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
  • BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • SOCI 241 Health, Illness and Society

Sophomore Year

  • BIOL 221 Microbiology- A Human Perspective
  • CHEM 109 General, Organic, and Biochemistry for Public Health
  • MATH 118 Introduction to Statistics or
  • MATH 227 Biostatistical Design and Analysis
  • SOCI 245 Global Health

Junior Year

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

Senior Year

  • PH 347 Seminar in Public Health
  • Capstone requirements: see below for details


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 electives list:

Biology Electives

  • BIOL 245 Ecology
  • BIOL 338 Microbial Pathogenesis
  • BIOL 341 Microbiology of Food, Water and Waste
  • CHEM 327 Energy and Global Warming
  • CS 225 Health Informatics
  • HON 303 HIV/AIDS Intersections of Science
  • 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 electives list:

Social Analysis Electives

  • AST/SOCI/WGST 232 Race, Women and Health
  • CS 225 Health Informatics
  • HON 303 HIV/AIDS Intersections of Science
  • MATH 227 Biostatistical Design and Analysis
  • 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 321 Sociology of Food
  • SOCI 339 Qualitative Research Workshop
  • AST/SOCI/WGST 365 Intimate Family Violence

Independent Learning

Students will complete a capstone requirement during their senior year, through internship and/or research activities. All students will take PH 347 (Senior Seminar) in the fall semester. In addition to taking this course, students will have a choice of completing an internship or thesis. Students who choose to do an internship will take four credits of PH 370 (Internship Seminar) in the spring semester. Students who choose to write a thesis will register for four credits of BIOL 350 or SOCI 350 (Independent Study) in the fall, and four credits of BIOL 355 or SOCI 355 (Thesis) in the spring, and will be supervised by a professor in one of those two departments who is affiliated with the Public Health program. Arrangements for satisfying the capstone requirement must be made with the student's public health advisor before the end of the junior year. This requirement will be tailored to meet individual students' interests and career aspirations.

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 in Public Health

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 Global Health or
  • SOCI 345 Health Care Systems and Policy

For further information about the program in Public Health, contact either Professor Valerie Leiter for the Sociology track or Professor Elizabeth Scott for the Biology track. Students planning to attend medical, dental, or veterinary school should contact Bruce Gray as early as possible to be sure to incorporate the courses required for admission to these professional schools.

Minor Requirements

The minor consists of the following five courses:

  • BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • BIOL 346 Epidemiology and Infectious Disease
  • MATH 118 Introduction to Statistics
  • 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. 
Faculty
    Elizabeth Scott
    • Elizabeth Scott
    • Professor of Biology and Public Health, Department Chair of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2664
    • Office: S257
    John Quattrochi
    • John Quattrochi
    • Assistant Professor of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2478
    • Office: M334
    Shelley White
    • Shelley White
    • Assistant Professor of Public Health and Sociology, Master of Public Health Program Director
    • Phone: 617-521-2088
    • Office: C205D
    Chris Chanyasulkit
    Valerie Leiter
    • Valerie Leiter
    • Department Chair and Professor of Sociology, Affiliate Faculty of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2217
    • Office: C205A
    Donna Cole
    • Donna Cole
    • Assistant Professor of Sociology, Affiliate Faculty of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2557
    • Office: C205C
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 visit...now you're ready to apply! Let's get started.