Improve the health of thousands of people
Doctors might help a dozen or so patients a day. Public health professionals help thousands.
Explore how social, cultural, political, and geographical conditions play a pivotal role in health — and how understanding these factors can help us tackle smoking, obesity, infectious diseases, and other modern-day health challenges.
By drawing on skills from different disciplines, you’ll learn how to develop health policies that work and health messages that hit home. In your final year, you’ll complete a thesis, an independent study, or a community engagement placement.
A Bachelor of Public Health degree will equip you to make important contributions to society, whether it’s researching ways to control infectious diseases such as COVID-19, developing healthy eating campaigns for teenagers, or improving social services for seniors in your community.
Electives in your degree to explore your interests
On average, 97% of Public Health grads are in professional or graduate school or working within one year of graduating
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any 4U English (minimum final grade of 75% is required)
- Any 4U Mathematics (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
Admission averages: Regular: Low 80s | Co-op: Mid-80s
We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
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Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.
Questions? Ask a student!
Contact a Public Health student ambassador to learn about their experience in the program.
Ask them questions such as why they chose Public Health, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
September to December
January to April
After first year
About half of the classes you’ll take will be Health courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
View all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
Learn about Juliane's co-op experiences on our Beyond Ideas website.
Sample co-op job titles
- Health & wellness coordinator
- Rehabilitation & mental health assistant
- Community advocate
- Public health analyst
- Health & safety student officer
- Health promotions & events assistant
- Corporate events coordinator
- Residential/vocational assistant
Sample co-op employers
- Canadian Institute for Health Information
- Ontario Ministry of Health & Long Term Care
- Regional Municipality of Peel
- Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
- Royal Ottawa Health Care Group
- University of Waterloo
- Premier Home Care Services
Customize your Bachelor of Public Health degree
You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including one or more of the areas of focus within the program.
- Aging Studies
- Health Informatics
- Health Research
You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus for Public Health students include Psychology, Gerontology, Sociology, and Health Informatics.
What can you do with a degree in Public Health?
Graduates typically pursue careers in community health centres, public health departments, social services agencies, non-profit organizations concerned with social justice and social services, and health consulting.
- Public Health Promoter – Huron County Health Unit
- Policy Analyst – Public Health Agency of Canada
- Consultant, Strategy Management – Lakeridge Health
- Information and Communications Technology System & Instructional Technologist – Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals
- Solutions Consultant – NexJ Health Inc.
- Life Enrichment Therapist – Halton Region Services for Seniors
Learn about the future of careers in health and helping professions.
While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, graduates commonly pursue a master's, PhD, or other professional program in areas such as public health, epidemiology, health promotion, or social work.
Common questions about the program
What’s the difference between Public Health and similar programs at other universities?
Waterloo’s program takes a systems approach to disease prevention and treatment, so you can understand how to influence the many factors that affect health. As a Public Health student, you’ll be well-prepared for healthcare careers in the future because you’ll be exposed to subjects that will grow increasingly important over time, such as leveraging information technology, understanding the aging population, mental health, and more. With many small class opportunities like labs and tutorials, over 40 health-related courses to choose from, and experiential learning opportunities like co-op and our EDGE certificate program, you’ll have a distinct advantage when entering the workforce or applying to further studies.
Should I take this program if I’m interested in pursuing medical school or another clinical health profession?
While you may use Public Health as a stepping stone to clinical health professions such as medicine, there are very few required science courses so it isn’t designed to be a preparatory program for clinical health professions. Instead, you’ll focus on understanding systemic barriers affecting health such as socioeconomic status and apply this knowledge to prevent disease within communities. If you’re interested in public health and clinical health professions, you should consider Health Studies.
Does this program lead to a career as an Environmental Public Health Professional (EPHP) or Public Health Inspector?
While this program is excellent preparation for a range of careers in healthcare, government and social services, and health technology, it is not an accredited EPHP program.
Is this program available online?
No. While you may be able to take some courses online, most courses required for the degree are available through in-person classes only.
How long does it take to complete this program?
It takes four years to complete this program as a full-time student through the regular system of study in which you’ll take courses between September and April each year and have your summers off. You can also choose the co-op system of study where you’ll alternate between full-time studies and full-time jobs relating to your program. A co-op program takes five years to complete – and you’ll graduate with nearly two years of paid work experience.
Offered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
Apply directly to this program on your application
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the School of Public Health and Health Systems website
- Email our Applied Health Sciences recruitment co-ordinator who can answer any questions about the program
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students
- Related programs
Get a master’s degree faster
Aiming for grad school? You can get a head start by applying for an accelerated master’s in your third year.
Make lasting connections
With small class sizes right from first year, you’ll create close bonds with your classmates — and your world-renowned professors.