A person in a white coat sitting at a table with many fruits and a laptop

Public Health Major

Bachelor of Arts Degree

The field of public health focuses on improving the health and wellness of populations and it addresses the broader issues that affect the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, populations, and societies—now, and for generations to come. At Hamline, the BA in Public Health is an interdisciplinary field of study that enables students to focus on health issues in local, national, and international arenas from a variety of perspectives.

We help you foster that variety of perspectives by blending together community engagement, research, inquiry, and action. Your public health major coursework then builds on the connections between the liberal arts and the core concerns of public health, with the recognition that issues of human health are complex, influenced not only by human biology and statistics, but also by social structures, psychology, culture, and public policy.  You may also be interested in learning about Hamline’s biology major with a concentration in public health.

Over the course of your studies, you will develop a broad professional, interpersonal, and scientific skillset that will propel you to success in any career you choose. In addition, you will work with experts and community stakeholders across disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives to uncover the roots of health problems and develop systemic solutions that improve everyone’s quality of life.

A key part of your public health classes is the foundation of health equity and social justice, and you will have many opportunities to work with our local and regional communities in engaged research projects. This will enable you to experience what it’s like to collaborate with your community, integrate a wide variety of goals and needs into your work, and make a real contribution to a pressing need in our world.

Student research opportunities

At Hamline, public health majors participate in research with faculty as early as their first year, something usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions. You'll design and conduct your own research project based on your individual interests and goals.

The list of possible research projects is as varied as our students. For example, picture yourself:

  • Creating community outreach activities for community partners including the Family Tree Clinic, Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, Hamline Food Resource Center, Minnesota Department of Health, and Rainbow Health
  • Collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health, Hmong Town Market, and regional college Hmong student associations to prevent mercury poisoning caused by skin lightening products among Hmong women and infants
  • Conducting community-engaged research with Open Cities Health Center and the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance (UFGA) in order to identify patients who would benefit from a garden ‘prescription,’ filled by UFGA, to provide patients with all the materials and support needed to begin growing vegetables
  • Leading focus groups and analyzing data to create outreach deliverables in the Prison Birth Storytelling Project, a collaboration of the Ostara Initiative, Minnesota Prison Doula Project, and Alabama Prison Birth Project to end prison birth in ten years

During your research process, you’ll collaborate with scientists at major research institutions, publish your research in scientific journals, and present your work at local, regional, and national conferences. 


Learn more about undergraduate research at Hamline 

Alexa Foster smiling at the camera

Studying public health at Hamline was one of the best choices I've made. From my first course to my senior research project, I learned skills that helped me get a job doing something that I love—researching and analyzing data on children’s wellbeing.

Alexa Foster '21, BA, public health sciences and BS, biology; Policy associate at the Children's Defense Fund, Minnesota

Internships for public health students

We make sure you leave Hamline with work experience in the field of public health on your resume. And the opportunities are boundless. Whether you want to explore a career in public policy, community medicine, health education, or more, we have internship opportunities for you.

Examples of past internships held by our public health majors include:

  • ShiftMN, healthcare intern
  • 360 Communities, food shelf intern
  • Women’s Resource Center, outreach and advocacy intern
  • Minnesota Department of Health, epidemiology unit intern
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture, dairy and meat inspection intern
  • Partnership for Permanence, program coordination intern
  • Hmong American Partnership, health and wellness intern
  • Minnesota Youth Collective, campus organizer intern
  • Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, GrowRx program intern
  • Alzheimer's Association, diversity and inclusion intern
  • Twin Cities Mobile Market, community outreach intern
  • Minnesota Autism Center, intern intake assistant 
  • Philippines Maternity Clinic, midwifery intern

Explore career paths

Our innovative courses and one-on-one mentoring by faculty will give you the tools to succeed in a variety of jobs, such as:

  • Educational equity specialist
  • Health education specialist
  • Community health consultant
  • School health educator
  • Maternal health specialist
  • Community health project coordinator
  • Health policy analyst
  • Public health advocate
  • Disease prevention specialist
  • Research and evaluation assistant
  • Human resources manager
  • Public service aide

You can also put your degree to work in any number of fields, including:

  • Public education outreach
  • Health and risk assessment
  • Wellness coaching
  • Emergency preparation
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Global health and disease prevention

Take your studies further with graduate school

Our graduates have gone on to graduate schools across the country in the pursuit of master’s and doctoral degrees. Examples of programs and schools include:

  • Master of Public Health, University of Minnesota  
  • Master of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Master of Public Health, New York University
  • Master of Public Health, George Washington University

Public health news

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