Public Health Major

Bachelor of Science Curriculum

Core Curriculum

Public health students must complete the core curriculum that is required of all Fairfield undergraduates, with specific courses required to meet major and core curricular requirements.

Natural and Social Sciences

Students take one semester of Chemistry and two semester sequence of Biology. Because communication and social sciences form an important part of the foundation for Public Health practice, students also take specific courses in these areas.

Public Health Courses

Classroom instruction in Public health theory begins in the freshman year and continues throughout the undergraduate program. Public Health courses include theoretical and field requirements. To insure that students obtain the breadth and depth of field experiences needed, the school has associations with a diverse range of health facilities, organizations, and public health departments. Students provide their own transportation to internship experiences, and all costs associated with these placements. Travel, parking, background checks, and health and professional requirements, are the responsibility of the student.

Approved concentrations within this major include Domestic, Global, and Nutrition. All concentrations depend upon course and faculty availability. The Global concentration also depends upon the availability of safe, pre-approved international internship placements. Students should consult with a faculty advisor prior to choosing a concentration to ensure requirements can be met in a timely manner.


Free electives in the curriculum provide students with an opportunity to explore topics of interest including the liberal arts and sciences, advanced public health topics, and minor options.

Eligibility Requirements

The curricula leading to a degree in Public Health from Fairfield University requires students to possess essential non-academic skills and capabilities necessary for professional practice. It is within the sole determination of Fairfield University and the Egan School to assess and conclude whether a student has these skills and capabilities. Eligibility requirements for participation and completion of the Public Health program shall include, but are not limited to, the following six capabilities:

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking ability sufficient for professional judgement; student must be able to examine, interpret, analyze, and synthesize material for problem solving and evaluation of professional situations and their own performance.

Interpersonal and Communication

Relationship and communication abilities appropriate for interacting sensitively with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of professional, social, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. Ability to accurately and clearly communicate appropriate information for lay and professional audiences, both orally and in writing.

Sensory Abilities

Ability to observe, identify, and obtain information in order to assess, plan, provide and evaluate public health situations and interventions; student must possess adequate sensory abilities or be able to demonstrate appropriate and safe compensation for deficits.

Motor Skills and Mobility

Sufficient mobility, including the gross and fine motor skills needed to function in professional public health environments. 

Emotional Stability

Emotional stability sufficient to function within rapidly changing and often stressful professional environments; the ability to monitor and identify one's own and others' emotions, and use the information to guide thinking and actions.

  • Integrity needed to make ethical decisions and honor the professional code of Public Health.
  • Emotional ability to maintain calm in crisis and emergency situations.
  • Ability to develop mature relationships with the other professionals and modify behavior in response to constructive feedback.
  • Respect for diversity as well as regard and respect for others.
  • Knowledge about and commitment to the values and ethics of the profession.
  • Self-awareness and insight with sufficient capacity for self-evaluation and ability to take part in the supervisory process.

Physical Health and Abilities

Physical health and stamina sufficient to function in public health environments.

  • Sufficient energy and ability to manage public health responsibilities in a variety of settings for a full internship day.
  • Physical health necessary to interact with those who may be immunocompromised, incapacitated, and/or otherwise vulnerable populations.  

Standards for Admission and Progression in the Public Health Curriculum

Students are required to successfully complete all core, required courses and internship experiences. By accepting admission in the Egan School, the student understands the program eligibility and progression requirements. Public Health students must follow all University educational policies and general regulations including those regarding academic progress.


The science and math courses are sequential and are prerequisites to designated Public Health courses. Strong foundational knowledge in the science and math courses is critical to success in the Public Health program. Thus, students may not progress to the next semester with an incomplete in prerequisite courses. Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Public Health courses must be completed successfully with a minimum grade of C (73) for students to progress to the next semester in the course sequence for the Public Health major. The final grade for CH 0084 is calculated based from grades for both the lab and theory portion.

Students unable to complete these courses successfully are expected to repeat coursework in the next semester or the summer session immediately following or they will be dismissed from the Egan School. Students who do not obtain a grade of C or better in a prerequisite course (including a repeated course) may repeat the course once. A grade of less than C in three or more prerequisite courses will result in dismissal from the Egan School.

Public Health Courses

Public Health courses are sequential, beginning with foundational courses and progressing to increasing levels of complexity and challenge throughout the program.  As students move through the curriculum, new content is integrated and builds upon previously learned material. Thus, all students must earn the minimum grade of C (73) in all Public health courses to progress to the next semester and continue in the program.  

Further, students may not progress to the next semester with an incomplete in any Public Health course. Students who do not obtain a grade of C or better in a Public Health course may repeat the course once. A grade of less than C in two Public health courses (including a repeated course) will result in dismissal from the Egan School.  The internship component of the Public Health program is graded on a pass/fail basis. Students must pass the theory component. Students who fail to earn the minimum grade in either component of a course must repeat the entire course.

Health and Professional Requirements

Some public health field placements require documentation of particular professional and health information. Public health students must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation by January 1 of the junior year and remain certified throughout the Public Health Program. Students must receive their certification through either the Health Care Provider course offered through the American Heart Association or the Professional Rescuer or CPR/AED for Lifeguard Certification course offered through the American Red Cross. Any health requirements and OSHA training requirements must be met prior to the programmed field experience.

To attend some internship experiences, students must have a physical examination and nonreactive TB skin test or negative QuantiFERNON Gold Blood Test (if positive, proof of a clear chest x-ray must be provided). Proof of immunization or immunity must be provided for the following: hepatitis A and B, varicella, measles, mumps, rubella, flu, and diphtheria-tetanus. History of disease is not acceptable as proof of immunity; laboratory results of blood titers must be provided. is the immunization tracking system used by Fairfield University Public Health students to house their health information.  Students are responsible for uploading information and keeping all required information updated. Students unable to comply with field placement requirements will be dismissed from the program.  All costs associated with these requirements including transportation to and from field placements are the responsibility of the student. A criminal, drug or immunization history that prevents a student from entering a field placement/internship may not be able to progress in the program.  

Student Background Checks and Drug Testing

The undergraduate public health program at Fairfield University requires the successful completion of the internship component of the curriculum. Some internship sites may require students to complete a criminal background check and drug screening before beginning the internship. Therefore, it is the policy of the Egan School that all admitted students must satisfactorily complete a criminal background check and drug screens prior to participating in the internship component of the curriculum. These will be completed at the student's expense at a location designated by the University. Fairfield University and the Egan School  have no obligation to refund tuition or otherwise accommodate students in the event that a criminal, drug, or immunization history that renders the student ineligible to complete required courses or field placement(s).

Seamless Progression to Graduate Study

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health are provided with the opportunity for advanced placement in the Health Track of Fairfield's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. In as little as sixteen months, students can complete an MPA degree program designed to examine pressing social, ethical, and professional health issues, while developing strong leadership abilities for career advancement. Pursuing advanced coursework in administration and management, students will learn theory, research, and application for future roles in local, state, and federal healthcare organizations. Students are also able to work with dedicated faculty from across the University with a wide range of healthcare backgrounds to tailor their curriculum to their personal, professional, and academic goals.

The major in Public Health includes required courses in epidemiology and public health, environmental studies, communication, applied ethics, biostatistics, management, and community mental health. These are complemented by related electives and foundational courses in biology and chemistry. In addition, the major requires a six credit public health field internship that may be done locally, elsewhere in the U.S., or in the setting of a developing country.

For a major in Public Health, students will complete the following:

AE 0285Ethics of Health Care3
BI 0076Environmental Science3
BI 0107Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
or BI 0170 General Biology I
BI 0108Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
or BI 0171 General Biology II
CH 0084General Chemistry for Health Science3
HS 0200Health Communication for Healthcare Professionals3
MA 0017Elementary Probability and Statistics3
NS 0112Healthcare Delivery Systems3
NS 0310Foundations of Research for Evidence Based Practice3
PB 0101Public Health and Social Justice3
PB 0201Public Health, Disease, and Injury3
PB 0216Introductory Principles of Epidemiology3
PB 0217Biostatistics for Health Research3
PB 0303Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation3
PB 0305Public Health Seminar3
PB 0310Public Health Capstone3
PB 0315Public Health Internship6
PY 0237(Community Mental Health)3
Select three Public Health electives from the list below9
Total Credits68

Public Health Electives

AY 0145Anthropology of Food3
AY 0180Grant Writing for the Social Sciences3
AY 0200Anthropological Research Methods3
BI 0073Contemporary Nutrition: Food for Thought3
BI 0251Human Nutrition3
BI 0372Environmental Toxicology4
CO 0242Alcohol, Addiction and Culture3
CO 0248Health Communication3
CO 0322Leadership Communication3
CO 0325Organizational Communication and Advertising3
CO 0336Social Media3
CO 0347Communication in Healthcare Organizations3
CO 0348Health Risk Communication3
EC 0140Health Economics3
EC 0278Economic Statistics3
EC 0380Econometrics3
ENW 0335Technical Writing3
HI 0270History of Global Humanitarian Action3
HI 0383Food, Consumption, and Commodities in Latin America, 1500 to the Present: From Chocolate to Cocaine3
HS 0101Introduction to Health Studies3
IL 0150International Operations of Non-Profits3
IL 0152International Human Rights3
PB 0240Introduction to Global Public Health3
PB 0250Community Nutrition3
PY 0101General Psychology3
PY 0131Abnormal Psychology for Non-Majors3
PY 0232Theories of Personality3
PY 0221Social Psychology3
PY 0232Theories of Personality3
PY 0274Drugs and Behavior3
RS 0252Contemporary Moral Problems3
SO 0221Statistics: Social and Political Data Analysis4
SO 0222Methods of Research Design4

The plan of study below presents a typical four year schedule of courses in the program.

Beginning with the Class of 2023, all undergraduate students will be required to complete the Magis Core Curriculum, which is woven into this plan. Please refer to the Curricula section of this undergraduate catalog for detailed explanation of the Magis Core.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
BI 0107
Human Anatomy and Physiology I 1
or General Biology I
ENW 0100 Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition 3
MA 0016 Concepts of Calculus 3
HI or PH or RS Orientation Tier 3
Language Orientation Tier 3
BI 0108
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 1
or General Biology II
MA 0017 Elementary Probability and Statistics 3
PB 0101 Public Health and Social Justice 3
Literature Exploration Tier 3
Free Elective 3
Second Year
CH 0084
General Chemistry for Health Science
and General Chemistry for Health Science Lab
NS 0112 Healthcare Delivery Systems 3
PB 0201 Public Health, Disease, and Injury 3
PB 0216 Introductory Principles of Epidemiology 3
HI or PH or RS Orientation Tier 3
NS 0310 Foundations of Research for Evidence Based Practice 3
PB 0217 Biostatistics for Health Research 3
PY 0237 (Community Mental Health) 3
Behavioral and Social Science Exploration Tier 3
HI or PH or RS Orientation Tier 3
Third Year
AE 0285 Ethics of Health Care 3
BI 0076 Environmental Science 3
HS 0200 Health Communication for Healthcare Professionals 3
PB 0303 Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation 3
Visual and Performing Arts Exploration Tier 3
PB 0315 Public Health Internship (or Select Two Free Elective Courses) 6
Public Health Track Elective 3
HI or PH or RS Exploration Tier 3
Free Elective 3
Fourth Year
PB 0315 Public Health Internship (or Select Two Free Elective Courses) 6
Public Health Track Elective 3
HI or PH or RS Exploration Tier 3
Free Elective 3
PB 0301 Leadership for Interdisciplinary Health Professionals 3
PB 0305 Public Health Seminar 3
PB 0310 Public Health Capstone 3
Public Health Track Elective 3
Free Elective 3
 Total Credits123