Pre-Public Health

Cornell College students pursuing graduate programs in public health are considered part of the Pre-Public Health program. Pre-Public Health is coordinated by the Dimensions for Health Professions. 

What is Public Health?

Public health addresses today’s most pressing health concerns. Public health focuses on prevention rather than treatment. By doing so, it has a great impact on the health of both individuals and populations. The public health field confronts local, community, and global health issues, such as improving access to health care, controlling infectious diseases, reducing environmental hazards, mitigating chronic diseases, and decreasing the frequency of violence, substance abuse, and injury (ASPPH, 2015). 

The public health sector has studied the global cost of AIDS, worked to improve communication to the public about the effects of smoking, and contributed to the addition of fluoride to tap water and Medicare reform. Careers in public health include occupational health and safety specialists, health educators, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, environmental health experts, health policy analysts, health administrators, and much more. The field of public health is expanding as people become more aware of the population effects of things such as alcohol, smoking, obesity, poverty, aging, and discrimination. 

Degrees vary from Master of Science (MS) degrees to specific professional degrees such as Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Health Administration (MHA). Many schools also offer PhD programs for students interested in research and teaching careers. 

Preparing for Careers in Public Health at Cornell College

After receiving a degree from Cornell, most students enter a Master of Public Health (MPH) or Master of Health Administration (MHA) program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)

Choosing a Major

Most Pre-Public Health students at Cornell College major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB), Biology, Sociology, or Psychology

Prerequisite Coursework

Cornell provides excellent preparation for the many different types of public health programs. Some programs, such as epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental health require strong preparation in the sciences, while programs such as public health policy, health communication, maternal and child health, and health administration require preparation in the humanities and social sciences. Be sure to research the program you are interested in applying to learn their specific prerequisites. 

Prerequisites vary for each MPH program. MPH programs look for students with strong backgrounds in the natural and social sciences, and statistics. It is best to meet with the Associate Director of Dimensions to review school-specific prerequisites beginning in your second year. 

Admissions Examination

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Most MPH programs require the GRE administered by the Educational Testing Service for admission. Some MPH programs will accept Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores in place of the GRE. 

Application Process

Students applying to MPH programs nationwide utilize The Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS).

Dimensions is your primary source for information when you reach the planning stage for your MPH application. Cornell students are expected to utilize the Health Professions Committee before the start of their intended application cycle.  

Additional Resources

Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health
Council on Education for Public Health 
American Public Health Association
ExploreHealthCareers.org
Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook