As the world becomes more interconnected, our communities and populations face increasingly complex health challenges emerging through the interaction of individual vulnerability and behavior, cultural and social factors, environmental and geographic influences as well as economic and political dynamics. Addressing these public health challenges requires innovative approaches arising from multiple disciplines.
The Undergraduate Certificate in Public Health encourages students to extend the breadth of their undergraduate education to include elements of public health. Students are encouraged to take courses from a variety of participating departments to develop an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of public health.
Public health curriculum at the undergraduate level is relatively new. As a result, we are only beginning to track post-graduate opportunities for individuals who participate in the certificate program. While the vast majority of entry-level positions available to graduates do not specifically require a public health background, incorporating public health curriculum into their studies will provide graduates an advantage when faced with an increasingly complex and multidisciplinary workplace. Graduates of the certificate program will also have a solid foundational knowledge to continue their studies at a School of Public Health or other graduate programs working towards an advanced graduate degree. Graduates of the certificate program also continue their studies in medical school, nursing school, pharmacy school and other health-related professional programs.
Graduates of the certificate program will find numerous opportunities for advanced study in public health and related disciplines. Graduate study at a School of Public Health may include specialization in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health administration and management, global health, maternal and child health, nutrition, public health policy as well as social and behavioral science.
Graduates with a public health background who do not seek advanced degrees may work in academic settings, government agencies or nonprofit and advocacy organizations. The nature of the work may entail environmental and occupational monitoring, health communication and marketing as well as intervention programs developed at the city, state, federal or international level. Additionally, graduates of the certificate program suitably prepared for serving in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps.
Gaining educational experiences outside of the classroom is a valuable asset to any undergraduate curriculum, especially in the field of public health. First, offered through the CU Boulder campus, many departments participating in the certificate offer for-credit internships that could be tailored towards public health interests and be conducted locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. There are also opportunities through the CU in DC program could be tailored to provide valuable experiential education in health policy and health economics. Further, study abroad programs offered through the CU Boulder Office of International Education (OIE) would provide outstanding opportunities that complement the public health curriculum on the CU Boulder campus. Additionally, there are numerous internship opportunities that would be ideal for undergraduate students working towards a certificate in public health. These are often available during the summer and include regional internships such as volunteering for the Boulder County AIDS Project and national internships at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and US Public Health Service (USPHS). Students are encouraged to leverage these opportunities to serve as for-credit internships or faculty sponsored independent study (for credit) through their home (major) department. Finally, students may participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to explore public health interests outside of the classroom with faculty conducting research relevant to public health. Please visit the Public Health Program website for additional details.
The Undergraduate Certificate in Public Health is highly interdisciplinary and therefore, must be flexible to accommodate a diversity of student interest and faculty expertise while still providing a curriculum that is central to the core tenets of public health. The certificate requirements include a minimum of 18 credits (not to exceed 24) of coursework including at least 9 upper division credits. In addition to the core public health courses (6 credits - upper division) and public health electives (6 credits - primarily upper division), students participating in the certificate program must also complete foundational coursework in biology and statistics. Please visit the Certificate Requirements page on the Public Health Program website for the detailed requirements.