Public Health

Our department offers two combined undergraduate majors in global public health – with nutrition and dietetics and with food studies. The aim of these programs is to provide students with broad knowledge of some of the important issues in public health in combination with studies in either nutrition or food.

What is Public Health?

Public health is a broad social enterprise. The field of public health is concerned with protecting, promoting and improving the health and well-being of populations, particularly those most vulnerable in today’s society.

Public health draws on an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems to extend the benefits of current knowledge in ways that will have the maximum impact on the health status of a population.

With social justice as the foundation of public health, those who study and practice in this field are concerned with the many conditions that influence health and well-being, including social, economic, political and medical care factors.

Those engaged in this field are concerned with questions as diverse as:

  • What is the best way to reduce deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa?
  • What can governmental and non-governmental agencies do to improve the safety of the nation’s food supply?
  • How can tobacco consumption be reduced worldwide?
  • What types of strategies can be put in place in schools, neighborhoods and communities to reduce violence?
  • How can access to life-saving pharmaceutical drugs be improved in less developed countries?
  • Should special consent be required for HIV testing?
  • How can we improve access to health care in this country? What are the pros and cons of different policy proposals to do that?
  • How is climate change affecting public health in different parts of the world?
  • What kinds of systems need to be put in place to deal with natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina?
  • What is the best way to reduce the use of illegal drugs?
Public Health Training

While those who practice health care – in medicine (as doctors, emergency technicians, physician assistants), nursing (as nurses or nurse practitioners), dentistry, or other allied health fields – are part of our nation's public health workforce, those choosing a public health career typically focus their work on developing policies and programs that support the creation of well-being and the prevention of disease.  They focus their studies on disease prevention and health promotion in neighborhoods, schools, communities, and in government, examining how to deliver services, improve environments, and equip people with information to protect their own health.

NYU College of Global Public Health

The NYU College of Global Public Health crosses disciplinary boundaries to address the world’s most pressing health problems. Drawing from resources across NYU’s schools, the Institute delivers truly interdisciplinary public health education at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level.

The College also supports cutting-edge and collaborative research on public health issues around the world. It builds on the global reach of NYU’s unique Global Network University; draws strength from the entrepreneurial spirit of NYU’s many talented faculty and students; and serves as a conduit for groundbreaking research and education that advances and promotes equitable health for all.

The highly selective, demanding undergraduate majors in Global Public Health allow you to choose a course of study that is a combination of public health and an academic discipline or a professional subject area housed in one of four NYU schools:

Public Health Combined with Other Majors

Global Public Health is not a stand-alone major; rather, as a student in one of the various combined majors, you will benefit from instructor, advisers, and courses both in your home school and from across the entire University.

The unique structure responds to the ever-increasing demand for interdisciplinary public health practitioners both in the U.S. and abroad.

The coursework is combined with experiential learning and study away requirements to ensure that you are broadly trained and uniquely prepared for a variety of careers.

Six Core Public Health Areas and Study Away

In all of these majors, you take one required course in each of the six core public health areas: 

  • Biostatistics 
  • Epidemiology 
  • Health policy 
  • Environmental health 
  • Sociobehavioral health 
  • Internship

You also take courses in your chosen field within Steinhardt, with the exact number of courses varying by major.

You fill out your coursework with electives in global public health and/or the Steinhardt major field (chosen in consultation with an adviser) to complement your own individual interests and career paths and study of a foreign language.

Study away for one semester at an NYU Global site is a requirement of the GPH combined majors.

A Liberal Arts Foundation

You will gain a strong background in the liberal arts.

Courses in the social and natural sciences, humanities, and foreign language – offered by faculty in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences as well as in Steinhardt – expose you to the different ways that scholars and thinkers examine and interpret the world around them.

A two-semester sequence of courses in writing helps you develop essential communication and analytical skills for advanced coursework in the major or a minor of your choice.