Public Health

Department of Public Health

Program Description

Students pursue a Public Health concentration leading to a degree with specialization and job skills applicable to one of three professional areas of study: community health; healthcare administration; or occupational health and safety. The faculty supports focused academic preparation in each concentration to prepare Public Health program graduates for success in their chosen professional field.

The field of Public Health includes a wide variety of agencies, professionals and programs that keep people healthy by encouraging healthy behaviors and creating conditions that support human health.  Public Health has three primary aims: to Prevent injury and illness, Protect the health of the public, and Promote healthy behaviors, policies, institutions, and infrastructure.  These aims are achieved using methods that embody the professional values of prevention, health equity, social justice, evidence-based science, and community problem-solving.

Students can expect to be involved, via classroom and field experiences, in areas that address significant issues within a selected concentration.  Examples include health program planning, health communication strategies, community engagement, health care costs, quality improvement, organizational development, injury and illness prevention, health management, workplace safety, epidemiology, research methods, and many other topics related to modern Public Health practice. 

Students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in the Public Health will find that the BS program provides an excellent foundation for graduate education, including a Master of Public Health or similar graduate program related to the concentration area. 

The Public Health Bachelor of Science program at Sacramento State is a highly sought after degree. Due to the large number of applications, the program has pre-major requirements that must be met before admission to the major can be granted. Students wishing to become Public Health majors must complete a series of required lower division courses and submit an Eligibility Form that documents successful completion of the pre-major requirements in order to gain admission to the program. Check the Department website for requirements and recommended timing.  It is highly recommended that interested students speak with the Public Health Academic Advisor in the CHHS Student Success Center.

Degree Programs

BS in Public Health (Community Health Education)

BS in Public Health (Health Care Administration)

BS in Public Health (Occupational Health and Safety)

Master of Public Health

Minor in Occupational Health and Safety

Special Features

  • A key feature of the program involves the diversity of the field experiences available. Students may select from state, county, city, or local health and safety related agencies, hospitals, as well as any private voluntary not-for-profit agency. This on-site experience continues to be a valuable professional experience that may lead to employment.
  • Employment opportunities can be identified in any of the school/community health/safety/health care related programs, as well as in the private sector. Employment opportunities often evolve from the networking that develops naturally from students’ field experiences.
  • Because of the unique location of the University in the state capital, students majoring in Public Health benefit from professional health resources of numerous state and local health agencies that include, but are not limited to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, California State Departments of Health Services, Mental Health, Aging and Alcohol and Drug Abuse. A variety of health/safety related agencies provide opportunities for field work experiences, internships, part-time, and summertime employment.
  • The faculty consists of experts with specialized preparation in the Public Health field. Our full-time faculty is augmented by the use of adjunct instructional staff selected from the above mentioned Public Health agencies.

Career Possibilities

Public Health comprises an enormous range of possible career pathways and areas of application.  Below is a sample of the common Areas of Expertise and related job titles that program graduates could pursue (note that some options listed below may require training additional coupled with a degree in Public Health):

Chronic Disease: Health Educator, Health Program Director, Behavioral Scientist, Public Health Dentist

Disaster Response: Emergency Preparedness Specialist, U.S. Public Health Service Member

Drug Safety: Clinical Researcher, Pharmacist, Biostatistician, Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Environmental Health: Toxicologist, Hydrologist, Environmental Engineer, Hazardous Waste Inspector

Food Safety & Nutrition: Consumer Safety Officer, Food Scientist  Nutrition Consultant

Global Health: Peace Corps Volunteer, Genetics Researcher, Entomologist, Translator, Ethnographer

Health Administration: Health Commissioner, Medical Director, Hospital Administrator

Health Communication: Journalist, Communications Director, Social Marketer  Medical Writer

Health Disparities: Minority Health Director, Patient Navigator, Community Organizer

Health Education: Health Teacher, Professor, Health Education Coordinator, Worksite Wellness Director

Infectious Disease: Epidemiologist, Medical Offer, Public Health Nurse, Public Health Veterinarian

Maternal & Child Health: Health Administrator, Home Visit Nurse, Community Health Worker, Nutritionist

Mental Health: Mental Health Researcher, Public Health Social Worker, Behavioral Health Coordinator

Nonprofit Management: Grant Writer, Development Director, Program Officer  Volunteer Coordinator

Occupational Safety: Industrial Hygienist, Occupational Safety Specialist, Sanitarian/Safety Inspector

Public Health Policy & Law: Policy Analyst, Health Economist, Public Health Attorney, Consumer Advocate

Public Safety: Injury Prevention Specialist, Emergency Medical Services Director, Forensic Pathologist

Quality Improvement: Program Evaluator, Informatics Specialist, Patient Safety Specialist, Health Facility Surveyor

Contact Information

Michael D. Mink, Chair
Andrew Haff, Administrative Coordinator
Solano Hall 3002
(916) 278-6441
Department of Public Health Website