St. Bonaventure University

Public Health Program

The Bachelor of Science in public health prepares students to immediately enter and find success in the public health environment (community health, health education, health and safety administration) or to pursue graduate studies in public health, public policy, health administration and associated fields.

As a public health major, you will explore the history and principles of public health, community health, public health leadership, health promotion, marketing, multicultural populations, health informatics and health policy, all within a rigorous curriculum.

All public health majors complete a 150-hour internship with a supervisor who is a public health professional. This provides you with practical learning experiences to complement your studies and prepares you for a smooth transition to employment or advanced studies.

Students interested in pursuing a graduate degree upon completion of this undergraduate program may wish to consider St. Bonaventure's Master of Public Health program, which has an "early assurance" provision. This enables qualified high school seniors who major in a Bachelor of Science program to have a reserved seat awaiting them in our Master of Public Health program upon satisfactory completion of their undergraduate studies. To learn more about our early assurance in public health program, click here

Two career-building concentrations

Two new concentrations have created new career pathways for students majoring in public health at SBU.

    1. Health Education Specialist
    The health education specialist concentration is a 25-credit program that, upon graduation, allows graduates with a degree in public health to sit for the Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis credentialing exam to become a certified health education specialist (CHES). 

    The PH/CHES bachelor’s degree can be completed in three years or less with some summer and winter session coursework. Health education specialists develop research-based programs to teach people about conditions affecting well-being, the prevention of disease, and how to modify health behaviors to extend lifespans.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that health education specialist jobs will grow by 7% by 2032, faster than the average of all occupations. The median salary in 2022 for an HES with a bachelor’s degree was $60,000.

    2. 3+2 Occupational Therapy
    The 3+2 occupational therapy concentration in public health supplies the prerequisite courses necessary to enter St. Bonaventure’s master’s degree program in occupational therapy. Students will graduate in five years with a bachelor’s degree in public health and a master’s degree in OT.

    Interested public health majors can complete both concentrations concurrently within a 4-year timeline without the need to complete summer or winter coursework. Students who prefer not to accelerate their public health bachelor’s degree by taking summer or winter session courses can still take the OT concentration in public health, making it a 4+2 program. 

    The median salary in 2022 for an occupational therapist with a master’s degree was $93,180, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meeting a demand for skilled, ethical practitioners

The public health field relies heavily upon its practitioners and professionals to exercise sound judgment and reasoning, which is in keeping with St. Bonaventure's Catholic Franciscan heritage.

We address questions of ethics from a health perspective as part of our commitment to developing knowledgeable, skilled, compassionate and ethical individuals who value individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service to others.

The public health field is booming and in constant need of new professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of public health service managers to grow by 18 percent over the next several years, and an 11 percent growth rate for health educators and community health workers. The demand for bachelor's level health professionals is particularly high, notes the Educational Advisory Board.

Public health offers a variety of career positions, depending on your interests and skills. There is a need for community health workers, disaster preparedness coordinators, environmental health specialists, health educators, health promotion specialists, and public health program coordinators.

More than 12 percent of Americans live below the poverty level and more than 8 percent of them have no health insurance, statistics that support the steady demand for professionals. As a public health major you will be prepared to address these and other challenges facing the public health industry.

Program information

Bachelor of Science in public health

The major in public health prepares students to succeed in a public health environment or to pursue graduate studies in related fields.

Degree requirements and a four-year plan for the public health major

Minor in public health

For non-majors, the public health minor provides students with insight into the broad range of public health issues in the world today and their influences on daily life.

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