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School of Public Health

School Overview

Dean
Howard Frumkin

F350 Health Sciences

The UW School of Public Health provides education to prepare outstanding, innovative, and diverse public health leaders and scientists; research to advance public health science and policies; and service to promote the health and well-being of communities locally, nationally, and globally. The School of Public Health emphasizes strong discipline-oriented academic programs, as well as programs that emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration.

The School has five departments: Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Health Services -- plus interdisciplinary programs that include health services administration, maternal and child health, nutritional sciences, pathobiology, and public health genetics.

Within these departments and program, the school offers the following degrees: Master of Public Health (MPH); Master of Science (MS); Master of Health Administration (MHA); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD); and bachelor's degrees in public health, environmental health (also a minor), and health informatics and health information management (HIHIM).

Concurrent degree programs with Anthropology, Dentistry, Foster School of Business, International Studies, Law, Medicine, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Nursing, Public Administration, and Social Work are also available.

Graduate certificate programs are offered in basic or advanced clinical research methods (Epidemiology), emergency preparedness and response (Health Services), global health (Global Health), health management (Health Services), health policy (Health Services), HIV and STIs (Global Health), maternal and child health (Health Services), public health practice (Health Services Executive MPH program), public health genetics (Public Health Genetics), and statistical genetics (Biostatistics).

For more information, see the school's academic catalog at sph.washington.edu/publications/catalog.asp or visit the homepage at sph.washington.edu.

Undergraduate Program

A Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in public health is administered by the Dean's Office in the School of Public Health. A Bachelor of Science degree and an undergraduate minor are offered in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. A minor in global health is offered by the Department of Global Health. The Department of Health Services offers a Bachelor of Science degree in health informatics and health information management, as well as a baccalaureate certificate, through the UW Evening Degree Program.

General Education

The School of Public Health general education requirements, which apply to all degree programs mentioned above, are as follows:

Basic Skills

  1. English Composition (C) -- 5 credits
  2. Additional Writing (W) -- 10 credits
  3. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) -- One course (minimum 4 credits)

Areas of Knowledge

  1. Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) -- 10 credits*
  2. Individuals and Societies (I&S) -- 10 credits
  3. Natural World (NW) -- 20 credits
  4. Additional Areas of Knowledge -- 25 credits

*Although School of Public Health students are not required to study a foreign language, they are encouraged to do so by substituting first-year language courses for the VLPA requirement. Completion through the third quarter is required for VLPA credit.

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses:anthropology, political science, psychology, sociology; distribution of general education and Areas of Knowledge courses as well as coursework that develops critical and analytical thinking, communication skills, and an understanding of public health.

Admission Requirements

  1. Admission to the major is competitive. Applicants must complete prerequisite coursework (see below) and an application to be considered. Completing the prerequisites and submitting an application do not guarantee admission.
  2. Admission is offered twice a year for autumn and winter quarters. Applications for autumn are due the third Friday of spring quarter and applications for winter are due the third Friday of autumn quarter. Applications can be downloaded from the Public Health undergraduate program website at sph.washington.edu/uph. (Transfer students are encouraged to apply for admission to the UW for autumn or winter quarter, following the admission process and policies found at admit.washington.edu. The application deadline for the UW for autumn quarter is February 15 and winter quarter is September 1.)
  3. Applicants must complete the following by the application deadline to be considered for admission:
    1. Minimum 45 credits.
    2. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA.
    3. Minimum 2.0 grade in one of the following: ENV H 111, G H 101, HSERV 100, PHG 200, or one 5-credit course from anthropology (ANTH only), geography, political science, psychology, or sociology (200 level or above recommended).
    4. Minimum 2.0 grade in one of BIOL 118, BIOL 180, CHEM 120, CHEM 142, CHEM 145, or PHYS 114/PHYS 117.
  4. The program evaluates applications based on overall academic record, grades in relevant coursework, demonstrated writing ability, stated reasons for applying to the major, and ability to make satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  5. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before submitting an application.
  6. Transfer students may use any transferable equivalent course(s) for prerequisite coursework. Consult the UW Equivalency Guide or a UW adviser to verify transferability of coursework.

Bachelor of Arts

Major Requirements

78-79 credits, as follows:

  1. Public Health Foundation (20 credits): minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in ENV H 311, EPI 420, G H 101/GEOG 180/JSIS B 180, HSERV 480, HSERV 481, and NUTR 300.
  2. Statistics Course (4-5 credits): from among BIOST 310 (preferred), Q METH 201, STAT 220, STAT 221, STAT 311, or Q SCI 381
  3. Social and Behavioral Sciences (25 credits): One 5-credit course from each of the following departments: Anthropology (ANTH only), Geography, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology; minimum 20 credits at the 200 level or above.
  4. Science Coursework (10 credits):
    1. 5 credits biology from BIOL 118, BIOL 180, MICROM 301/MICROM 302.
    2. 5 credits chemistry from CHEM 120, CHEM 142, CHEM 145
  5. Public Health Capstone (5 credits): either both SPH 491 and SPH 492 or SPH 493 (minimum 2.0 grade)
  6. Public Health Electives (15 credits): See website or adviser for approved list. Any course not on the list must be approved by the Public Health adviser.
  7. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the major

In addition to the major requirements shown above, students must also complete the general education requirements for the School of Public Health.

Bachelor of Science

Major Requirements

98-99 credits, as follows:

  1. Public Health Foundation (20 credits): minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in ENV H 311, EPI 420, G H 101/GEOG 180/JSIS B 180, HSERV 480, HSERV 481, and NUTR 300.
  2. Statistics Course (4-5 credits): from among BIOST 310 (preferred), Q METH 201, STAT 220, STAT 221, STAT 311, or Q SCI 381
  3. Social and Behavioral Sciences (25 credits): One 5-credit course from each of the following departments: Anthropology (ANTH only), Geography, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology; minimum 20 credits at the 200 level or above.
  4. Science Coursework (30 credits):
    1. At least one year-long sequence (15 credits) of introductory science with laboratories: biology (BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220), chemistry (CHEM 120, CHEM 220, and CHEM 221; or CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162), or physics (PHYS 114/PHYS 117, PHYS 115/PHYS 118, PHYS 116/ PHYS 119; or PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123).
    2. At least 5 credits from among biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, biological structure, neurobiology, or biochemistry B STR, NBIO, or BIOC.
    3. At least one course each from CHEM, and BIOL or MICROM.
  5. Public Health Capstone (5 credits): either both SPH 491 and SPH 492 or SPH 493 (minimum 2.0 grade)
  6. Public Health Electives (15 credits): See website or adviser for approved list. Any course not on the list must be approved by the Public Health adviser.
  7. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the major

In addition to the major requirements shown above, students must complete the general education requirements for the School of Public Health

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The public health major introduces the foundations of public health, including determinants of health, emerging infectious diseases, chronic diseases, access to healthcare and modes of healthcare delivery, the geography of health, and the effects of environment on health and disease. Students learn to apply the scientific method, use evidence-based decision making, and identify the impact of policy on health. Students also learn about the tools public health professionals use to analyze and understand causes/risk factors of disease, the modes of disease spread, and evaluation of prevention and healthcare programs, so they may work collaboratively to address health problems faced by human populations. Students are prepared for entry-level jobs in local and state health departments as well as for continued graduate education. Competencies for the major are organized around eight domains: Health, Ethics and Social Justice, Social Science, Natural Science, Policy and Politics, Environment, Communication, and Tools.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The School of Public Health has five departments -- Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Health Services -- as well as interdisciplinary programs such as the Public Health major, Maternal and Child Health, Nutritional Sciences, Pathobiology, and Public Health Genetics. The School has over 30 research centers, including Institute for Public Health Genetics, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, Center for Public Health Nutrition, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and the Health Promotion Research Center. Administration and teaching are primarily in the Magnuson Health Sciences Center.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Majors are encouraged to engage in experiential learning. See adviser for details.
  • Department Scholarships: See adviser for details.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Undergraduate Student Public Health Association (USPHA).

Graduate Program

The School of Public Health (SPH) offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Admission requirements vary by degree and field and are described in the sections for each department.

Master of Public Health Degree: The MPH is a professional degree that provides broad training in public health. Each program provides additional training in a particular area. Graduates pursue careers in public health practice settings, academia, or research. The MPH degree is offered in all SPH departments. Students earning the MPH may choose from several areas including biostatistics; community-oriented public health practice; environmental and occupational health; epidemiology; Executive MPH program; health metrics and evaluation; health services; health systems and policy; global health (in Epidemiology or Global Health); leadership, policy, and management; maternal and child health (in Epidemiology or Health Services); nutritional sciences; occupational and environmental medicine; public health genetics; or Peace Corps Master's International. The Executive MPH degree program is a three-year, part-time program that allows mid-career public health professionals to pursue the MPH degree in community practice, environmental health, global health, health education, or maternal and child health while continuing their employment.

Master of Health Administration Degree: The MHA degree is offered by the interdisciplinary Graduate Programs in Health Services Administration in the Department of Health Services under the auspices of the Graduate School, either as a full-time, in-residence program or a part-time executive program. The MHA program prepares students for careers in management, planning, and policy analysis in a variety of settings in the healthcare field. The purpose of the curriculum is to integrate the knowledge, skills, and experience that encompass health services management, planning, and policy analysis. Students develop knowledge and skills that enable them to better understand and manage change, analyze information and make decisions, and manage organizations and the people in them. The Executive MHA program is a part-time program designed for mid-career health services professionals, including physicians and other experienced clinicians, who wish to continue their employment while pursuing the MHA degree. Both programs provide a balance of theory and practical management skills.

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees: The MS and PhD programs in the departments of Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Services prepare students for academic or research careers. The MS and PhD in the Nutritional Sciences and the Pathobiology programs, and the PhD program in the Institute for Public Health Genetics are administered in the school, although the degrees are awarded through the Graduate School's interdisciplinary group structure.

The MS programs in biostatistics, environmental health (general, occupational and environmental exposure sciences, and toxicology tracks), epidemiology (general, global, or clinical research tracks), health services (healthcare and population health), nutrition, pathobiology, and genetic epidemiology offer focused research training in specific disciplines. Graduates of these programs often assume positions as senior technical staff in laboratories or other organizations and as research project coordinators, or pursue further graduate training. The MS program differs from the PhD program in that more of the courses emphasize the concepts underlying methodological approaches rather than the ability to independently design a major research program.

The PhD programs in biostatistics (general or statistical genetics tracks), environmental and occupational health sciences (environmental & occupational hygiene and toxicology tracks), epidemiology, health services, nutritional sciences, pathobiology, and public health genetics, train future academicians as highly qualified independent investigators and teachers, and as well-trained practitioners. The doctoral programs are distinct from the MS programs by the addition of advanced coursework and the nature and scope of the dissertation research project.

Concurrent Degree Programs: The School of Public Health MPH program encourages students to take full advantage of the University's unique position as a leading education, research, and service institution and to consider one of the many concurrent degree programs available with the MPH. Enrollment in a concurrent degree program at the University permits a student to proceed in a coordinated way towards sequential completion of both degrees in a shortened period of time. Some of the options available are not formal concurrent programs, but the degrees listed can be pursued in parallel with the Global Health MPH. In some cases, agreements are reached between the two programs to allow for sharing of some credits and/or projects. Most concurrent degrees begin with a successful application to the other school, followed by an application to the MPH during the first year of study in the first program.

Residency Programs: The SPH offers a residency in occupational and environmental medicine (MPH). Physicians may apply to any of the school's other graduate programs.

Certificate and Graduate Certificate Programs: The SPH offers several graduate certificate programs, including: Basic or Advanced Clinical Research Methods (Epidemiology); Emergency Preparedness and Response (Health Services); Global Health (Global Health); Global Health of Women, Adolescents, and Children (Global Health); Global Injury and Violence Prevention (Global Health); Health Economics and Outcomes Research (with the School of Pharmacy); Health Management (Health Services); Health Policy (Health Services); HIV and STIs (Global Health); Maternal and Child Health (Health Services); Public Health Practice (Health Services Executive MPH Program); Public Health Genetics (Public Health Genetics) and Statistical Genetics (Biostatistics).