About Public Health

Public Health at Western Washington University

Are you interested in making a difference in the world? Are you compassionate and enjoy working with people? Do you have a passion for any of these (or other) health issues?

  • Global Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Nutrition
  • Violence Prevention
  • Sexuality and Sexual Health
  • Physical Activity
  • Infectious Disease
  • Substance Abuse
  • Epidemiology
  • Social Justice
  • The Environment


If so....

Western's Public Health program is for you.  The Public Health program (previously known as the Community Health program)  offers a curriculum for students interested in careers in health education and health promotion in a variety of settings, including: community, school, worksite, college/university and medical/clinical. Western's program is designed to prepare students to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination. An individual credentialed with CHES (as a result of passing a national examination) demonstrates competency based on criteria established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.open_in_new(opens in new window)

Public Health is a field that is constantly growing and changing based on social determinants and the evolving needs of the people it serves.  The Public Health program qualifies graduates of the program to work in a variety of interdisciplinary health-based settings, such as: community health agencies, work sites (business and industry) hospital-based wellness programs, public health departments, environmental agencies, voluntary non-profit organizations, and schools, including colleges and universities.  They work with people of all ages from children to seniors.  To address the many contributing factors that lead to a health problem, they may collaborate with policy makers and other helping professionals.

The Public Health Degree

The Public Health degree is a Bachelor of Science degree with a total of 101-102 credits. To help prepare our student colleagues to be effective Public Health professionals, we require them to take classes in a variety of areas: the biological and social sciences, content in health topics, research methods in health, epidemiology and health education theory and practice. The Public Health curriculum includes both content and process-oriented courses and emphasizes service-learning and field experiences. The last quarter is a full-time internship (40 hours/week) at a health-based community setting. The internship is a formal contractual agreement among the Public Health program, the student, and the agency site supervisor.

Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to complete their chemistry and anatomy and physiology requirements before or during their junior year to ensure on time graduation. Biology 348 is a pre-requisite for entry into 400-level courses.

[Secondary teacher education majors interested in teaching school health education need to major in the Physical Education pedagogy program for an endorsement in Physical Education and Health.]

Western Washington University's Bachelor of Science in Public Health 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.