Pre-Public Health

Pre-Public Health

Public health is the science and art of creating healthy communities through education, research and promotion of healthy lifestyles. In public health, the focus is on health promotion and disease/injury prevention, in contrast to the medical model of care, which focuses more heavily upon diagnosing and treating illnesses and conditions after they occur.

Academic Expectations

Specific admission requirements vary per public health program. You should consult with schools of interest to determine their specific admission requirements. A list of UNL courses that will fulfill prerequisites for UNMC’s various graduate degrees in public health is available by downloading the checklist above. These courses may fulfill requirements for other public health programs.

Suggested academic preparation:

  • Bachelor’s degree- A bachelor’s degree is required for all master’s and doctoral-level programs in public health. Prerequisite courses to be taken at the undergraduate level will vary by individual programs in public health.
  • Competitive academic record- Strong GPAs are essential.
  • Major in anything- All UNL majors are great options.

We recommend you meet with an Explore Center advisor once a semester to ensure you are progressing with the correct academic coursework and non-academic experiences.


Pre-Health students

Professional Degrees

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

The Master of Public Health degree prepare students to work in public health settings including local and state health departments, national organizations like the National Institutes of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and global organizations like the World Health Organization. Other master’s level degree options may be offered at certain schools. A searchable database of all public health master’s level programs can be found at the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health website.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The doctoral level degree in public health prepares students for academic careers in teaching and/or research. Other doctoral level degrees also exist for public health professionals who want advanced research training beyond the master’s degree. A searchable database of all public health doctoral level programs can be found at the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health website.


Pre-Health students

Entrance Exam

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Most public health programs require that students take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Information on the GRE can be obtained at the Graduate Record Examination website. Other examinations like the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Law School Admission Test (LSAT) may be used in place of the GRE. Please consult programs of which you plan to apply about examination requirements.

Application Information

Centralized Application Service- SOPHAS

Most public health programs require applicants to submit their applications through the Schools and Programs of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) .

Lists of participating and non-participating institutions can also be found on the SOPHAS website SOPHAS website. Students will need to directly apply to any programs that do not participate in SOPHAS. Application deadlines vary by school. Please consult each school’s website for deadline information.


Explore this Career

Explore this career by shadowing and meeting with public health professionals and by utilizing any of the following resources.

Nebraska Professional Schools