Undergraduate Minor in Public Health

Protecting the public’s health requires us to address challenges that are influenced as much by individual and social behavior as they are the sciences. Biology, the environment, social and political systems, and technology intersect to describe the methods of protecting the health and well-being of the population. Public health minors are engaged advocates for creating a healthier world; they are physical and social scientists of public health.

The public health minor is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Public Health. It is open to any University of Minnesota undergraduate student who wishes to gain an understanding of the language, concepts, and methods of addressing population-level health challenges.

Why minor in public health?

The COVID-19 pandemic has foregrounded how important public health is for the successful functioning of society. We need epidemiologists who understand how the biology of viruses intersects with the social and spatial structure of society in order to determine the rate at which it spreads and to determine how many people are infected.  We need health economists to help us develop plans to eventually safely reopen our economy. We health educators who are capable of communicating plans for testing and rules of quarantine. We need a general populous with a degree of public health literacy that allows them to understand the challenges COVID-19 presents and act appropriately in the face of those challenges.

The disproportionate ways that the novel coronavirus has impacted different communities - such as racial, economic, and geographic differences - highlights some of the underlying problems of public health that existed before COVID-19 struck. For example, we see racial differences in disease rates associated with inequalities in how communities of color are exposed to environmental pollutants. We see different communities in the country experiencing food insecurity and lack of access to nutritious food. We see how different cultural practices and expectations of health influence interactions with the health care system.  Therefore, not only does public health prepare students to understand and work towards solutions to COVID, it also is foundational to addressing everyday health and health-related inequalities in society.

A public health minor at the University of Minnesota will provide students with a strong literacy in public health. It will provide the foundations that students need to prepare them for further study to achieve careers that work to address COVID and many other public health challenges facing society today.

A public health minor will improve your understanding about how local, regional, national, and international issues shape knowledge systems and social practices around health and well-being. In addition, the minor can enhance your application or resume for professional programs, graduate school, or future jobs.

There are also many extracurricular opportunities open to public health minors. Explore various learning abroad options, the Undergraduate Public Health Association, or volunteering opportunities.

Whether you want to explore a potential career in public health or simply supplement your major degree program, the undergraduate public health minor will strengthen your future in any field—from a health profession to law, political science, urban planning, ethnic studies, and beyond.

Courses & Requirements

The public health minor consists of:

  • Two courses (4-6 credits) of Introduction to the Discipline
    • Note: taking PUBH 3004 as one of your two introductory courses also satisfies the 2-credit Applying Public Health Theory requirement
  • Two courses (for at least 6 credits) from the Understanding Health Issues From Varying Social Scientific Contexts subcategory.  These courses must come from a department within the College of Liberal Arts. There are no exceptions. No learning abroad, National Study Exchange, or transfer courses are allowed in this category.  
  • One course (for at least 2 credits) from the Applying Public Health Theory subcategory (if not fulfilled by taking PUBH 3004)
  • One course (for at least 2 credits) from the Global Impact subcategory​
    • Note: each course in the subcategory has a prerequisite introductory course.

The University Catalog has a full list of courses and requirements.

How to Declare

Please include your student ID number, and your major or college when contacting your advisor. General questions may be directed to pubhadv@umn.edu.

  1. View this slideshow presentation on the public health minor 
  2. Fill out the Public Health Minor Worksheet
    • Fill in any courses you may have already taken
    • Write the code from the slideshow presentation on the form
  3. Email the completed form and any questions you have to: pubhadv@umn.edu

We can declare you via email, and that is probably the easiest.  However, we can set up an advising meeting if you'd like. Email us to start at pubhadv@umn.edu.

Virtual Drop-in Advising Hours

Please note that due to COVID-19 students are to email us

Public Health Advising Google Calendar

Pre-Health Events Google Calendar

The Pre-Health Events Google Calendar is a curated collection of pre-health events happening on campus, in the community, and beyond. All members of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities community can view and add the pre-health calendar. This is an excellent resource for pre-health students to access health-related events that support career exploration, networking, student engagement, and community building.

Examples of pre-health events include health-related information sessions provided by professional health programs, live webinars, workshops, panels, and events offered by pre-health student groups.

UMN Students Against COVID-19

UMN Students Against COVID-19, launched in spring 2020, is the University of Minnesota chapter of the student-led movement Students Against COVID-19. It's dedicated to sharing information and resources with students and residents. Our aim is to populate social media with evidence-based information and actionable steps to mitigate the situation and combat the spread of myths about COVID-19.

Please join our Facebook group (search "UMN Students Against COVID-19") and share any University-specific or community resources that you know of. These could be information dispelling myths, updates about local initiatives, or advice on dealing with the new social dynamics. We encourage you to share resources from the Facebook group on your personal social media pages!

Helpful Links