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:
- See an adviser in the public health program for guidance;
- Complete PUBH 121, PUBH 201 and PUBH 350 with a grade of ‘C’ or better in each course;
- Have completed a minimum of 60 semester credit hours (junior standing) for admission to the following classes: PUBH 410, PUBH 481, PUBH 485, PUBH 491 and PUBH 495 .
The curriculum incorporates the 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 complete the generalist public health program with a cognate option (general cognate or honors cognate) for a complementary area of study and/or to complete prerequisites for graduate studies. However, instead of completing the general cognate option, students have the flexibility to choose from one the five concentrations offered (community health, health administration, health literacy, pre-health professions, or dietetics) or choose to do a minor or certificate program from another discipline. Completing either a cognates (18 credits), concentration (18-19 credits), minor program (18 – 22 credits), or certificate programs (15-18) fits well within the 120 credit hours required to graduate from the public health program.
Community Health Concentration
This concentration is for students who are interested in addressing the health needs of specific communities. Students will be able to identify a health concern and develop interventions to best address them. Content courses are included to best provide examples of programs and projects that been conceived, designed, implemented and evaluated. Attention will be paid to the science of community health and as such the methods of understanding the community’s health needs, identifying priorities and documenting and communicating needs.
Policies and Requirements
A cognate or concentration is not necessary if you have a minor. Students must earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in each course used to satisfy major requirements and cognate/concentration options. A grade of ‘C’ or better is also required in ENGL 101, PUBH 121, PUBH 201 and PUBH 350. 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 280 internship hours at approved public health and education sites. A 30-hour mini-internship (public health field experience) is completed as a portion of the course requirements for PUBH 284. The PUBH 485 course requires the successful completion of a professional portfolio and a 250-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 280-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.