Major in Public Health

As a public health major, you’ll learn how to protect and improve the health of families, communities and entire populations.

By exploring population-specific health issues, health-education principles and preventive-health measures, you’ll gain the skills you need to promote health; prevent injury and illness; and control the spread of infectious diseases. 

What You’ll Learn

In the public health program, you will:

  • Learn the best practices of collecting and analyzing data for evidence-based approaches in public health.
  • Explore complex socioeconomic, behavioral, environmental and organizational factors that impact health and contribute to disparities in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Use critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to design, implement and evaluate public-health initiatives.
  • Examine and interpret the legal, ethical, economic and regulatory dimensions of healthcare and public-health policy and their implications in government.

Hands-on Learning

In the public-health program, you’ll have the chance to apply your classroom learning in the laboratory and out in the field. In fact, 100% of public health majors participate in at least one internship, co-op, fieldwork or practicum. Real-world learning experiences will give you the skills you need for professional success as well as admission to graduate programs.

You can work with faculty on advanced research projects or intern at top institutions like Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Interested in volunteering? You can join service projects that support community programs or get involved with Active Science, Merrimack’s interactive mobile app that gets school-age kids moving and learning about fitness and health.

Career Options

With a degree in public health, you’ll be well-positioned to pursue a professional career in this rapidly expanding field or go on to graduate school. Public-health positions may include:

  • Public-health analyst
  • Hospital administrator
  • Epidemiologist
  • Biostatistician
  • Health inspector
  • Health educator
  • Marketer in a health-related organization
  • Practitioner

The Center for Health Inclusion, Research and Practice (CHIRP)

CHIRP, located at Merrimack, focuses on closing the gaps in systematic health disparities that adversely affect people from historically marginalized groups, including those living in poverty, people of color, and those with disabilities. As a public health major, you’ll have the opportunity to take classes with CHIRP’s founders and see its research on health disparities in action.

Courses You’ll Take

Public Health Major Curriculum

Public Health Major Requirements

General Education Requirements

In addition to the major requirements below, you will also need to complete Merrimack’s general education requirements.

To see more details about the major, please visit


Health Science Podcast

Drs. April Bowling and James Slavet, leaders of THRIVE Lab, harness research and realism to help parents of children with diverse mental health challenges understand how small exercise, nutrition and sleep habits can lead to big improvements in mental and physical wellness.