Public Health | Academic Advising Handbook

The field of Public Health is dedicated to understanding and improving the health and well-being of all communities. Pacific University's public health program is designed to develop students' abilities to analyze and solve problems and communicate effectively in a diverse, complex and rapidly changing world. Rooted in the liberal arts, the program integrates science and social sciences with humanistic approaches to addressing global health challenges. The program is housed in the School of Social Sciences, in the Department of Social Work and Public Health.

2023-24 Advising Guide

Public Health Advising Tipsheet (Box link)

The Department Offers the Following Opportunities in Public Health

Students interested in pursuing medical school or health professions after Pacific should consider the BS. Students interested in public health more broadly or in pursuing the social sciences after Pacific might consider the BA.

A key feature of the major is the Public Health Field Experience, a seminar course that includes a 100-hour community engagement field experience under the supervision of a public health professional.

Grade Requirements

Only grades of C- or better may be used to satisfy major and minor requirements. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in the major or minor.


Students interested in public health should take Public Health 101 as soon as their schedule permits. This course has no prerequisites. Other foundational courses should be taken as soon as possible. These include biology or chemistry (relevant to the BA and BS in public health). 

Upper-division coursework consists of PH 310 Social Foundations of Population Health, the research-and-practice sequence, and electives. Students are encouraged to take PH 310 in junior year.  

The standard research-and-practice sequence entails PH 352 Program Design and Evaluation (fall or spring) and PH 370 Pre-Field Experience Seminar (fall or spring) during the junior year. Students may enroll in PH 380 Public Health Field Experience in the spring semester of their junior year (if the prerequisites are completed) or in the fall semester of the senior year. PH 491, Capstone I, is taken in the fall of senior year and PH 492 Capstone II in the spring. 


  • An ethics course (PH 202 or PHIL 307)
  • Public health interdisciplinary electives. Additional coursework is required from public health and other departments. Electives from other disciplines focus on population health concepts, natural science foundations of public health, or build skills relevant to public health practice. 

Note that students cannot count the same course toward two requirements within the major (e.g., cannot count a course toward both the electives requirement and the biological sciences requirement, even if the course is in both lists.

Substitutions and Transfer Credits

Transfer students are encouraged to work with the Advising Center and/or a public health advisor member to review previous related coursework. The Public Health Program does not give academic credit for life or previous work experience.