Undergraduate Academic Programs

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH), Community Health Major

Description of Program

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health, is a four year undergraduate degree offered through the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University-Bloomington.  The field of public health is charged with assessing, understanding, and responding to the behavioral and ecological factors that influence the health of communities throughout the world. Public health professionals strive to improve the health of individuals and communities by efforts situated in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, schools and universities, and corporations. The proposed structure of the BSPH is consistent with the standards required by the Council on Education for Public Health, the federally recognized accrediting body for public health academic programs.  Students who choose the Public Health degree option are required to take courses related to the five core areas in public health: epidemiology, health administration, environmental health, biostatistics, and social and behavioral health. They also take courses that expose them to the basic fundamentals required of a public health professional in the areas of measurement and evaluation, theoretical and practical treatment of the concepts of disease prevention and health promotion, health disparities, research methods, public health program planning, and community health.  At the conclusion of their course work, students must complete an internship which allows them to experience the day-to-day operations of a public health agency in addition to participating in the development, implementation and evaluation of specific public health programs.


Apply online for undergraduate admission to Indiana University at http://admit.indiana.edu/.

A newly admitted freshman pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree with a major in community health will receive an offer of direct freshman admission to the community health program if he or she meets both of the following criteria:

  • The applicant must have earned one of the following minimum standardized test scores: A combined critical reading and math score of 1270 on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or a composite score of 29 on the ACT (American College Test).
  • The applicant must have either graduated in the top 12 percent of his or her high school graduating class or earned a minimum high school GPA of 3.5.

Before entering the School of Public Health - Bloomington as a community health major, all other students must meet both of the following criteria:

  • The student must successfully complete at least 26 credit hours.
  • The student must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) at Indiana University.

Students in the University Division must also declare their intention to major in community health to the University Division Records Office. Undergraduate students who complete the semester before certification of admission to the school with less than a 2.0 GPA for the semester will be admitted on a probationary status. 

International applicants for admission to a second undergraduate degree program in the School of Public Health - Bloomington, whose primary language is not English, must satisfy one of the following criteria before being considered for admission directly into one the School's degree programs:

  • submission of a minimum score on the Test Of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL), of 550 on the paper-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or 80 on the Internet-based test.
  • submission of a minimum score of 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  • proof of completing at least three full years of secondary school in a predominantly English speaking country. A current list of such countries can be found here.

For students from countries where the TOEFL and the IELTS are not available, other evidence of English proficiency may be considered.

All entering international students whose primary language is not English will be required to take a special examination in English with IU prior to registering. Prepared by IU and designed to test a student’s ability to use English in an academic setting, the exam consists of three parts: an essay on a general topic, a listening comprehension exercise, and a grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension section. There is little that one can do to prepare for this exam other than to continue using written and spoken English at every opportunity. Appropriate remedial English courses may be prescribed on the basis of the results of this test.

International students whose primary language is not English must agree to take any English language courses prescribed from the results of this examination. Fees for special part-time English courses are the same as for other courses; however, credits earned do not meet degree requirements. If the results of the proficiency examination indicate that full-time work in English is required, the student will be assigned to the Intensive English Program (IEP).  

Students enrolled in IEP do not take academic courses until they achieve adequate English proficiency. If a student has serious doubts about English ability and is not financially prepared to undertake the additional time and expense of an intensive English program here, the student should consider completing English study in the student’s home country. In addition, the student may consider delaying admission to a future session.

Degree Requirements

This is a four-year program leading to the degree Bachelor of Science in Public Health with emphasis in community health. There is a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) entrance requirement. Graduation requirements include:

  • completion of general education requirements.
  • completion of community health major requirements.
  • a minimum of 120 successfully completed credit hours which count toward the degree program.
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in courses with the following department code-prefixes: SPH-B, SPH-F, SPH-H, SPH-N, SPH-P, and SPH-S
  • No Pass/Fail except for free electives.
General Education (20 – 39 credits)

All undergraduate students must complete the IU Bloomington campus-wide general education common ground requirements. Such students must visit the 2013-2014 General Education Bulletin to view these requirements.

Major (90 cr.)

Public Health Course Requirement (21 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-B 150 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 366 Community Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 403 Public Health Program Planning (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 311 Human Disease and Epidemiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 381 (Formerly HPER-H 391) Introduction to Health Information and Statistics (3 cr.)
  • SPH-P 309 Public Health Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPEA-H 316 Environmental Health (3 cr.)

Health Course Requirement (17 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • EDUC-R 341 Multimedia in Instructional Technology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 310 Health Care in Diverse Communities (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 496 Field Experience in Public Health Education (5 cr.)
  • SPH-H 263 Personal Health (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-H 494 Research and Evaluation Methods in Health and Safety (3 cr.)

Additional Required Courses (31 cr.)
Complete each of the following courses:

  • ANAT-A 215 Basic Human Anatomy (5 cr.) +N&M
  • BIOL-L 104 Introductory Biology Lectures (3 cr.) +N&M
  • BIOL-M 200 Microorganisms in Nature and Disease (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 101 Elementary Chemistry I (3 cr.) +N&M or C 103 Introduction to Chemical Principles (5 cr.) +N&M or C 117 Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry I (3 cr.) +N&M
  • CMCL-C 121 Public Speaking (3 cr.) +A&H
  • ENG-W 231 Professional Writing Skills (3 cr.)
  • PHSL-P 215 Basic Human Physiology (5 cr.) +N&M
  • PSY-P 101 Introduction to Psychology I (3 cr.) +N&M
  • PSY-P 102 Introduction to Psychology II (3 cr.) +S&H

Related Content Courses (21 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete any 21 credits from the following related content courses.

Public Health

  • SPH-B 491 Readings in Public Health (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 492 Research in Public Health (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 350 Topical Seminar in Health Education (1-3 cr.)

Public Health, Gerontology

  • SPH-B 315 Health in Later Years (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 335 Aging Health, and Diverse Populations (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 354 Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Gerontology (3 cr.)

Human Development and Family Studies

  • SPH-F 150 Introduction to Life Span Human Development (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-F 255 Human Sexuality (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-F 258 Marriage and Family Interaction (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-F 341 Effects of Divorce on Children (3 cr.)
  • SPH-F 345 Parent/Child Relations (3 cr.)
  • SPH-F 348 Human Development BI: Early, Middle, and Late Adulthood (3 cr.)
  • SPH-F 350 Topical Seminar in Human Development and Family Studies (3 cr.)
  • SPH-F 355 Leading Family Process Discussion Groups (3 cr.)

Topical Health and Health Promotion

  • SPH-H 150 Preschool Children's Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 160 First Aid and Emergency Care (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 163 Emerging Health Issues (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 172 International Health and Social Issues (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-H 174 Prevention of Violence in American Society (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-H 180 Stress Prevention and Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 205 Introduction to Health Education (S/F) (1 cr.)
  • SPH-H 220 Death and Dying (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-H 234 Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 235 Obesity and Health (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-H 305 Women's Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 306 Men's Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 315 Consumer Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 318 Drug Use in American Society (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 319 Current Issues in Health Promotion (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 320 The Nature of Cancer (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 326 AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 351 (Formerly: HPER-H 350) Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 385 Practicum in College Death Education (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 395 Practicum in College Sex Education (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 418 The Nature of Addiction (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 460 Practicum in First Aid Instruction (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 464 Coordinated School Health Programs (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 220 Nutrition for Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 101 Introduction to Resource Development/Fundraising (3 cr.)
  • SPH-S 217 Safety: A Personal Focus (3 cr.)
  • Any one credit SPH course (1 cr.)


  • BIOL-L 111 Introduction to Biological Evolution and Diversity (3 cr.) +N&M or BIOL-L 211 Molecular Biology (3 cr.)
  • Note: BIOL-L 112 is taken as a Life and Physical Sciences requirement.
  • BIOL-L 113 Biology Laboratory (3 cr.)
  • Note: CHEM-C 117 and CHEM-C 127 are taken as Life and Physical Sciences requirements.
  • CHEM-C 341 Organic Chemistry I Lectures (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 342 Organic Chemistry II Lectures (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 343 Organic Chemistry I Lab (2 cr.)
  • CHEM-N 330 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry (5 cr.)
  • PHYS-P 201 General Physics I (5 cr.) +N&M
  • PHYS-P 202 General Physics II (5 cr.) +N&M

+ Courses with a A&H notation may apply toward both major requirements and the general education, arts and humanities requirement.

+ Courses with a N&M notation may apply toward both major requirements and the general education, natural and mathematical sciences requirement.

+ Courses with a S&H notation may apply toward both major requirements and the general education, social and historical studies requirement.

Suggested Community Health Courses for the First-Year Student
Fall Semester
ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition 1 (3 cr.) or equivalent
PSY-P 101 Introduction to Psychology I (3 cr.)
SPH-H 263 Personal Health (3 cr.)
Arts and Humanities Elective (3 cr.)
Free Elective (3 cr.)

Spring Semester
MATH-M 118 Finite Mathematics (3 cr.)
PSY-P 102 Introduction to Psychology II (3 cr.)
SPH-B 150 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr.)
Related Content Course (3 cr.)
World Languages and Cultures Course (3 cr.)

Special Opportunities

Degree programs in public health balance theoretical knowledge with professional experience through internships and opportunities to work with faculty on research, teaching, and service projects.


The work of a public health professional is diverse and includes activities such as documenting the spread of disease and illness, developing and managing programs designed to change health-related behaviors, implementing regulatory initiatives and working with policy makers to facilitate societal changes that promote well-being.  Public interest in a healthy lifestyle is increasing the demand for public health professionals. Public health careers can be found in local, state, and federal government; nonprofit organizations; businesses and corporations; hospitals; county health departments; universities; and with health foundations and health-based grant projects. A public health degree can lead to career positions such as the following:

  • Biostatistician
  • Disease Prevention Manager
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Health Data Analyst 
  • Health Promotion Specialist
  • Maternal and Child Health Specialist
  • Public Health Educator
  • Public Health Epidemiologist 
  • Public Health Researcher
  • Sexual Health Educator
  • Technical Advisor for HIV/AIDS Programs
  • Vaccine Advisor and Program Manager
  • Youth Tobacco Prevention Coordinator

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