About Public Health


The mission of Western Washington University’s Public Health Program is to provide students with a rigorous and dynamic hands-on educational experience that prepares them to effectively and compassionately improve the public’s health and advocate for social justice through community involvement and collaboration. 

What is unique about Western's Public Health program?

  • Acceptance to an inclusive, cohort-based program that builds life-long friendships and on-going professional networking opportunities 
  • Graduating with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, which provides a strong foundation of biological and social science courses 
  • Engaging with a well-planned curriculum that is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and teaches processes, skills, and analytic techniques such as: 
    • Applying sound theoretical frameworks to understand health behaviors 
    • Researching root causes of emerging public health challenges  
    • Engaging communities and facilitating needs assessment 
    • Designing interventions to solve public health problems 
    • Applying academic training to a 400-hour, community-based internship giving students professional experience and connections before graduation 
  • Opportunity to choose a focused concentration: Behavioral & Community Health (BCH) or Global & Population Health (GPH), which will dictate the final two classes of coursework. 
    • BCH students are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam 
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio within the cohort allowing increased individual attention and professor-led classes with greater student involvement 

Major Concentrations

Upon application to the program, students will declare a concentration: Behavioral & Community Health (BCH) or Global & Population Health (GPH). The majority of students’ coursework will be completed as an entire cohort. However, during the last two quarters of coursework, PH students will split for two classes.  

Behavioral & Community Health (BCH)

This concentration comprises of two courses in the two final quarters of coursework.

  1. HLED 425 Program Planning and Implementation 
  2. HLED 435 Health Communication & Social Marketing

These courses focus on health intervention and education, community engagement, and health promotion programming & implementation. Students in this concentration will collaborate with their colleagues in two, quarter-long small group projects: planning a health program (from literature review to evaluation and sustainability plan) and creating a social marketing campaign for a community partner.  

Global & Population Health (GPH)

This concentration comprises in the two final quarters of coursework.

  1. HLED 445 Epidemiology II: Epidemiology Methods and
  2. HLED 449 Ecology of Infectious Disease

These courses focus on applying an  understanding of social and biological determinants of risk in order to understand the emergence and distribution of disease in populations.

Students in this concentration will collaborate with their colleagues in two, quarter-long small group projects: designing an epidemiological study (from literature review to data collection processes and analysis) and designing an appropriate and effective intervention to a global emerging infectious disease threat.  

Program Accreditation

Council on Education for Public Health logo

Our program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health as a stand-alone baccalaureate program. For the access to our program's accreditation report and self-study, please contact Dr. Ying Li through email: ying.li@wwu.edu

Possible Career Options

Public health is an exciting field, with an expanding need for new professionals, that can provide students a foundation applicable to many different career paths. Public Health program graduates can work in nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, healthcare settings, educational settings as well as global health and development organizations. Several graduates have pursued a Master's of Public Health (MPH) degree or a Master's of Science (MS). Additionally, a BS in Public Health provides a fantastic foundation for those interested in pursuing careers in medicine or healthcare (i.e., nurse, dietician, Physicians Assistant or Medical Doctor).