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BA Program Details

The Public Health Studies (PHS) undergraduate program is part of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and results in a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA).

A PHS major offers a flexible, challenging, and contemporary curriculum that may include coursework in ethics, the natural sciences, policy, economics, or environmental issues, among other areas. Through these varied options, the PHS program provides rigorous preparation for advanced study in public health, law, medicine, and related fields. The program is a beneficial undergraduate pursuit not only for students planning to enter MHS/MPH and Ph.D. programs, but also for premedical and prelaw students.

Download the JHU Degree Audit Checklist for Public Health Studies

Public Health Learning Objectives

  • Exhibit understanding of the role of public health in society and the historical development of the field.
  • Display understanding of the basic principles and experimental basis of the core fields of public health and exhibit competencies related to the logical relationships of those fields in promoting disease prevention.
  • Demonstrate adequate problem solving skills in the natural sciences using laboratory instruments and empirical methods to draw valid conclusions from experimental data.
  • Display adequate problem solving skills in the social sciences using critical thinking, effective synthesis of complex ideas, and analytic methods to draw valid conclusions from quantitative and qualitative data sources.
  • Demonstrate competence using computers for data acquisition, statistical analysis, and health information, including bibliographic resources and current periodicals database systems.
  • Exhibit adequate written and oral communication skills. 

BA Requirements

PHS majors take five public health core requirements in epidemiology, environmental health, health policy and management, social and behavioral aspects of public health, and biostatistics. These classes are taught at Homewood by JHSPH faculty. PHS majors take them, along with their other major requirements, including two introductory social science courses, two introductory courses and one lab in Biology, and four upper-level courses in Public Health during their first three years at Homewood.

Additionally, one unpaid applied experience, where students complete a minimum of 80 documented hours of service in a clinical or community based setting, is required.

As seniors, all PHS majors take at least a semester's worth of graduate courses at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Many of the other students in these classes have advanced degrees and significant field experiences as working public health professionals. Classes at JHSPH provide a powerful capstone experience and an authentic introduction to graduate level study.

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Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors are conferred upon graduating seniors who meet the following criteria:

  1. A GPA in your major requirements of 3.3 or higher
  2. Participation in Honors Seminar Course AS.280.495 & AS.280.499
  3. Complete senior thesis under joint sponsorship of the Director of Public Health Studies
  4. Presentation of research findings in a poster session, research symposium, or scientific conference
  5. Letter of recommendation from the research mentor attesting to the student’s significant contribution to the research process

The research requirement must be completed under the direction of a faculty member in a department associated with the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Bloomberg School of Public Health or the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Application for Honors

  1. Obtain permission for PHS Honors from Drs. Gebo and/or Schrack, (; in the spring prior to your senior year.
  2. Complete the Departmental Honors Clearance Form and GPA worksheet after February 1st of your senior year and take it to: Dr. Kelly Gebo or Dr. Jennifer Schrack. Both forms can be located here.
  3. Return the signed checklist to the Office of Academic Advising last week of March. You do not need to make an appointment to return the Honors Clearance form, but it must be signed by the correct representative from your department or it will not be processed. Failure to submit this Honors Clearance form by this date will mean that you will not receive honors in your major.
  4. Students who meet the criteria listed above will receive a letter of recognition, along with special notation in the graduation program and on their transcripts.

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Independent Academic Work

Independent Academic work is a hallmark of Johns Hopkins University education. Most students engage in some kind of research, independent study, or internship work during their undergraduate careers at Hopkins. Faculty members at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine regularly have openings for qualified undergraduates to participate in these endeavors.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about this process, be sure to check out our Public Health Guide to Independent Academic Work, available for you to view, print, or download as a .pdf.

Also, see the resource page for information about funding and internship opportunities, under the student resource section.

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BA/MHS and BA/MSPH Programs

The Bachelor of Arts/Master of Health Sciences (BA/MHS) and Bachelor of Arts/Master of Sciences in Public Health (BA/MSPH) programs are a coordinated academic collaboration between the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It enables talented and committed Public Health Studies majors to complete a BA and master's degree from the School of Public Health in five to six years. PDF overview of all programs and their requirements/deadlines.

BA/MHS Program Details

MHS in Mental Health requires 4 terms total (64 credits).

For more information visit the Department of Mental Health website, contact: Patricia Scott.

Application Deadline 1- July.

MHS in Environmental Health requires 4 terms total (64 credits).

For more information visit the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, contact:  Office of Educational Programs.

Application Deadline 1- July.

MHS in Epidemiology generally requires 2 years,
but can be as short as 4 academic terms plus one summer.

For more information visit the Department of Epidemiology, contact: Frances Burman.

Application Deadline 1-June.

BA/MSPH Program Details

MSPH in Health Policy requires 4 terms plus a 9-11 month internship.

For more information visit the Department of Health Policy and Management, contact: Christine King.

Application Deadline 1- July.

MSPH in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
requires 4 terms, followed by a 3-month summer
practicum, followed by 2 more terms of coursework.

For more information visit the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, contact:  Office of Educational Programs. 

Application Deadline 1- July.

BA/MHS/MSPH Admission Requirements

  • The student must be an undergraduate majoring in Public Health Studies at Johns Hopkins.
  • The student must apply to the master's degree program before completing the BA degree, during their junior year. (As soon as a student is admitted to the master's degree program, that program will assign a graduate advisor to work with the student.)
  • The student must complete all undergraduate degree requirements before matriculating as a master's student.

For more information about these program in general, please visit the BA/MHS and BA/MSPH section of the JHSPH website. 

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JHSPH Registration Instructions and Course Suggestions, PHS Class of 2014

PHS majors in the class of 2014 are required to take Fifteen (15) units of courses at Bloomberg School of Public Health in their fourth year. This is the equivalent of Ten (10) credits at Homewood. Within the 15, students must create an 8 unit concentration in one particular area, topic, or department. Other courses may be taken in any department. These 15 units may not include independent research/special study, online courses, or S/U courses.

Information on how to register and suggestions on course selection can be found here (updated on September 19, 2013). If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Ms. Beckemeyer ( or your PHS advisor.

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