A major in public health offers students the opportunity to explore the art and science of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health. Lifestyle changes may be facilitated by enhancing awareness, changing behavior, or creating environments which support better health practices. Students pursuing a generalist public health degree with a health promotion focus, gain an understanding of disease and illness, epidemiology, statistics, behavior approaches to public health, environmental health, public health policy and advocacy and health care systems. The major blends instruction from biology, chemistry, political science, psychology, sociology, marketing, communication and medicine into applications addressing current health problems facing our community.
The program is designed to prepare students for both the workforce and graduate school. Students completing the degree are prepared for employment in a variety of health service-related settings at the local, state, national, and international levels, at voluntary health agencies, in wellness programs within business and industry, medical facilities, or private consultation. Students are also prepared for advanced degree study in public health or health science-related degree programs. Therefore, students desiring careers in allied health/medical fields may complete prerequisite courses within the major.
Coastal Carolina University’s public health major is one of the first stand-alone baccalaureate programs to be accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) (June 17, 2016). For specific questions about this process, please visit http://ceph.org/faqs/.
The mission of the public health program is to prepare students to protect and improve the health of individuals and communities through a challenging academic program with experiential learning opportunities.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students in the public health program at Coastal Carolina University will acquire professional development skills and apply public health theory and concepts to public health practice. Student learning outcomes for the major include, but are not limited to the following:
- Students will demonstrate broad knowledge of health education/public health content and application of public health and health education concepts.
- Students will be able to identify health needs and concerns of a community by developing a literature review.
- Students will be able to develop strategies to improve community health.
- Students will demonstrate program-planning skills.
- Students will develop skills needed to apply theory to public health practice.
- Students will demonstrate professionalism through practical experiences in a setting related to Public Health based on site supervisor student evaluations.
Admission to Degree Candidacy
Students can declare Public Health at any time in their academic career, although they will not be administratively admitted, until they fulfill the admissions criteria.
Prior to being admitted, a student must:
The curriculum incorporates the nine public health domains and provides training in the seven competency areas of health promotion and health education. This framework enhances students’ professional preparation, credentialing, and professional development in the health education and health promotion work setting. Completion of the program qualifies students to apply for certification through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Students have the flexibility of declaring a minor (18-22 credit hours) or completing one of the four cognate options (15 credit hours) for a complementary area of study and/or to complete prerequisites for graduate studies:
This selection provides students flexibility in planning a cognate or minor area of study. Students may take 100-200 level basic science courses (as needed prerequisites for graduate degrees such as physical therapy, occupational therapy or physician’s assistant) or take 300-400 level coursework outside of the major to complement their specific career interests or as prerequisites for graduate studies.
This option will introduce students to the growing discipline of health communication and prepare them for entry-level positions and graduate level education in the field. Health communication is beneficial to promoting and protecting the public’s health in that it can increase knowledge and awareness of health issues, problems and solutions or influence perceptions, attitudes and beliefs that may affect social norms. Health communication is effective at demonstrating or illustrating healthy skills for behavior change and showing the benefit of that change. Additionally, health communication can prompt individuals and communities to act as well as serve as a venue for healthy policy advocacy. This cognate has pre-approved sequence of courses.
Exercise Science Cognate
This option is designed for students who desire to work in the areas of corporate wellness, personal training, wellness centers, or nonprofit/municipal exercise science programs. The area of health and exercise science is a rapidly expanding area of work in both the public and private sectors. The public health degree with the exercise science option will provide specialized educational and practical experiences to those interested in the fitness industry. In addition, students are provided the theoretical framework and skills needed to be eligible to sit for professional certifications from national fitness and health education organizations. This cognate has pre-approved sequence of courses.
Health Services Leadership Cognate
This option is a directed course of study to broaden students’ understanding of the complex issues facing future health care and public health professionals. It is intended to introduce the student to best practices of leadership, advocacy and delivery of services within a health care context so that they are prepared to engage in supervisory and governing roles in health care and public health organizations. This cognate has pre-approved sequence of courses.
Policies and Requirements
Students must earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in each course used to satisfy major requirements and cognate/option requirements. A grade of ‘C’ or better is also required in ENGL 101 , PUBH 121 and PUBH 201 . Students who intend to earn a degree in public health must be accepted as degree candidates pursuing a major course of study in public health.
All public health students are required to complete 320 internship hours at approved public health and education sites. A 30 hour mini-internship is completed as a portion of the course requirements for PUBH 201 . The PUBH 485 course requires the successful completion of a professional portfolio and a 290 hour, senior-level internship. Students can participate in an internship with a local, national or international health-related agency.
An end-of-program exam is administered as part of PUBH 495 . In order to evaluate student learning outcomes for the public health degree program, the following methods will be used: mastery of skills-based assignments in required public health classes, successful completion of the 320 hour internships, evidence of mastery of the public health and education competencies in the professional portfolio, and a grade of ‘C’ or better on the end-of-program exam.