Public health is the science and art of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. Public health helps improve the health and well being of people in local communities and around the globe. Public health works to prevent health problems before they occur.

Key Points
  • Being "Pre-Public Health" is an interest in addition to your major.
  • Public Health programs accept a variety of majors and require particular courses.


Different degree programs can be found throughout Alabama, depending on what level of degree a student is seeking and what type of concentration is sought. Public health degrees may be found at the undergraduate level, but the majority of popular programs in this state are at the master's level and higher. Students that are interested in pursuing the MPH online should consider universities that offer accredited and reliable programs within Alabama.

Graduate Degrees:
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master's of Science in Public Health
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health, PHD
  • Doctor of Public Health, DRPH
Online Degrees:
  • Master of Public Health/Master of Social Work
  • Master of Science in Public Health
  • Master of Public Health
Certificate Programs:
  • Certificate in Public Health
  • UAB Graduate Certificate Program in Global Health Studies
  • Certificate in Statistical Genetics
Dual Degrees 

Various Schools in Alabama

Recommended Course & GPA Requirements

At UAH, we can help you become a competitive applicant for your future professional school. To do so, a 3.5+ cumulative and science GPA is recommended.

There are no set course requirements, however, we recommend you take classes within the College of Science and/or the College of Business to help prepare you for graduate level course work.

Entrance Exam


The GRE is the required entrance exam for public health graduate programs, which tests on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Applications to the MPH are processed through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS).

  • Verbal: Evaluation of written work, analysis of information obtained, and relationships among words and concepts.
  • Quantitative: Measures problem-solving skills; focuses on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.
  • Writing: Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills; Ability to articulate and support complex ideas effectively.
Testing Centers & Preparation

The GRE is offered multiple times during the year.

The strongest way to increase your score is to take practice tests. In between each test, assess strengths and weaknesses, focus on improving weaknesses, and re-assess with another practice test. Visit the GRE website and make an appointment with the Office of Pre-Health Advising for recommendations on preparation.

Timing and Organization

Take the exam once prepared. Many students do so in the Spring semester of the year they are planning to apply to professional school. Schedule a one-on-one advising appointment with the Pre-Health Advisor to discuss your individualized timeline.

Many programs begin to fill seats as soon as their application cycle opens. Plan ahead and apply early

Outside Class Experiences
It's More Than Just Grades

Health Care Experiences

What better way to make sure you want to be in healthcare than by shadowing? Shadowing will go a long way in not only making you a mature applicant, but making sure others see you as prepared.

Many schools have requirements on the number of documented shadowing hours needed for their programs. The Office of Pre-Health Advising can help you understand requirements needed for a strong application.

Community Service and Volunteering

Working in healthcare means having a heart of service. This means wanting to give back to the community. Find something enjoyable and go forth!

Keeping a Journal

Use a journal to record thoughts on your experiences. Activities come to life with reflection. Topics to consider writing about may include: Why one chose their profession, shadowing, or volunteering. This journal may be helpful when writing your personal statement.


Research experience can provide you with opportunities to work with faculty, learn skills beyond the classroom, use research methods, and engage in critical analysis. Research allows a better understanding between theory and practice using innovative and creative thinking.

Getting into professional school is about desiring to be a better person and better future professional. It's a complex process and we're here to help!