Public Health Right for me?

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5+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2010
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So, Im an upcoming freshman at UNC. Im majoring in Comp Sci but i will be on the pre med track. I definitely want to be part of global health in the future. So, my question is: would getting a BS in PH be a good idea? Is it common to have doctors getting a BSPH. Im hoping that it would be common.

Also, is there a specific concentration that is generally preferred compared to others such as epidemiology or biostatistics?

Thanks, Im very new to how all these Pre-Health fields work. So, sorry if i seem kind of lost.


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Mar 13, 2009
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Sounds like you've got a lot of interests.

A BSPH is a great way to get the fundamentals of a PH education. I don't know if a ton of physicians have the BSPH as their bachelor's degrees (I would bet that distinction goes to Biology and Bio-related majors), but that doesn't mean you can't major in something that's atypical for a physician (such as your major of Computer Science) and become one.

The biggest question you should ask yourself is, what value does having a public health education add to what you'd like to do in the future. If your interest is as general as "global health", you may not even need to do any formal education in PH. For instance, if you want to be a physician working in a global setting, the PH education is unnecessary (although it'd be helpful, I'm sure).

You should pursue what you're interested in for your undergraduate studies--don't do a PH degree just because you think you should. You should do the PH degree because you want to do it. I'm assuming you're going with CS because you have an interest in programming. If that's your first instinct, go with it. You could always minor in PH or even double major with PH.


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Dec 9, 2009
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I agree, I went to UNC for undergrad so I'd definitely stay with CS if that's what you like. Given the course curriculum, see if a double major in PH is possible for you given how many credits you came into school with.

Also, to get into the school of public health for the BS, you have to apply during your sophomore year. I'm not sure what the application consists of, but I do know it's getting more competitive as more students learn about the degree. You should talk with people at the school to find out what you're interested in and how to make sure you would get in when you do apply.

Finally, it's very important that you plan out your courses and have a general plan. Don't depend on just the counserlors to guide you. (They're honestly not the best). Not to stress you out, but depending on how many credits you come in with, how many are required for a CS degree, what's required for a PH degree, and finally the classes that are necessary for med school, you may have to juggle some things and have a school plan that's catered for you.

It's definitely possible though!!! I'll just warn you now, if you ever have a bad feeling about a class (b/c of the route that counselors tell you take) talk to past students and get advice.

Good Luck!!