About Public Health
Our Program and Courses
Public health is a major at F&M that blends perspectives from science, social science, and humanities to focus on what keeps the population healthy — and what makes it healthier. A major in public health can follow one of three concentration tracks: biology, government or sociology. You’ll study the principles and history of public health, the burden of disease, how to measure health, health in the context of human rights, the health of communities and how it is affected by community-based action, and more.
By the time you graduate, you will be able to:
- Discuss public health challenges at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels.
- Evaluate and discuss multiple determinants of health — including behavioral, demographic, economic, environmental, genetic, sociological, and political — and relate these factors to their effect on health disparities and other population health concerns.
- Analyze and critique the role of health in the public policy agenda.
- Use multiple disciplinary methods to answer ethical questions and evaluate the effectiveness of solutions to problems.
- Demonstrate skills of analysis, problem solving, clear writing, and critical thinking.
Curious what public health classes are like? Take a look at our course catalog to see the depth and breadth of what’s available to you.
Our Faculty and Staff
Associate Professor of Sociology, Department Chair of Sociology
Public HealthContact »
Professor of American Studies and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Public Health; Women's, Gender and Sexuality StudiesContact »
Associate Professor of Government & Public Health, Program Chair of Public Health
Public Health; Public PolicyContact »
Professor of Biology
Biological Foundations of Behavior; Public Health; Women's, Gender and Sexuality StudiesContact »
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Public Health
Institutional Biosafety Officer and Teaching Professor of Biology
Public HealthContact »
Professor, Program Chair of Science, Technology and Society
Earth and Environment; Public HealthContact »
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Your work in public health will extend far outside the classroom. The program has a growing tradition of encouraging students’ intellectual growth through internships, networking with alumni, off-campus study, independent research, and more. Our goal is to provide close supervision and mentoring to students in the classroom and around the world.
Do you want to explore health inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic? Or dive into
the methods epidemiologists use to trace and predict patterns of disease? You can
do all of that at F&M. As you explore all that a public health major has to offer,
you’ll discover areas or ideas you want to further explore. The best part? You won’t
have to wait until graduate school to launch your investigation.
Explore research at F&M
Internships allow you to explore fields and job functions of interest, building your
portfolio while shaping and inspiring your path in both expected and unexpected ways.
Recent public health student internships have involved workplace health and safety,
education on the effects of climate change on health, and traveling abroad to learn
about health disparities in Africa.
Explore internships at F&M
At F&M, public health majors have extraordinary opportunities to study in the U.S.
and abroad. In recent years, students have gained experience in the field by studying
the health of communities in Honduras, Vietnam, Cambodia, Argentina, Kenya, Senegal
and beyond. You, too, can make study abroad integral to your experiences and research.
Explore off-campus study at F&M
Success Beyond F&M
By majoring in public health at F&M, you’ll gain a holistic outlook that provides a strong background in critical thinking, analysis, writing, and public presentation — skills in high demand in any post-graduate pursuit.
Many of our majors choose to pursue graduate school after F&M, with a significant number seeking advanced degrees at the finest universities in the field, including:
- Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
- French National School of Public Health
- Harvard University School of Public Health
- The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- University of Michigan School of Public Health
Public health alumni build a multifaceted foundation for a diverse range of careers. They find success in medicine, law, government, and more, and hold positions such as:
- Officer in U.S. Public Health Service
- Deputy Director of Global Tuberculosis Institute
- Chief Regulatory Counsel, Pharmaceutical Company
- Public Health Educator
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Health Policy Analyst
- Public Health Administrator
- Health Information Technician
Students Pitch Wellness Initiatives to City of LancasterA cohort of 14 Franklin & Marshall students spent a summer tackling some of Lancaster City’s biggest health and wellness challenges. “We started out looking at environmental risks that exist in Lancaster City – things like lead, air quality, tree coverage, vulnerability,” said Maggie Corson, a rising senior and public health major. The students pitched wellness initiatives to a panel of Lancaster community leaders and experts to receive candid and supportive feedback.
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"It's one thing to read something in the textbook. And it's another thing to be in that area, see what the people are dealing with."Rokhaya Ba '23 had dreams of visiting her parent's home country, Senegal, to help address the health inequities she grew up hearing about. That dream became reality. The public health major interned in Dakar and surrounding areas until August with the Ministère de la santé et de l'action sociale (Ministry of Health and Social Action). "It's one thing to read something in the textbook. And it's another thing to be in that area, to see what the people are dealing with and attempt to help them," she said.
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Related Fields of Study
The biological sciences expand and advance frontiers of knowledge about all forms of life. From molecules to ecosystems, from oceans to deserts, from the distant past to present day, biology gives you insights into other species, ourselves, and our world.
F&M’s Department of Government has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the country. Study government at F&M and examine power, politics, justice, equity, and change while developing skills in language, economics, mathematics and philosophy.
Sociology studies human interactions, the consequences of those relationships, and the broader organizations and institutions that shape those experiences. As a student of sociology, you will explore these interactions to better understand how they shape the world and cultures that we live in.
A Glimpse at Public Health at F&M
June 1, 2023
From Passion to Podcast
Senior Mia Gwirtzman, a joint major in art history and public health, traveled to London, home to the Wellcome Collection, a vast library filled with primary and secondary medical sources. “During my trip, I focused my research on the larger ethical question of displaying medical information through the lens of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Gwirtzman said. “When I got back to the states, I consolidated my research into an episode of a podcast.”
April 25, 2023
'I Left As a Leader': Young Alumni Share Stories
In a panel sponsored by the Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow program, Franklin & Marshall College graduates Emma Corrado '16, Wyatt Behringer '18 and Danielle Sang '18 spoke to students about their top F&M takeaways and the strength of the True Blue network.
April 18, 2023
Guns, Place and Public Health: A Conversation
As a mathematics student at Franklin & Marshall College, Charles Branas '90 never imagined he'd one day lead gun violence research cited by the Supreme Court. Now chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Branas learned "just enough" as a math major to get his first post-graduate job coordinating studies with clinical researchers and emergency medical staff in Philadelphia.