University of Washington School of Public Health

Undergraduate Public Health Major

BA & BS Selectives

Are you an applicant wondering how to choose between the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Public Health?

The BA makes the most sense for students who have a long-term interest in sociocultural aspects of public health. BA students may be interested in work focusing on health education and promotion, public health policy and administration, public health nursing, or non-profit/governmental work. The BS makes more sense for students who are preparing for advanced education in health science or science-focused graduate and professional programs such as biostatistics, dentistry, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health sciences, medicine, nutritional sciences, pathobiology, and pharmacy. BS students may also have an interest in working in laboratory settings as their primary capacity.

You will notice from the degree requirements that the difference is in the Selectives. Both the BA and BS have a reasonable breadth of the following public health domains: health, ethics and social justice, social science, policy and politics, environment, communication, and public health tools. The BS is meant to have an additional focus on natural science while the BA provides the opportunity to explore focused sociocultural competency areas.

As an undergraduate degree in public health is relatively new to the scene, no one is likely to make any assumptions about your BA or BS degree in Public Health. Your individual courses, your experiential learning opportunities, and what you choose to do with your degree will help to define the meaning of the degree selected.

If you are still not sure after reviewing the Selectives below, please discuss with a public health adviser.

BS Selectives

While both degrees require students to complete at least one introductory course in biology and chemistry, BS students need to complete at least two full year-long sequences of courses which are typical of prerequisites required by various professional- and graduate-level programs in the health sciences.
Two year-long sequences of introductory science (with labs) or mathematics from the following list:

  • Biology: BIOL, 180, 200, 220
  • Chemistry*: CHEM 142, 152, 162
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 237, 238, 239, 241, 242
  • Physics:
    • PHYS 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119 or
    • PHYS 121, 122, 123
  • Mathematics: MATH 124, 125, 126

*The CHEM 120, 220, 221 series is NOT an approved sequence for the BS Selectives requirement.

BA Selectives

BA students must complete 20 credits of Selectives which focus on skill building or broadening your knowledge base.  BA Selectives are organized around three general categories:  Health Economics, Health Promotion, and Social Justice.  The courses below have been preapproved to meet the BA Selective requirement.  These courses do not typically overlap with the Social & Behavioral Science Breadth requirement in areas of ANTH, GEOG, POL S, PSYCH or SOC.  These courses also do not overlap with the PH Elective requirement’s intentions of expanding competencies in 300 and 400-level courses with direct relationship to public health.

Health Economics

ACCTG 215 Introduction to Accounting and Financial Reporting (5)
ACCTG 225 Fundamentals of Managerial Accounting (5)
CHID 222 BioFutures (5)
ECON 200 Introduction to Microeconomics (5)
ECON 201 Introduction to Macroeconomics (5)
ECON 300 Intermediate Microeconomics (5)
ECON 301 Intermediate Macroeconomics (5)
MGMT 200 Introduction to Law (5)
PB AF 403 Professional Leadership (4)

Health Promotion

CHEM 220 Principles of Chemistry II (5)
CHEM 221 Principles of Chemistry III (5)
COM 201 Introduction to Communication I (5)
COM 202 Introduction to Communication II (5)
COM 220 Introduction to Public Speaking (5)
COM 320 Advanced Public Speaking (5)
EDC&I 351 Teaching as a Profession (5)
EDC&I 352 Teaching to Change the World (5)
EDPSY 402 Child Development and Learning (5)
EDPSY 406 Learning and Teaching in our Changing World: Insights from Experience and Research (5) (formerly EDSPY 304)
INFO 100 Fluency in Information Technology (5)
INFO 101 Social Networking Technologies (5)
INFO 200 Intellectual Foundations of Informatics (5)
INFO 320 Information Needs, Searching, and Presentation (5)

Social Justice

AAS 101 Introduction to Asian American Cultures (5)
AAS 206 Contemporary Problems of Asian Americans (5)
AAS 210 Asian-American Identity (5)
AES 150 Introductory History of American Ethnic Groups (5)
AES 151 Introduction to the Cultures of American Ethnic Groups (5)
AES 151 Introduction to the Cultures of American Ethnic Groups (5)
AFRAM 101 Introduction to African American Studies (5)
AFRAM 150 Introduction to African-American History (5)
AIS 102 Survey of American Indian Studies (5)
AIS 201 Introduction to American Indian Histories (5)
AIS 202 Introduction to Contemporary Experience in Indian America (5)
AIS 270 Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest (5)
CHID 260 Re-Thinking Diversity (5) I&S
CHID 280 Indigenous Encounters: Politics, Culture, and Representation in Latin America (5)
CHSTU 101 Introduction to Chicano Studies (5)
CHSTU 200 Latinos in the United States (5)
CHSTU 254 Northwest Latinos: History, Community, Culture (5)
CHSTU 260 Introduction to Chicano Politics (5)
DIS ST 230 Introduction to Disability Studies (5)
GWSS 244 Indigenous Feminism (5)
GWSS 255 Masculinities: Contestation, Circulation, and Transformation (5)
GWSS 283 Introduction to Women’s History (5)
LING 234 Language and Diversity (5)
LSJ 200 Introduction to Law, Societies, and Justice (5)
NEAR E 150 Israel: Dynamic Society and Global Flashpoint (5)
NEAR E 205 Religion, Violence, and Peace: Patterns Across Time and Tradition (5)
NEAR E 210 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
NEAR E 213 Introduction to the Modern Middle East (5)
NEAR E 220 Introduction to the Ancient Near East (5)
NEAR E 242 Cultural History of Turkey: From Empire to Nation (5)
NEAR E 250 Iranian Culture and Civilization (5)
NEAR E 253 Voices of the Iranian Revolution (3)
NEAR E 326 Israeli Identities (5)
NEAR E 335 (formerly NEAR E 404) Trends in the Contemporary Middle East (5)
NEAR E 364 Islam and Muslims in China (5)
NEAR E 375 Turkic Peoples of Central Asia (3)
NEAR E 472 Peoples and Cultures of Central and Inner Asia (5)
PHIL 207 Issues of Global Justice (5)
PHIL 242 Introduction to Medical Ethics (5)
SOC WF 200 Introduction to Social Welfare Practice (5)
SOC WF 201 Advances in Prevention Science: Bridging the Gap from Science to Service (5)
SOC WF 215 Intergroup Dialogues (3)
VALUES 207 Issues of Global Justice (5)

2nd year level and beyond courses in a Foreign Language will count in any area of the BA Selectives requirement.