Public Health

What is Public Health?

Public Health professionals improve human health and quality of life through the prevention and treatment of disease and other physical and mental health conditions, through the promotion of healthy behaviors and the analysis of global research and data.

Public Health is interdisciplinary, intersecting the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics and health services.  Environmental health, community health, behavioral health, health economics, public policy, insurance medicine and occupational health are also important subfields of Public Health.

 Public Health practitioners typically do the following:

  • Develop, implement, and evaluate effective public health initiatives/policies.
  • Create and analyze programs in the context of the communities they serve.
  • Improve the health delivery system specifically for women, children, and families through advocacy, education, and research.
  • Discover and test solutions through applied research.
  • Address the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries (sometimes known as developing countries).
  • Help people make better use of health services, adopt self-care practices, and become more active participants in their health system.

 Explore these resources and organizations about Public Health:

Source:  ADEA: ExploreHealthCareers.  7 May 2013. American Dental Education Association.  17 May 2013 <>.


Check with individual schools and programs of study to be sure you have met their unique prerequisites. For Emory’s School of Public Health, the first step is to determine which academic program best suits your interests. 

  • Emory offers programs from six academic departments, each with several different areas of study. 
  • In general, a student should have a minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. 
  • At Emory’s School of Public Health, the average undergraduate GPA is a 3.5.
  • Most undergraduate majors are acceptable points of entry for graduate studies. 
  • Please see a PHMO advisor to create an academic plan that meets your timeline and goals
  • Emory University majors and minors with course work of interest to students aspiring to be public health professionals:  Human Health, Anthropology, Anthropology and Human Biology, Community Building and Social Change, Development Studies, Global Health, Global Health, Culture and Society, Predictive Health, Sustainability and more.
  • If you are interested in admission to Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, register for an RSPH’s Admissions Information Session.

Application Process

Admissions Exam: Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Application Service:  Schools and Programs of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS)  Emory’s RSPH participates in the SOPHAS common online application system. 

Application timeline/deadline:   Each institution has unique deadlines. For SOPHAS programs, the deadline is the date by which you should submit your application and all required documents should be received. See SOPHAS FAQs for more information about timelines and deadlines. 

Letters of Recommendation:  The SOPHAS application requires letters of recommendation.  Depending on the option you select, this will generate the print or e-recommender form.

  • To avoid SPAM filters, please notify your recommenders that they will receive an email from
  • You should verify the specific recommendation requirements with each school.

Personal Statement: The PHMO offers personal statement workshops on particular dates during the semester. Check the PHMO newsletter for upcoming events. Once you complete a draft of your personal statement, you may submit your draft to the Career Center Document Critique Service for feedback.