Public Health


Public health seeks to improve human health through the development and application of knowledge that prevents disease, protects the public from harm, and promotes health throughout local communities, the state, the nation, and the world. The field of public health confronts complex health issues, such as improving access to health care, controlling infectious disease, and reducing environmental hazards, violence, substance abuse, and injury.

Through the Public Health Minor at Occidental College, students develop and apply knowledge from multiple disciplines for the promotion and protection of the health of the human population, giving due consideration to principles of human rights and cultural perspectives that abound in our multicultural country and world. The minor, like the field itself, is interdisciplinary. Students will learn about the scientific aspects of disease as well as the political and policy issues involved in improving people’s health and well-being. The minor is jointly administered by the departments of Biology, Kinesiology, and Urban & Environmental Policy (UEP), with course offerings from multiple departments.

Minor Requirements

Five courses are required to complete the Public Health minor.


Required Courses

PUBH 203Introduction to Public Health

4 units

PUBH 238Epidemiology

4 units


Students must complete one of the following courses:

BIO 268Biostatistics

4 units

COMP 146Statistics

4 units

PSYC 201Statistics in Psychological Science

4 units

UEP 305Urban Data Analysis

4 units


Two additional courses from the list below:

HIST 274Medicine and Disease in Western Society

4 units

HIST 277/BLST 277Women and Community Health

4 units

KINE 104Introduction to Kinesiology

4 units

KINE 210Nutrition and Homeostasis

4 units

KINE 299/UEP 299Women's Sports and Empowerment

4 units

KINE 304Human Physiology

4 units

PHIL 233Bioethics

4 units

PSYC 334Health Psychology

4 units

PUBH 248/DWA 248Global Public Health

4 units

PUBH 249Public Health and Human Rights: Global and Local Practices

4 units

PUBH 301Women's Health

4 units

PUBH 307Public Health Practicum

2 or 4 units

SOC 320Health and Illness

4 units

UEP 201Environmental Health and Policy

4 units

UEP 209/PUBH 209Health Policy

4 units

*Each elective course selection must be from a different department.

As new courses develop, more options may be added to this list. Students will be strongly encouraged to participate in internship, volunteer, or research opportunities within the field of public health (e.g. PUBH 307) before they graduate.

Transfer Credit Policies

Courses approved for transfer by the appropriate department or program will be considered to apply toward the Public Health minor. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for details.


Public Health Courses


Advisory Committee

Jessica Dirkes, co-chair

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

Program Coordinator

B.A., University of California, Davis; M.P.H., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Bhavna Shamasunder, co-chair

Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.S., B.A., University of California, San Diego; M.ES. Yale University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Cheryl Okumura

Assistant Professor, Biology

B.A., Pomona College; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Marcella Raney

Associate Professor, Kinesiology

A.B., Occidental College; Ph.D., University of Southern California

Jane Schmitz

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.A., University of California, Davis; M.P.H., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles