The Public Health Science program based at the Universities at Shady Grove, is a science-based program for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students. It combines a robust curriculum in the natural sciences with training in the basic fields of public health, including courses in areas such as kinesiology, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, and behavioral and community health. The Public Health Science major provides students with the interdisciplinary training that is essential to recognizing and addressing public health issues at the state, national, and global levels. After graduation, our students are prepared to explore careers in areas including but not limited to: allied health, health policy, wellness and fitness, human services, research, health promotion, health education, health communication, and health administration.

For more information, visit the full PHSC website.


Explore Program Details


The Bachelor of Science in Public Health Science at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) consists of 120 credit hours, of which 60 are completed at USG and 60 are transferred from either a community college or another accredited 4-year institution.  All undergraduate coursework at USG begins at the junior level. Upon completion of degree requirements, students in the Public Health Science program at the Universities at Shady Grove earn their Bachelor of Science degree from the host institution, the University of Maryland.

To be admitted to the Public Health Science program at USG, students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better for all college level work and earned a C- or better in all 100- and 200-level Public Health Science program requirements (see below.) It is recommended that students earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree or have completed all General Education requirements.

The remaining 60 credits can be completed in 4 full-time semesters or on a part-time basis with classes offered Monday through Thursday and some evening classes. There is a recommended sequence for completing the Public Health Science bachelor’s degree that considers a student’s year in the program in course scheduling.

All students are required to participate in a Capstone course that serves as the culminating experience of the degree.  In addition, students may choose to do a 3-credit internship in lieu of an option course in their senior year.


  • Discuss the history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, and functions across the globe and in society.
  • Use basic public health concepts, methods, and tools for data collection and analysis.
  • Identify the major health-related needs and concerns of populations and formulate basic processes, approaches, and interventions as possible solutions.
  • Describe the underlying science of human health and disease including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the lifespan.
  • Examine the socio-economic, behavioral, biological, environmental, and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities.
  • Demonstrate the fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation.
  • Compare and contrast the fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the health systems of the United States and other countries.
  • Characterize the basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of health care and public policy.
  • Illustrate the basic concepts of public health-specific writing and communication.
  • Interpret and synthesize scientific knowledge to propose evidence-based approaches and solutions to public health problems.


The Public Health Science curriculum requires 120 credits for graduation. The courses comprising these 120 credits can be categorized into five areas:

  • Scientific Foundation
  • Public Health Science Foundation
  • Public Health Science Options
  • General Education Requirements
  • General Electives

Scientific Foundation (31 credits)

Certain mathematical techniques and scientific principles serve as a foundation for future study in Public Health Science. These courses cover the scientific concepts essential to advanced study in the field and are pre-requisites for admission to the Public Health Science program at USG. Transfer credit is given based on a review of the syllabus and a determination of its equivalence to the following UMCP courses:

Course ID Course Title Credit
MATH120 Elementary Calculus I 3
BSCI170/171 Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology 4
BSCI201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
BSCI202 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4


Chem I- Fundamentals of General Chemistry/General Chemistry I Lab


CHEM231/232* Organic Chemistry I/Organic Chemistry I Lab  3/1
BSCI222 Principles of Genetics 4
BSCI223 General Microbiology 4

*Students transferring to the Public Health Science program at the Universities at Shady Grove from Montgomery College may take the MC equivalent of CHEM150: Essentials of Organic and Biochemistry in the place of the UMD equivalent of CHEM231/232.

Public Health Science Foundation (31 credits)

In addition to the scientific foundation courses, the major also studies discipline specific courses that lead to advanced study in the field. These courses include, but are not limited to, the five core disciplines of public health (behavioral science, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, and health services administration) as well as kinesiology and are instructed through the following:

Course ID Course Title Credit
HLTH366 Behavioral and Community Issues in Public Health  3
PHSC300 Foundations of Public Health 3
MIEH300 Introduction to Environmental Health  3
KNES320 Physiological Basis of Physical Activity and Human Health 4
MIEH400 Introduction to Global Health 3
HLSA300 Introduction to Health Policy and Services  3
EPIB315* Biostatistics for Public Health Practice  3
EPIB301 Epidemiology for Public Health Practice  3
PHSC415 Essentials of Public Health Biology: The Cell, The Individual, and Disease  3
PHSC497 Public Health Science Capstone 3

*Previously EPIB300

Public Health Science Options (12 credits)

The Public Health Science option courses build upon the Scientific and Public Health Science Foundation courses.  The option courses are 300 and 400 level courses offered within the major. By choosing from these courses, students have an opportunity to customize their program. Students are encouraged to specifically choose courses that best align with a particular career goal. Option courses that have been offered at USG include:

  • Program Planning & Evaluation
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness
  • Maternal, Child & Family Health
  • Public Health Informatics
  • Food Policy & Public Health
  • Perspectives on Health in the Urban Environment

General Education Requirements

All University of Maryland graduates are required to complete the University's General Education requirements. Through the General Education program, students acquire the knowledge and skills that result in a more well-rounded graduate. These requirements can be fulfilled by earning an Associate’s degree or are determined through a course-by-course review of a student’s transcripts from institutions previously attended. More information on UMD’s General Education requirements may be found by clicking here:

General Electives

Public Health Science majors can choose several elective courses to complete their 120- credit graduation requirement. These electives are in addition to the Public Health Science Option courses and may be taken through the Public Health Science program, through other UMD programs at USG, or at UMD’s main campus. General electives can also be taken at any of the other eight universities at USG through intra-institutional course sharing.


The Public Health Science internship is a 1 – 6 credit course where students work in professional public health settings over a 15 week semester. The internship allows students to integrate knowledge and skills developed in the classroom by applying them in a real world work environment. Students are responsible for identifying public health related internships based on their interests and career goals, but the site preceptor makes the final determination about the placement. Support for finding and applying to internships is offered online and in-person through the Public Health Science Program. After securing an internship, students enroll in PHSC399 and complete all course requirements. Internship placements have included the American Association on Health and Disability, Adventist Healthcare, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Colon Cancer Alliance, the US Food and Drug Administration, and other public, private, and non-profit organizations. Internships can lead to full-time employment after graduation. For more information on the Public Health Science Internship click here.


The capstone course in the Public Health Science program is PHSC497.  The course requires students to demonstrate mastery of the five core areas of public health: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Science, Health Policy and Management, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Each student writes a final thesis on a chosen issue critically evaluating the topic. The paper must be at least 20 pages in length (not including references) and must include at least 25 scholarly sources.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the School of Public Health undergraduate degree in Public Health Science.