Director: Philip Shuler
Professor: Philip Shuler
Associate Professor: Kevin Griffith and Jennifer Lowell
What is Public Health?
Public Health is the science and practice of protecting and improving the health of communities through medical treatment, education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, environmental monitoring, and research. Public Health professionals study how genetics, personal choice, and the environment affect wellness, in order to develop programs that enhance individual and global health.
Career Pathways in Public Health
Careers in public health cover a broad spectrum, including areas such as medical care, health education, environmental health assessment, epidemiology, disease prevention, health management, and behavioral health. Even within these broad areas public health graduates may find employment in fields as diverse as food safety, health services administration, or health communication.
As with other fields some career pathways are open to graduates of a 4 year degree program and some require additional graduate or professional training. Public health graduates may be employed by public health departments, non-profit organizations, global health agencies, state health departments, or federal health agencies. There are helpful web sites that provide details on public health career pathways; several of these are listed on the Fort Lewis College Public Health Website. Students are encouraged to visit these sites and discuss career pathways with public health faculty.
The Core Classes
While Public Health is a very broad field, most areas of public health practice require a number of foundational or “core” classes. In the public health degree program these eight classes are designed to enable students to develop a strong foundation of essential concepts and practices utilized by public health professionals.
One of the major advantages of the public health curriculum is the opportunity students have to build on the foundation of the core classes in a way that is specifically aligned with their personal interests and career aspirations. This customization of the degree is accomplished by appropriate selection of electives related to public health, which include two elective categories: Public Health Electives and Public Health Professional Practice Electives. Working with the Public Health Success Coach and the public health faculty, students are able to develop a custom degree plan that prepare them for a variety of career and professional school pathways.
Public Health electives are upper division (300 and 400 numbered courses) that enable students to customize their degree program to meet their personal goals and career objectives. These are advanced courses that encompass topics such as Health Education, Global Health, and Research Design. Through appropriate course selection students can prepare themselves for more specific career pathways such as health education or environmental health. These courses can also assist students in meeting requirements for professional or graduation school admission.
Professional Practice Electives are a diverse group of courses designed to include classes required for medical public health (e.g. nursing school or medical school admission requirements), psychological/social public health (e.g. Masters of Social Work), or graduate programs (e.g. Master of Public Health programs).
Public Health and Medical Careers
A significant number of public health students have interests in specific career pathways such as nursing school. To assist students in course selection there are footnotes provided in the Major Electives – Professional Practice Elective section of the degree requirements. Classes with “n” footnotes are those typically required by nursing programs and medical schools. Because requirements vary by school, students will work with their success coach and faculty advisor to make appropriate course selection.
Public Health Minor
The minor in Public Health is provided for students who have a personal or professional interest in critical issues of human or environmental health. Earning a minor in public health can be a helpful complement to a multitude of major degrees such as biology, psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology and others. Completing a minor in Public Health can also be helpful to meet qualifications for professional or graduate school. Earning a minor in public health can enable students from a variety of majors to envision how they may utilize their skills for the enhancement of individual and global health.
Major in Public Health
Public Health Major
Minor in Public Health
Public Health Minor