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 majoring in public health have the flexibility of choosing between one of four areas of study: cognate, communication option, exercise science option, or health leadership.
Students completing the degree are prepared for advanced degree study in health science or for employment in a variety of health service-related settings such as local, state, national, international and voluntary health agencies, in wellness programs, in wellness programs within business and industry, in medical facilities, or in private consultation. The program is designed so that students desiring careers in allied health/medical fields may complete prerequisite courses within the major. Completion of the program qualifies students to apply for certification through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) as a Comprehensive Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Coastal Carolina University’s public health major is one of the first stand-alone baccalaureate programs in the nation to be admitted for accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Coastal is a CEPH applicant with an official site visit scheduled in the Fall of 2017 (http://ceph.org/accredited/applicants/). For specific questions about this process, please visit http://ceph.org/faqs/.
The curriculum incorporates the ten essential public health services framework 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 promotion work setting.
The mission of the public health program is to integrate theoretical concepts, creative research activities, ethical perspectives, an appreciation for the richness of global diversity, and community health outreach opportunities to best prepare undergraduates who are ready for graduate study or professional careers. Through collaborative, engaged learning experiences in assessing community health needs as well as planning, implementing, evaluating, conducting, and administering health education and promotion strategies, graduates are prepared to take leadership roles in protecting and improving the community’s health. Public health faculty members strengthen the profession of public health by providing student-centered, experiential learning in a challenging, positive academic environment, which is nationally recognized for excellence by the Society for Public Health Education and the American Association for Health Education.
Student Learning Outcomes
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.
- Students will be able to design basic public health programs in response to an identified health need in the community.
- Students will be able to conduct evaluation related to public health programs.
- Students will demonstrate leadership skills.
- Students will demonstrate professional behaviors and overall ability based upon the internship site supervisor evaluation both on the mid-term evaluation and the final evaluation.
Option 1: Public Health Major with Cognate
This selection provides students flexibility in planning a cognate or minor area of study. The fifteen-credit cognate will consist of 300-400 level courses outside of major or basic science credits (need faculty approval). Students desiring careers in allied health/medical fields might select the cognate area of study to complete recommended pre-requisite courses. This area might also be selected by students who wish to complete a minor.
Option 2: Public Health Major with Communication
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.
Option 3: Public Health Major with Exercise Science
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.
Option 4: Health Services Leadership
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.
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 - Personal and Community Health (3 credits) and PUBH 201 - Philosophy and Principles of Health Promotion and Education (3 credits). 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 pre-internship is completed as a portion of the course requirements for PUBH 201. The PUBH 485 Q - Internship in Health Careers (6 to 9 credits) course requires the successful completion of a professional portfolio and a 290 hour, senior-level internship. An end-of-program exam is administered as part of PUBH 495 - Senior Seminar - CHES Review (1 credit). 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.
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: