How do I become a PHSC major?

Current UMD students who wish to change their major must attend two workshops within the same semester. You can find out more about that process here. If you are not yet a student at the University of Maryland, when you apply make sure you select public health science as your desired major. Once you are accepted to the school you will attend an orientation that is specific for PHSC students.

How can I talk to a PHSC advisor?

The Public Health Science office has regular drop-in hours during Fall and Spring semester. You can find those times on our Advising page. Advisors also host a weekly online chat to answer your questions. If your question will take longer than 10 minutes or if you would like to meet with a specific advisor please make an appointment.

Do you have drop-in advising hours?

Yes! The time varies from semester to semester so please check our Advising page (link on the left) to see when they are. We do not hold drop-in hours during winter or summer.

Who is my advisor?

The public health science major does not assign a specific advisor to students. You are welcome to make an appointment with any of the advisors for the major or come to our drop-in hours.

What is Public Health Science?


Classes and Registration

What classes do I need to take as a PHSC major?

The public health science major includes classes in science and public health. A complete list of those classes can be found on our Curriculum page.

Do I have to achieve a particular grade in my courses?

Yes. All the major required courses; including scientific foundation courses, public health science foundation courses, and public health science options; must be completed with a C- or higher. Any additional general education or elective courses must by completed with a D- or higher to receive credit. The exceptions to this are academic (FSAW) and professional writing (FSPW), which must be completed with a C- or higher. 

What PHSC classes are going to be taught this semester?

All required PHSC classes are taught every fall and spring semester. PHSC options courses will vary from semester to semester. Many courses, both required and options, are also taught over winter and summer, usually online. See for the upcoming terms' course offerings. 

I want to take more than 17 credits in a semester. How can I get permission to do that?

Public Health Science majors can register for up to 17 credits once your registration window opens.  As of the first day of the semester, you can register for up to 20 credits with no restriction. If that's the case you will want to register for benchmark classes, required classes, and classes that fill quickly first.
If you need to register for 18 - 20 credits, especially if you are in your final semester, you will need to submit a Dean's Exception to Policy Request for a credit overload. Keep in mind that you should consider the additional time and effort that will be required from this heavy schedule.

Can I take a class at a different institution?

For detailed information, please see our guidelines on Permission to Enroll in Another Instiitution. All PHSC required classes, including science courses, must be taken as University of Maryland credits. Those courses are listed in our curriculum as Scientific Foundation Courses, Public Health Science Foundation Courses, and Public Health Science Options.

General Education requirements and electives can be taken at another institution. If you would like to do that please check the Transfer Credit Database to make sure the course will be accepted as you expect. You are also required to fill out a Dean's Exception to Policy Request and receive approval before you enroll at another University.

A course has a minimum credit limit on it. I don't have enough credits or am just one shy. Can I still take the course?

All of the public helath science foundation courses require a minimum credit amount of at least 45, and many require 60. Information on those requirements can be found on our Course Progression page. These minimum credit limits are strictly enforced and therefore we do not make exceptions. If you are unsure of what else you may be able to register for, please meet with an advisor.

I am not a public health science student, but I would like to take a course restricted to public health science majors.

Courses that are required for the public health science major are restricted to PHSC students. This is in fairness to students who have committed to the major and to assure they can graduate in a timely manner. Major restrictions are lifted on the first day of class, so any seats still open at that time can be taken by non-majors. Please make sure to check the pre-requisites on courses as they will be strictly enforced no matter the student's major.

How Can Students be Successful in PHSC?


How Do Students Balance the Rigor of the PHSC Major?


What is the PHSC Capstone?


Experiential Learning (internships, study abroad, etc.)

Can I do an internship and get PHSC credit?

Absolutely! We encourage all students who can to complete a public health science-related internship. You can also receive PHSC options credit for your internship. Deadlines to submit an internship contract are May 25 for fall internships, December 1 for spring internships, and March 29 for summer internships. Please visit our internship page for more information.

Can I study abroad? Can I get PHSC credit abroad?

Absolutely! We encourage all students who can and who have the interest to consider studying abroad. Up to 6 credits of PHSC options can be taken abroad. Please visit our study abroad page for more information.

Can I get credit for an independent research study?

Absolutely! Many labs, research groups, and faculty in the School of Public Health accept undergraduate students into their research projects. You can also receive PHSC options credit for your research study. Please visit our independent study page for more information.

How Can Students Maximize the PHSC Experience?


How Can Students Learn About Organizations to Join?


Careers and Post-Graduation

What can I do with a public health science degree?

There are a variety of careers PHSC alumni can enter. Many go on to pre-health schools or graduate school in public health, however, many students also enter directly into the workforce. With a degree in public health science, graduates can work in a variety of industries including healthcare, education, non-profits and government. Please visit this page for more information. Profiles of some of our alumni can also be found here. And we always recommend you visit the SPH Career Center to discuss your options.

How do I get advice on writing my resume and searching for jobs?

Visit the SPH Career Center for more information or to make an appointment.

Where can I find postings for jobs and internships?

Careers4Terps is an excellent resource for students looking for jobs and internships. The SPH Career Center also sends out a bi-weekly E-Newsletter with information on career-related events and relevant job postings. Archives of those can be found here. Finally, make sure you are following PHSC on Twitter or have liked us on Facebook as we often post opportunities to social media. If you are interested in receiving credit for an internship you can find more information here.

I'm interested in going to medical school, physician assistant school, dental school, or other health professions schools. How does that work with the public health science major?

Many of our PHSC students are planning future careers in the health field. We are happy to work with you to incorporate pre-health courses into your academic plan. If you are a pre-health student, especially pre-MD or pre-DDS, you must visit the Reed-Yorke Health Professions Advising Office. They are the experts in making sure you are prepared to enter health professions schools, including providing a required committee letter for your application. We recommend you visit them early and often.

Does PHSC Prepare Students for Medical or Dental School?


What Career Opportunities are Available with a PHSC Degree?


What is the Accelerated BS/MPH Program?