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.

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.


Andrea chose to pursue a Public Health degree at Waterloo because she wanted to study at the root causes of the issues she was passionate about.

Graduation cap iconOn average, 97% of Public Health grads are in professional or graduate school or working within one year of graduating

Breif CaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

Money FlowerCo-op students earn $42,000-$69,000 on average over their work terms


Admission requirements

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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First-year Public Health courses

September to December

  • HLTH 101 - Introduction to Health 1
  • HLTH 103 - Biological Determinants of Health
  • AHS 107 - Sociology of Activity, Health, and Well-being
  • Two electives

January to April

  • AHS 150 - Foundations of Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • HLTH 102 - Introduction to Health 2
  • HLTH 245 - Canadian Health Systems
  • PSYCH 101 - Introductory Psychology
  • One elective

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

HLTH 280 – Applied Public Health Ethics
HLTH 304 – Health Communication
HLTH 355 – Public Health Nutrition
HLTH 410 – Health Policy


13Electives in your degree to explore your interests

ClickApply directly to this program on your application

AHS brain symbolOffered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences


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.

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

  • L'Arche
  • 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.

  • Gerontology
  • 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.

Recent graduates

  • 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.

Further education

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.

Ready to learn more?