Apply to Public Health

Admission to the Public Health major is selective and the number of majors is limited. There are two steps to becoming a major:

Step 1: Pre-Major Application

Students interested in applying to the major should first pre-major in Public Health. This allows students access to entry-level courses. You may sign up to become a pre-major as early as your freshman year; however, some students sign up during their sophomore year.  

Pre-majors are strongly advised to complete biology prerequisites for BIOL 348 and 349 by the end of their sophomore year.  

See Jen Leita, the Program Advisor, in Carver 201A to fill out the pre-major forms.

Book an appointment with Jen


Step 2: Major Application 

Pre-majors must apply for admission to the major Spring quarter (sometime in April, exact date will be announced when time gets closer) of their “traditional” sophomore year, prior to beginning the 400-level sequenced courses in September (fall quarter). A 2.50 GPA or higher is preferred when a student applies for the major though other factors, such as a passion for the program, volunteer experience, etc., are also considered. 

Please see below for a list of items to include in your application. If you have questions, the program advisor or faculty members can provide additional information on application specifics.  

In addition to the application, the completion of (or concurrent enrollment in) one of the following courses is necessary: HLED 150, 151, 152, or 345.

Fulfillment of the requirements does not automatically secure admission to the major. 

Public Health pre-majors are notified regarding acceptance into the major before fall quarter registration.  

Please note: As a Public Health major, you must maintain a c or better in all major courses to enroll in the required full-time internship at the end of the program of study. 


How to Apply to the Public Health Major 

Please send ONE email to with items 1-4 attached.

Letters of reference (item 5) must be emailed directly from your reference to Jen.

1. Complete the Public Health Major Application 

Public Health Major Application

2. Transcripts

Transcripts from all colleges attended showing your previous and current course work are to be included with the application. Your transcripts do not have to be official. Western transcripts can either be saved as a PDF or printed off Web4U and scanned.

3. Current Resume  

Present your education, volunteer and/or work experience, awards, certifications, and hobbies/interests.  

4. Essay  

Explain the following:

  1. Why you are interested in majoring in Public Health
  2. What you see yourself doing in 2-5 years
  3. A description of your experience with community service/volunteer work, highlighting health-related activities. (The essay is to be no longer than 3 typed double-spaced pages, 12 point font. Please make sure your name is at the top of the page.)  

5. Two Letters of Reference  

Include two letters of reference that can speak directly to the following

  1. your experience (work or volunteer) in public health activities;
  2. your motivation, leadership, initiative, and interpersonal skills;
  3. what makes you a strong candidate for training to be a member of the public health profession.

Letters of reference may not be from family and friends.

However, the supervisor from your job or volunteer experience, current or former teachers, etc., could write the reference letter for you. The letters must be emailed directly from your reference to

Students should begin planning ahead with a faculty advisor and Financial Aid once they are accepted into the major.