Public Health

Public health is a diverse discipline, and as such programs and prerequisites vary widely. When planning your coursework, please make an appointment with the Office of Medical and Health Programs and bring a list of your top 5-10 schools to the appointment.

A career in public health allows you to make real differences in communities. Public health professionals promote healthy communities by focusing on the prevention of injury and disease. As such, they engage in a variety of fields. They educate populations, treat individuals, conduct research, develop policy, and more. As a public health professional, you might work in a health department, a private organization, academia, a community health center, or at a non-profit/NGO. Public health professionals work to reduce health disparities, promote environmental and global health, and of course create healthy communities.

Public Health at Sewanee

Students interested in public health can pursue the Certificate in Civic and Global Leadership, which offers a Community and Global Health Track and a Development and Human Capabilities Track. A major component of this certificate is 500 hours of service work in one of the internships listed below:

  • Bonner Leaders Program
  • Canale Leadership and Service Internship
  • Canale Summer Civic Engagement Internship
  • Medical and Health Internships
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate Program
  • Philanthropy Internship
  • Other internships approved by the Director of Civic Engagement

The student societies Sewanee Health Professions Society (SHPS) and Sewanee Muliticultural Health Society (SMHS) both offer opportunities to explore public health. Becoming an active member of these societies will help you learn more about public health and promote healthy communities in our area. Through these organizations, you might volunteer at a Rural Area Medical (RAM) clinic; learn about interning at local clinics who serve low income, uninsured populations; volunteer at food banks; and learn about and actively work to reduce health disparities in our area.

The Office of Medical and Health Programs and the Office of Civic Engagement offer a variety of experiential learning opportunities in public health, from international internships such as the Community Health Internship in Accra, Ghana to initiatives serving our surrounding area such as Eat Well, Be Well, Feel Well, a new program developed by Sewanee’s Diabetes Education Fellows in conjunction with Certified Diabetes Educator Dr. Karen Gilson. This community education program aims to help prevent and manage a variety of health issues including metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Many students interested in public health choose to travel abroad. Read firsthand accounts of Sewanee students exploring public health in Tanzania and Uganda.  


The most common graduate degree in public health is the Master of Public Health (MPH). You might earn this degree on its own or in conjunction with another program. Common joint degrees include public health and business (MBA/MPH), as well as public health and nursing (MSN/MPH or DNP/MPH), but you can also earn joint degrees in public health and divinity, forestry, law, and medicine, among others. You might also pursue a doctoral degree in public health (PhD, DrPH, ScD) or a different master’s degree (MS, MSPH, MHA). The Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) maintains a program finder that can help you navigate the different programs offered across the United States.

Prerequisites vary widely by program, so please bring a list of your top 5-10 graduate schools before you make an appointment to plan your coursework. For example, Yale requires that MPH Biostatistics applicants have earned a B or better in both multivariate calculus (MATH 207) and linear algebra (MATH 210), while other Yale departments do not have prerequisites and look for applicants who have demonstrated success in both quantitative coursework and coursework relevant to the area of study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a two-year Public Health Associate Program. This paid training program prepares you to directly enter into a public health career and also serves as excellent preparation for an MPH or MD degree. 



Succeeding in the pre-health curriculum
The pre-health curriculum consists of a diverse array of coursework, much in the STEM fields. These courses are often extremely rigorous in order to provide students with the background skills and knowledge they need to succeed in health care fields. The Office of Medical and Health Programs (OMHP), partnering with the Sewanee Health Professions Society (SHPS), provides both leadership development opportunities for students interested in tutoring and one-on-one peer tutoring for students seeking tutoring. All peer tutors have not only succeeded in the courses in which they tutor, but they have also been shown to be good teachers and mentors.

For the academic year 2018-2019 the student leader of this program is Gil Horner.  If you have questions please refer them to Gil or Assistant Director Cynthia Gray.

Those applying to be tutors need to fill out forms with Human Resources after being given approval from the Office of Medical and Health Programs. Time sheets also need turned in at a timely manner.

Those who have a tutor may be asked to evaluate their experience so we may provide the best mentorship and tutoring program for students. 

Apply to be a tutor.

Request a tutor.