Public Health: BS
USU's public health program is one of the oldest public health programs in the nation. It is a popular major for students wishing to pursue medical or dental school, but also provides a wide variety of other career possibilities. The public health profession provides opportunities to promote general health and welfare with people in the community and in the workplace. Traditionally, public health has focused on the study and prevention of communicable diseases through nutritional factors, immunization, and environmental sanitation. While these issues are still important, the profession has broadened its scope to include all aspects of disease prevention, environmental protection, and health promotion.
Public health students have access to a number of research facilities and labs, internship and field study opportunities, and mentoring from faculty members that bring extensive experience and knowledge from industry and national laboratories to the classroom. USU medical school and dental school applicants have a consistently high acceptance rate, and nearly all public health students receive job offers in their discipline.
Students must choose an emphasis.
- Industrial Hygiene: This emphasis prepares students to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control occupational health hazards in the workplace. An industrial hygienist is responsible for inspection of the working environment, measurement of workers’ exposure to chemical, physical, and biological hazards, and implementation of control measures to provide a safe and healthy working environment. This emphasis is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation of ABET, and the coursework prepares students to take an exam to be certified as professional industrial hygienists.
- Environmental Health: An environmental health and protection professional is primarily concerned with the investigation and prevention of health-related problems within a community. These problems include air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste disposal, food-borne illnesses in public eating establishments, water and wastewater treatment, and insect and rodent disease. Graduates are eligible for the Utah Environmental Health Scientist-In-Training License and the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/ Sanitarian examination.
- Public Health Education: This emphasis prepares students to educate people about a variety of health issues. A public health educator assists people in developing positive health attitudes and behaviors. The public health education profession includes various responsibilities, such as teaching, research, program development, administrative duties, speaking before civic groups, arranging publicity campaigns, and coordinating the activities of various service organizations with those of governmental or community agencies. Graduates are qualified to take the Certified Health Education Specialist examination.
Graduates in public health are qualified for the following careers:
Industrial Hygiene Emphasis
Students who emphasize in industrial hygiene generally work for private industries ensuring safety in a variety of workplace environments in the following careers:
- Certified Industrial hygienist
- Professional safety engineer
Environmental Health Emphasis
Graduates with an emphasis in environmental health primarily work for government-funded agencies in the following areas:
- Restaurant inspectors
- Food handling permit trainers
- Air and water quality sampling
- Waste water examination
- Disease outbreak control
Public Health Education Emphasis
Students who graduate with an emphasis in public health education generally work for government health departments in the following areas:
- Community health specialist
- Health department educator
- Public education campaigns, such as smoking or skin cancer awareness
- WIC education specialist
Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.
In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the public health program has additional requirements:
- Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
- Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions and other USU majors need a 2.25 GPA for admission to this major.
International students have additional admissions requirements.
Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists: ACGIH is a member-based organization that advances occupational and environmental health. For more than 60 years, ACGIH has been respected for its dedication to the industrial hygiene and occupational health and safety industries.
American Industrial Hygiene Association: The American Industrial Hygiene Association is one of the largest international associations serving the needs of occupational health and safety professionals and environmental health and safety professionals. Occupational professionals practice hygiene in industry, government, labor, academic institutions, and independent organizations.
American Society of Safety Engineers: ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization. Industrial hygiene is a specialty practice under ASSE.
Beta Beta Beta National Honor Society: Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is a society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.
American Industrial Hygiene Association USU Student Chapter: The USU Industrial Hygiene Student Association is an affiliated student local section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Members can learn from and network with professionals in this industry.
Biology Club: This USU club provides information to students interested in majors associated with the Department of Biology. The club hosts guest speakers and other activities designed to educate students about academic and career possibilities.
Labs, Centers, Research
With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.
Center for Advanced Nutrition: The CAN provides a multi-disciplinary venue for the discussion, discovery, and dissemination of information about the biological, physiological, and psychological mechanisms of proper nutrition. The scope of discovery is broad and falls into four distinct but overlapping focus areas: bioactive foods, nutrition and the brain, ingestive behavior, and personalized nutrition.
Institute for Antiviral Research: The IAR is comprised of a recognized team of scientists representing a spectrum of disciplines, who are researching ways to control viral diseases. The IAR has been involved with the pre-clinical development of several FDA-approved drugs, including Tamiflu, which was recently used to combat H1N1. The main areas of emphasis are respiratory diseases such as influenza and infections caused by emerging viruses, including West Nile virus.