Undergraduate Academic Programs

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Public Health - Epidemiology Degree

Description of Program

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health – Epidemiology degree is a four year undergraduate degree offered through the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics 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 in Epidemiology degree is consistent with the standards required by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the federally recognized accrediting body for public health academic programs. Students who choose this degree program 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 disease surveillance, study design, data collection and analysis, identification of risk factors for infectious and chronic diseases, and interpretation of findings from research studies. At the conclusion of their course work, students must complete an internship which provides them an opportunity to apply the skills and competencies they attained within an actual work environment. In addition to allowing the students to synthesize the many concepts they learned in the core public health and epidemiology courses, the field experience provides students with an opportunity to act professionally, think critically, communicate with many different individuals, and develop other important skills required to be successful in an epidemiology work environment. Students completing this degree will be well positioned to begin employment as epidemiologists or to pursue an advanced degree.


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

A newly admitted freshman pursuing a BSPH in Epidemiology degree will receive an offer of direct freshman admission to the this program if he or she meets both of the following criteria:

  1. Entrance Test Scores: The applicant must have earned one of the following minimum standardized test scores:
    • a composite score of 29 on the ACT (American College Test). --or--
    • one of the following combined critical reading and math scores on the SAT, either 1270, if taken before March, 2016, or 1330 if taken in March, 2016 or after.
  2. Academic Performance: The applicant must either:
    • rank in the top 12 percent of his or her high school graduating class. --or--
    • possess a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.5.

Before entering the School of Public Health - Bloomington as an epidemiology major, all other students begin studies in the University Division, and then subsequently certify into this program as soon as they satisfy the following two admission criteria:

  1. successful completion of at least 30 credit hours.
  2. minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) at Indiana University.

Students in the University Division must also declare their intention to major in Epidemiology to the University Division Records Office. If a student earns less than 2.0 semester GPA for the term before entering the School of Public Health-Bloomington, the student may be admitted on academic probation as long as the student has completed 30 credits and has at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA.

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.

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 a BSPH in Epidemiology degree. A minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) at Indiana University is required for admission to this program. Graduation requirements include:

  • completion of general education requirements.
  • completion of epidemiology 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-E and SPH-Q.
  • 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 2015-2016 General Education Bulletin to view these requirements.

Major (65 - 72 cr.)

Anatomy and Physiology Requirement (3 - 10 cr.)
A student may complete either one of the following two options to complete this requirement:

This requirement may be satisfied by completing the following course:

  • MSCI-M 115 Introduction Anatomy and Physiology (3 cr.)

Alternatively, a student may satisfy this requirement by completing both of the following individual anatomy and physiology courses:

  • ANAT-A 215 Basic Human Anatomy (5 cr.) or SPH-K 205 Structural Kinesiology (3 cr.)
  • PHSL-P 215 Basic Human Physiology (5 cr.)

Public Health Course Requirement (15 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-B 366 Community Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 311 (Formerly SPH-H 311) Introduction to Epidemiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-P 309 Public Health Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Q 381 (Formerly SPH-H 381) Introduction to Biostatistics (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 241 (Formerly SPH-V 351) Foundations of Environmental Health (3 cr.)

Epidemiology Course Requirement (20 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-E 250 Public Health Surveillance and Monitoring (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 350 Infectious Diseases: Outbreaks and Field Investigations (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 353 Distribution and Determinants of Chronic Diseases (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 358 Epidemiologic Methods: Concepts (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 359 Epidemiologic Methods: Applications (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 496 Field Experience in Epidemiology (5 cr.)

Additional Required Courses (15 cr.)
Complete each of the following courses:

  • BIOL-L 112 Foundations of Biology: Biologic Mechanisms (3 cr.) +N&M
  • MATH-M 118 Finite Mathematics (3 cr.) +Math Modeling
  • SPH-H 494 Research and Evaluation Methods in Health and Safety (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Q 400 Introduction to Biostatistical Computing (3 cr.)
  • STAT-S 320 Introduction to Statistics (3 cr.)

Related Content Courses (12 cr.)
Complete any 12 credits from the following courses:

Mathematics and Statistics

  • MATH-M 211 Calculus I (4 cr.)
  • MATH-M 212 Calculus II (4 cr.)
  • MATH-M 301 Linear Algebra and Applications (3 cr.)
  • MATH-M 303 Linear Algebra for Undergraduates (3 cr.)
  • MATH-M 311 Calculus III (4 cr.)
  • STAT-S 431 Applied Linear Models I (3 cr.)
  • STAT-S 432 Applied Linear Models II (3 cr.)

Writing and Public Speaking

  • COLL-P 155 Public Oral Communication (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 231 Professional Writing Skills (3 cr.)

Behavioral and Community Health

  • PSY-P 101 Introduction to Psychology I (3 cr.) +N&M
  • PSY-P 102 Introduction to Psychology II (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-B 310 Health Care in Diverse Communities (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 403 Public Health Program Planning (3 cr.)
  • SPH-F 150 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-F 255 Human Sexuality (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-H 263 Personal Health (3 cr.) +S&H

Topical Health and Health Promotion

  • SPH-H 172 International Health and Social Issues (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 320 The Nature of Cancer Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 326 AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 334 (Formerly SPH-H 234) Heart Health and Diabetes (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 220 Nutrition for Health (3 cr.) or SPH-N 231 Human Nutrition (3 cr.)

Physical Activity

  • SPH-K 409 Basic Physiology of Exercise (3 cr.) (P: ANAT-A 215 and PHSL-P 215 or equivalents)
  • SPH-K 412 Exercise in Health and Disease (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 417 Physical Activity and Disease (3 cr.)

Environmental Health

  • SPH-V 201 Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 214 Environmental Regulations and Code Compliance (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 215 Food Safety and Sanitation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 422 Issues in Global Environmental Health (3 cr.)

International Studies

  • INTL-I 202 Global Health and Environment (3 cr.)


  • SOC-S 358 Social Issues in Health and Medicine (3 cr.)
  • SOC-S 370 Research Methods in Sociology (3 cr.)

Pre-Health Professions
Consult with your advisor if you are pre-health to ensure you take the necessary courses.

  • BIOL-L 111 Introduction to Biological Evolution and Diversity (3 cr.) +N&M or BIOL-L 211 Molecular Biology (3 cr.)
  • BIOL-L 113 Biology Laboratory (3 cr.)
  • BIOL-M 200 Micro Organisms in Nature and Disease Management (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 117 Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry I (3 cr.) +N&M
  • CHEM-C 341 Organic Chemistry I LecturesControl (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 342 Organic Chemistry II Lectures (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 343 Organic Chemistry I Lab (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-N 330 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry (3 cr.)
  • PHYS-P 201 General Physics I (5 cr.) +N&M
  • PHYS-P 202 General Physics II (5 cr.) +N&M

+ 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 Environmental Health Courses for the First-Year Student
Fall Semester
BIOL-L 112 Foundations of Biology: Biologic Mechanisms (3 cr.)
MATH-M 118 Finite Mathematics (3 cr.)
Arts and Humanities Elective (3 cr.)
ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition 1 (3 cr.) or equivalent
Elective (3 cr.)
Elective (3 cr.)

Spring Semester
MCSI-M 115 Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology (3 cr.)
SPH-E 250 Public Health Surveillance and Monitoring (3 cr.)
World Languages and Culture elective (3 cr.)
Elective (3 cr.)
Elective (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 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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