Public Health Major & Courses

About the major

Public health aims to preserve, promote and improve the health and wellbeing of populations, communities and individuals. The degree is designed to help meet workforce shortages, prepare its graduates for entry-level positions in public health and equip them to pursue certificate and graduate degrees in the field.

Go to the portal to public health

Topics of Study

Public health students learn about subjects such as:

  • Biostatistics and Public Health Informatics, a combination of computer science and math courses to prepare students for careers in data analytics, research, teaching, etc.

  • Environmental Health Science, which prepares students for careers in public health dealing with environmental crises and problems such as water quality, air quality, etc.

  • Health Policy and Management, which helps prepare students for careers in health services administration and health policy.

  • Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, which includes biology courses that focus on topics such as virology, immunology, tumor biology, etc. to help prepare students for careers related to infectious disease.

  • Nutrition and Public Health, which combines nutrition classes with coursework in our discipline that prepare students for nutrition-related public health jobs.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences, which offers a mixture of sociology, advertising, marketing, communication studies and health education to prepare students for social-oriented careers in public health or the nonprofit sector.

All about Human Ecology at UT Austin


Options for honors (option 2) exist with the B.S. degree, and there is an advanced option (option 3) to receive specialist training in preparation for a leadership position in public health practice, leading to the completion of the B.S. in Public Health from The University of Texas at Austin and the Master of Public Health from The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston. Students already admitted into Option 1: Bachelor of Science in Public Health after completing six semesters and maintaining a high GPA. 

Courses Public Health Majors Take

Get a sense for some of the courses that many of our majors take below. A more complete list may be found when you search for your degree option by the year of entry or catalog.

Entry-Level Requirements

Natural Sciences students declare a degree and a major after receiving passing grades in key courses. For public health, these are typically:

  • Math: Differential and Integral Calculus (M 408C) 
  • Chemistry: Principles of Chemistry (CH 301/302)
  • Biology: Introductory Biology I (BIO 311C) 
  • Public Health: Introduction to Public Health (PBH 317)


Examples of Courses

Students take additional courses in public health and other disciplines, such as:

  • Fundamentals of Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology and Lab
  • Introduction to Nutritional Sciences/Lab
  • Human Systems Physiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy and Practice Systems
  • Global Health
  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Elements of Statistics 

Specialization Coursework

Some students pursue additional courses in particular specializations: Biostatistics & Public Health Informatics, Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy and Management, Infectious Diseases & Public Health Microbiology, Nutrition, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Advanced Program Coursework

Students with a minimum GPA of 3.4 may apply upon completion of their 6th semester for the advanced program and master’s at UT Health in Houston. Students may only have 18 hours remaining in their last semester.