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Healthcare workers

Public Health

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play.

What is Public Health?

While doctors treat illness and injury once they occur, those in the public health field are invested in preventing people from getting sick or hurt in the first place. We focus on promoting wellness through healthy behaviors, tracking disease outbreaks, creating laws and policies that benefit the health of the population, and investigating health disparities - why some of us are more likely to suffer from disease or injury than others.


As a public health student, you will engage in a wide array of classes to help deepen your understanding of community and population health.

This includes community health and personal wellness, epidemiology and communicable disease, health administration and health policy, and healthcare marketing. In addition, you will participate in a Senior Seminar to prepare you for moving into either graduate school or directly into your career, as well as an internship to give you real-world experience in your field.

Degree Options

There are two Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees available with this major.

More about this Major


Graduating with an emphasis in Health Policy & Administration prepares you for entry-level administration positions in various types of health care facilities, organizations and agencies such as public health agencies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, medical group practices, health maintenance organizations and clinics.

Students in the Health Promotion track are prepared for professional careers in health education, research and service at a wide variety of health organizations such as community organizations, volunteer organizations, corporations, hospitals, multi-specialty health clinics, rural health centers, mental health facilities, long-term care facilities, and local and state health departments.


A diverse number of occupations fall under public health, including epidemiologists, who help prevent the spread of disease; marketing professionals, who work on wellness campaigns; and law enforcement officials focused on substance abuse prevention.
My professors don’t teach just enough to pass the exams; they focus on the knowledge, skills and experience I need to have a successful career. They have made sure health education is what I want to do and they have done all they can to help me succeed.

Courses You Might Take

DPH 101: Personal Wellness

A general introduction to health, emphasizing the understanding, assessment, and management of health behaviors and disease conditions. You'll explore topics such as stress management, interpersonal relationships, sexual identity, STIs and preventative measures, exercise and weight control, addiction, and chronic disease prevention.

DPH 408: Health Education Methods

This course addresses concepts and principles underlying the use of educational strategies to prevent disease and promote health in a variety of settings, including community organizations, schools and colleges, clinics, hospitals, and corporations. Because this is an applied course, you and your classmates will be using different teaching methods and educational techniques in a variety of settings.

DPH 427: Health Policy

Through this course, students will gain a better understanding of current health policy issues and agendas at the federal, state, and local levels. Students will also gain skills to critically examine and influence the development, implementation, and evaluation of health policies in the United States.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Charkarra Anderson-Lewis, PhD

Associate Professor

Favorite Course: DPH 305: Introduction to Public Health

Expertise: Health Promotion

Amy B. Arrington, JD

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: DPH 470: Health Law and Justice

Expertise: Health Law and Policy Development

Susan Mayfield–Johnson, PhD, MPH, MCHES

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: DPH 409: Community Health Education Planning

Expertise: Health Education

Take the Next Steps

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Visit our beautiful Hattiesburg or Gulf Park campuses. Seeing for yourself is a great way to get to know us better.

Apply to Southern Miss

Be aware of our deadlines, $40 application fee and other items on our checklist. Admission requirements vary for freshmen, transfers, prospective Honors College students and others.

Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.