals of Environmental Science4
GEOG:3110Geography of Health3
GEOG:4150Health and Environment: GIS Applications3
GEOG:4770Environmental Justice3
IS:2000Introduction to International Studies3
MICR:2157General Microbiology3
PHIL:2402Introduction to Ethics3

Electives

Students complete a minimum of four College of Public Health courses from the following.

CPH:2200Climageddon: A Crisis for Public Health2
CPH:2210Introduction to Maternal and Infant Health Epidemiology2
CPH:2220Building a Healthier Tomorrow: Public Health Methods to Minimize Disease and Pollutant Exposures3
CPH:2230Finding Patient Zero: The Exploration of Infectious Disease Transmission and Pandemic Threats3
CPH:3200Death at Work: Case Studies of Workplace Safety and Health3
CPH:3210Nutrition in Public Health3
CPH:3220Public Health as a Public Good: Economics and Decision Making in Public Health Systems3
CPH:3230Human Genetics and Public Health3
CPH:4200Agriculture and the Environment3
CPH:4210Making a Difference: Public Health Policy and Advocacy3
CPH:4220Global Road Safety3
CPH:4230Injury and Violence Prevention3

Experiential Learning Requirement

Students must successfully complete at least one of these experiences from the following. Second Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar (CPH:2050) must be completed prior to enrollment in any of these courses. Contact the undergraduate program office for specific details.

Research
CPH:4900Undergraduate Research Experience in Public Healtharr.
CPH:4990Mentored Independent Undergraduate Research in Public Health3
Internship
CPH:4850Public Health Internship0-3
Global Learning
CPH:4750Global Learning in Public Healtharr.
Service Learning
CPH:3750Undergraduate Service Learning in Public Healtharr.

Joint B.A./CLAS Undergraduate Degree

Students admitted to or enrolled in the B.S. in Public Health program may pursue an additional degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Students pursuing an additional degree outside the College of Public Health are:

expected to meet all degree requirements and General Education requirements for both degree programs;

required to satisfy the collegiate residence requirements of both colleges;

assigned two advisors, one in each college; and

assessed tuition for the primary program of study in accordance with the rules of the Registrar's Office.

Additional considerations:

  • Students may be awarded degrees in the two colleges simultaneously or separately without requiring additional course work beyond the degree requirements.
  • Current students enrolled in the College of Public Health who want to add a CLAS major should use the Change of College Application found in MyUI.
  • Students who wish to discontinue the combined degree will need to file a Discontinuation of Combined Degree Program form in the collegiate office of the program of study they are dropping.

Students may change majors with either college in the college academic programs office and still remain in the combined degree program.

Joint B.S./Graduate Degree

Combined undergraduate to graduate programs provide an opportunity for students to earn both their B.S. and a master's degree in five years by beginning to earn graduate credit during their fourth year of undergraduate study.

Students in the joint programs must complete all requirements for each degree. Students apply for admission to the joint program during their third year as undergraduates and enter the program at the beginning of their fourth year.

Applicants also must apply for admission to the master's degree program and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College. For more information, visit Undergrad 2 Grad (U2G) on the College of Public Health website.

Honors in the Major

Students majoring in public health have the opportunity to graduate with honors in the major. To graduate with honors in public health, students must successfully complete all college requirements with a g.p.a. of at least 3.33 in all courses for the major, in all college course work, and in all UI course work.

In addition, students must complete an honors thesis in CPH:4990 Mentored Independent Undergraduate Research in Public Health, where they must write a brief research proposal summarizing background and goals of honors research, defend their research proposal to a honors project faculty member and a honors advisor, conduct research, submit their honors thesis, and conclude with an oral and/or poster presentation.

Outstanding undergraduate students in the college have an opportunity to undertake independent study and to work closely with faculty members. Completion of requirements for honors in the major also will satisfy the experiential learning requirement. Consult the College of Public Health undergraduate program office for more information.

University of Iowa Honors Program

Public health interest students interested in honors study are encouraged to participate in the University of Iowa Honors Program until they are admitted to the College of Public Health. Visit Honors at Iowa to learn about the University's honors program.

Membership in the UI Honors Program is not a requirement for applying to or graduating with honors in the public health major.

Admission to Bachelor of Science program in public health is selective. Students who meet the minimum admission requirements are not guaranteed admission.

Students may be admitted to the College of Public Health either through direct admission or standard admission.

Direct Admission

Direct admission is designed for students applying to the university as first-year students for the fall semester. Applicants who meet the high school course requirements and present an ACT composite score of 26 or higher (or a combined SAT critical reading and math score of 1170 or higher) and a high school g.p.a. of at least 3.60 will be strongly considered for direct admission to the college. Applicants who meet course requirements and either the test score or grade-point average requirement also will be considered. Students who are denied direct admission may file an online petition for direct admission to the College of Public Health.

Students granted direct admission to the college are eligible to apply for first-year scholarships. The scholarship application process is competitive and is based on high school record and short essay responses.

First-year students not admitted directly to the College of Public Health may be admitted to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as a public health interest student.

Transfer student applications are not being accepted at this time for direct admission to the College of Public Health. Transfer students may apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences public health interest designation.

Standard Admission

University of Iowa students are eligible to apply for standard admission to the College of Public Health, typically after their first year, once they complete prerequisite courses and earn the required grade-point average.

Application deadline for fall admission is February 1. Students should meet the following requirements by the end of the semester in which they apply:

  • completion of at least 12 s.h. at the University of Iowa;
  • completion of CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public Health with a grade of B or higher;
  • completion of CPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health with a grade of B-minus or higher; and
  • a minimum g.p.a. of 2.75 in all University of Iowa course work and in all college course work.

Students who are denied standard admission may file an online appeal for denial of admission to the College of Public Health if they can provide documentation of extenuating circumstances that affected their academic performance.

Four-Year Graduation Plan

The following checkpoints list the minimum requirements students must complete by certain semesters in order to stay on the University's Four-Year Graduation Plan. Courses in the major are those required to complete the major; they may be offered by departments other than the major department.

The Four-Year Graduation Plan applies only to students who are directly admitted to the College of Public Health or students who meet the prerequisites and submit an application for standard admission before the third semester begins (including public health interest students).

Before the second semester begins: CPH:1050 College of Public Health Direct Admit Seminar (for direct admits only)

Before the third semester begins: CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public HealthCPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health, and at least one-quarter of the semester hours required for graduation

Before the fourth semester begins: CPH:2050 Second Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar and CPH:2600 Introduction to Public Health Methods

Before the fifth semester begins: one-half of the semester hours required for graduation

Before the sixth semester begins: CPH:3050 Third Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar and CPH:3600 Applied Public Health Methods

Before the seventh semester begins: CPH:3700 Methods for Program Implementation and Evaluation and at least three-quarters of the semester hours required for graduation

Before the eighth semester begins: all public health core courses, except CPH:4999 Public Health Capstone: Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health, and the experiential learning requirement

During the eighth semester: all remaining General Education courses, enrollment in all remaining course work in the major, including CPH:4999 Public Health Capstone: Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health, and a sufficient number of semester hours to graduate

Sample Plans of Study

Public Health (B.S.)

Beginning with General Chemistry

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallHours
CPH:1050 College of Public Health Direct Admit Seminar 1
CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public Health (also GE: Social Sciences) 3
CHEM:1070 General Chemistry I (also GE: Natural Sciences without a lab) 3
RHET:1030 Rhetoric (GE: Rhetoric or other General Education course) 1 4
Non-major: elective course 2 2
CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 2
 Hours15
Spring
CPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health 3
CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I 4
ENGL:1200 The Interpretation of Literature (GE: Interpretation of Literature) 3
GE: Diversity and Inclusion 3
Non-major: elective course 2
 Hours15
Second Year
Fall
CPH:2050 Second Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar 1
CPH:2600 Introduction to Public Health Methods 3
BIOL:1411 Foundations of Biology (also GE: Natural Sciences with a lab) 4
MATH:1460
Calculus for the Biological Sciences (also GE: Quantitative or Formal Reasoning)
or Calculus I
4
GE: World Languages or elective course 3 3-5
 Hours15-17
Spring
CPH:2400 The U.S. Health System in a Global Context 3
BIOL:1412 Diversity of Form and Function 4
CS:1110
Introduction to Computer Science
or Computer Science I: Fundamentals
3-4
GE: World Languages or elective course 3-5
Non-major: elective course 2
 Hours15-18
Third Year
Fall
CPH:3050 Third Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar 1
CPH:3500 Global Public Health 3
CPH:3600 Applied Public Health Methods 3
Major: additional science requirement course 3-4
GE: World Languages or elective course 3-5
Non-major: elective course 2
 Hours15-18
Spring
CPH:3400 Health, Work, and the Environment 3
CPH:3700 Methods for Program Implementation and Evaluation 3
Major: experiential learning requirement course  
Major: public health elective course 2-3
GE: International and Global Issues 3
GE: World Languages or elective course 3-5
Non-major: elective course 1
 Hours15-18
Fourth Year
Fall
Major: public health elective course 3
Major: public health elective course 2-3
GE: Historical Perspectives 3
GE: Values and Culture 3
Non-major: elective course 3
Non-major: elective course 1
 Hours15-16
Spring
CPH:4999 Public Health Capstone: Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health 3
Major: public health elective course 3
GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts 3
Non-major: elective course 3
Non-major: elective course 3
 Hours15
 Total Hours120-132
1

General Education (GE) courses may be completed in any order unless used as a prerequisite for another course. Students should consult with an advisor about the best sequencing of courses. For more information, view the General Education Program

2

Students may use their elective courses to complete a double major, minors, or certificates. 

3

Students may complete the world languages requirement using one of the following two options. One year of high school language study is generally equivalent to one semester of college language study.

Option One: attain fourth-level proficiency in a single world language, usually by completing four years of that language in high school or four semesters in college or an equivalent combination of high school and college course work; or pass an achievement test or evaluation at fourth-level proficiency.

Option Two: attain second-level proficiency in each of two world languages, usually by completing two years of each language in high school or two semesters of each language in college or an equivalent combination of high school and college course work; or pass achievement tests and/or evaluations at second-level proficiency in each language. Option two does not fulfill the World Languages requirement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or qualify students to earn credit under the Furthering Language Incentive Program (FLIP).

Beginning with Principles of Chemistry

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallHours
CPH:1050 College of Public Health Direct Admit Seminar 1
CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public Health (also GE: Social Sciences) 3
CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I 4
RHET:1030 Rhetoric (GE: Rhetoric or other General Education course) 1 4
Non-major: elective course 2 1
CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 2
 Hours15
Spring
CPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health 3
BIOL:1411 Foundations of Biology (also GE: Natural Sciences with a lab) 4
MATH:1460
Calculus for the Biological Sciences (also GE: Quantitative or Formal Reasoning)
or Calculus I
4
GE: Diversity and Inclusion 3
Non-major: elective course 1
 Hours15
Second Year
Fall
CPH:2050 Second Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar 1
CPH:2600 Introduction to Public Health Methods 3
BIOL:1412 Diversity of Form and Function (also GE: Natural Sciences) 4
ENGL:1200 The Interpretation of Literature (GE: Interpretation of Literature) 3
GE: World Languages or elective course 3 3-5
Non-major: elective course 1
 Hours15-17
Spring
CPH:2400 The U.S. Health System in a Global Context 3
CS:1110
Introduction to Computer Science
or Computer Science I: Fundamentals
3-4
Major: additional science requirement course 3-4
GE: International and Global Issues 3
GE: World Languages or elective course 3-5
 Hours15-19
Third Year
Fall
CPH:3050 Third Year Undergraduate Public Health Seminar 1
CPH:3500 Global Public Health 3
CPH:3600 Applied Public Health Methods 3
GE: Values and Culture 3
GE: World Languages or elective course 3-5
Non-major: elective course 2
 Hours15-17
Spring
CPH:3400 Health, Work, and the Environment 3
CPH:3700 Methods for Program Implementation and Evaluation 3
Major: experiential learning requirement course  
Major: public health elective course 2-3
GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts 3
GE: World Languages or elective course 3-5
Non-major: elective course 1
 Hours15-18
Fourth Year
Fall
Major: public health elective course 2-3
Major: public health elective course 3
GE: Historical Perspectives 3
Non-major: elective course 3
Non-major: elective course 3
Non-major: elective course 1
 Hours15-16
Spring
CPH:4999 Public Health Capstone: Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health 3
Major: public health elective course 3
Non-major: elective course 3
Non-major elective course 3
Non-major elective course 3
 Hours15
 Total Hours120-132
1

General Education (GE) courses may be completed in any order unless used as a prerequisite for another course. Students should consult with an advisor about the best sequencing of courses. For more information, view the General Education Program

2

Students may use their elective courses to complete a double major, minors, or certificates.

3

Students may complete the world languages requirement using one of the following two options. One year of high school language study is generally equivalent to one semester of college language study.

Option One: attain fourth-level proficiency in a single world language, usually by completing four years of that language in high school or four semesters in college or an equivalent combination of high school and college course work; or pass an achievement test or evaluation at fourth-level proficiency.

Option Two: attain second-level proficiency in each of two world languages, usually by completing two years of each language in high school or two semesters of each language in college or an equivalent combination of high school and college course work; or pass achievement tests and/or evaluations at second-level proficiency in each language. Option two does not fulfill the World Languages requirement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or qualify students to earn credit under the Furthering Language Incentive Program (FLIP).

The B.S. program in public health provides knowledge of the natural sciences for students interested in working in a research setting or preparing for advanced study in programs such as biostatistics, dentistry, environmental health, epidemiology, medicine, nursing, occupational health, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine.