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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.


Starting in Fall 2019, incoming freshman may apply directly the public health program.  Please review the undergraduate admissions page for details on the application process.

Admission to the program is made on a selective and space available basis. 

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 accommodate 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.

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 Undergraduate Advising.


Per GW policy, undergraduate students may not take courses on-line during the fall or spring semesters.

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 1102 | 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)


See the BS Public Health Program Guide and the GWSPH Undergraduate Handbook for more information and program policies.

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, which can be found in the program guide.  Students may also petition to have an elective approved if it is not on the list of approved electives by sending an email request and syllabus to the Program Director.  The list of approved electives that may be transferred from study abroad programs may be found here.

Approved Abroad and Domestic Courses

Many courses have been approved for public health elective credit and may be found through the CATS system by searching under PUBH 3199. 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 Study Abroad course approved, please use the CATS System in advance of registration. If you would like a new non-GW domestic course approved, please send an email request and syllabus to the Program Director in advance of registration. 



  • Students should meet with their Undergraduate Advisor to review their program of study.  More information on advising can be found here.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to understand the degree requirements and follow them for on-time graduation. 

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 and the GWSPH Undergraduate Handbook for more information and program policies.


Join us at an upcoming Information Session- find out more here.
GWSPH offers a unique opportunity to 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 and at a lower cost 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 6003, 6007, and 6011.  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 1102 | History of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 2110 | Public Health Biology (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 or 4141| Senior Seminar (3 credits)

Research Methods Selective (3 credits)- see program guide for approved options

PUBH Electives (9 credits)- see program guide for approved options

* Per GW policy, undergraduate students may not take courses on-line during the fall or spring semesters.

                                                                                                                                                                                 TOTAL UNDERGRADUATE CORE: 33 CREDITS

PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology- replaces PUBH 3131 (3 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social & Behavioral Approaches to Public Health- replaces PUBH 2112 (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Principles of Environmental Health Science- replaces PUBH 3132 (3 credits)

PUBH 6xxx- Public Health Elective within graduate concentration (2 credits)

                                                                                                                                                                                                 TOTAL CROSSOVER: 10 CREDITS

Students will also take PUBH 6021 - Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 1: Leading Self and Teams in Public Health (1 credit) during their Senior year. This course will not count toward undergraduate credits, but it will count toward the MPH program and allows students to start their practicum experience immediately upon graduation from the BS program.

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.

Please see the GWSPH Undergraduate Handbook for more information and program policies.


Faculty Mentors

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 the Program Director or Undergraduate Advising.
3) From there you will be introduced to your faculty mentor via email.
4) The rest of the relationship is up to you!

Faculty List