Degree Programs in Public Health

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) together created the undergraduate Public Health program. There are two-degree undergraduate program options for Public Health the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) at CU-Denver. 

What is Public Health?

Public health professionals work to protect the environment, identify sources of illness in population groups, control disease outbreaks, evaluate the economic ramifications of changing demographics, developing interventions to promote healthy behavior, and produce health policy legislation. Public health draws from a broad array of disciplines, such as the social and behavioral sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, business, economics, statistics, epidemiology, law, and biology; each provides unique insights for the diverse set of activities involved in public health practice.

This 5-year degree program combines the Bachelors of Art/Bachelor of Science (BA/BS) of Public Health (PBHL) and the Master of Public Health (MPH). These degrees are offered, respectively, at the University of Colorado Denver by the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the downtown campus, and the Colorado School of Public Health, a joint venture of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado. The free-standing PBHL is composed of 120 credits of coursework (43 specific to the BA and 73 specific to the BS, with the remainder being part of the larger requirements for a Bachelor’s degree). The free-standing MPH program is 42 credit hours and typically completed in 2 years.

To facilitate timely completion of the program, students are expected to take 6 credits in each of 2 summers. If students apply late to this program, (including having already completed additional PBHL core requirements), they may not be able to benefit from all of the substitution-based time savings, and therefore may not be able to complete the program in 5 years. See the course catalog for degree requirements.

Students will be able to:
  • Describe and apply the social-ecological perspective to health and diseases; that is, understand health as the outcome of processes that occur on many levels, ranging from the social and cultural context to cellular and intracellular processes.
  • Integrate multiple disciplines and research traditions to identify and explain the social, behavioral, and biological determinants of health, wellness, and disease in human communities and populations;
  • Understand apply the core principles of health promotion/disease prevention to specific health problems in the community
  • Describe the basic elements of the health policy processes and identify and describe the major institutional players in health policy, both domestically and internationally;
  • Analyze how health needs, perceptions of health needs, and the organizational and social structures through which health services are delivered and received vary cross-culturally;
  • Articulate the basic structure, organization, and financing principles of contemporary health care systems;
  • Use the statistical, imaging, and qualitative research skills necessary for problem-solving and critical thinking in the areas of epidemiology, health care, planning, and community health needs assessment;
  • Explain health disparities across socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity using an interdisciplinary perspective; and
  • Students who select the BS degree will demonstrate a working knowledge of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics suitable for students who wish to pursue advanced training in medicine and/or the laboratory sciences.

Our department advisors help guide students through our program. The advising office is located on the third floor of North Classroom, in room 3029.