Curriculum Overview 

Public Health is an interdisciplinary major that offers a core program of study, and a selection of concentration tracks in Biology, Government, or Sociology. Students in our courses study the health of communities and how it can be affected by community-based action. We study the burden of disease, the principles and history of public health and how to measure health, health in the context of human rights, how to measure and improve health systems, the influence of culture on health, and the organizational actors in local, national, and global public health. We draw on the science underlying health in human communities and examine the use of such knowledge in a political arena that is central to getting things done.

The mission of the Public Health major is to educate F&M students in public health from the perspective of the liberal arts, with particular attention to the analysis of public health problems from multiple perspectives and with tools from multiple disciplines and with emphasis on theory and history. Public health is linked to the formulation and implementation of public policy, thus connecting natural and social sciences and government at its core. Public health incorporates an international perspective. We encourage and guide students to ask broad questions of meaning, to challenge assumptions and structures, to ponder ethical questions, to evaluate the effectiveness of solutions to problems, and to develop a deep moral intelligence surrounding public health.

The program offers a common set of core courses for all students, and three concentration tracks:

Public Health Core: PBH251, PBH354, BIO110, BIO210, GOV200, PBH410, PBH415 or PBH420

  • Biology Track: BIO220; CHM111; CHM112; BIO230; two approved BIO electives, with at least one being a lab course
  • Government Track: GOV100 or GOV120 or GOV130, GOV305, PBH303 or GOV373, STS311 or PHI223, one GOV course at the 300 or 400-level
  • Sociology Track: SOC100; two from SOC210, SOC330, SOC345, SOC350, SOC360, SOC366, SOC377; two approved SOC electives


Off-Campus Study
The off-campus study programs most frequently attended by students majoring in Public Health are:

  • School for International Training (SIT)

  • Danish Institute for Study Abroad/Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)

  • Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

Courses Offered 

A list of regularly offered courses follows. Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement.

PBH 251. Introduction to Public Health.
An introduction to public health, a field that endeavors to improve the health of the community through community-based action. The history of public health, how to measure community health, communicable diseases, chronic and lifestyle diseases, family health, nutrition and food safety, environmental health, the U.S. national health care system, underserved groups, public health law and ethics, and the future of public health. Prerequisite: BIO 110 or GOV 100 or permission.            
Everett, K. Miller, Okatch, Tripp

PBH 303. Problem-Solving Courts/Drug Court. (S)
This interdisciplinary community-based learning course, taught by a local Lancaster County Drug Court Judge, will introduce students to the real world of Problem Solving Courts, including Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts. This will include a hands-on/experiential examination of traditional courts, Drug Court models, and addiction issues. Students will be required to interact directly with Drug Court participants and members of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Adult Drug Court Team. Permission required.     

PBH 317. Health Psychology.
This course explores the complex factors that affect human health, specifically examining how health and health-related behavior is influenced by the interrelationship of multiple environmental and individual factors ranging from individual personality to health policy. This course also examines the fundamental principles and theories of Health Psychology and how theoretical and empirical findings are applied to improve the health of individuals and groups. Prerequisite: PSY 100 or BIO 110. Same as PSY 317.     

PBH 354. Epidemiology.
Epidemiology is the study of health and disease of populations. In this course, students will learn methods epidemiologists use to elucidate relationships between various types of exposures and positive or negative health outcomes; they will also explore methods to trace and predict disease patterns, including epidemics and pandemics. In this course, students will learn how to develop research questions, design ethical studies, conduct sampling for research, perform basic analyses, and minimize bias and other types of error. Prerequisites: PBH 251 or permission of instructor. Same as BIO 354.    
K. Miller, Okatch

PBH 366. Race, Ethnicity, and Health. (S)
The course will utilize a sociological lens to examine the role of race and ethnicity in health outcomes, healthcare experiences, medical research, and clinical practice. Topics will include: socio-historical perspectives on notions of race in relation to biological difference; socio-historical understandings of the health consequences of racialized public health policies and politically sanctioned medical practices;contemporary racial and ethnic disparities in disease morbidity and mortality indicators; the operationalization of racial categories in epidemiological, public health, and biomedical research and practice; contemporary debates regarding race and genomics; and understandings of racial and ethnic dynamics in relation to health and medicine at the intersections of socioeconomic class, immigration status, gender, sexuality, and other markers of social identity. Same as SOC/AFS 366.    

PBH 410. Health Policy. (S)
This course investigates domestic and global health policy issues. We will survey health care and health systems, focusing on health care spending, insurance, and health outcomes. Students will also examine ethical dilemmas and debates within health policy. We will ask what role health policy can play in addressing health disparities. Two questions infuse our deliberations: what can government do to shape the health of individuals and what should it do?   Same as GOV 410.
Everett, Meyer, Tripp

PBH 415. Public Health Research: You Are What You Eat?
In this interdisciplinary seminar, students explore the complex relationships between food, nutrition, and health. Students will navigate scientific literature as well as information available via popular media, evaluate both for veracity and practicality, then share their own conclusions (and new questions arising from this evaluation!) during class discussions and course assignments. Students will also discuss issues related to conducting research, then explore known and/or hypothesized relationships between economic, behavioral, biological, sociopolitical, cultural, and environmental variables and food-related behaviors. Students will design and conduct research centered on food, nutrition, and health. Prerequisites: PBH 354 or PBH 351 and one course from BIO 210, MAT 216, BOS 250, or PSY 230 and permission. Same as PUB/STS 415. 

PBH 420. Public Health Research:  Pregnancy Outcomes in American Women. (S)
In this interdisciplinary seminar, students explore women’s health and reproductive outcomes while learning how to conduct meaningful research on public health topics. Students will consider complex issues related to conducting research, then explore known and/or hypothesized relationships between behavioral, biological, sociopolitical, psychological, and environmental variables and pregnancy outcomes. Students will ultimately design research centered on pregnancy outcomes in American women. Prerequisites: PBH 354 or PBH 351 and one course from BIO 210, MAT 216, BOS 250, or PSY 230 and permission. Same as PUB/STS/WGS 420.   

BIO 110. Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Heredity. (N)
An introduction to Mendelian genetics, micro- and macro-evolutionary processes, the origin and diversification of life on earth and ecological patterns and processes at organismal, population, community and ecosystem levels. Offered every Spring. 
Ardia, Fischer, Howard, Mena-Ali, Olson, Sipe

BIO 210. Biostatistics.
An introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics from the perspective of the life sciences. The emphasis will be on research design and on the use of graphical and computational methods in interpreting and communicating results. This course satisfies the statistics requirement in the Biology major curriculum. Prerequisite: BIO 110. 
A. Miller, K. Miller, Okatch

BIO 220. Principles of Physiology and Development. (N)
An integrated study of cells, whole organisms and the interactions between organisms and their environments. The physiological and anatomical solutions to the physical and chemical challenges faced by plants and animals. Mechanisms by which a single cell develops into a complex, multicellular organism in which groups of cells perform specialized tasks. Lecture topics integrated with a laboratory that emphasizes independent research projects. Prerequisite: BIO 110. Offered every Fall. 
Gotsch, Howard, Thompson

BIO 230. Cell Biology. (N)
A study of life at the cellular level through investigation of the functions and properties of the molecular components of cells. Topics will include: the physical and chemical principles governing biomolecules and their assembly, the structure and function of sub-cellular systems, energy generation, cell motility and information flow from DNA to protein. The ethical implications of current research techniques will also be discussed. Prerequisites: BIO 220 and CHM 112. Offered every Spring.  
Davis, Roberts

BIO 305. Genetics. (N)
Molecular genetics, gene expression, regulation of eukaryotic development, tumor viruses, oncogenes and cancer. Prerequisite: BIO 230. Offered every Fall.     
Jenik, Mena-Ali

BIO 322. Microbiology. (N)
Cytology, metabolism, taxonomy, phylogeny, development and ecological relationships of microbial life. Emphasis on insights into life processes in general. Laboratory includes training in basic microbiological techniques. Prerequisites: BIO 230 and permission of the instructor.    

GOV 100. American Government. (S)
Political power within the framework of American national government. Current governmental and political problems are explored.            
Ciuk, Koenig, Medvic, Schousen, Wilson

GOV 120. Comparative Politics. (S)
Introduction to the theory and method of comparative politics. The course analyzes the government and politics of both developed and developing countries, encouraging students to apply the comparative method to draw conclusions about political processes and phenomena across nations and continents.     McNulty, Yen

GOV 200. Understanding Public Policy. (S)
Focus on government activity in a variety of public policy areas, the structural and political contexts of debates over alternative policy strategies and approaches to understanding public policy. Policy areas examined include the national budget and entitlements, science and technology and education. Prerequisite: GOV 100 or GOV 120 or PBH 251. Same as PUB 200.    
Koenig, Meyer, Tripp

GOV 208. The American Presidency. (S)
Evolution of the Presidency to an office that is the focal point of politics and leadership in the American political system. Emphasis on the constitutional and political roles played by the chief executive in shaping public policy. Prerequisite: GOV 100.  

GOV 250. Political Research. (S)
Empirical investigation in political science; scientific inquiry in political science; problems of logical induction; selecting and formulating a research problem; functions and types of research design; analysis of data, both qualitative and quantitative. Primarily for government majors; should be completed no later than first semester of junior year. Prerequisite: GOV 100 or 130 or 224.    
Ciuk, Kasparek, Medvic, Schousen, Yost

GOV 305. Public Policy Implementation. (S)
Focus on national government bureaucracy in the implementation of public policy, including exploration of the role of bureaucracies in contemporary political debate, organizational theory in the problems of governing and administrative politics and administrative due process. Prerequisite: GOV 100.    

GOV 309. The Congress. (S)
The informal and formal institutions and processes of the United States Congress, with specific attention to selected public policy issues. Prerequisite: GOV 100.    

STS 311. History of Medicine. (S) (NSP)
The history of medicine with particular attention to American medicine. The relationship between medicine and society is studied in its historical context. We look in detail at some trends in modern medicine and the current debate over national health care policy in light of the history of medicine. Same as HIS 311.    

SOC 330. Sociology of Medicine. (S)
An examination of the social and cultural factors which influence the occurrence, distribution and experience of illness, the organization of medical care in American society and its rapidly escalating costs, the technical and ethical performance of physicians and the ethical dilemmas associated with modern medicine. Prerequisite: SOC 100.