Undergraduate Major FAQ

Can I double major?

Students are generally advised not to seek a double major, for a variety of reasons, including a negative impact on grades and scheduling conflicts. Instead, a minor e.g. Global Public Health, Global Poverty and Practice, Public Policy, Education, Nutrition, Demography, Geographic Information Science, and most languages, etc. works much better both for scheduling and for time constraints. However, it may be possible to do a double major; a discussion with the academic advisor is recommended.

The Public Health Undergraduate Major web page states that students usually declare at the end of their sophomore year. If I finish all of the prerequisites for the major by the end of my sophomore year, am I guaranteed to be able to major in public health?

Completing all the prerequisites does not guarantee you placement in the major. Admission into the major is dependent on your prerequisite coursework and the information you provide in your application to the major. Because placement is not guaranteed, all students should have an alternative major. 

Can I take Public Health core classes before applying to the major?

It is highly unlikely that non-Public Health major students will be able to enroll in the Public Health core classes (with exception of PH HLTH 142) in the fall and spring semesters since Public Health major students have priority during the Phase I & II enrollment windows. In addition, taking Public Health core classes does not guarantee your admission into the major.

Can I use AP credits for my prerequisites?

The undergraduate Public Health program accepts Advanced Placement (AP) units for the Social Sciences and Math prerequisites. AP scores of 3, 4, or 5 are acceptable for the following courses:

  • Psychology for PSYCH 1 or PSYCH 2
  • Economics (both micro and macro needed) for ECON 1, 2, or 3
  • Government for POL SCI 2 or 4
  • Math
    • A minimum score of a 3 on the Math AB or BC exam is equivalent to MATH 1A
    • A score of 5 on the Math BC is equivalent to MATH 1A and 1B

If you have taken both an AP exam and the equivalent college-level course, we will only take the grade from the college-level course into consideration for admissions purposes. For AP Government, you may take either POL SCI 2 or 4 in combination with your AP score.

Can I apply more than once?

Students may only apply to the major once. Thus, it is important you make your application as strong as possible.

Can I take Public Health graduate courses as an undergraduate?

Yes. Declared Public Health major students may take graduate courses within the School of Public Health if they get approval from the faculty teaching the course. The class must be for a letter grade to be counted toward your Public Health electives.

Can I study abroad?

Studying abroad provides a great opportunity for Public Health majors to understand their coursework in a broader context. Being exposed to a variety of different cultures and experiences provides students with new perspectives, both in and out of the classroom. The particular semester(s) that students plan to study abroad depends on their individual progress in the major and what coursework students plan to complete abroad. Due to the timing of our Public Health core courses, it may be difficult for students to study abroad their final year. If possible, we suggest that studeents participate in programs during the summer. It is important to meet with a Public Health adviser to create a program plan.