Improve the health of thousands of people

Students in the Public Health program at the University of Waterloo.

In the Advanced Social Determinants of Health seminar, students go on regular field trips to see community social services in action.

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, food insecurity, 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.

Program highlights

Social science focus. With lots of electives, you can easily include minors and specializations such as health informatics, health research, and aging studies as part of your degree.

Get hands-on experience in class. You'll complete a thesis, independent study, or a community placement – plus some upper year courses include field learning.


Discover if Public Health is right for you.


What will you learn?

First-year courses

You'll take courses from the Faculty of Health to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, about half of the classes you’ll take will be Health courses.

Learn about courses you'll take for your Public Health degree.

Customize your 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
  • Addictions, Mental Health, and Policy

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.


Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future.

Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.

Questions? Ask a student!

Connect with a current 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.


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

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

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Study Co-op
Fourth Study Co-op Co-op
Fifth Study Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January - April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →


megaphone icon"As a Public Health student, I focus on population health and the social determinants of health. However, I also get to explore epidemiology, health research, and more! The wide variety of courses has helped me figure out which topics interest me most."Jason, Public Health student
megaphone icon"The best thing about being a Waterloo student is meeting other students. There are many clubs and intramurals you can join with friends or individually – you can meet so many people and make friends with those who have similar interests."Minah, third-year Public Health student
megaphone icon"I'm proud to be a Waterloo student! The world-renowned co-op program exposes you to various jobs, letting you explore your interests. Co-op has also helped me learn about public health by giving me relevant skills I wouldn't learn in a classroom."Serrina, third-year Public Health student

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

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply?

Apply directly to this program on your application.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Clare Stevens, our Faculty of Health recruitment co-ordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Headshot of Clare Stevens


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