BA Program Details

The public health studies (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 PhD programs, but also for premedical and prelaw students.

Learning Goals

Public health studies majors:

  • 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.

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 the Homewood campus by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (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 Applied Experience, where students complete a minimum of 80 documented hours of service in a clinical or community-based public health setting, is required.

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Graduate Courses

As seniors, all PHS majors take at least one term’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 experience as working public health professionals. Classes at JHSPH provide a powerful capstone experience and an authentic introduction to graduate level study.

PHS majors are required to take 15 units of courses at Bloomberg School of Public Health in their fourth year. This is the equivalent of 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. Learn how to register for JHSPH classes.

Independent Academic Work

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