Why Public Health?

The University of Michigan School of Public Health’s undergraduate program emphasizes multidisciplinary training, with a focus on 21st-century public health problems such as emerging infectious diseases, health disparities, antimicrobial resistance, bioterrorism, obesity, unequal access to care, rapid technological changes in the health care system, environmental toxins, shortage of clean water, tobacco use, climate impacts on food supply, and dozens of other topics.

Below are some of the most common questions we hear from students interested in studying public health.

Why should I study public health?

  • Public health encompasses many fields of study, including infectious and chronic disease, nutrition, environmental hazards, public policy, global health issues, and more.
  • Public health students acquire skills that are applicable to numerous disciplines and careers, from medicine and nursing to social work and nonprofit administration. A public health education draws from many disciplines—including urban planning and engineering, medicine, policy, sociology, business administration and data science—to achieve its goals.
  • A public health education will help you actively engage in the process of building healthy societies.

Why Study Public Health?

What will I learn as a public health major?

  • Our curriculum features interdisciplinary coursework that emphasizes social justice, engaged learning, and cultural humility, and is designed to foster leadership and create responsible citizens. Read more about our liberal education approach
  • Courses focus on the foundations of public health, including the field's history and values, health determinants, health policy and communications, and the public health and health care systems.
  • You’ll learn how data can be collected, analyzed, and employed to better address population-level health challenges, as well as how to plan, implement, and evaluate interventions to solve pressing public health problems. 

Undergraduate Learning Domains

What can I do with a degree in public health?

  • A bachelor’s degree in public health will prepare you for early career, entry-level positions in the public health workforce or in other health-related public or private organizations and institutions.
  • A degree in public health can also prepare you for entry into graduate training programs in public health and other health sciences including medicine, dentistry, nursing, kinesiology, pharmacy, and social work by acquiring the necessary prerequisite coursework.

Public Health Careers

Ready to Apply?

Start with our Admissions page to learn about specific degree application deadlines and requirements.

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For more information about the undergraduate admissions process, contact our admissions team at sph-inquiries@umich.edu or 734-764-5425.

If you would like to receive more information about a specific department or program, please join our interest list. You can also request a phone, zoom or in-person appointment.

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