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 B.S. program 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.

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
Values, Society, and Diversity3
Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts3
International and Global Issues3

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 no more than 36 s.h. at the University of Iowa;
  • completion of CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public Health or CPH:2099 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 or higher; and
  • a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 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 (30 s.h.).

CPH:1050College of Public Health Direct Admit Seminar1
CPH:1400Fundamentals of Public Health3
or CPH:2099 Fundamentals of Public Health
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:4600Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health3
CPH:4999Public Health Capstone3

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 Microbiology5
PHIL:2402Introduction to Ethics3

Electives

Students complete at least three College of Public Health courses (prefix CPH); two electives must be numbered 2000 or above. Students choose from the following courses.

CPH:1200-CPH:1399
CPH:2200-CPH:2399
CPH:3200-CPH:3399
CPH:4200-CPH:4399

Experiential Learning Requirement

Students must successfully complete at least one of these experiences—research, internship, global learning, or service learning; contact the CPH undergraduate program office for specifics. Students must complete one course from the following.

Research
CPH:4900Mentored Undergraduate Research in Public Healtharr.
CPH:4990Honors Thesis 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.

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 Honors Thesis 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. Membership in the University honors program is not a requirement for applying to or graduating with honors in the major. Consult the College of Public Health for more information.

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.

Joint B.S./Graduate Degrees

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 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 Undergrad2Grad on the College of Public Health website.

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 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.

Standard Admission

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

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 no more than 36 s.h. at the University of Iowa;
  • completion of CPH:1400 Fundamentals of Public Health or CPH:2099 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 or higher; and
  • a minimum g.p.a. of 3.00 in all University of Iowa course work and in all college course work.

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

Transfer applications are not being accepted at this time.

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, 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, 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 3
CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 2
GE: Rhetoric 4
General elective 3
 Hours16
Spring
CPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health 3
CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I 4
GE: Values, Society, and Diversity 3
GE: Interpretation of Literature 3
General elective 3
 Hours16
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) 4
MATH:1460
Calculus for the Biological Sciences (also GE: Quantitative or Formal Reasoning)
or Calculus I
4
GE: World Languages 4-5
 Hours16-17
Spring
CPH:2400 The U.S. Health System in a Global Context 3
BIOL:1412 Diversity of Form and Function (also GE: Natural Sciences) 4
CS:1110
Introduction to Computer Science
or Computer Science I: Fundamentals
3-4
GE: World Languages 4-5
GE: International and Global Issues 3
 Hours17-19
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
Major: additional science requirements 3-4
GE: Historical Perspectives 3
General elective 3
 Hours16-17
Spring
CPH:3400 Health, Work, and the Environment 3
CPH:3700 Methods for Program Implementation and Evaluation 3
Major: experiential learning requirement arr.
Major: public health elective course numbered CPH:2XXX 2-3
GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts 3
General elective 3
 Hours14-15
Fourth Year
Fall
CPH:4600 Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health 3
Major: public health elective course numbered CPH:3XXX 2-3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Hours11-12
Spring
CPH:4999 Public Health Capstone 3
Major: public health elective course numbered CPH:3XXX 3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Hours12
 Total Hours118-124

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
GE: Rhetoric 4
CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 2
General elective 3
 Hours17
Spring
CPH:1600 Public Health Science: Inquiry and Investigation in Public Health 3
BIOL:1411 Foundations of Biology (also GE: Natural Sciences ) 4
MATH:1460
Calculus for the Biological Sciences (also GE: Quantitative or Formal Reasoning)
or Calculus I
4
GE: Interpretation of Literature 3
General elective 3
 Hours17
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
GE: World Languages 4-5
GE: Values, Society, and Diversity 3
 Hours15-16
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 requirements 3-4
GE: World Languages 4-5
GE: International and Global Issues 3
 Hours16-19
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: Historical Perspectives 3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Hours16
Spring
CPH:3400 Health, Work, and the Environment 3
CPH:3700 Methods for Program Implementation and Evaluation 3
Major: experiential learning requirement arr.
Major: public health elective course numbered CPH:2XXX 2-3
GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts 3
General elective 3
 Hours14-15
Fourth Year
Fall
CPH:4600 Practice of Evidence-Based Public Health 3
Major: public health elective course numbered CPH:3XXX 2-3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Hours11-12
Spring
CPH:4999 Public Health Capstone 3
Major: public health elective course numbered CPH:3XXX 3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Hours12
 Total Hours118-124