Public Health

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.

Professor teaching to a class of students

Solve the world's biggest problems

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.

First Year

PH 101 Introduction to Public Health 4
BIOL 113 General Biology 4
SOCI 241 Health, Illness & Society 4
CHEM 109 Chemistry and Society: General, Organic, and Biochemistry for Public Health 4

Sophomore Year

BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science 4
MATH 118 Introductory Statistics 4
MATH 227 Intermediate Statistics: Design & Analysis 4
BIOL 221 Microbiology 4
SOCI 245 Global Health 4

Junior Year

SOCI 345 Health Systems & Policy 4
PH 201 Introduction to Epidemiology 4
COMM 312 Health Communications 4

Senior Year

PH 347 Public Health Seminar 4
Independent Learning*

Required Courses

BIOL 246 Foundations of Exercise and Health 4
BIOL 347 Human Development and Genetics 4

Students must choose one additional course from the biology list:

Biology Electives

BIOL 245 Principles of Ecology 4
BIOL 338 Microbial Pathogenesis 4
BIOL 341 Microbiology of Food, Water, and Waste 4
CHEM 327 Energy and Global Warming 4
HON 303 Hiv/Aids Intersections of Science and Society 4
IT 225 Health Informatics 4
MGMT 234 Organizational Communication and Behavior 4
MATH 227 Intermediate Statistics: Design & Analysis 4
MATH 229 Regression Models 4
NUTR 110 Sociocultural Implications of Nutrition 4
PHIL 131 Biomedical Ethics 4
POLS 217 American Public Policy 4
PSYC 232 Health Psychology 4

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 PH 347 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.

For students doing Internships

PH 370 Internship 4

For students doing independent research

(depending on whether they are BIO or SOCI track)

BIOL 350 Independent Laboratory Research 4
SOCI 350 Independent Study 4

For Thesis

(depending on whether they are BIO or SOCI track)

BIOL 355 Thesis 4
SOCI 355 Thesis 4

The minor consists of the following five courses:

PH 101 Introduction to Public Health 4
BIOL 104 Introduction to Environmental Science 4
PH 201 Introduction to Epidemiology 4
SOCI 241 Health, Illness & Society 4
SOCI 245 Global Health 4
SOCI 345 Health Systems & Policy 4

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 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. 

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.

Offered As
  • Major
  • Minor
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Our Faculty

Shelley White photo

Shelley White

  • Asst. Prof. of Public Health and Sociology, MPH Program Dir.