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Public Health, B.A.

Students in health sciences classOverview of Public Health

Public Health is an interdisciplinary field drawing on the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to promote health, prevent disease, prolong life and improve quality of life through organized efforts by society. Focusing on the health and well-being of populations, Public Health complements medicine’s concern for individuals with diseases. Through activities ranging from basic research to frontline efforts such as vaccination programs, promotion of health lifestyles and environments, disease control, and leadership on health policy formation, the field of public health makes diverse, far reaching contributions to societal well-being. To learn more about the field and the impact of public health professionals, visit the ASPPH web site.

About the Program

UC Merced offers both major (BA) and minor degree programs in Public Health, which aim to provide students with broad knowledge through rigorous course work in an intellectually challenging environment, hands-on experience in public health research, and ample opportunity to work directly with expert faculty.

Areas of Research

  • Health service research
  • Health promotion and behavioral medicine
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Health Inequalities
  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental Health

Potential Careers*

  • Physician
  • Nurse
  • Director of clinical trials
  • Centers for Disease Control investigator
  • Pollution control program director
  • Industrial hygienist
  • Public health lawyer
  • Epidemiologist
  • Infection preventionist
  • Biostatistician
  • Medical investigator
  • Consumer safety officer

* Please Note: Some of these carers might require education beyond a Bachelor's degree.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from the Public Health program demonstrate the following: 

  1. Define public health and describe the roles and responsibilities of government, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens in maintaining public health.
  2. Use the theories and principles of Public Health to explain a Public Health problem.
  3. Apply public health research methods to conduct rigorous research on public health issues.
  4. Describe causes and risk factors in the major areas of focus in public health, including but not limited to determinants of mortality and morbidity; leading causes of health disparities among regional, national, and global populations; and transmission of infectious and chronic diseases.
  5. Identify and analyze scientific data and other information to assess complex Public Health challenges, with special consideration of strategies for health promotion at the individual, community, and policy levels, as appropriate.
  6. Communicate effectively and persuasively, orally and in writing, particularly to convey complex concepts and information in a clear and concise manner.

More Information about Public Health