Social & Behavioral Sciences

Caite Wolak, M.P.H., Instructor and Undergraduate Program Director
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Ritter Annex, 9th Floor

The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Public Health is housed within the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the College of Public Health. The undergraduate curriculum prepares students for diverse careers in the public health field that focus on creating, implementing, and evaluating interventions and programs designed to improve the health status and quality of life for all individuals.

As one of the earliest accredited undergraduate public health programs in the country, the department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in public health that serves as a national model in which students study the broad range of public health concerns, including individual disease prevention and injury/harm reduction behaviors, distribution and development of disease through epidemiological assessment and community program development, implementation, and evaluation. Students learn to use educational interventions to provide health information, gain experience in assessing the needs of target populations, clarify program goals and objectives, and develop strategies to motivate and involve their clients/patients in educational interventions.

All Public Health majors take a set of common theoretical courses designed to promote an understanding of health, wellness, and disease prevention. After completing university-required General Education courses, Public Health students complete courses in the core disciplines of public health within the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as courses in other important and related disciplines, such as epidemiology, environmental health, and health services. Students also participate in 300 hours of fieldwork experience in public health agencies, organizations, or other entities to gain invaluable real-world experience in the field.

The Public Health major trains entry-level public health workers to provide frontline preventive health information, services, and health behavior interventions at the community level, particularly in communities with high-risk populations. Majors receive intensive pre-professional training and direct public health work experience through their internship experience available throughout the city of Philadelphia and surrounding area. There are also opportunities to work alongside faculty members in one of the many research labs and centers in the Department. Graduates typically work in voluntary health agencies, public health departments, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, corporate work sites, community health organizations, family planning clinics, and managed-care facilities. Some graduates also go on to graduate public health programs (Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Epidemiology) or programs in other health-related professions. Eligible students in the Public Health BS Program also can apply for the +1 BS-MPH accelerated program, in which they can earn a Master of Public Health degree at Temple typically in one additional year after completing the BS in Public Health.

+1 Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Master of Public Health Accelerated Program

The College of Public Health has developed a rigorous five-year (4+1) program in which outstanding Public Health majors can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in five years, rather than six.

This combined degree program offers exceptional students an opportunity to work closely with faculty, while developing critical skills in public health and completing graduate work for professional careers in research, policy, administration, or real-world public health practice.

The public health curriculum at Temple University is diverse, offering both undergraduate and graduate students access to faculty from a broad range of public health areas. The MPH requirements will be satisfied by the end of the fifth year of study. The accelerated degree program will consist of a minimum of 108 semester hours of undergraduate course work, a maximum of 12 (twelve) semester hours of graduate coursework to count towards both the undergraduate and the graduate degrees, and a minimum of 30 semester hours of additional graduate coursework to count towards the graduate degree.

The +1 Accelerated BS in Public Health/MPH program is currently available with our MPH in Epidemiology (, MPH in Health Policy and Management ( and MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences ( programs.

Mission of the Department

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences aims to address social and behavioral determinants of health through scientific discovery and the creation of innovative, evidence-based programs and interventions that serve the health needs of diverse, vulnerable, and underserved populations. Valuing an inclusive environment, we promote healthy communities by training professionals and scholars who will excel in public health research and practice.

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences follows the requirements set forth by Temple University regarding General Education. The department has also established additional Core and Cognate requirements for all Public Health majors.