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The Educated Citizen and Public Health

Catalog Scan of Undergraduate Public Health Programs

The AAC&U Catalog Scan of Undergraduate Public Health Programs identified institutions that offer majors, minors or concentrations in Public Health at the undergraduate level. The research was funded by the Association of Schools of Public Health and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. The purpose of this data is to establish a baseline of Public Health education offerings at the undergraduate level.


  • Of 837 Institutions surveyed, 137 (16%) offered a major, minor or concentration in Public Health.
  • Overall, 63% of programs (and 79% of majors) included an experiential learning component.
  • 33% of Research/Doctoral institutions surveyed offer undergraduate public health programs, while 16% of Comprehensive/Master’s institutions and only 5% of Baccalaureate institutions surveyed offered these programs.
  • 26% of public institutions and 9% of independent/private institutions surveyed offer Public Health programs to undergraduates.
  • Among the 82 schools surveyed with MPH graduate programs, 40 (49%) had undergraduate programs in Public Health, accounting for 29% of all institutions that offer undergraduate programs in Public Health.
  • A complete list of programs identified in this study is available here (PDF).

About the Catalog Scan

The data was gathered July-August, 2008, from online published materials of a specific subset of AAC&U's 1,181 member institutions. The data pool included only 4-year institutions located in the United States that offer undergraduate degrees in diverse fields.

The Catalog Scan used the content of course requirements to determine if specific programs fulfill Public Health criteria. Majors, minors, and concentrations in Community Health and other related fields were considered Public Health if they included the primary components of public health education for undergraduates (including courses in Epidemiology, Health Systems, and others).

It is important to note that individual public health courses are offered to undergraduates at many institutions that do not offer majors, minors, or concentrations in Public Health. For example, epidemiology courses are offered through many Sociology departments, and Global Studies programs often include a course that addresses issues in Global Health.  Therefore, the findings of this Catalog Scan are not representative of the entire spectrum of public health education available to undergraduates.  Rather, this research shows the availability of in-depth study of public health for undergraduates.

Findings from this catalog review, as well as other research on undergraduate public health programs, is available in a special issue of Peer Review, published in August, 2009.

About the Project:
Publications and Papers:
  Making the Case
  Practice & Analysis

  Full Curriculum Guide
Research & Surveys:
  Research Review
  Catalog Scan

  Case Studies