Bachelor of Science in Public Health

public health bachelor's degree

A career in public health is much more than just virus prevention and mitigation.

Anything that impacts the health of communities — from the opioid crisis to obesity to climate change to gun violence to food deserts to vaping — is something you can address through evidence-based problem-solving. By promoting wellness, your goal would be to help prevent people from getting sick rather than treating them once they are ill.

GMercyU's Bachelor of Science in Public Health is a terrific option for those who want to make a difference in the healthcare industry outside of a clinical practice.

With your degree, you can address social inequity in the form of health disparities and promote healthy lifestyles and choices in your community and around the world.

Program Details

Gwynedd Mercy University is an applicant for accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The accreditation review will address the Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Master of Public Health degrees. Other degrees and areas of study offered by this institution will not be included in the unit of accreditation review. See for more information.

With GMercyU's 4+1 MPH program option, students can earn both a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in just five years. Take graduate credits during your senior year – as part of your undergraduate tuition – and then seamlessly complete your online MPH the following year.  

Applicants requesting admission to the 4+1 MPH program must have junior status in GMercyU’s BSPH program and meet the following requirements:

  • Completed at least 72 credits before application
  • Minimum 3.2 GPA
  • Room to take two to four graduate MPH courses as an elective in the senior year
  • Personal statement describing interest in pursuing graduate studies in public health
  • Reference letter from a public health faculty member that speaks to academic ability and readiness for graduate-level work

Submit your application essay and reference to public health program director Sharla Willis,, and schedule a meeting to discuss your application.

See the Early Entry Master of Public Health page for more details. 

Public Health Garden
Produce grown in the Public Health program's garden is donated to Catherine's Cupboard, an on-campus, self-serve food pantry.

Our Public Health Program is CHES-eligible, meaning you’ll be prepped and ready to sit for the CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist) credential exam before entering the workforce.

The program also offers direct entry to GMercyU’s Master of Public Health (MPH) Program.  

More benefits include:

  • Personalized instruction with GMercyU’s low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio  

  • Courses taught by public health experts (no teaching assistants)

  • An internship that’s built into your final semester’s coursework, where you can apply your new skills and knowledge in a real-world setting

  • A grant-writing capstone project that will help you develop a marketable skill

  • Career mentorship to help you navigate the opportunities in the field and find the best path to match your skills and specific interests

And, you will learn at an institution whose history and mission is rooted in service. At GMercyU, we have been developing change-makers and social justice advocates for decades.


Public health students must complete 48 credits in public health courses. 

PUB 100 Introduction to Public Health
PUB 200 Health Behavior & Health Education
PUB 210 Public Health Policy & Advocacy
PUB 220 Community Needs & Capacity Assessment 
PUB 230 Environmental Health
PUB 240 Human Disease & Disease Prevention
PUB 250 Health Communication Strategies
PUB 300 Managing Public Health Organizations
PUB 310 Introduction to Epidemiology
PUB 320 Public Health Research Methods
PUB 330 Planning & Evaluating Public Health Interventions
PUB  Public Health Elective
PUB  Public Health Elective
PUB 480 Public Health Professional Seminar
PUB 490 Public Health Internship
PUB 495 Public Health Capstone

Undergraduate Minors
Increase the value of your public health degree by adding an undergraduate minor that best meets your personal and professional goals.

Public Health walking survey
Dr. Sharla Willis with students before they set off on a walking survey of campus to gather data for class (PUB-220 Community Health Needs and Assets Assessment).

Here's a look at just a few of the courses you'll take as a GMercyU Public Health major:

PUB 210 Public Health Policy & Advocacy
In this course, students will examine the role of policy in health and healthcare, comparing systems of healthcare in the US and other countries. Students will learn strategies to influence health policy and act as advocates for public health.

PUB 310 Epidemiology
In this course, students will develop an understanding of the field and methods of epidemiology. Students will examine disease surveillance systems around the world and explore strategies used to understand disease cause and spread and to improve population health.

PUB 330 Planning & Evaluating Public Health Interventions
In this course, students will integrate their understanding of human health, determinants of health, health data, research, and strategies to affect health into the development of health education and promotion interventions designed to meet the needs of communities. Students will learn how to how to develop an effective intervention to address the identified need, and how to design and implement an evaluation and use evaluation results to improve health.

For all Public Health program course descriptions, please refer to the undergraduate catalog.

Mary Jo Pierantozzi
Sharla Willis, DrPH, CHES
Founding Program Director and Assistant Professor
Did You Know? Dr. Willis completed a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Health Scholars postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan focused on community-based participatory research.
Read bio


Victory Osezua, PhD
Victory Osezua, PhD, MPH

Position: Assistant Professor
Did You Know? Dr. Osezua also works as an independent public health consultant for various non-profit organizations across the country.
Read bio


Maria Warnick, Ph.D. CRNP FNP-BC
Maria Warnick, PhD, CRNP FNP-BC

Position: Assistant Professor
Did You Know? Dr. Warnick completed a doctoral program in public health with a focus in epidemiology after years of experience as a family nurse practitioner.
Read bio

Meet a Public Health Major

Meet more students — watch GMercyU's episode of The College Tour!

My [Public Health] professors have played a significant role in providing support and guiding me toward my passion: environmental epidemiology. This field investigates the impact of environment stressors on health, encompassing both the built and natural environment. 

— Justin Hartranft '25, 4+1 MPH student

Real-World Opportunities

As Public Health major at GMercyU, you will complete a seminar focused on exploring internship opportunities, so you can find the right fit for your interests. Then, in your final semester in the program, you will gain invaluable experience in a setting that matches your unique career goals. Here are just a few of your internship options:

  • American Red Cross Tri-County Chapter
  • Berks WIC Nutrition Center
  • Bucks County Heath Improvement Project  
  • Chester County Health Department
  • Coatesville Center for Community Health
  • Chester County Food Bank
  • Valley Youth House – Chester County Office
  • Family and Community Services of Delaware County
  • Pennsylvania Resources Council Eastern Regional Offic
  • Montgomery County Health Department
  • Women’s Center of Montgomery County
  • Health Federation of Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia Department of Public Health
  • Philadelphia Health Partnership
  • Public Health Management Corporation

Even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, public health has been a field in need of workers.

Today, job opportunities in this field are expected to increase nationally by 7% through 2032, more than double the national average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

A broad and diverse field, public health experts are needed all over the world to work for government health departments and agencies, private corporations, non-profit organizations, community clinics, schools, and more.

Jobs for those with a bachelor’s in public health can include these careers and more:

  • Community health worker
  • Disease prevention specialist
  • Emergency response planner
  • Health education specialist
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Prevention program coordinator
  • Public health advocate
  • Public health planner
  • Public health officer
  • Public health scientist
  • Researcher

Earn a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree to advance your career!

graphics_griffinedgeicons.pngThe Griffin Edge is comprised of five touchpoints — Excellence, Engagement, Experience, Empathy, and Encouragement — that become the cornerstones of your Distinctive Mercy Experience as a full-time undergraduate student.

The Griffin Edge includes an e-portfolio for documenting your GMercyU educational and extra-curricular experiences (no matter your major), reflecting on those experiences, and receiving feedback from faculty. It's designed to help you take ownership of your educational journey and chart the right career path for you. It will also help you learn how to talk about your college experiences in meaningful ways — and that can make all the difference in a job interview. 

For example, a student might say in a job interview: "I conducted research at the undergraduate level." 

A Griffin Edge student might say: "The opportunity to conduct my own research alongside expert faculty taught me the importance of being exact in my data collection and analysis. I was even able to present my findings at our annual research conference! I know this is the career for me."

Learn more about the Griffin Edge here.

Next Steps

Have questions about GMercyU's admission requirements? Our Admissions staff is ready to walk you through the process of applying to GMercyU’s Public Health Program.

Phone: 215-641-5510

Apply Now

At GMercyU, we strive to make a quality education accessible to all through financial aid, scholarships, and grants. As a military-friendly university, we welcome service members and participate in all VA educational benefits programs. 

Get the education you need for career that improves lives. Earn your Bachelor of Science in Public Health at GMercyU.

Apply Now