Undergraduate Programs

The mission of the undergraduate program in the School of Public Health is to instill in a diverse group of educated individuals the awareness, values and knowledge of the various disciplines within public health.

Many students have a genuine interest in helping people and want to enter professions that allow them to make meaningful contributions to society. Studying public health is an effective way to enable students to fulfill this goal.

What is Public Health?

The achievements of Public Health have dramatically improved our quality of life: an increase in life expectancy, world wide reduction in infant and child mortality, and the elimination or reduction of many communicable diseases. Professionals with Public Health knowledge are increasingly called upon to address population-based health issues, and the demand for leaders in this field continues to grow.

Public Health is a coordinated, committed effort that:

  • Tackles current issues such as bioterrorism, West Nile virus
  • Violence prevention, health disparities, and obesity
  • Prevents epidemics and the spread of disease
  • Protects against environmental hazards
  • Prevents injuries
  • Promotes and encourages healthy behaviors
  • Responds to disasters and assists community recovery
  • Assures the quality and accessibility of health services

Examples of Public Health Organizations

New York State Department of Health
World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institutes of Health
Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Environmental Protection Agency

Living-Learning Communities

The World of Global Medicine and Human Rights is a community for biology, pre-health and public health majors led by Dr. Kamiar Alaei. It is especially great for students interested in health care professions (medicine, physician assistance, physical therapy, nursing).

The undergraduate faculty-initiated interdisciplinary major in public health will lead to a Bachelor of Science degree. It is intended to convey technical information and analytic skills, but with a liberal arts philosophical base. Therefore, it has the educational objectives of nurturing critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis of information, and recognizing the historical and societal associations of current trends in public health and health care delivery, including an introduction to disease control and health promotion interventions, and determinants of health from a global perspective.


The major is an ideal option for students interested in learning about multidisciplinary approaches to preventing disease and promoting health on a population-level. Due to its liberal arts approach, the major is intended to provide students with a useful foundation for pursuing an advanced degree in a variety of fields.

There are a limited number of slots in the major; therefore a supplemental application is required. University policy indicates that students declare their major after successfully earning 24 graduation credits. Please contact Lue V. Ellis, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, early in the process when considering the public health major.

Degree Requirements

Public Health Major Application

The School of Public Health also offers a Bioinstrumentation Major. For more information visit: https://www.albany.edu/bioinstrumentation/index.html

The minor in Public Health is designed for students who wish to complement their core major with some knowledge of Public Health. Due to its highly interdisciplinary nature, the field of Public Health is unique. It involves the knowledge and application of a variety of disciplines in its research, teaching, service and practice activities, including: biology, sociology, anthropology, public policy math, business, education, psychology, and many others.

The minor can be paired with a variety of majors, including but not limited to: psychology, women’s studies, sociology, anthropology, public policy, political science, communications, human biology, biology, English, criminal justice, economics, globalization studies, journalism, mathematics, philosophy, business, computer science etc.

Why minor in Public Health?

As the public health challenges of the next century emerge in new and more complicated forms, it is essential that the training of Public Health professionals keep pace. Pursuing a minor can be a first step to a career in pubic health or it can strengthen a career in many related fields: medicine, nursing, law, journalism, and more.

What is required for the Public Health minor?

The minor in Public Health will require the completion of a minimum of 18 graduation credits which must include a minimum of 9 graduation credits in course work requiring one or more prerequisite courses or courses at or above the 300 level. Students will be required to enroll in four core courses, and must select two additional courses from a list of designated courses.

Core Courses (12 Credits)


Course Title

H Sph 201 (3)

Introduction to Public Health (No pre-requisites)

H Sph 321 (3)

Global Environmental Issues and their Effect on Human Health (Pre requisite: one semester of biology or chemistry)

H Sph 341 (3)

Promoting Healthy People and Communities (No pre-requisites)

H Sph 342 (3)

How U.S. Health Care Works: Myths and Realities (No pre-requisites)

First Elective: Choose ONE course from the following (3 credits)

H Sph 202 (3)

From Cholera to Cancer: History, Challenges and Achievements in Public Health (No prerequisites)

H Sph 310/ H Hpm 310 (3)

Key Health Policy Issues of the US: AComparative Approach (Pre-requisite: A Eco110 Principles of Economics I: Microeconomics)

A Phi 115 (3)

Moral Choices (No pre-requisites)

Second Elective: Choose ONE course from the following (3 credits)

H Sph 231 (3)

Concepts in Epidemiology (Pre-requisite: A Mat 108 Elementary Statistics, or equivalent)

A Ant 418 (3)

Culture, Environment and Health (Pre-requisite: Consent of instructor)