Public Health

The Program

Public Health focuses on improvement and protection of the health of local, regional, and national populations through research and development of public health programs. The Public Health major prepares students for a wide range of public health positions and offers a solid foundation to pursue an advanced degree. The program employs an interdisciplinary foundation of public health practice, health policy, health economics, health administration, education, and advocacy. It provides a framework for students to conduct research, analyze data, apply classroom learning, and develop and implement interventions to improve overall health and disease prevention for diverse populations.

Program Goals

The Public Health degree is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary education on the principles of public health and prevention based on the guidelines set forth by the American Public Health Association (APHA). These include:

  • Investigative techniques and procedures to identify factors affecting population health in local and regional communities
  • Design interventions that target factors affecting population health in local and regional communities
  • Participate in cutting-edge research regarding health disparities, health inequities, health promotion and prevention of disease

Learning Outcomes

Students will acquire broad-based knowledge and a grounded approach to research that includes a strong foundation in research methodologies, the ability to analyze and integrate data from multiple sources, and hands-on exposure to conducting community-based research.

The degree in Public Health offered by UM-Dearborn has been developed to ensure that students fulfill the learning outcomes identified by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

Career Opportunities

With the new requirements in the Affordable Health Care ACT, a bachelor’s in Public Health offers graduates unique career opportunities in areas that focus on improvement and prevention in public and private organizations. These include:

  • Community-based public health organizations
  • State and local government agencies and health departments
  • Outreach agencies
  • Legislative and public health advisory roles
  • Health advisory roles in business and corporations

The Major

Degree-seeking students are required to fulfill the required courses in effect at the time they are admitted or readmitted to the program. Since these are subject to change, students should see an advisor for current requirements.


Prerequisites are ideally taken in the freshman and sophomore years when the student is fulfilling lower distribution requirements. These include   

CHE 101Intro to Health Education3
CHE 201Medical Terminology3
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3
Total Credit Hours9


ECON 202Prin: Microeconomics3
COMP 105Writing & Rhetoric I3
COMP 280Business Writing & Rhetoric3
BIOL 103Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL 105Anatomy and Physiology IIA4
MATH 104College Algebra4
or MATH 105 Pre-Calculus
SOC 200Understanding Society3
or SOC 201 Contemporary Social Problems
PHIL 200The Human Condition3
or PHIL 233 Critical Thinking
Total Credit Hours27

Dearborn Discovery Core Requirement

The minimum passing grade for a Dearborn Discovery Core (DDC) course is 2.0. The minimum GPA for the program is 2.0. In addition, the DDC permits any approved course to satisfy up to three credit hours within three different categories. Please see the General Education Program: The Dearborn Discovery Core section for additional information.

Foundational Studies

Written and Oral Communication (GEWO) – 6 Credits

Upper Level Writing Intensive (GEWI) – 3 Credits

Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving (GEQT) – 3 Credits

Critical and Creative Thinking (GECC) – 3 Credits

Areas of Inquiry

Natural Science (GENS) – 7 Credits

  • Lecture/Lab Science Course
  • Additional Science Course

Social and Behavioral Analysis (GESB) – 9 Credits

Humanities and the Arts (GEHA) – 6 Credits

Intersections (GEIN) – 6 Credits


Capstone (GECE) – 3 Credits

 Major Requirements

Major Courses (40-44 credit hours)
HHS 200Introduction to Public Health3
HPS 401Health Pol Studies Internship3-6
or CHE 402 Internship CHE
HPS 410Quantitative Research3
or PSYC 381 Prin of Stat and Exper Design
HPS 412Principles of Epidemiology2 - 3
or BIOL 380 Epidemiology
HPS 430Health Behavior & Health Educ3
HPS/SOC 440Medical Sociology3
SOC 304Studies in Det.Hist. & Culture3
SOC 413Qualitative Research3
SOC 435Urban Sociology3
ANTH 409Human Body, Growth & Health3
ANTH 415Nutrition and Health3
EDF 450Hlth, Nutr, & PE/Clsrm Tchrs2
PSYC 455Health Psychology3
ENST 326Anth of Health and Environment3
Select 12 credit hours from the folowing:12
Psychology of Aging
Abnormal Psychology
Poverty and Inequality
Program Evaluation
Program Evaluation
Society and Aging
Population Problems
Medical Ethics
Urban Geography
Medical Anthropology
Total Credit Hours52-56

An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally

HHS 200     Introduction to Public Health     3 Credit Hours

Introduction to Public Health (HHS 200) is the introductory professional course in the Public Health undergraduate program. This course identifies and explores the theoretical and practical issues in public health. Students successfully completing the course will have an understanding of the goals of public health. Students will receive a fundamental understanding of epidemiological study design and the role of data for public health research. They will also understand the impact of individual behaviors and the environment on health. Lastly, students will receive an introduction of the role of governmental agencies and policy on public health practice.

HHS 202     Mental Health Terminology     3 Credit Hours

Mental Health Medical Terminology orients students to mental health disorders. A brief clinical overview from a lay perspective orients students to the various mental disorders including mental retardation and learning disorders, behavioral disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, impulse control disorders and sleep disorders. A special emphasis will be made on the relationship between substance abuse problems and mental illness, as well as the physical aspects of drug use. Students learn the specific criteria for mental illness classification through use of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM 5). (OC)

HHS 250     Intro to Environmental Health     3 Credit Hours

This course introduces students to environmental health as a core discipline within the field of public health. It is for any student interested in how the environments where we live, work, and play may affect our health, and it is particularly applicable for those pursuing careers in public health, clinical health, or allied fields. Specifically, the course provides students with an introduction to environmental health science, communication, and policy. Students will examine many case studies to understand the patterning and implications of environmental risks and protective factors in communities through Metro Detroit and the U.S. related to several key pathways (e.g., air, water, climate, built environment). Throughout the semester, considerable attention will be given to causes and consequences of local and national environmental justice issues. Students will gain exposure to methods and resources they may use to assess and address environmental health concerns as scholars, activists, or practitioners. (W)

HHS 349     Sobriety Credit     1 Credit Hour

The course uses a combination of seminar meetings, reflection writing, community engagement and experiential learning to emphasize the barriers and hardships faced by substance users who become involved in treatment, whether that involvement is mandatory or voluntary. Students are required to go through the same documentation procedures as those in treatment (and drug court) which require the presentation of a clean urine report and signed forms of attendance at AA or NA meetings. Students are asked to write weekly reflection papers detailing any difficulties that they experience. The class meets once a month in a seminar fashion to discuss the reflection writing. (OC)

HHS 350     Comm Organizing for Health     3 Credit Hours

Community organizing is a process by which communities and organizations work together to identify common problems and objectives, acquire and mobilize resources, and create and implement actions to achieve their goals. Community organizing is of interest to sociologists, organization theorists, political scientists, health educators, and social psychologists, among others, as scholars who contribute to our knowledge of working in and with communities. Drawing on these various disciplines and real world case studies, this course examines community organizing theories, models, and principles and how they are used to improve community health and address health inequities. Several practical tools, strategies, and skills are also introduced, including: community assessment, coalition-building, participatory research and evaluation, media advocacy, and policy advocacy. A primary component of this course is the field experience, in which students are partnered with community-based organizations to identify, apply, and reflect on course concepts, while contributing to local community building efforts related to various health issues in the Detroit Metropolitan region.

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore

HHS 360     Responsible Drug Policy     3 Credit Hours

A study of the fundamentals needed for identifying both the appearance and effects of controlled substances. Students receive guides to controlled substances; their color, trade names and drug codes. Topics include a critical examination of the physiological, sociological and legal aspects of drug abuse and the many complexities which have developed as a direct or indirect result of drug policy in society. (OC)

HHS 370     Medicine and Addiction I     3 Credit Hours

Medicine and Addiction I is part one in the sequence of introductory coursework in the Addiction Studies Certificate Program. This course provides the clinical orientation for addiction that frames much of the activities associated with screening and assessment of client behaviors as well as aspects of intervention and management of clients with addiction. Students successfully completing the course will identify and apply the assessment principles for individuals and families dealing with addiction. (OC)

HHS 371     Medicine and Addiction II     3 Credit Hours

Medicine and Addiction I is part two in the sequence of introductory coursework in the Addiction Studies Certificate Program. This course provides the clinical orientation for addiction that frames much of the activities associated with screening and assessment of client behaviors as well as aspects of intervention and management of clients with addiction. Students successfully completing the course will identify and apply the treatment principles for individuals and families dealing with addiction. (OC)

Prerequisite(s): HHS 370

HHS 402     Public Health Internship     3 Credit Hours

This internship provides students the opportunity to apply classroom learning and gain hands-on experience inside a public health work environment at the Michigan Department of Community Health. The experience allows students to build valuable networking connections with local and state public health professional leaders as well as explore a career choice within public health. The course focuses on exposure to state and local program analysis while students develop marketable job skills and core public health competencies. (F, W, S)

Prerequisite(s): CHE 101 and HHS 200

Can enroll if Class is Freshman

HHS 405     Population Health     3 Credit Hours

Population Health is defined as encompassing the health outcomes of a group of individuals as well as the distribution of those outcomes as related to the social determinants of health. Lectures, discussions, and group exercises focus on the impact of composite indicatiors in relation to population health including medical and health care, policy, genetics, behavior, social structures, and environmental factors. (F, W)

Prerequisite(s): HHS 200 or CHE 101

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

HHS 406     Program Evaluation     3 Credit Hours

This course will provide an introduction to kep concepts in program evaluation. Students will learn about the systematic steps involved in evaluating public programs for efficiency and effectiveness. The course will rely on case studies, text examples, and discussion.

HHS 470     Information Science and Ethics     3 Credit Hours

Technological innovations in how individuals, organizations, and governments collect and share personal information have raised myriad concerns regarding how that information can be best protected. In today's highly networked world, individuals must acquire the knowledge and skills to engage with technologies in a safe and secure manner. This course provides an interdisciplinary exploration of the social, legal, ethical, and design challenges that arise when it comes to securing personal information and helping individuals maintain desired levels of privacy at home, work, and everywhere in between. (YR)

Prerequisite(s): MATH 115 and MATH 116 and (MATH 227 or MATH 217) and (MATH 205 or MATH 215) and CIS 150 and CIS 200 or CCM 200 or IMSE 200

HHS 480     Arab American Health     3 Credit Hours

This course explores health issues, practices, risk factors, and disease in the Arab world and MENA region, as well as in Arab American communities in the United States and in the State of Michigan. The course focuses on the interaction of culture, geography, and health in the Arab world and the impact of cultural commonalities on the health of the generations of Arab immigrants to the United States. (W)

HHS 490     Topics in Health     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Examination of problems and issues related to Health. Title as listed in Schedule of Classes will change according to specific content. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topics differ.

HHS 490C     Topics in Health     3 Credit Hours

This course provides an overview of health education efforts with women and families, informed by a Maternal and Child Health framework and a life course perspective. Students successfully completing the course will be able to: 1) describe the field of maternal and child health, 2) describe health issues prevalent among both women of childbearing age and children, 3) understand interventions developed to address maternal and child health, and 4) understand how women are engaged in health education efforts targeted to women, children and men. This course will also provide students with means of applying principles in maternal and child health and the life coure perspective in health education practice. This course is appropriate for students in Community Health Education, Public Health, Child Life, and Health Policy Studies.

HHS 506     Program Evaluation     3 Credit Hours

This course will provide an introduction to key concepts in program evaluation. Students will learn about the systematic steps involved in evaluating public programs for efficiency and effectiveness. The course will rely on case studies, text examples and discussion. This course is the graduate equivalent of HHS 406. Graduate students enrolled in this course will produce a paper that is substantively different with increased requirements than the paper produced by undergraduates enrolled in HHS 406. In addition, graduate student examinations will require deeper responses that focus on synthesizing both text and journal article materials. (OC)

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

HHS 690     Graduate Research     3 Credit Hours

To provide masters candidates with the opportunity to undertake a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. The research topic is chosen by the student, in consultation with a faculty member in the appropriate discipline. Written approval must be obtained at least two weeks prior to registration on a form available in the Graduate Office. The request must include a comprehensive description of the proposed research project, as well as a time line for the project?s completion. (A maximum of 3 credit hours of research course work may be applied toward graduation requirements upon approval from the Program Advisor.)

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

HHS 691     Topics in Health IT     3 Credit Hours

This is a graudate seminar focused on the latest developments in Health Information Technology. Topics Vary. See schedule of classes for current offerings. May be elected more than once if topics differ.

Can enroll if Class is Graduate

HHS 692     Graduate Internship     3 Credit Hours

The internship provides real-world experience for students in a professional environment. Participating employers hire students within parameters set by the internship program. Students are required to submit a report and evaluation documents at the end of each work assignment and participate in an assessment session with the internship staff. (A maximum of 3 credit hours of internship course work may be applied toward graduation requirements upon approval from the Program Advisor.)

Can enroll if Class is Graduate