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.

Our Programs

At CU Denver, students can choose between two undergraduate majors: Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS). We also offer an accelerated master's program wherein students can get a BA or BS and an MPH in 5 years.

Students in the BA program develop a specialty in the social sciences and public health. The BA in Public Health consists of 43 credit hours in required classes. Each class must be completed with a grade of C- or higher to count towards the major. Public Health BA students complete a minimum of 26 hours of the degree requirements at CU Denver, including the core courses for the major (PBHL 2020, 3001, 3030, 3070, 4040 and 4099). Note that students on catalog years prior to 2018-2019 must complete each class with a grade of C or higher. See the CU Denver catalog for degree requirements.

Students in the BS program develop a specialty in the natural sciences and public health. The BS in Public Health consists of 73 hours in required classes. Each class must be completed with a grade of C- or higher to count towards the major. Public Health BS students complete a minimum of 44 hours of the degree requirements at CU Denver, including the core courses for the major (PBHL 2020, 3001, 3030, 3070, 4040, and 4099). Note that students on catalog years prior to 2018-2019 must complete each class with a grade of C or higher. See the CU Denver 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.