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Public Health - BS


The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health program offers students the chance to acquire knowledge and skills in the critical component elements of public health.  The ASPPH defines public health as a force that "protects and improves the health of individuals, families, communities, and populuations, locally and globally."  In this context, the GW SPH undergraduate program is intended to convey technical detail and analytical thinking, but with a liberal arts philosophical base, to create professionals with the skills and commitment to improve the public's health.
The curriculum prepares students for future practice and study, with courses such as Epidemiology, Principles of Health Education & Promotion, Health Policy, and more. Students develop their abilities in critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis of information, applying them to the historical and current trends in public health and health care delivery.
The BS Public Health program hopes to matriculate students who will take their public health voice into diverse fields of professional practice, bringing an informed and evidence-based viewpoint to public health issues affecting society at large.


The BS Public Health degree admissions process is administered directly by the Milken Institute School of Public Health Office of Admissions. 

Students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 to be considered for admission to the program. 

Students accepted to the BS Public Health degree program in the fall semester matriculate in the spring semester of their sophomore year after completing ​45 credits. 

Transfer students must be admitted to the university and have a minimum of 12 credits in residence at GW (one full-time semester) before consideration for admission to the BS in Public Health program.

The application for the BS Public Health program will be available online for a limited time. The application requires the following:

  1. Online BS Admission Application (NOTE:  There is no 'save' function so please draft your responses prior to submission.)
  2. Response to two short essay questions: (not to exceed 250 words each)
    • What public health issues concern you most and why?
    • What role will the public health major play in your goals to become a lifelong learner? 
  3. Your resume
  4. Your unofficial transcript from BanWeb. Admissions will verify an official copy.

The fall application deadline is October 1st. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Admission to the program is made on a selective and space available basis.  The admissions committee considers applications holistically, considering an applicant’s academic strengths, commitment to public health, leadership qualities, and other attributes.   

No student is considered to have declared a public health major until this process is completed and the student has received and returned the letter of acceptance from the GW SPH Office of Admissions. Thereafter, students receive guidance from the Undergraduate Advisor in order to register for all subsequent semesters.

New Admissions Process coming soon:

In early Spring 2019, the new internal transfer process will be posted. Applications will be accepted from internal GW students with a GPA of 2.75 or higher using a streamlined online application form. The BS in Public Health program will be gradually expanding over the next few academic years in an effort to accomodate all interested students. However, at this time, the BS in Public Health continues to engage a competitive admissions process as a limited-enrollment major. As it is possible that all qualified students may not be admitted, every applicant is strongly encouraged to have a back-up plan to complete their undergraduate education in another major.


University General Education Requirements

The BS in Public Health follows the University General Education Requirements.  

  • Natural or physical science with laboratory experience (1 or 2 courses for 3-4 credits- some may require extra 1 credit laboratory); 
  • Mathematics or statistics (1 course for 3 credits); 
  • Social sciences (2 courses for 3 credits each);
  • Humanities (1 course for 3 credits); and
  • Writing (1 writing course for 3 credits and 2 writing-in-the-discipline courses). 

Courses taken to fulfill Gen Ed components may count toward more than one requirement and can be counted toward a major or a minor.

See the University Bulletin for most up-to-date version of Gen Ed requirements and approved courses.

Gen Ed Requirements


Prerequisite Requirements

Please note that these are prerequisites for required core courses, rather than prerequisites to apply to the program.

Required Courses         Prerequisite

PUBH 2110:                  BISC 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008, 1115 (with 1125), 1116 (with 1126),
                                                 or HONR 1033 ("Sci. Reasoning & Disc: Biology" only)
PUBH 2112:                  PUBH 1101- Introduction to Public Health
PUBH 3135W:              PUBH 1101- Introduction to Public Health
PUBH 3130:                 ECON 1011- Principles of Economics I (Microeconomics)
PUBH 3131:                   STAT 1051 or 1053 or 1127 or 1111
PUBH 4140W:             PUBH 3130 and PUBH 3135W; in addition, 
                                                 no more than 1 other core course concurrently

Public Health Core

PUBH 1101 | Introduction to Public Health and Health Services (3 credits)
PUBH 1102W | History of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 2110 | Public Health Biology (3 credits)
PUBH 2112 | Principles of Health Education and Health Promotion (3 credits)
PUBH 3130 | Health Services Management and Economics (3 credits)
PUBH 3131 | Epidemiology: Measuring Health and Disease (3 credits)
PUBH 3132 | Health and Environment (3 credits)
PUBH 3133 | Global Health and Development (3 credits)
PUBH 3135W | Health Policy (3 credits)
PUBH 4140W | Senior Seminar (3 credits)


Course Descriptions

Public Health Electives

12 credits of General Electives must be taken to qualify for graduation. No more than 9 elective credits may be taken through approved study abroad programs or non-GW domestic courses.

Students may choose any electives from our existing approved elective list. Students may also petition to have an elective approved if it is not on the list of approved courses, which can be found in the program guide. The list of approved electives that may be transferred from study abroad programs and non-GW domestic universities can be found here.

Approved Abroad and Domestic Courses

These courses have been approved for public health elective credit. If you would like to transfer credits for any approved course, please submit the appropriate petition to the Program Director for pre-approval. If you would like a new course approved, submit a complete syllabus and appropriate petition to the Program Director in advance of registration. Course selections that do not receive pre-approval are not guaranteed to count toward program requirements. 

Information on pre-approved study abroad courses can be found here.



  • In consultation with the Undergraduate Advisor, Kristen Pinto, review your course of study each semester prior to registration. Students are required to receive academic Students must consult with the Program Advisor for any course changes, substitutions, or withdrawals. 
  • It is the student’s responsibility to understand the degree requirements and follow them for on-time graduation.
  • Students may take up to 9 credits of electives outside of GW, either through the approved Study Abroad course list or the approved non-GW course list. 
  • Electives taken outside of GW must be pre-approved and meet the following requirements to be considered:
  • Must be offered by an accredited school.
  • Must be related to public health as determined by the Program Director.
  • Classes may not be taught by graduate students.
  • While courses may be taken online, they may not be open access, online courses (e.g., MOOC or Coursera).
  • The class must be graded. 

Non-Academic Requirements


Professional Enhancement
Students in GWSPH programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities are pre-approved by an advisor and may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the Office of Student Records which is required documentation to be cleared for graduation.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training

All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research.  This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.

Program Guides

Past Program Guides

Students in the MPH in Biostatistics program should refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current program guide, click the red "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of the page.


See the BS Public Health Program Guide for more information.


The Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH) offers a unique opportunity to a small number of outstanding students each year to enroll in the Bachelor of Science (BS)/Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This dual degree program strives to produce graduates who become public health leaders committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national, and international communities. This is an appropriate program for pre-professional students who are interested in public health issues.
As incentive to move beyond the traditional undergraduate curriculum, Milken Institute SPH offers participant's admission to the MPH program without having to sit for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In addition, students can complete both the BS and MPH degrees more efficiently than had the degrees been completed separately. The BS/MPH program is a multi-level, dual-degree program, meaning that students are concurrently enrolled in one undergraduate program and one graduate program. The degrees will be awarded in different semesters.

Applicants may apply to any of the MPH programs.

Admissions Requirements

Only BSPH majors with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher are eligible to apply to the BS/MPH program. Students must be admitted to the BSPH major before applying to the BS/MPH program.

Students interested in the BS/MPH program apply directly to any of the MPH programs. For most programs, students apply to the BS/MPH program in the summer after their sophomore year. However, The Department of Global Health will only consider BS/MPH applicants to their programs after completion of a student’s junior year.

Admitted students are considered to be provisionally admitted.  Admission is conditional upon on earning a B or higher in PUBH 6001, 6003, 6004, and 6007.  Students who do not obtain a B or higher in all four courses will remain a BSPH major, but they will not be eligible to continue in the BS/MPH program.

The BS/MPH application is submitted online and will be activated annually during the application period after the spring semester has concluded. The link will be posted here when the application is available.

The online application will be made available here for three weeks prior to the admissions deadline in the late spring. Applicants must choose one MPH program to which they will apply.  The application requires the following:

  1. A personal statement
  2. Two letters of recommendation – GW faculty preferred
  3. Your resume 
  4. Your unofficial transcript from BanWeb. Admissions will cross-check it against an official copy.
  5. GREs are not required, but scores will be accepted. 

Admission to the program is made on a selective and space available basis.  Each department's admissions committee considers applications holistically, looking at an applicant’s academic strengths, commitment to public health, leadership qualities, and other attributes.   

Crossover Curriculum

PUBH 1101 | Introduction to Public Health and Health Services (3 credits)
PUBH 1102W | History of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 3130 | Health Services Management and Economics (3 credits)
PUBH 3133 | Global Health and Development (3 credits)
PUBH 3135W | Health Policy (3 credits)
PUBH 4140W | Senior Seminar (3 credits)

                                                                                                                                                                                 TOTAL UNDERGRADUATE CORE: 19-20 CREDITS

PUBH 6001 | Biological Concepts for Public Health- replaces PUBH 2112 (2 credits)
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology- replaces PUBH 3131 (3 credits)
PUBH 6004 | Environmental & Occupational Health in a Sustainable World- replaces PUBH 3132 (2 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social & Behavioral Approaches to Public Health- replaces PUBH 2112 (2 credits)

                                                                                                                                                                                                 TOTAL CROSSOVER: 9 CREDITS

Program Guide

This is a link to the BS/MPH 2018-19 Program Guide.  Also, see the BS, Program Guide for more detailed information on the undergraduate requirements.

Program Policies

These policies are specific to the BS/MPH program.

  1. To retain eligibility for many undergraduate federal and institutional financial aid opportunities, undergraduate students’ total course load each semester must be fewer than half graduate courses. It is the student’s responsibility to confirm with the Office of Student Financial Assistance the requirements that should be met in order to keep undergraduate financial aid.
  2. The fixed rate undergraduate tuition plan remains in effect for full-time BS/MPH students while completing their BS degree. Students who are still enrolled at GW after completion of their BS will pay the graduate rate on a per-credit basis. Upon matriculation into the MPH degree, students may participate in the Grad2Grad program.
  3. Unless otherwise specified, students should follow the policies and procedures relating to course-specific issues that coincide with the program level of the course. In other words, if the issue relates to an undergraduate course, students should follow the undergraduate rules; if the issue relates to a graduate course, students should follow the graduate rules.
  4. Students are advised to meet with both the Undergraduate Program Advisor and their MPH advisor upon acceptance into the BS/MPH program. 
  5. BS/MPH students earn their degrees sequentially, with the BS awarded after students successfully complete 120 credits and meet all other requirements for the undergraduate degree. Students may choose to participate in the Spring Commencement Ceremony twice – once to celebrate their undergraduate degree and later to celebrate their graduate degree.



The BSPH faculty value their connection with our undergraduates and want to enable their success whenever possible. Students can jump-start their connection by choosing a Faculty Mentor. These mentors will provide non-academic advising, such as career strategy, grad school selection, letters of recommendation, etc. To choose a Faculty Mentor, students can follow these steps:
1) Look through the list below for faculty members' research interests, career experience, etc.
2) Send the name of your preferred mentor to Dr. Wilensky or Ms. Pinto.
3) From there, Dr. Wilensky or Ms. Pinto will introduce you via email.
4) The rest of the relationship is up to you!
Faculty List


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