Frances B., Class of 2015

Bachelors of Science in Public Health

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Home » Programs » Bachelor of Science in Public Health

What Can You Do With a BS in Public Health Degree?

The need for public health professionals to provide guidance and expertise to communities has proven to be more critical than ever. As the pandemic surged, clear challenges were presented that required experts with the unique skills vital to address emerging health concerns.

With our Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree, students will gain knowledge related to the interactions and interdependencies of health behavior at local, state, national, and international levels, and will develop the skills needed to protect communities ahead of a health crisis.

The program is designed to help prepare entry-level public health professionals to begin careers in a variety of health agencies: governmental health agencies, voluntary health agencies, community-based/non-governmental agencies, medical care services, education agencies, and business and industry. Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply for the Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) exam through the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing Inc.

The National University Master of Public Health and the Bachelor of Science in Public Health programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

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The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

Preparation for the Major

  • 14 courses; 54 quarter units

Designed to assist individuals to establish health behaviors for optimal physical, emotional, and sexual health and maintain a healthy environment.

A survey of the field of psychology that provides an overview of the scientific principles and theories in psychology. Topics include: biological psychology, abnormal behavior, motivation, emotion, sexuality and gender, and personality theory.

PrerequisiteENG 102

Critical introduction to basic sociology concepts. Examination of major theoretical perspectives and research methods. Topics include: economic stratification, race, gender, family, deviance, complex organizations.

CorequisiteBIO 191A, or BIO 201A; Recommended: Prior completion ofBIO 100; BIO 100A; CHE 101; CHE 101A

Areas of study include cells, tissues, organ systems (integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous), and their functional relation to each other. Topics also include the aging process and diseases in these systems, as well as the effects of genetics, diet, lifestyle, and the environment.

Choose one of the following 2 courses

CorequisiteBIO 201; Recommended: Prior completion ofBIO 100; BIO 100A; CHE 101; CHE 101A

This course uses virtual labs and online resources to explore human anatomy and physiology. This first lab course in the series covers body plan, microscopes, cells, tissues, skin, bone, muscle, nervous system, and special senses. Students should verify that this course will transfer to their desired program.

CorequisiteBIO 201; Recommended: Prior completion ofBIO 100; BIO 100A; CHE 101; CHE 101A or equivalent courses.

This laboratory course examines organ systems (skeletal, muscular and nervous). Students conduct cat/fetal pig dissections to identify and learn how skeletal muscles are organized according to body region. Sheep brain is used as a model to study human brain.

CorequisiteBIO 202A; PrerequisiteBIO 201 and BIO 201A

Organ systems (endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive), and their functional relation to each other. Topics also include the aging process and diseases in these systems, as well as the effects of genetics, diet, lifestyle, and the environment.

Choose one of the following 2 courses

CorequisiteBIO 202; PrerequisiteBIO 191A with a minimum grade of C-. Passing grade required; BIO 201 with a minimum grade of C-. Passing grade required

This course uses virtual labs and online resources to explore human anatomy and physiology. This second lab course in the series covers autonomic nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, immune, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems, along with clinical lab tests. Students should verify that this course will transfer to their desired program.

CorequisiteBIO 202; PrerequisiteBIO 201; BIO 201A

This laboratory course examines homeostasis in the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, along with digestive, and urinary systems. Chromosomes, mitosis, meiosis, development and different types of inheritance through the testing of vision, hearing and taste and smell. Cat/fetal pig is used to study the internal organs.

CorequisiteBIO 203A Students should take both lecture and lab courses concurrently and with the same instructor to ensure a consistent learning experience. Students who are retaking one of the two courses or present special circumstances should petition for exception to this requisite.; Recommended: Prior completion ofBIO 100 and BIO 100A; CHE 101 and CHE 101A or equivalent courses; BIO 201 and BIO 201A; BIO 202 and BIO 202A

Biology of pathogenic and nonpathogenic microbes, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and viruses. The epidemiology of disease-causing agents is studied, along with the fundamentals of the human immune response. Students should take both lecture and lab courses concurrently and with the same instructor to ensure a consistent learning experience. Students who are retaking one of the two courses or present special circumstances should petition for exception to this requisite.

Choose one of the following 2 courses

CorequisiteBIO 203; Recommended: Prior completion ofBIO 191A; BIO 201; CHE 101; CHE 101A

This course uses virtual labs and online resources to instruct students about biosafety procedures, as well as methods of isolation, quantification, and identification of microorganisms. Students will become familiar with light microscopy, preparation and analysis of stained slides. Students should verify that this course will transfer to their desired program.

Corequisite: BIO 203; Recommended: Prior completion of: BIO 100; BIO 100A; CHE 101; CHE 101A; BIO 201 and BIO 201A; BIO 202 and BIO 202A

This laboratory course introduced students to procedures for handling microbes, methods of identification of microorganisms (microscopic and by diagnostic media), preparation of stained slides and wet mounts, aseptic techniques, isolation of a single colony, preparation of a pure culture, inoculation and interpretation of select diagnostic tests. This two-month course is a combination of lecture and laboratory activities. Students should take both lecture and lab courses concurrently and with the same instructor to ensure a consistent learning experience. Students who are retaking one of the two courses or present special circumstances should petition for exception to this requisite.

Innovative and best practice technology applications to support human health by individuals, professionals, care delivery organizations, and communities. Internet-based health resources, smart phone/mHealth applications, telehealth, and health-related social networks. Systems, standards, and policies to connect people and technologies securely across healthcare ecosystems.

An introduction to concepts, procedures and software used in the statistical analysis of data in the health professions.

PrerequisiteENG 102; Recommended PreparationCOH 100

Human nutrition is examined in the context of physical and emotional health across the lifespan. The cultural, economic and political context of nutrition in contemporary society is considered. Students develop a personal nutrition plan. Interventions designed to influence better eating habits in communities are examined.

PrerequisiteENG 102; Recommended PreparationCOH 100

Social, psychological, behavioral and physiological impacts of psychoactive drug use and abuse explored. Impacts of specific drugs on health status examined. Educational programs, public policy and treatment of addiction considered.

PrerequisiteENG 102; Recommended PreparationCOH 100

An exploration of the biological, psychological and sociological aspects of human sexuality. Development of a personal sexual philosophy, informed personal choice, awareness, tolerance and respect for sexual diversity. Critical analysis of research, information and public policy regarding sexuality.

Satisfactory completion of all courses in “Preparation for the Major” is needed prior to enrolling in “Requirements for the Major”.

Students must select one area of specialization.

Core Requirements

  • 4 courses; 18 quarter units

PrerequisiteILR 260

Focus is on the influence of culture on illness, health, and rehabilitation. The relationship that culture plays in the health and wellness of both individuals and the community in which they live will be explored.

PrerequisiteBST 322; ILR 260

Presents concepts and processes of this core public health discipline. Occurrence, distribution, effects, and control of diseases and conditions examined from a broad perspective. Applications of epidemiological methods included.

PrerequisiteILR 260

Introduction to concepts of pathological process from a public health viewpoint. Consideration of historical and contemporary disease patterns based on an understanding of pathogenic, behavioral, and environmental dimensions.

PrerequisiteILR 260

Considers the significant influence that individual and collective behavior exerts on health status. Relationships of behavior and social variables are examined, including natural and built environments, economics, and public policy.

Requirements for the Major

  • 10 courses; 45 quarter units

PrerequisiteCOH 100; PSY 100; SOC 100; BIO 203A

Consideration of the interrelationships and interdependencies between individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and societies and their effects on health status. High level wellness, health, and disease are distinguished. Concepts are developed based on the evolution of public health in civilizations as well as contemporary influences.

PrerequisiteCOH 300; COH 315; HTM 310

Knowledge and skills essential to assessing needs, developing goals and objectives, and planning activities for health promotion programs presented. Developing program plans incorporating evaluation standards included. Program implementation explored.

Focus is on the foundations of environmental science and environmental issues. Global climate change, agriculture, biodiversity, resource management, environmental toxins, waste management, and other topics will be explored.

PrerequisiteCOH 300; COH 315; COH 400 and HTM 310

Designed for entry-level professionals, covers the evolving profession of health promotion. Principles and practice of health promotion included. Essential core knowledge and skills considered. Health promotion’s link to other health and human service endeavors reviewed. Challenges to health promotion included.

Challenges to establishing and maintaining a physically active lifestyle in society examined. Physical, psychological, and social benefits of habitual physical activities considered. Public health impacts of sedentary living presented. Interventions to improve physical activity assessed.

PrerequisiteCOH 401

Behavioral, environmental, and public policy factors affecting populations. Transportation, emigration, and immigration patterns affect health status. Substantial differences in health status among world’s population examined. Course presents a broad understanding of the global aspects of health promotion.

PrerequisiteCOH 401

Methodologies to implement health promotion programs emphasized. Levels of intervention, from individual to society, are shown. Criteria for selecting methodologies presented.

PrerequisiteCOH 430

Means for influencing social environments and public policy affecting public well being. Reaching identified target audiences through a variety of strategies examined. Successful communications and advocacy campaigns reviewed.

PrerequisiteCOH 401

Introductory study of the public health response to disasters at all levels of county, state and federal government. Emergency planning and management relative to human made and natural disasters will be explored. Students complete risk analysis, manage disaster preparation efforts, identify and analyze potential disasters, provide corrective action, plan, organize and implement contingency and recovery programs.

PrerequisiteCOH 100; COH 300; COH 310; COH 315; COH 317; COH 318; COH 319; COH 320; COH 321; COH 380; COH 400; COH 401; COH 416; COH 422; COH 430; COH 435; COH 440

The public health field practicum is a culminating experience to demonstrate public health competencies through practical application of knowledge and skills. The 8-week (4.5 unit) course has several requirements including official documentation of at least 20 hours of approved public health experience, an electronic portfolio, a capstone paper and a presentation. Documentation of approved hours can begin up to 9 months in advance after participating in orientation and receiving written approval from Lead Faculty (For more information email Students are expected to initiate contact and interview with public health preceptors from currently affiliated agencies or full-time faculty in the Department of Community Health. Students may also request an affiliation agreement for a new agency including a current employer. Students seeking experience from their current employer must demonstrate that duties are separate from current job duties. Students may work with one or more preceptors according to interests, abilities, and availability and may complete approved certifications towards accumulation public health experience. Grading is S/U only. Course is IP eligible.

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, students must complete at least 180 quarter units as articulated below, including a minimum 70.5 units of the University General Education requirements, 45 quarter units of which must be completed in residence at National University, 76.5 quarter units of which must be completed at the upper-division level. In the absence of transfer credit, additional general electives may be necessary to satisfy total units for the degree.

The world around us is interconnected with public health: sanitation, environmental issues, disease, violence, and sexuality. This career allows you to choose the issue you’re most passionate about and follow that path. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for health education specialists was $56,500 in May 2020. Overall employment of health education specialists and community health workers is projected to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.*

Possible careers include:

  • Community health workers
  • Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Alumni have gone on to be:

  • Health educators
  • Public health specialists
  • Community health specialists
  • Research coordinators
  • Research assistants
  • Epidemiologists (with the right concentration and certifications)
  • Project managers

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the internet, at: (viewed February 3, 2021) Citations are projections that may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Candidates are strongly encouraged to conduct their own research.

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health can be completed entirely online, so you can study when and where it’s most convenient for you. You’ll engage with faculty in real time and through prerecorded lectures, presentations, or audio recordings, and you’ll participate in interactive discussions with classmates. Quizzes and exams are completed online, and coursework is submitted through the online portal directly to professors.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the core principles of public health and their relationship to the health status of groups, communities, and populations at the local, state, national, and international levels.
  • Describe behavioral and non-behavioral variables contributing to morbidity and mortality.
  • Describe the contributions of health disparities to morbidity and mortality among specific groups and communities.
  • Assess the need for health promotion programs in response to the characteristics of diverse communities of interest using primary and secondary data.
  • Choose appropriate strategies and tactics to influence behavioral, environmental, and public policy change to address the health needs in a given community.
  • Evaluate the progress and outcomes of prevention programs in meeting stated goals, objectives and standards.

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“The BSPH program that National University provides allowed me to begin my career in the Environmental Health and Safety field. This program gave me the necessary skills to confidently take on my role as an Injury Prevention Specialist. Not only did the courses aid in my success, but the professors in my cohort were always willing to help out and provide knowledgeable feedback whenever faced with questions. The Public Health program provides many different paths to success that allow you to pick and choose which specific field sparks your interest. All in all, the BSPH program gave me the confidence and knowledge to use those competencies and skills gained through the program and apply them to my position.”

Nick Rodas, Class of 2019

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Frequently Asked Questions

Public Health professionals help organizations and entities educate and inform constituents regarding matters of public health in areas such as community health, health administration, strategic planning, epidemiology and planning/preparation/intervention. They serve from a variety of perspectives as leaders, educators, consultants, or analysts in areas such as behavioral health, healthcare/insurance, social work, biostatistics, nursing, and quality improvement.

According to Emsi labor market analytics and economic data1, federal, state, and local governments, managed healthcare/insurance providers, academic research institutions, healthcare systems, and consulting/policy firms are among the top employers of workers with a BS in Public Health. Emsi also confirms some of the top job titles for professionals who have earned this degree include:

  • Infection Preventionists
  • Health Educators
  • Public Health Nurses
  • Epidemiologists, Nurse Epidemiologists
  • Environmental Health Specialists
  • Program Managers, Coordinators
  • Community Health Workers
  • Research Assistants
  • Data, Healthcare Data Analysts
  • Public Health Specialists

In today’s active employment market, there are a variety of skills that are in demand for public health professionals including:

  • Health Administration
  • Health Promotion
  • Medical Records (analysis)
  • Community Outreach
  • Program Development

SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at (Report viewed: 2/17/2022). DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for Informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.

Yes. At National University, you can complete the bachelor’s in public health program completely online, and gain the skills needed to prepare for various roles in health care or social services. There is no substitute for hands-on, real-world experience, which is also a part of the program

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree provides the knowledge and applicable skills for individuals looking to work on the forefront of health and social issues that impact a community in need. The program allows for real-world experience and working with faculty who are professionals in the field for the most relevant insights.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.