Infectious and chronic diseases, food and water safety, sanitation and environmental health issues — these are just some of the pressing challenges facing our world today. You can be part of the solution.

Our nationally recognized public health program gives students the conceptual foundations and empirical bases for analyzing the interplay between science, society and health, and prepares students for rewarding careers. Students can focus on social analysis or biological sciences, but share a common core curriculum. Or, you can add a public health minor to your science, pre-med or health profession studies to broaden your perspective.

Boston is home to a vibrant medical community. There are many world-class teaching hospitals and research labs within walking distance of campus. You'll attend talks, pursue research and internship opportunities, and have guest lectures with leading experts in public health research and policy.

Our students are in demand as researchers, community health workers, and health program managers. Join them in making a difference every day.

Program Requirements

Majors will complete a core consisting of 12 courses plus 3 track-specific courses and a capstone requirement, spread out across their four years. The suggested sequence for core courses is:

First Year

  • PH 101 Introduction to Public Health
  • BIOL 113 General Biology
  • SOCI 241 Health, Illness and Society
  • CHEM 109 General, Organic, and Biochemistry for Public Health

Sophomore Year

  • BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • MATH 118 Introduction to Statistics or
  • MATH 227 Biostatistical Design and Analysis
  • BIOL 221 Microbiology, A Human Perspective
  • SOCI 245 Global Health

Junior Year

  • SOCI 345 Health Care Systems and Policy
  • PH 201 Introduction to Epidemiology
  • COMM 312 Health Communications

Senior Year

  • PH 347 Seminar in Public Health
  • Capstone Requirement*

Majors select one of two tracks to add to the core:

(A) Biology Track (BS Public Health)

  • BIOL 246 Foundations of Exercise and Health
  • BIOL 347 Human Development and Genetics

Students must choose one additional course from the biology list:

Biology Electives

  • BIOL 245 Ecology
  • BIOL 338 Microbial Pathogenesis
  • BIOL 341 Microbiology of Food, Water and Waste
  • CHEM 327 Energy and Global Warming
  • HON 303 HIV/AIDS Intersections of Science
  • IT 225 Health Informatics
  • MGMT 234 Organizational Communication and Behavior
  • MATH 227 Biostatistical Design and Analysis
  • MATH 229 Regression Models
  • NUTR 110 Sociocultural Implications of Nutrition
  • PHIL 131 Biomedical Ethics
  • POLS 217 American Public Policy
  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology

(B) Social Analysis Track (BA Public Health)

  • SOCI 239 Introduction to Social Research

Students must choose two additional courses from the social analysis list:

Social Analysis Electives

  • AST/SOCI/WGST 232 Race, Gender and Health
  • HON 303 HIV/AIDS Intersections of Science
  • IT 225 Health Informatics
  • MATH 227 Biostatistical Analysis and Design
  • MATH 229 Regression Models
  • MGMT 234 Organizational Communication and Behavior
  • PHIL 131 Biomedical Ethics
  • POLS 217 American Public Policy
  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology
  • SOCI 220 Working for Social Justice
  • SOCI 222 Organizing for Social Change
  • SOCI 210 Body Politics
  • SOCI 275 Birth and Death
  • SOCI 321 Sociology of Food
  • SOCI 339 Community Research
  • AST/SOCI/WGST 365 Intimate Family Violence

*Capstone Requirement

There is an all-College capstone requirement. Public Health Seniors will complete their capstone requirement through internship and/or research activities plus associated courses. All Public Health students are required to undertake a senior internship or research experience over one or two semesters (totaling approximately 190 -200 hours) and either submit an internship paper and journal or a research paper or a research thesis.

To meet this capstone requirement, Public Health majors are required to take PH347 Senior Seminar (4 credits) and one of the following courses for 4 or 8 credits, depending on whether they are undertaking an internship or research experience or thesis work.

  • PH 370 Independent Study for students doing Internships
  • BIO 350 or SOCI 350 for students doing independent research (depending on whether they are BIO or SOCI track)
  • BIO 355 or SOCI 355 for Thesis (depending on whether they are BIO or SOCI track)

All students will be required to submit a final paper or thesis and make an oral presentation of their work at an approved internal or external symposium.

Arrangements for satisfying the independent learning requirement must be made with the student’s public health advisor before the end of the junior year.

Public Health Resources in Boston

Students will be encouraged to attend open lectures on Public Health in Boston. In addition, courses developed at Simmons will integrate guest speakers from the pool of expertise in the area.

Minor Requirements

The minor consists of the following five courses:

  • PH 101 Introduction to Public Health
  • BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • PH 201 Introduction to Epidemiology
  • SOCI 241 Health, Illness, and Society
  • SOCI 245 International Health or SOCI 345 Health Care Systems and Policy
Customize Your Program

Your advisor will help you develop a curriculum tailored to your interests and career goals. At Simmons you'll have opportunities to explore double majors and complementary minors to customize your study. Our accelerated degree in Public Health (BS) and Nutrition (MS) lets interested students earn their undergraduate and graduate degree in only 5 years. 

If your future plans include applying to medical, dental or veterinary school make sure to speak with your advisor as soon as possible so you can plan to meet the admission requirements of those professional programs. 

We also offer a minor in public health for students pursuing other majors. 

Internships and Research

Internships and research are essential to public health students. You'll have opportunities to explore your interests, build your skills and develop mentoring relationships with leaders in the field. 

Our students put their knowledge into practice in many ways, including:

  • Studying abroad — from Chile to China to Switzerland — to gain a global perspective on this universally-important major.
  • Interning and studying at places like the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Children's Hospital. 
  • Partnering with our Communications Department to produce Public Service Announcements about timely health issues. 
    Elizabeth Scott
    • Elizabeth Scott
    • Associate Dean & Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2664
    • Office: S257
    Shelley White
    • Shelley White
    • Assistant Professor of Public Health and Sociology, Master of Public Health Program Director
    • Phone: 617-521-2088
    • Office: M333
    John Quattrochi
    • John Quattrochi
    • Assistant Professor of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2478
    • Office: M334
    Chris Chanyasulkit
    Valerie Leiter
    Donna Cole
    • Donna Cole
    • Assistant Professor of Sociology, Affiliate Faculty of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2557
    • Office: C205D
How to Apply

So you know that Simmons is a great place to be, you've learned about our programs, maybe even come for a you're ready to apply! Let's get started.