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Public Health, B.S. Details

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  • Students can declare Public Health as a major after completion of 24 credit hours and a 2.5 or higher UNCW GPA. Students declaring the Pre-Clinical Concentration need a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • Public Health students must choose from one of four concentration options: Community Health Education, Global Health, Gerontology, or Pre-Clinical.
  • All students in the program must complete all core courses and at least one concentration. A grade of C- or above must be achieved in each of the Public Health core and concentration courses.
  • A 2.5 overall GPA is required to register for PBH 496 and PBH 497, and to graduate from the program.

You must select one of four concentrations.

You may choose additional concentrations if you wish.

Community Health Education Prepares students to assess, plan, implement and evaluate programs that are designed to enhance individual and community health and well-being. Students are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

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Pre-Clinical Health Prepares students with a strong science background for continuing study in medicine, dentistry, physical assistant, nutrition, nursing, etc.

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Global Health Prepares students for careers working in developing low and middle income countries to improve health and quality of life. Students are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

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Gerontology Prepares students for public health careers working with an older adult population. If eligible, students may also apply for the 4+1 Public Health, B.S. & Applied Gerontology, M.S. program.

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Additional Information


Need help selecting a concentration? Schedule an appointment with a Student Success advisor.

The combined Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health and Master of Science degree in Applied Gerontology program offers an accelerated path toward a Master of Science degree that prepares graduates to work in healthcare and community-based settings serving older adults. Graduates from this program are also trained to work with communities and individuals to protect, maintain and enhance health and quality of life.


UNCW degree programs satisfy the professional licensure and/or certification requirements in North Carolina and prepare students to sit for applicable exams. However, requirements in other states may be different. If you are considering a degree program that in order to qualify for a professional license and/or certification, please note that at this time UNCW may or may not be able to advise whether the program meets requirements outside of North Carolina. Prior to enrolling, please discuss this important topic with your program of interest.

Students in the Community Health Education and Global Health concentrations are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam during their last semester of the program or upon completion. This is a national certification, recognizing that one has the requisite entry level health education skills and knowledge.

The Public Health Podcast: A Conversation Series

This podcast follows the Coffee and Career Chat conversations with Dr. Sabrina T. Cherry, associate professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and various public health professionals nationwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

To declare Public Health as your major or to change your concentration please send an email to the Public Health Program Coordinator requesting to declare Public Health, indicate what concentration you would like to declare and your ID number.

There are currently no UNCW scholarships that are limited to just PBH students. There are many university-wide scholarships that you may qualify for, as well as some external scholarships for students pursuing degrees in Public Health which you could pursue.

Yes. Some PBH classes are generally offered in both Summer I and Summer II sessions, although they are not guaranteed.

Students pursuing the B.S. in PBH are required to take Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIO & BIOL 240/241 OR EXS & EXSL 216/217, depending on concentration). It is recommended that students take those courses as part of their University Studies requirements, but it is not required that you complete those courses before declaring your PBH major.

The demand for public health professionals continues to rise in response to global concerns such as bioterrorism, potential pandemics, HIV and AIDS, and air and water quality issues. Additionally, rising insurance costs and increased awareness of public health and wellness have generated corporate and government support for prevention and education programs in areas such as diet, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use and workplace safety, among others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health educators is expected to grow by 12 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors.

There is a required sequence to some extent in PBH. However, most of the core public health classes do not have pre-requisites other than being a declared Public Health major. The concentration specific courses are often sequenced. Please refer to the recommended sequencing documents (by concentration) for more information about course pre-requisites and co-requisites. Once you declare the PBH major you will be assigned an advisor who will review your audit and assist you in developing an individual curriculum plan.

The majority of core and concentration PBH-prefix courses are offered fully face-to-face. Some non PBH prefix courses are offered online.

You can declare your major by emailing the Public Health Program Coordinator after completing 24 credit hours. Additionally, you must have a minimum of a 2.5 overall GPA to declare the Community Health Education, Global Health, or Gerontology concentration OR a 3.0 overall GPA to declare the Pre-Clinical concentration.



Students may substitute suitable coursework from other institutions for classes required for the major or replace required coursework with alternative classes from UNCW. All such substitutions and replacements must be made by petition and approved by a majority of PBH faculty members. The following procedures apply:

  1. The student presents the proposed substitution/replacement to their faculty advisor. This must include a syllabus of the proposed substitution/replacement course and a rationale as to why the student feels this substitution/replacement is appropriate.
  2. The advisor contacts the Program Coordinator and requests that the petition be placed on the agenda of the next Public Health program faculty meeting. The Program Coordinator will send the proposal to the faculty member teaching the course in question for input.
  3. The faculty review the proposal and vote on the petition. A simple majority is required to approve a substitution/replacement.
  4. The student is notified in writing by the program coordinator as to the outcome of the faculty review and vote.
  5. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, this same substitution/replacement would be available to all PBH students henceforth.
  6. Courses may be approved for substitution, but the substitution will not take place until required artifacts are completed and approved. Required artifacts must be submitted and approved by the instructor of the course and then uploaded to the electronic portfolio before the end of the next full semester.



Michelle Cathorall, Dr.PH., MPH | Program Coordinator & Associate Professor

For a copy of the self-study report or the CEPH decision letter, please get in touch with the program coordinator.

For questions regarding admissions, advising, transfers and program of study, please contact the CHHS Student Success Center at (910) 962-3208 or