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.

With a Bachelor of Public Health degree, you’ll be equipped to make important contributions to society, whether it’s developing healthy eating campaigns for teenagers, improving social services for seniors in your community, or researching ways to control infectious diseases.

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 Public Health at Waterloo because she wanted to study at the root causes of the issues she was passionate about.

About the Public Health program

Breif CaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

ClickApply directly to this program on your application

CapEarn a Bachelor of Public Health degree (BPH)

Money FlowerCo-op students earn $46,200 on average over their work terms

AHS brain symbolOffered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

12Electives in your degree to explore your interests


Public Health admission requirements

  • Ontario students: 6 Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
    • Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 75% is required)
  • Admission averages: Regular: Low 80s | Co-op: Mid-80s
  • An Admission Information Form is recommended
  • Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

For September 2020, any Grade 12 U mathematics or equivalent (minimum final grade of 70) will also be required. This change to admission requirements does not affect September 2019 applicants.

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
2 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
1 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


Customize your Bachelor of Public Health degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor/minors as part of your degree, including Gerontology, Aging Studies, Health Informatics, or Health Research.

Gain relevant work experience through co-op

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


Careers in Public Health

Our 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.

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. 

Learn more about Public Health