Global Public Health Bachelor of Science Degree

RIT’s global public health major explores current health issues in order to prevent disease, improve health, and help people attain health equity across the world. 

Overview for Global Public Health BS

Why Pursue a Global Public Health Degree at RIT?

  • A Cutting-Edge Curriculum: Innovative courses pertinent to today’s local, regional, national, and international health issues prepare you for a high-demand position in global public health or graduate-level training in a wide range of clinical medicine and other health related fields.
  • Two Dynamic Tracks: A choice of concentration in two important subspecialties: global health management or infectious diseases.
  • Hands-On Experience: Gain real-world skills via two required blocks of cooperative education or internships, and multiple research and study abroad opportunities.
  • The Perfect Pre-Med Degree: has rated a degree in public health as the best option for pre-med students.
  • Engaging, Passionate Faculty: Faculty with deep expertise and experience in global public health and health care are committed to preparing you for a rewarding career.

What is Global Public Health?

In March of 2020, the world watched as the COVID-19 virus spread around the world. As the virus quickly reached every town and city across the globe, it became imperative for local, national, and international public health officials to communicate and collaborate to understand the virus, treat patients who tested positive, and identify ways to mitigate its spread. It was, perhaps, the first time many watched a worldwide public health crisis play out in real-time.

COVID-19 illustrated to the world how vital the work is of public health officials who examine, evaluate, and respond to a range of health issues and challenges.

Virtually all careers in global public health strive to achieve the goal of preventing disease, promoting health, and prolonging life for people in all nations. Global public health professionals primarily pursue this goal via a pathway of education, public policy, or research to achieve the following:

  • Educate the public on health and wellness
  • Implement disease and injury prevention measures
  • Achieve equity in healthcare worldwide

A degree in global public health is a wonderful launching pad for an exciting and dynamic career in individual patient care or efforts designed to improve the health of whole populations of people. This degree will give you the knowledge and skills to promote health both locally and on a global scale.

RIT’s Global Public Health Degree

The global public health BS is the study of health issues both locally and in communities across the globe and the actions needed to resolve these issues. Infused with a global perspective, this degree will empower you to understand:

  • The various social, economic, environmental, and individual factors that impact people’s health
  • How to ensure the global population has the resources and knowledge needed to be healthy

The major allows for significant customization according to your interests and aspirations, starting with your choice of two concentrations. 

  • Global Health Management: This concentration is ideal for those who are interested in future management or leadership opportunities within healthcare systems, nonprofit, or humanitarian organizations and may want a more international emphasis to their education.  This is an excellent option for those who want to help shape future global public health and healthcare policies and practices.
  • Infectious Diseases: This concentration is designed for the student who is more science-oriented and may be considering a career with a clinical or research focus. This may be the preferred concentration for future healthcare practitioners or those considering pursuing a graduate degree to research the best ways to prevent or treat infectious diseases.

With a range of related elective courses, immersions and minors, you can further explore many topics closely related to global public health, including:

  • Culture
  • Exercise and nutrition
  • Gender
  • The climate
  • The environment
  • Social inequalities
  • Public policy
  • International relations
  • Economics

The major will equip you to address the most pressing current global health challenges of today including mental health, climate change, reproductive health, and infectious diseases, to name a few. You will be well-prepared for high-demand positions that address challenges such as these in the public health workforce, health care systems, not-for profits, non-governmental or humanitarian organizations, academia, international relations, or government policy. You will also be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in medicine or the health sciences, or graduate degrees in fields such as epidemiology or health informatics.

RIT’s global public health BS degree is the ideal for students who are intellectually curious about science and the human body; forward-thinking regarding physical and mental health; advocates for social justice and the environment; and determined to make the world a better place.  

The following is a small sample of the many relevant immersions and minors that are available to enhance this degree:

For the full list of excellent immersions and minors that are available to complement the Global Public Health BS degree, please visit:

Global Public Health as a Pathway to Medical School

If your goal is to attend medical school, you may be considering a degree that is directly related to medicine such as biology or chemistry. What you might not realize, however, is that the best pre-med major might be less apparent.

An undergraduate degree in global public health is an excellent pre-med major. Not only do global public health requirements often parallel pre-med requirements, but a public health degree provides a strong foundation for health-related subjects such as epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, and community health. These subjects are distinctly applicable to medicine, as physicians must have a keen understanding of social and environmental factors that affect health outcomes.

A degree in global public health will also allow you to examine the policies and processes in the medical industry. Global public health can reveal a side of medicine that most students would not see in medical school. With RIT’s robust co-op and internship program, you will have the opportunity to work alongside medical professionals in areas such as healthcare policy, prevention, and substance abuse to gain valuable hands-on experience prior to medical school.

Medical schools consider strong skills in leadership and management as a positive quality for admission. The skills you will gain from a global public health degree will allow you to enter med school better prepared to be a strong leader in roles such as making contributions to policy, participating in advocacy or directing research projects.

A background in global public health, paired with a medical degree, will position you well for a successful career as a medical professional. 

Premedical and Health Professions Advisory Program

Learn more about how RIT’s Premedical and Health Professions Advisory Program to help you become a competitive candidate for admission to graduate programs in the medical and health professions.

Global Public Health Association @ RIT

Global Public Health Association @ RIT is a professional organization with both student and faculty leadership that increases awareness of health challenges faced by people throughout our interconnected planet and challenges its members to generate innovative solutions that will benefit our global society. The group hosts monthly educational events and the annual Innovations in Global Public Health Conference each spring. Students (from RIT and elsewhere), faculty, staff, and the general public are welcome at all of our events.  Learn more about the Global Public Health Association @ RIT.



Typical Job Titles

International/Global Public Health Professional Medical and Health Services Manager
Health Care Consultant Social and Community Service Manager
Health Educator Public Health Officer
Maternal and Child Health Professional Emergency / Disaster Preparedness Professional
Public Health Specialist in Early Intervention Programs Disease Intervention Specialist


  • Health Care
  • Government (Local, State, Federal)
  • Higher Education
  • Environmental Services
  • International Affairs
  • Non-Government Organization
  • Non-Profit

Admissions and Financial Aid

The BS in global public health will be available for matriculation in fall 2025. Prospective students who wish to begin the program in fall 2025 should submit their RIT application by these dates:

Early Decision I: Nov. 1, 2024
Early Decision II: Jan. 1, 2025
Regular Decision: Jan. 15, 2025

Internal RIT students who may be interested in learning more about the program should meet with John Oliphant, program director, to discuss the program and potential transfer options. 

Learn How to Apply

Financial Aid and Scholarships

100% of all incoming first-year and transfer students receive aid.

RIT’s personalized and comprehensive financial aid program includes scholarships, grants, loans, and campus employment programs. When all these are put to work, your actual cost may be much lower than the published estimated cost of attendance.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships