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Undergraduate | In-Person

Public Health, BSPH

Study the root causes of disease and prepare for a career with an impact. As a public health professional, you can improve health outcomes and quality of life.

Why Major in Public Health? 

Public Health students on a study abroad trip

As a public health student, you will examine the underlying factors that lead to poor health outcomes at the population level. From emergency preparedness to vaccine distribution to the development of health policies, public health professionals create solutions that have global impact.

At Belmont, you will learn in small classes with faculty who are dedicated to your success. You will have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines with students in business, education, law, nursing, pharmacy, exercise science and social work. During your senior year, you will gain practical experience in the field through a 400 hour internship that aligns with your future career goals.

At graduation, you will be equipped to take a leading role in this fast-growing and crucial field. Whether you pursue a career in research, health education, healthcare administration, or health policy, you will be at the forefront of preventing disease and improving the health of people globally.

What You'll Learn 

As a public health major at Belmont, you will receive a broad foundation in science with courses in biology and chemistry coupled with foundational courses in public health like environmental health, global health, and health policy. You will examine broader factors at play in population health, such social determinants of health, epidemiology, and biostatistics.

You can choose up to 21 hours of electives across the curriculum, giving you the chance to explore everything from philosophy to international politics or prepare you for medical school.

Students at the TN Department of Health wearing masks during the pandemic

Career Possibilities

Here are just a few of the careers you can explore with a degree in public health:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics and informatics
  • Communications
  • Community health
  • Health education and promotion
  • Environmental health
  • Global health
  • Health policy
  • Health care administration
  • Social and behavioral health

Program Details


To major in public health, you will complete a total of 128 credit hours:

  • BELL core requirements: 51 hours
  • Major requirements: 48 hours
  • Major fieldwork: 9 hours
  • General electives: 20 hours

See All Program Requirements

Courses You'll Take

  • CEM 1010 Chemistry
    The goal of the course is to help students understand the chemistry behind important societal issues and the consequences of actions aimed at addressing the issues. After laying the necessary chemical foundation, the course will focus on topics such as foods, fuels, consumer goods, environmental materials, and the physical materials of our bodies
  • BPH 1010 Foundations of Public Health
    This course familiarizes students with the field of public health, including the history and current practices. Major cultural, social, economic, organizational, and environmental factors influencing public health issues and practices at the local, state, national, and international levels will be presented. Public health Core Functions and Essential Services will be explored, and students will gain an understanding of public health as a broad area of work that applies the benefits of current biomedical, environmental, social, and behavioral knowledge to promote the health status of populations.
  • BPH 2010 Social Determinants of Health
    This 1-3 hour, seminar course is designed to introduce and stimulate discussion about existing and emerging public health issues. This course may be taken at any time but may be particularly useful early in the curriculum for students interested in exploring career alternatives in core areas of public health practice and research.
  • BPH 2100 Current Issues in Public Health
    This 1-3 hour, seminar course is designed to introduce and stimulate discussion about existing and emerging public health issues. This course may be taken at any time but may be particularly useful early in the curriculum for students interested in exploring career alternatives in core areas of public health practice and research.
  • BPH 2240 Health Communications
    This course explores the interpersonal, group, organizational, and public communication processes that shape beliefs, decisions and behavior regarding health, sickness, and health care. Attitudes and actions of various participants in health communication, including citizens, health professionals, and those engaged in the public debate of health issues will be explored.
  • SWK 2250 Human Behavior and Social Environment I
    This course examines the biological, psychological, and social development of the individual at different lifespan stages. Students learn about human behavior from the perspective of developmental milestones as well as environmental, societal and cultural issues and contexts.
  • BPH 3010 Global Health
    Students in this course will develop an understanding of key concepts, tools and frameworks for studying global health with a focus on global disease burden, health determinants and disparities, health policy and stakeholders and challenges of global health interventions. The importance of understanding and addressing global health through multidisciplinary frameworks of the natural sciences, social-behavioral sciences, humanities, and policy will be explored.
  • BPH 3020 Population Health
    This course examines the way health care delivery systems, public health agencies, community-based organizations and other elements work together to develop, deliver and evaluate effectiveness of interventions to improve health outcomes at local, national and global levels. Three broad content areas will be explored: infectious disease, chronic disease and environmental health.
  • BPH 3100 Introduction to Epidemiology
    This course introduces the student to principles of epidemiology and their application to disease surveillance, control of infectious and chronic diseases, and health services/health policy. Students will learn about basic research designs and tools used by epidemiologists to explore relationships between cause and effect and effectiveness of interventions to prevent, contain or cure disease.
  • BPH 3200 Fundamentals of Environmental Health
    This course explores the relationship of people and their environment, how it affects physical and mental well-being and what they can do to influence the quality of the environment and to enhance the protection of their health. Environmental factors that influence transmission of communicable diseases and hazards due to exposure to chemical and physical materials in our environment will be examined.
  • BPH 3210 Scientific Inquiry
    This course provides a basic introduction to research including theoretical foundations and fundamental protocols. The course enrolls students majoring in health professions, the social sciences, humanities and natural and physical sciences. Students will explore research methodologies and learn how to write a research proposal including identification of a study topic, generation of a hypothesis, formulation of inquiry questions, organizing a literature review, and selecting a research design. Practical use of the proposal as a plan to facilitate a research project and dissemination of findings will be examined.
  • BPH 4015 Capstone
    This course is designed as a culminating experience to allow students to integrate, synthesize and apply knowledge developed throughout the academic program. Options for completing this experience may include a public service internship, working directly with a faculty member to complete an independent research project and paper or an approved study abroad experience in a public health practice setting.
  • BPH 4100 Introduction to Health Policy
    This course provides a framework for understanding the social, political and economic dimensions of health policy and offers the student an opportunity to explore various ways in which the government impacts health and the provision of health care. Issues of accessibility, cost and quality of health care; food, water and environmental safety; and the right to make decisions about our health and health care will be explored. Topical areas may include the Affordable Care Act and policies governing environmental health, pharmaceutical, injury prevention, aging, long-term care, etc.
  • BPH 4200 Fundamentals of Health Economics
    This course will guide students to understand how economic principles apply to the market for health care. Topics of study will include cost-benefit analysis, the market for insurance, the pharmaceutical industry, the private markets for physicians and hospital services, and the potential roles for government in healthcare. The course will include a brief survey of alternate healthcare delivery systems and models for reform.
  • BPH 4300 Program Planning and Evaluation
    Students will gain a basic understanding of public health programming including assessment, design, planning, implementation and evaluation. Given the importance of public health planning and evaluation occurring within the context of interdisciplinary teams, students in this course will also discuss and practice skills for building effective teams and accomplishing individual and group objectives through team work
  • Public Health Fieldwork I, II & III (BPH 2000, BPH 3000, BPH 4000)
    Fieldwork experience connects skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom with public health practice. Fieldwork can enable the student to develop and improve communication skills, develop and practice project management and problem-solving skills using public health methods, principles and techniques. Using hands-on public health practice opportunities, students can explore career options and create their own networks with other public health professionals. Complete 9 credit hours of Fieldwork.

Get involved and explore your passions beyond the classroom. As a public health major at Belmont, you’ll have abundant opportunities to network, make your voice heard and learn more about careers in the field. For example:

  • Travel abroad to work with practicing professionals, learn about cultural differences and explore the impact of health policies on individuals and communities.
  • Join the Public Health Student Association and get to know classmates who share your interests.
  • Voice your opinions in monthly meetings of the Public Health Book Club.
  • Hear from distinguished guest speakers as part of our Coffee and Careers Series.

Alumni Testimonials

Octavia Forrest

"The Public Health department here at Belmont University is one of the best communities I could have ever asked for. From mentor-mentee relationships to community-building activities, this program has helped me gain an immense amount of knowledge and secure several credible positions, both during and post-undergraduate. Public Health is everything we see and do, the possibilities for impact are endless. As an intern and now a fellow with the Tennessee Department of Health I have consistently used concepts and skills learned in Population Health, Scientific Inquiry, Current Issues, Program Planning and Evaluation, Epidemiology, and many more. I would highly recommend a major or minor in Public Health, but if you are set to major/minor in something else, I definitely recommend taking a Public Health course. It will truly be an eye-opener and so much fun!"

Octavia Forrest, Class of 2022

Fellow, Tennessee Department of Health

Akia Janae Thompson

"The public health department gave me the tools I needed to further my career. The faculty were great at teaching, made learning interesting, and were always supportive. The curriculum was spot on for providing us with a wide perspective into the field of public health. My favorite portion of the program was performing my research using data software and creating an intervention program along with it! The amount of knowledge I took away from this program goes beyond the undergraduate level and prepared me well for my master's degree studies."

Akia Janae Thompson, Class of 2021

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