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Undergraduate Minor in Public Health

Program Director: Cristina S. Barroso, DrPH

The undergraduate minor in public health offers a broad exposure to the concepts of public health and the role of public health in assuring health, improving health, and protecting against health threats. The professional field of public health is made up of careers that are important in the health of the community, nation, and world. As a field of scientific inquiry, public health offers opportunities to engage in research from many disciplinary perspectives.

This 18-credit hour minor provides students with an understanding of the connections between public health and every aspect of life as well as the analytic approaches to understanding these connections. The minor can be an asset to students in determining their interest in graduate studies as well as entering into public health careers or other health-oriented careers after graduation.

What is Public Health?

Girl's hands holding globe“Public health is prevention. [It] is the practice of preventing disease and promoting good health within groups of people, from small communities to entire countries.
-American Public Health Association

Student Quote
As a Kinesiology student, choosing the minor in public health was among the best decisions I made for my future. The relationships I made with professors and other members in the community lead me to apply as an intern with the Knox County Health Department for my Kinesiology Practicum. Today, I am a Public Health Educator in Physical Activity with the Knox County Health Department, and I wouldn’t be here without the knowledge and support I gained from the Public Health Minor.

-Kelley Wilds
Kinesiology major

Useful for students pursuing careers in:

  • Healthcare/nursing
  • Epidemiology
  • Health education
  • Policy/management
  • Biostatistics
  • International/global health
  • Public health law
  • Public health veterinary medicine
  • Behavioral science
  • Environmental health
  • Emergency preparedness/response
  • Health communications/journalism
  • Science/research
  • Nutrition/dietetics
  • Disease prevention
  • Consumer safety
  • Community planning
  • Social Work
  • Health inspection
  • And many more

Required Courses:

  • PUBH 201 Introduction to Public Health (3) Aspects of public health including discussion of contemporary and controversial health issues. Students seeking a minor must complete with a grade of B or better.
  • PUBH 202 Introduction to Epidemiology (3) Provides an introduction to epidemiology as one of the core disciplines of public health. Focus will be on learning and applying basic principles of epidemiology to infectious, acute, and chronic diseases. Emphasis will also be placed on the applications of epidemiological principles and skills as they relate to primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. (RE) Prerequisite(s): 201.
  • PUBH 401 Global Public Health (3) Discussion of the social, economic, political, environmental, and cultural determinants of health including measurements of health and burden of disease. May not be repeated. (RE) Prerequisite(s): 201.

Electives (choose three)

  • PUBH 315 Health of Adolescents (3) Profile of health needs, interests, and behaviors of adolescents and attention to the roles and functions of practitioners relating to youth and youth culture.
  • PUBH 330 Emergency Management (3) Civil and defense problems: tornadoes, floods, fires, mass civil disorders, and nuclear and personnel attack by alien countries. May not be repeated.
  • PUBH 350 Public Health Aspects of Aging (3) Knowledge and understanding of biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of aging as related to health and wellness of individual. May not be repeated.
  • PUBH 420 Environmental Public Health (3) Designed to help students understand the Public Health issues related to environment and human activities. May not be repeated.
  • PUBH 430 Suicide and Crisis Intervention (3) Factors which make suicide a serious health problem. Assessment, intervention, and prevention techniques.


Course Substitutions

At times scheduling and other conflicts may not allow students to complete the minor as outlined or transfer students may have taken comparable courses at their initial institution. In such cases students can petition to have alternate courses serve in lieu of the required course. Students who are challenged in completing the coursework as prescribed are encouraged to complete the substitution form prior to taking the alternate course, however the form can also be used in relation to a completed course. Please submit the completed course substitution form, a copy of the syllabus for the suggested course option, and a paragraph stating why the proposed course should be accepted in lieu of the prescribed course. Submit these three documents to the director of the Public Health minor (currently Assoc. Prof. Cristina Barroso). Send the director an email to confirm receipt ( The director will notify the student of the decision or request additional materials to help inform a decision. If approved the director will forward the materials to the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

More Information

If you have questions or concerns about the Public Health minor, please contact Assoc. Prof. Cristina Barroso (

How to Declare The Minor

To declare a public health minor, students are required to complete and submit the CEHHS profile update form to 332 Bailey Education Complex (call 865-974-8194 with questions).

There are advantages to declaring the minor early as opposed to later:

  • DARS tracks their progress on the minor to confirm the student is progressing as they wish
  • Once minor coursework is completed, the DARS confirms that it will be reflected in their graduation documents
  • Allows the Department of Public Health to gauge student interest in public health courses and assure that enough course offerings are available