Complete your Public Health major with Simmons University

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health degree program equips students with the knowledge to address pressing health challenges, including health inequities associated with race, gender, and sexuality; infectious and chronic disease;, food and water safety; sanitation; and environmental issues.

Professor teaching to a class of students

Achieve a rewarding career with a Public Health degree

Simmons University is nationally recognized for providing students in our Public Health major with the conceptual and empirical foundation for analyzing the interplay between health, science, and society.

Throughout the Public Health degree experience, students will find a unique niche in the field that best matches their interests, skills, and passion for making an impact—setting them up for a rewarding career.

What you will learn with a bachelor’s in Public Health?

Students earning their Public Health degree learn how to interpret public health data, frame a public health issue, review and apply scientific literature, and present findings on approaches to the issue. The interdisciplinary coursework covers emerging research, trends, and solutions that can act as long-term prevention of an issue on a widespread scale—like the eradication of disease.

Through the curriculum and hands-on learning, students in the Public Health major are shaped into confident, skilled advocates capable of influencing a healthier, more educated public.

All undergraduate Public Health degree students complete 12 core courses spread across the four years to establish a strong foundation in fundamental and emerging topics in the field, including human development, health communications, microbiology, global health, environmental science, and epidemiology.

The Public Health bachelor’s degree culminates in a capstone requirement of either an internship or research experience, providing students with a rewarding, hands-on learning experience to deepen their in-classroom knowledge. Learn more about the course options in our Program Requirements below.

In addition to the BS in Public health degree, students can add a public health minor to science, pre-med, health profession studies, or social work for a broadened perspective of the reach of their field.

Learning Outcomes for our Public Health Bachelor’s Degree

  • Students will be able to identify current public health problems nationally and globally. They will be able to analyze case studies on national and global health issues (e.g. food safety, water safety, vaccination, exercise and obesity, exposure to toxins). Students will write research papers and make oral presentations in which they will describe a current public health issue. 
  • Students will be able to interpret public health data, frame a public health issue within an epidemiological context, review the literature and give oral presentations on epidemiological approaches to infectious disease, including observational studies, drug resistance studies, vaccine safety, surveillance, eradication, and outbreak studies.
  • Students will be able to analyze case studies of health issues (e.g., infant mortality and obesity), assessing the roles of gender, race, ethnicity, income, and income inequality in the production of health inequalities.
  • Students will compare public health infrastructures in developed and developing countries in relation to food borne and waterborne disease. Students will undertake literature reviews and prepare case studies.
  • Students will complete comparative analyses of the U.S. health care system with that in another country.

What can you do with a Public Health degree?

The field of Public Health touches many aspects of people’s lives. The work done in this field reflects the tireless efforts of its practitioners to continuously strive for improvement and innovation that can solve pressing health challenges facing the world.

There is a rising demand for public health professionals due to increased global concerns regarding health inequities, infectious and chronic disease epidemiology, food and water safety, sanitation, and environmental health issues.

With this demand, graduates of the BS in Public Health degree programs are making a difference every day. The interdisciplinary curriculum sets the stage for students to have the flexibility to carve out a specialization in public health that best matches their interests and goals. As a result, Simmons Public Health degree graduates enter public health careers in a wide range of in-demand roles such as emergency management specialists, health educators, epidemiologists, community health workers, researchers, and public health communicators—all seeking to identify and solve important issues in public health.

In addition to beginning a public health career, the Public Health program also prepares students to continue their education and increase specialization through an advanced degree program like Simmons’ online Master of Public Health (MPH), through the 3+1 BS to MPH Program or the BS to MPH Early Admission Program, or Bachelor’s in Public Health + MS in Nutrition 4+1 degree.

The Public Health department also has matriculation agreements in place for Masters Programs in Public Health with Boston University School of Public Health (Select Scholars Program) and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Interested students should discuss these options with the Director of the Public Health Bachelors Program in the fall of their junior year.

Engage in hands-on learning with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health

Simmons University’s Public Health major provides access to Boston’s world-class, vibrant public health and medical community. There are many prestigious teaching hospitals and research labs within walking distance of the Simmons campus. Students will enrich their academic experience by attending talks, pursuing research and internships, and interacting directly with leading experts in public health research and policy through guest lectures.

Internship and research opportunities are an essential element of the Public Health degree, enhancing the in-classroom experience for deeper understanding of course concepts. They allow students to explore specialized interests, build career-ready skills, and establish strong connections with dedicated mentors in the field. Simmons Public Health undergraduate students have interned in prominent locations such as the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Admission requirements for the BS in Public Health

Students interested in applying to the undergraduate Public Health degree program must submit the following items to be considered for undergraduate admission:

  • Completed Application
  • High School Transcript
  • SAT or ACT Test Scores
  • TOEFL Scores (required if English is not your first language)
  • College Essay College Transcript (if applicable)
  • Two Letters of Recommendation (one teacher, one counselor)

Learn more about Simmons University’s first-year undergraduate application process, including deadlines and what we look for in an applicant.

Learn more about our Public Health major!

Earn your Public Health degree at Simmons University and get started on the path to a fulfilling career. Contact our faculty with any questions—their information can be found below—or you can request more information about our Public Health major, schedule a campus tour, or find out how to apply to our Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health!

The suggested sequence for core courses is:

First Year

PH101 Introduction to Public Health 4
BIOL113 General Biology 4
CHEM110 General, Organic and Biological Chemistry 4
SOCI241 Health, Illness & Society 4

Sophomore Year

BIOL104 Introduction to Environmental Science 4
BIOL221 Microbiology 4
SOCI245 Global Health 4
STAT118 Introductory Statistics 4
STAT227 Intermediate Statistics: Design & Analysis 4

Junior Year

COMM312 Health Communications 4
PH201 Introduction to Epidemiology 4
PH345 Health Systems & Policy 4
BIOL246 Foundations of Exercise and Health 4
SOCI239 Introduction to Social Research I 4

Senior Year

PH347 Public Health Seminar 4
Other capstone coursework (see below)

Capstone Requirement

Public Health seniors will complete their capstone requirement by taking the Public Health Senior Seminar (PH 347) in the fall semester, plus will undertake a one-semester senior internship in the spring semester, a one-semester research experience in the spring semester, or a two-semester thesis across the entire senior year. All students will make a poster presentation and submit an internship paper, research paper, or research thesis as the final products of their capstone experience.

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

For students doing internships (Spring)

PH370 Internship 4

For students doing independent research (Spring)

PH350 Independent Study 1

For students completing a thesis

PH350 Independent Study 1
PH355 Thesis 4
PH 350 Independent Study (Fall) and PH 355 Thesis (Spring)

Elective Courses

Students must complete two additional courses from this list:
AST232 Race, Gender & Health 4
AST365 Intimate Family Violence 4
BIOL245 Principles of Ecology 4
BIOL338 Microbial Pathogenesis 4
BUS221 Project Management 4
BUS234 Organizational Communication & Behavior 4
CHEM227 Energy & Global Warming 4
IT225 Health Informatics 4
NUTR237 The Practice of Community Nutrition 4
PH261 Introduction to Public Health Promotion 4
PHIL131 Biomedical Ethics 4
POLS212 Politics Unplugged: How Things Work in Massachusetts 4
POLS217 American Public Policy 4
PSYC232 Health Psychology 4
SOCI210 Body Politics 4
SOCI220 Working for Social Justice 4
SOCI275 Birth and Death 4
SOCI285 Drugs and Society 4
SOCI321 Sociology of Food 4
SOCI339 Community Research 4
STAT227 Intermediate Statistics: Design & Analysis 4
STAT229 Regression Models 4

The minor consists of the following five courses:

PH101 Introduction to Public Health 4
BIOL104 Introduction to Environmental Science 4
PH201 Introduction to Epidemiology 4
SOCI241 Health, Illness & Society 4
SOCI245 Global Health 4
SOCI345 Health Systems & Policy 4

Customize your degree in Public Health

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.

Simmons students pursuing a BS in Public Health can apply to advance their career in Public Health by pursuing a Master of Public Health through the 3+1 BS to MPH Program or the BS to MPH Early Admission Program. The combined degree programs decrease the total time or number of credits needed to earn two degrees, providing an opportunity to jumpstart your career as a public health professional. Interested students should contact Prof. Carolyn Rodgers ([email protected]) to discuss this option.

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.

Online BS in Public Health

The public health program is also a possibility for students in our fully online program. Join us on our digital campus to learn how you can help solve today’s most urgent public health challenges.

Internships and research opportunities

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. 

Spotlight on Public Health Students and Alums

Abigail Bloom standing among trees and bushes

Self-Curating the College Experience: Sojourn in Spain, Scientific Research, and Senior Care

Public Health major Abigail Bloom ’24 discusses her study abroad experience, the research projects she has participated in, and some of her favorite courses at Simmons.

Group of Simmons Students

Debora Edouard ’24 and Kadijah McClean ’24 Open Simmons Chapter of the National Society of Black Women in Medicine

Established in 2017, the National Society of Black Women in Medicine is committed to increasing the recruitment and retention of Black women pursuing careers in the medical field. This academic year, Neurobiology major Debora Edouard ’24 and Biochemistry and Public Health minor Kadijah McClean ’24 co-founded the Simmons chapter of the Society.

Abigail Bloom, Aria Cooper, and Adriana Lizeth Campuzano Martinez

Simmons Welcomes Passionate Leaders Project Scholars for Spring 2024

The Passionate Leaders Project (PLP) supports Simmons undergraduates by enriching their academic and professional interests beyond the boundaries of a conventional classroom. Students may request up to $4,000 to support their research, internships, and creative endeavors. This semester’s cohort comprises student-scholars producing original research on healthcare for seniors, fashion sustainability, and the intersection of the arts, social justice, and gender-expansive agency.

Sunei Clarke ’24

Student Researcher Sunei Clarke ’24 Reflects on Simmons Black Oral History Project

Public Health major and Chemistry minor Sunei Clarke ’24 participated in the Simmons Black Oral History Project, conducting interviews with alumnae/i to document and memorialize the experiences of Black students at Simmons through the generations. Clarke spoke with us about the process of creating oral histories and the value of Africana Studies for all majors.

Bart Brown ’24, Gia Elie ’24, Sunei Clarke ’24, and Sunday Ntoto ’24 of the Black Student Organization host the Cupcake Tabling event at Common Grounds on February 1, 2023

Black Student Organization Honors Black History Month with Food, Festivities, and Intergenerational Community

Throughout Black History Month, all students are welcome to express their solidarity with Simmons’ Black community over cupcakes, soul food, music, and dancing. We spoke with BSO’s Soul President Gia Elie ’24, Soul Vice President Sunei Clarke ’24, and Soul of Communications Bartianna Brown ’24 about their passion for Black history and co-curating events that celebrate their culture.

Photo of Samantha Clark

From Undecided to LCSW: How Samantha Clark ’20 Found Her Path at Simmons

What made you choose Simmons for your undergraduate degree? The biggest draw for me was Boston. I'm from Portland, Maine, so Boston is only two hours away, and I could envision myself in Boston. Simmons was appealing for the small...

Passionate Leaders Project Students Spring 2023

Passionate Leaders Project: Spring 2023 Cohort

The Passionate Leaders Project (PLP) supports Simmons undergraduates by enriching their academic and professional interests beyond the confines of the classroom. Students may request up to $4,000 to support their research, internships, and creative endeavors. This semester's cohort is producing...

Photo of Kadijah McClean

Kadijah McClean '24 Shares her Experience as a Doctors in Italy Fellow

Pre-med student Kadijah McClean spent a portion of last summer in Milan as a Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program participant. She spoke with us about her transformative experience working and traveling abroad. Tell us about the Doctors in Italy Fellowship...