Public Health

Public health professionals work in a variety of different environments including community health centers, local, state and federal health departments, large non-governmental organizations, private corporations, and international health organizations. Public health practitioners treat individuals and focus on preventing disease and injury, promoting healthy lifestyles, and educating entire populations. They implement educational programs, develop policies, administer services, conduct research, and regulate health systems to achieve these goals.

Typical Responsibilities

Public health professionals also confront complex global health issues, such as improving access to health care, controlling infectious disease, and reducing environmental hazards, violence, substance abuse, and injury. In the past century, public health initiatives have been responsible for increasing life expectancy by almost 30 years in the United States. The broader development and application of population-based prevention programs will continue improving health over the next decades.

Preparing for Admission

  • Resources for researching schools: A complete list of all Public Health can be found on the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)
  • Possible degrees attained: MPH, MS, MHA, DrPH, PhD and many other options, including joint degrees
  • Prerequisite coursework: Each Public Health program sets its own prerequisite coursework requirements based on the degree obtained. It is best to review a program’s website for all prerequisites requirements and substitutions, including academic coursework, patient care experience, testing, and more.
  • Standardized tests: there is no universally required standardized test for PA admissions. Some programs may require any of the GRE, MCAT, TOEFL, or other science-based testing
  • Letters of Recommendation: This varies widely by program. Review specific program websites for detailed information.  Some additional information can also be found on the SOPHAS website.

The Admissions Cycle

  • There is a Centralized Application Process (SOPHAS) that 90 out of 106 accredited Public Health programs participate in.
  • Application opens: mid-August and Application system closes: early August the following year.
  • Fees: $135 for first school/program selected, $50 for each additional school/program selected
  • Fee waivers: There is a fee assistance program to help cover application deadlines available to eligible students to apply.
  • SOPHAS has created a thorough instruction manual and FAQ which is helpful for students in the application process.