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.


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 CHEM 1184 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 internship agencies may require documentation of professional and health information. This may include: a criminal background check, drug screening, physical examination, and proof of immunization or immunity for selected infectious diseases. Students are responsible for complying with any agency requirements. All costs associated with these requirements including transportation to and from internships are the responsibility of the student. A criminal, drug, or immunization history that prevents a student from entering an internship may also prevent the student from progressing in the program. 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 renders the student ineligible to complete required courses or internships.

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 four 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:

AETH 2285Ethics of Health Care3
BIOL 1076Environmental Science3
BIOL 1107Human Anatomy and Physiology I 14
or BIOL 1171 General Biology I
BIOL 1107LHuman Anatomy and Physiology I Lab 10
or BIOL 1171L General Biology I Lab
BIOL 1108Human Anatomy and Physiology II 14
or BIOL 1172 General Biology II
BIOL 1108LHuman Anatomy and Physiology II Lab 10
or BIOL 1172L General Biology II Lab
CHEM 1184General Chemistry for Health Science3
Choose one health communication course from the following:3
Health Communication
Communication in Healthcare Organizations
Health Risk Communication
Health Communication for Healthcare Professionals
MATH 1017Elementary Probability and Statistics3
NURS 1112Healthcare Delivery Systems3
NURS 3310Foundations of Research for Evidence Based Practice3
PSYC 2370Community Mental Health3
PUBH 1101Public Health and Social Justice3
PUBH 2201Public Health, Disease, and Injury3
PUBH 2216Introductory Principles of Epidemiology3
PUBH 2217Biostatistics for Health Research3
PUBH 3303Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation3
PUBH 3980Public Health Internship4
PUBH 4301Leadership for Interdisciplinary Health Professionals3
PUBH 4305Public Health Seminar3
PUBH 4999Public Health Capstone3
Select three Public Health electives from the list below9
Total Credits69

Public Health Electives

ANTH 1510Anthropology of Food3
ANTH 3700Grant Writing for the Social Sciences3
ANTH 3710Theory and Practice in Anthropology3
BIOL 1073Contemporary Nutrition: Food for Thought3
BIOL 1151Elements of Microbiology 14
BIOL 2251Human Nutrition3
BIOL 3372Environmental Toxicology4
COMM 2242Alcohol, Addiction, and Culture3
COMM 3248Health Communication3
COMM 3322Leadership Communication3
COMM 3325Organizational Communication and Advertising3
COMM 3336Media Infrastructures3
COMM 3347Communication in Healthcare Organizations3
COMM 3348Health Risk Communication3
ECON 2140Health Economics3
ECON 3278Economic Statistics3
ECON 4380Econometrics3
HIST 2270History of Global Humanitarian Action3
INST 2150International Operations of Non-Profits3
INST 2481International Human Rights3
PSYC 1010General Psychology3
PSYC 1310Psychopathology and Clinical Science for Non-Majors3
PSYC 2210Social Psychology3
PSYC 2740Drugs, Brain, and Behavior3
PUBH 2240Introduction to Global Public Health3
PUBH 2250Community Nutrition3
SOCI 3600Methods of Research Design4
SOCI 3610Statistics: Social and Political Data Analysis4

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
BIOL 1107
Human Anatomy and Physiology I 1
or General Biology I
ENGL 1001 Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition 3
HIST or PHIL or RLST Orientation Tier 3
Language Orientation Tier 3
MATH 1016 Concepts of Calculus 3
BIOL 1108
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 1
or General Biology II
Free Elective 2 3
Literature Exploration Tier 3
MATH 1017 Elementary Probability and Statistics 3
PUBH 1101 Public Health and Social Justice 3
Second Year
CHEM 1184
General Chemistry for Health Science
and General Chemistry for Health Science Lab
HIST or PHIL or RLST Orientation Tier 3
NURS 1112 Healthcare Delivery Systems 3
PUBH 2201 Public Health, Disease, and Injury 3
PUBH 2216 Introductory Principles of Epidemiology 3
Behavioral and Social Science Exploration Tier 3
BIOL 1076 Environmental Science 3
HIST or PHIL or RLST Orientation Tier 3
NURS 3310 Foundations of Research for Evidence Based Practice 3
PUBH 2217 Biostatistics for Health Research 3
Third Year
AETH 2285 Ethics of Health Care 3
HLST 3201 Health Communication for Healthcare Professionals 3
PSYC 2370 Community Mental Health 3
PUBH 3303 Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation 3
Visual and Performing Arts Exploration Tier 3
Free Elective 2 3
Free Elective 3
Free Elective 3
Free Elective 3
HIST or PHIL or RLST Exploration Tier 3
Fourth Year
Free Elective 2 3
Free Elective 3
Free Elective 3
HIST or PHIL or RLST Exploration Tier 3
PUBH 4305 Public Health Seminar 3
Free Elective 2 3
PUBH 4301 Leadership for Interdisciplinary Health Professionals 3
PUBH 4999 Public Health Capstone 3
PUBH 3980 Public Health Internship 4
 Total Credits121