BSPH Curriculum

The flexible curriculum allows students to tailor the degree to their interests, complete requirements for pre-health tracks, join the Honors College and minor in other subjects across the university.

Through our foundational and core courses, students learn through a multidisciplinary approach that exposes them to all aspects of the field of public health. The curriculum provides students with a grounding in the biological and social sciences that make up public health, while allowing them to focus in on topics and issues that they are most passionate about.

Today, our BSPH students are exploring topics like:

  • climate change
  • maternal and child health
  • global health
  • data science
  • chronic disease prevention

BSPH Course Requirements

General Education Requirements

74 credits (can be variable)

Visit the General Education Course Catalog to see a full listing of courses that fulfill the General Education Requirements in each category. 


  • Freshman writing seminar -- ENGCMP 0200 (3 credits)
  • Two additional intensive writing courses (6 credits)

Algebra and Quantitative and Formal Reasoning

  • Algebra (3 credits) - exemption with SAT MATH 620 or above or ACT MATH 27 or above, or appropriate high school math coursework
  • University level math where Algebra is pre-requisite (3 credits) - satisfied by PUBHLT 0310 Introduction to Public Health Biostatistics for BSPH majors


  • Second language (6 credits) - exemption with 3 years of the same language in high school with a B or higher each year


  • 3 credits - satisfied by PUBHLT 0120 Essentials of Health Equity for BSPH majors

Humanities and Arts, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences

  • Literature (3 credits)
  • Arts (3 credits)
  • Creative Work (3 credits)
  • Philosophical Thinking or Ethics (3 credits)
  • Social Science (3 credits)
  • Historical Analysis (3 credits)
  • Natural Sciences (9 credits) - 3 credits satisfied by PUBHLT 0110 Introduction to Public Health Biology for BSPH majors

Global Awareness and Cultural Understanding

  • Global issues (3 credits)
  • Geographic region specific (3 credits)
  • Cross cultural analysis (3 credits)
BSPH Degree Requirements

25 credits

Foundational courses

  • PUBHLT100 Fundamentals of Public Health (3 credits)
  • PUBHLT140 First-Year Public Health Seminar (1 credit)
  • PUBHLT110 Genes, Cells, and Communities: Introduction to Public Health Biology (3 credits)
  • PUBHLT120 Essentials of Health Equity: Exploring Social and Structural Determinants of Health (3 credits)

Core Courses

  • PUBHLT300 Introduction to Community-Based Approaches to Public Health (3 credits)
  • PUBHLT310 Introduction to Public Health Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • PUBHTL320 Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
  • PUBHTL330 Introduction to Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PUBHLT340 Introduction to Health Policy and Management (3 credits)

Topical Cluster Electives

minimum 18 credits

Electives are organized into topical areas to allow students to explore an area of interest in greater depth. Before taking elective courses, students must first complete all Foundational and Core classes. A portfolio of elective courses can be found in the University Course Catalog. 

Example Topical Clusters: 

  • Global Health
  • Data for Good
  • Climate and Health

Students may also develop their own topical clusters based on their areas of interest. 


3 credits

BSPH students are required to choose a capstone experience in their final year of study. Options include: 

  • Senior Seminar Course
  • Community-Based Practicum with Group Recitation
  • Independent Study/Research Project
  • International Study Program
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (for students enrolled in Pitt's Honors College)
Service Learning

120 hours

Public health is best learned in the community. As part of the four-year BSPH degree, students will complete 120 hours of experiential learning to compliment their classroom-based curriculum. Students may choose their own service opportunities based on their areas of interest. 

Recommended Study Abroad Programs

Either as part of the Capstone or as a separate activity, we highly encourage interested students to participate in a public health themed study abroad experience. Examples of programs include: 

  • Public Health Threats in Suriname (PUBHLT 350) led by Pitt Public Health's Dean Lichtveld each summer
  • Health Care Delivery in Switzerland
  • Himalayan Health & Wilderness First Responder
  • Health Care in British Context
  • Pitt in Bolivia: Culture, Society & Health

Global experiences at Pitt