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, 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.
- Choose your focus. With the flexibility to take a variety of courses, you’ll get to study the areas of health that fit best with your career goals.
- 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.
- Available as a regular or co-op program
- Earn a Bachelor of Public Health
- Offered by the Faculty of Health
Discover if Public Health is right for you.
What will you learn?
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.
- 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.
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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
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
- 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
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 Sciences.
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.
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 email Pamela Hurvid, our Faculty of Health recruitment co-ordinator, who can answer any questions you have.
Not sure which Health program is right for you?