Undergraduate Admissions - The University of Iowa

The University of Iowa

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Public Health

Major(s) 

Public Health BA
Public Health BS
Selective Admission

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities. Professionals in this field use specialized knowledge and skills to better understand the root causes of diseases and injuries and, whenever possible, develop strategies to prevent them.

Public health promotes healthy lifestyles to combat cancer, diabetes, and obesity; develops vaccines to stop the spread of infectious diseases; ensures the safety of the food supply, as well as new drugs and medical technologies; implements programs that protect workers' health; and shapes policies that ensure quality health care. It is a collaborative, diverse field that attracts people who want to improve human health by applying skills from areas such as behavioral and social science, environmental science, math and statistics, laboratory science, and policy development.

Why Study at Iowa? 

The College of Public Health is Iowa's only accredited school of public health and is ranked among the top 10 publicly supported schools of public health in the nation. With an extensive network of community partners who support students' experiential learning and a track record of offering high-quality education, students are prepared for rewarding careers in public health practice or further academic study.

Course Work 

Students admitted to the College of Public Health must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' General Education Program in addition to course work required for their specific major.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees provide students with a basic understanding of the five core public health knowledge areas: biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, and occupational and environmental health sciences. Students in either program will be prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education.

A uniform public health core will provide both degrees with breadth in the biological, social, economic, quantitative, geographic, and educational components of health and health disparities within and across populations. Students in both degree programs will complete a cumulative capstone experience during which they will integrate, apply, and synthesize public health knowledge outside of the typical classroom setting. As an integral part of their education, students also will be exposed to public health professionals and agencies.

The BA program is for students who have an interest in the social sciences and public health. BA students will complete additional required course work in the social sciences and humanities.

The BS program is for students interested in the natural sciences and public health. BS students will complete additional required course work in the natural sciences and mathematics.

Undergrad to Grad Degree Programs

Combined undergraduate to graduate programs provide an opportunity for students interested in health sciences to earn both their bachelor's and master's degrees in five years.

Pursuing a combined degree allows students to further explore their interest in the field of public health, expedite time to degree--five years versus the typical six years--and save money by cutting one year of tuition.

Undergraduate to graduate degree options are open to all undergraduate majors at the university and include the following graduate programs:

  • Master of Public Health in Community and Behavioral Health
  • Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Epidemiology
  • Master of Public Health in Health Communication
  • Master of Public Health in Policy
  • Master of Public Health in Quantitative Methods
  • Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene

Visit www.public-health.uiowa.edu/degree-programs/ for more information about these degree options.

Admission Requirements

Admission to Iowa's undergraduate public health majors is selective and meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. Students may be admitted to the College of Public Health either through Direct Admission or Standard Admission.

Direct Admission is designed for students applying to the university as first-year students for the fall semester. Applicants who meet the high school course requirements and present an ACT composite score of 26 or higher (or a combined SAT critical reading and math score of 1170 or higher) and a high school grade-point average (GPA) of 3.60 or higher will be strongly considered for Direct Admission to the college. Applicants who meet course requirements and either the test score or GPA requirement also will be considered.

First-year students not admitted directly to the College of Public Health may be admitted to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as a Public Health Interest major. These students are eligible to apply for Standard Admission to the College of Public Health after completing prerequisite courses and earning the required GPA, typically after their first year. Students should meet the following requirements by the end of the semester in which they are applying:

  • Completion of at least 24 semester hours of graded UI credit
  • Completion of MPH:2099 Fundamentals of Public Health with a grade of B or better
  • A 3.0 cumulative GPA on all courses taken at the University of Iowa and all college-level courses attempted

Transfer applications are not being accepted at this time.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities 

In addition to nearly 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Living-Learning Communities, Study Abroad Programs, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources 

The College of Public Health faculty is highly productive and has expertise in all disciplines of public health. Our faculty collaborates extensively with campus colleagues and with community partners to provide innovative education, research, and public health practice programs.

The College of Public Health Building is a state-of-the-art LEED certified facility that reflects the college's commitment to sustainability. Centrally located on the university's health sciences campus, the building houses auditoriums, classrooms, and student commons, as well as the college's core administrative, departmental, and faculty offices.

Careers 

Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

The BA program will provide knowledge of the community and behavioral aspects of public health for students interested in working in health education; health communication; public health program development; or public health policy in local, federal, or international governmental or non-governmental agencies. BA students also will be prepared for advanced education in the social sciences, communication studies, social and community health, health policy and management, and other fields.

The BS program will provide knowledge of the natural sciences for students who are interested in working in a research setting or preparing for advanced study in programs such as biostatistics, dentistry, environmental health, epidemiology, medicine, nursing, occupational health, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine.

Scholarships 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs