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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.

Join T.E.A.M Milken!  T.E.A.M. Milken is open to all GWSPH undergraduate majors. Our goal is to provide individualized support to students so you will thrive at GW and be prepared to launch your public health career.


Effective immediately, the BSPH major will accept all qualified applicants into the major through the internal transfer process.  Students must have a 2.75 GPA or higher to qualify for the major. 
You may access the internal transfer form here.  Internal transfer forms must be submitted by February 15th (for fall transfer) and October 15th (for spring transfer).  
For Spring 2020 only, we will keep the admissions link in place for students who have already submitted an application or miss the internal transfer deadline.
Prospective high school students may apply directly to the public health program via the Common Application. Prospective GW students should review the undergraduate admissions page for details about the process.


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. Prerequisites are italicized under their respective core course.

PUBH 2110 | Public Health Biology (3 credits)
BISC 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008, 1115 (with 1120/1125 lab), 1116 (with 1126 lab), BISC 1111, BISC 1112, or HONR 1033 (Sci. Reasoning & Discovery: Biology only)
PUBH 2112 | Principles of Health Education and Health Promotion (3 credits)
PUBH 1101
PUBH 3135W | Health Policy (3 credits)
PUBH 1101
PUBH 3130 | Health Services Management and Economics (3 credits)
ECON 1011
PUBH 3131 | Epidemiology: Measuring Health and Disease (3 credits)
STAT 1051, 1053, 1127 or 1111 (STAT 1127 is preferred)
PUBH 4140W or 4141*| Senior Seminar: Grant Proposal or Senior Seminar: Community Needs Assessment (3 credits each)
PUBH 3130 & PUBH 3135W*

*no more than 1 other core course can be taken concurrently. Students accepted in Fall 2019 and after must also satisfy the Research Methods Selective prior to enrolling in 4140W or 4141.         

Public Health Core

PUBH 1010 | First-Year Experience in Public Health (1 credits)
PUBH 1101 | Introduction to Public Health and Health Services (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 or PUBH 4141 | Senior Seminar (3 credits)

Research Methods Selective - 3 credits. Choose 1 course from options below:

PUBH 3152 | Qualitative Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 3199 | Public Health Research Methods (3 credits)
EXNS 3111 | Nutrition Science Research Methods (3 credits)
EHS 2107 | Theory and Practice of Research in a Clinical Setting (3 credits)
SOC 2101 | Social Research Methods (3 credits)
PSC 2101 | Scope and Methods of Political Science (3 credits)
PSYC 2101 | Research Methods in Psychology (3 credits)
ANTH 3531 | Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology (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 current program guide (see RED Program Guide button to the right of screen for most up-to-date information).  Students may also petition to have a course 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 as soon as possible to the Program Director for pre-approval. There is no guarantee that a course will be approved.  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 may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, or 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.

Past Program Guides

Program Guides from prior Academic Years

Students in the BS-PH 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.


GWSPH offers a unique opportunity to outstanding students each year to enroll in the combined Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health/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

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 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.   

BS/MPH Curriculum

Undergraduate Courses

PUBH 1010 | First-Year Experience in Public Health (1 credits)
PUBH 1101 | Introduction to Public Health and Health Services (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


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

                                                                                                                                                                                 TOTAL UNDERGRADUATE CORE: 22 CREDITS

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

Graduate Level Cross Over Courses

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 |  Graduate level elective (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 sooner.

Program Guides

This is a link to the BS/MPH 2020-21 Program Guide. Also, see the current BS, Public Health Program Guide for more detailed information on the undergraduate requirements and approved electives.

Previous program guides (follow program guide from the Academic Year in which you matriculated into the program):

BS/MPH 2019-20
BS/MPH 2018-19
BS/MPH 2017-18

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

Pre-Med Concentration

Starting in Fall 2020, students will have the option to select a pre-medical professional concentration within the public health major.  Details about the concentration and how to select it will be provided soon.

See AY 2020-2021 program guide here.


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