When you choose to pursue a bachelor’s in public health at UWM, you will: 

  • Learn and live public health in Milwaukee’s diverse and dynamic communities.
  • Jump-start your public health career with 120 hours of field placement with our community partners.
  • Learn from top instructors at Wisconsin’s only accredited school dedicated to public health.
  • Create a world that is a socially just and healthy place for all!

The bachelor’s in public health at UWM provides students with real-world knowledge, skills, and experiences – both in the classroom and the community – to be a positive force for change. With a BS in public health, you will learn how to diagnose, analyze, and solve a range of public health challenges.

Public health works to improve the health of people and the communities where they grow, live, work, play, and age. Instead of treating individual patients, public health scientists and practitioners prevent disease before it starts. We work in and with communities to ensure that every person and community can reach their highest level of health.

Job prospects for public health graduates are excellent. Trained public health professionals are needed in Wisconsin and nationally to address a shortage of skilled public health workers.

Graduates of this program will be equipped to enter public health and related careers in a wide variety of settings, including local and state government agencies, healthcare organizations, for-profit organizations, academic institutions, and non-profits.

What is your passion? There is a public health career for you.

  • Sociology and psychology? You’ll excel in community health and health promotion.
  • Political science and government? Pursue a career in policy and advocacy.
  • Math and numbers? You’ll find your niche in data analysis and biostatistics.
  • Discovering causes of disease? Your perfect career path could be epidemiology and disease prevention.
  • Biology and ecology? Make an impact in environmental health.

Our 120-credit program includes general education foundations, Public Health major courses, and 27-33 elective credits tailored to each student’s interests and career goals. The electives allow students to combine their BS in Public Health degree with specialization in one of UW-Milwaukee’s many certificates or minors of their choice.

Please email bs-ph@uwm.edu to learn more about the BS in Public Health degree.

 

Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits to complete the BS in Public Health degree. 

University General Education Requirements (GER)0-20
Foundations33
Public Health Major Requirements54
Electives, including certificate or minor27-33
Minimum credits to degree120

Most of the University General Education Requirements are more than satisfied through the foundations coursework and the public health major requirements. All students should work with their public health advisor to ensure they meet all GER. 

University General Education Requirements (GER)

Competency Requirements
Oral and Written Communication (OWC) Part A0-3
Oral and Written Communication (OWC) Part B (satisfied through foundations coursework)3
Quantitative Literacy (QL) Part A (Math 102, Math 105 or Math 108 recommended)0-3
Quantitative Literacy (QL) Part B (satisfied through major coursework)3
Foreign Language0-8
Distribution Requirements (satisfied through foundations and major coursework)
Arts (GER-A)3
Humanities (GER-HU)6
Natural Sciences (GER-NS and GER-NS+)6
Social Sciences (GER-SS)6
Cultural Diversity (GER-CD)3

New freshmen may require additional prerequisite coursework as a result of their English and math placement levels. Credit for prerequisite academic work may not count towards the BS in Public Health degree.

Foundations

Academic and Professional Writing
ENGLISH 201Strategies for Academic Writing (satisfies OWCB)3
Select one of the following:3
Health Science Writing 1
Writing in the Professions:
Arts and Cultural Diversity (all courses listed satisfy GER-A and GER-CD)
Select one of the following:3
American Art and Culture
Multicultural America 1, 2
Issues in Contemporary Art: (prereq soph st)
African Dance & Diaspora Technique I
Multicultural America 1, 2
Multicultural America: 1, 2
Other GER-A course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Communication/Public Speaking (satisfies GER-HU)
COMMUN 103Public Speaking3
Humanities (all courses listed satisfy GER-HU; some also satisfy GER-CD)
Select one of the following:3
Black Reality: Survey of African-American Society (HU, CD)
Survey of African-American Literature (HU, CD)
Multicultural America (HU, CD) 2
The Chicano Experience (HU, CD)
The Multi-Racial Origins of American Cultures (HU, CD)
Queer Migrations (HU, CD)
Multicultural America (HU, CD) 2
History of Race, Science, and Medicine in the United States (HU, CD) 3
Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies (HU)
Multicultural America (HU, CD) 1, 2
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies: A Humanities Perspective (HU)
Any other 3 credit course that meets both GER-HU and GER-CD
Other humanities course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Historical Perspectives (satisfy GER-HU, GER-SS, and/or GER-CD)
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to African-American History, 1865 to the Present (HU, CD)
Western Great Lakes American Indian Community Life of the Past (SS, CD)
North American Indian History to 1887 (SS, CD)
North American Indian History Since 1887 (SS, CD)
World History Since 1500 (HU)
American History: 1607 to 1877 (SS)
American History: 1877 to the Present (SS)
East Asian Civilization Since 1600 (HU)
History of Race, Science, and Medicine in the United States (HU, CD) 1, 3
The Modern Middle East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (HU)
Hmong Americans: History, Culture, and Contemporary Life (SS, CD)
Other history course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Ethics
Select one of the following:3
Introductory Ethics (HU)
Moral Problems: (HU - Must take 3 topics; topics include Abortion, Bioethics, Contemporary Problems, Drugs and Addiction, Euthanasia, Immigration and Citizenship) 4
Ethical Issues in Health Care: (HU)
Environmental Ethics (prereq jr st)
Other ethics course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Natural Science
BIO SCI 102Elements of Biology (satisfies GER-NS with lab)3
Other biology course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Political Science (all courses listed satisfy GER-SS)
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to American Government and Politics
Introduction to International Relations
American Public Policy 1
Other political science course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Behavioral Science (all courses listed satisfy GER-SS)
Select one of the following:3
Human Life Cycle (prereq soph st)
Adolescent Health & Development (see prereqs)
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Social Psychology
Other behavioral science course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Social Inequality (nearly all courses satisfy GER-SS; some also satisfy GER-CD)
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to American Indian Studies (SS, CD)
Geography of Race in the United States (SS, CD) 1
Introduction to Latino Studies (SS, CD)
Solving Social Problems (SS)
Race and Ethnicity in the United States (SS, CD; prereq soph st)
Social Inequality in the United States (SS; prereq soph st)
Sex and Gender (SS; prereq soph st)
Sociology of Sexuality (SS; prereq soph st)
Urban Planning Solutions to Contemporary Urban Problems (SS)
Multicultural America (SS, CD) 1, 2
Social Justice, Urban Planning and the New Multicultural America (CD)
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies: A Social Science Perspective (SS)
Other social inequality course approved by Zilber School academic advisor
Total Credits33

Public Health Major Requirements 

PH 101Introduction to Public Health (GER-SS)3
PH 142Exploring Global Environmental Health3
PH 201Public Health from Cells to Society I3
PH 202Public Health from Cells to Society II3
KIN 270Statistics in the Health Professions: Theory and Practice (QLB) 53
or SOCIOL 261 Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology
PH 302Health and Disease: Concepts and Contexts3
PH 304Foundations of Epidemiology3
PH 303Climate Change, the Environment and Human Health (GER-NS)3
PH 319Introduction to Health Disparities3
PH 327Foundations for Action in Public Health3
PH 346Environmental Health and Disease3
PH 355Public Health Research Methods I3
PH 408Comparative Health Systems: A Social Determinants Approach3
PH 410True Lies: Consuming and Communicating Quantitative Information3
PH 427Strategies for Action in Public Health3
PH 428Program Implementation & Evaluation for a Healthy Society3
PH 455Public Health Research Methods II3
PH 600Public Health Integrative Experience (Service Learning)3
Total Credits54

Electives

With the help of their academic advisor, students will select electives to complete the 120 total credits required for the degree. Electives are tailored to each student’s interests and career goals. Students may choose a related area of specialization outside of the Zilber School by completing any minor or interdisciplinary certificate offered by UWM, typically comprised of 18-22 credits. In some cases, students may choose to study two related areas, or they may complement a certificate or minor with other courses of interest.

Certificates or Minors

Certificates of potential interest to public health students include, but are not limited to: Community Arts, Community Engagement Strategies, Community Leadership, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Cultures and Communities, Food Studies, Global Health, Healthy Aging, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Studies, Quantitative Social Data Analysis, Spanish for Health Professionals, Urban Planning, and Urban Studies.

Minors of potential interest to public health students include, but are not limited to: Community Engagement, Geographic Information Science, Geography, Global Studies, Health Care Administration, International Studies, Mathematics (Statistics), Nutritional Sciences, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Degree and Graduation Requirements

A minimum of 120 semester credits is required to complete the BS in Public Health degree. A cumulative GPA of 2.25 or greater, including transferable credits and all credits earned at UWM, is required for graduation. Students must also maintain an average GPA of 2.5 in all public health major courses required for graduation (54 credits total).

If, during the program, a student falls below these minimum GPA requirements, the student will be placed on academic probation. A student who remains on probation for more than two consecutive semesters will be dismissed from the major.

Students who earn a D+ or lower in any public health major course required for graduation (54 credits) must repeat the course and earn at least a C-. Courses required for the BS in Public Health degree may be repeated only once. Students who twice earn a grade lower than these requirements will be dismissed from the public health major.

Students who are struggling in their courses for any reason are encouraged to access retention services available in the Zilber School of Public Health.

 
Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Semester 1Credits
PH 101 Introduction to Public Health 3
Select one of the following: 3
Mathematical Literacy for College Students II  
Introduction to College Algebra (QLA)  
Algebraic Literacy II (QLA)  
ENGLISH 102 College Writing and Research 3
BIO SCI 102 Elements of Biology (NS+) 3
COMMUN 103 Public Speaking 3
PH 100 New Student Experience in Public Health 1
 Credits16
Semester 2
PH 142 Exploring Global Environmental Health 3
ENGLISH 201 Strategies for Academic Writing 3
PSYCH 101 Introduction to Psychology (Behavioral Science Foundations*, SS) 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
Social Inequality Foundations* 3
 Credits15
Year 2
Semester 3
PH 201 Public Health from Cells to Society I 3
ENGLISH 207
Health Science Writing (OWCB)
or Writing in the Professions:
3
Historical Perspectives Foundations* 3
Political Science Foundations* 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
 Credits15
Semester 4
PH 202 Public Health from Cells to Society II 3
Humanities Foundations* (HU/CD) 3
KIN 270
Statistics in the Health Professions: Theory and Practice
or Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology
3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
 Credits15
Year 3
Semester 5
PH 327 Foundations for Action in Public Health 3
PH 355 Public Health Research Methods I 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
PH 304 Foundations of Epidemiology 3
Ethics Foundations 3
 Credits15
Semester 6
PH 319 Introduction to Health Disparities 3
PH 427 Strategies for Action in Public Health 3
PH 455 Public Health Research Methods II 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
PH 410 True Lies: Consuming and Communicating Quantitative Information 3
 Credits15
Year 4
Semester 7
PH 408 Comparative Health Systems: A Social Determinants Approach 3
PH 303 Climate Change, the Environment and Human Health 3
PH 428 Program Implementation & Evaluation for a Healthy Society 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
 Credits15
Semester 8
PH 302 Health and Disease: Concepts and Contexts 3
PH 346 Environmental Health and Disease 3
PH 600 Public Health Integrative Experience (Service Learning) 3
Arts and Cultural Diversity Foundations* (ART/CD) 3
Elective (Certificate/Minor) 3
 Credits15
 Total Credits121

*Course options for BSPH Foundations 

Core Competencies

The B.S. in Public Health program has 15 core competencies designed to meet Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation requirements. Graduates of the BS in Public Health program will be able to:

  1. Explain the importance of respect for diverse values, beliefs, cultures, and the dignity of individuals and communities in public health practice;
  2. Explain the history and philosophy of public health, including its core values, theories, concepts, and functions in society;
  3. Collect and analyze public health data using fundamental quantitative and qualitative methods and instruments;
  4. Locate and evaluate primary scientific literature and other information sources (e.g., media) to inform evidence-based public health approaches;
  5. Outline evidence-based approaches—using data, assessment, and evaluation—to address public health problems;
  6. Explain why and how public health professionals should ethically engage in interactions with study/program participants, community (partners and stakeholders), and others to address population health and health equity;
  7. Develop advocacy strategies for multi-level social policies and interventions to promote population health;
  8. Assess the advantages and disadvantages of health promotion interventions for specific populations;
  9. Discuss ethical social, ecological, political, and community approaches to public health dilemmas;
  10. Explain the natural history of human health and disease, their biological and environmental origins, distribution among populations, and strategies for their prevention, management, and control;
  11. Explain the interrelationship between hazards in the natural and built environment, and human and population health;
  12. Explain multilevel and ecosocial pathways through which social, economic, legal, and political structures and systems affect population health and health inequities across the lifecourse;
  13. Interpret environmental, regulatory, legal, and economic structures, as well as their interactions, within communities and health systems from the perspective of social justice and human rights;
  14. Apply fundamental concepts and features of public health interventions and programs, including their planning, implementation, assessment, and evaluation; and
  15. Communicate public health evidence and concepts to diverse audiences using a variety of modalities and media.

Admission to the School of Public Health

Students who meet the standard University admission requirements are admissible to the School of Public Health. For undergraduate admission requirements, see the Admission section of this catalog. 

Accelerated Program Option

This program is offered as part of an accelerated bachelor's/master's program. For more information, see Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Honors in the Zilber School of Public Health

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.500 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.