The Undergraduate program in the School of Public Health is described in detail in this chapter. See subsections for specific program information as well as policies and procedures.
About the School of Public Health
The School of Public Health (SPH) is a multi-disciplinary, research-based unit, drawing upon partnerships with community members and organizations, dedicated to the mission of advancing health through leadership, scholarship, research and service to better the human condition and promote the common good, especially for urban communities and for global populations. The School of Public Health achieves this mission by applying existing scholarship within Georgia State University to priority public health problems, particularly those that are aimed at reducing health disparities in urban settings. Training and research programs focus on both building the science base that underlies public health practice, as well as applying effective interventions that have been demonstrated to improve the public health. Academic and training efforts emphasize the basic prevention sciences (e.g., emerging infectious diseases, immunology, virology, bioinformatics, genomics, and geographic sciences), as well as applied public health efforts (e.g., chronic disease prevention, health promotion, environmental health, program evaluation, health policy, public health ethics and law, health communications, community-based participatory research, and global health).
School of Public Health Main Office
400 Urban Life Building
Rodney Lyn, Dean
Katherine Masyn, Assosciate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs
Daniel J. Whitaker, Associate Dean for Research
Carlos Pavao, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
William Thacker, College Administrative Officer
Matthew Hayat, Chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences
Shannon Self-Brown, Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences
Amanda Gilmore and Christine Stauber, Directors of the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health Program (PhD)
Harry J. Heiman, Director of the Doctor of Public Health Program (DrPH)
Sarah McCool, Director of the Undergraduate Program (BSPH)
The Georgia State University School of Public Health has held continuous accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) since 2016 and is accredited through December 31, 2028. The most recent CEPH reaccreditation self-study and Council’s accreditation report may be found here: https://publichealth.gsu.edu/about/accreditation/
CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs outside schools of public health.
Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals
Mission. The School provides the high quality and relevant teaching, research and service needed to evolve public health practice in a changing world. By investigating the contemporary problems that challenge diverse urban communities, the School is preparing the next generation of public health professionals to make a difference through leadership, scholarship and practice in Georgia communities and around the globe.
The School’s mission is strengthened by the objective of the University System of Georgia, through its Strategic Plan for Public Health Education, Research and Service, “to ensure that the System becomes one of the national leaders in public health education, research and service.”
Vision. The School’s vision is to be a leading public health research institution dedicated to understanding and solving contemporary health problems. The School will be the destination of choice for students seeking an affordable and meaningful public health education.
Values. Six values were determined in a School-wide review process. All values were developed with input from the administration, faculty, staff and students and are reaffirmed or revised during each subsequent review process. The values are succinct and specific in nature and are reflected in faculty, staff and students’ instruction, service and learning activities. The values are:
- Integrity, accountability, and transparency in our operations
- Scholarship and inquiry
- Respect for all aspects of diversity
- Health as a human right
- Prioritizing health in all policy decisions
- Sustainable healthy environments
- Student Success
Goals. The goals of the School are:
- Exceed $20 million annually in sponsor-funded research
- Establish a new Center to promote interdisciplinary research and training around noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and other contemporary global health problems.
- Receive University-wide recognition for our ability to contribute to excellence in interdisciplinary research methodologies.
- All junior tenure track faculty to obtain sponsored funding within their first three academic years of service; lead the University in career development awards.
- Double the number of our peer-reviewed publications.
- Attract and retain a diverse student body, staff, and faculty.
- Successfully graduate 70% of our bachelor’s students within six years, 80% of our MPH students within four years, and 60% of our doctoral students within seven years.
- Double the number of our online and hybrid course offerings.
- Increase external support for graduate students by emphasizing training grants, student fellowships and graduate student support through our faculty’s grant-seeking activities.
- Develop and offer a professional doctoral program (DrPH) and targeted executive education offerings for public health workers hoping to increase their knowledge and skills.
- Promote and expand the involvement of faculty and staff in university, community-based and professional education projects so that service activities will be greater than 3 times the number of faculty.
- Better recognize those who contribute to public health practice and education communities through service.
- Offer at least 2 continuing education activities for the workforce each year, aligned with needs identified in our communities’ workforce.
Research Centers, Collectives, and Initiatives
The Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development
14 Marietta Street NW, 2nd Floor
The Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development (CHD) was established in August 2008 to house the National SafeCare® Training and Research Center (NSTRC) and the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). In 2011 CHD welcomed Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, a state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, which will provide a statewide direction to promote healthy children and develop strong families through community resources, public awareness, prevention programs, research, and advocacy activities. The center was designated a university-level research center in 2015, and its name honors and memorializes Dr. Mark Chaffin (1952 - 2015), a pre-eminent scholar in child maltreatment, parenting, implementation science and services for disadvantaged people and populations with disabilities.
The NSTRC is funded by a number of private and public service and research grants and contracts. It was created in 2007 with a center grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The CLD is primarily funded by a center grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) of the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). PCA Georgia is funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and other sources. The general mission of the CHD is to promote the health, safety, well-being, and quality of life of children, adults, and families with and without disabilities through research, service, advocacy, and to prevent child maltreatment.
Biostatistics Research Collaborative
400 Urban Life Building
The collaborative generates collaborations between Georgia State investigators for high-quality health-related research. Biostatistics Research Collaborative (BRC) team members collaborate with investigators on grant development, study design, statistical analysis, interpretation of results and manuscript preparation.
Center for Research on Interpersonal Violence
1104 Urban Life Building
In the third year of its Next Generation Program, Georgia State University identified interpersonal violence as an interdisciplinary area in which it seeks to become an internationally recognized resource and authority. As a result of this Interpersonal Violence Initiative, the Center for Research on Interpersonal Violence was established, and the Center aims to (1) understand the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence, (2) emphasize the development, refinement, and evaluation of interventions to reduce or prevent the perpetration of interpersonal violence and address the impact of victimization, and (3) inform public policy. Researchers in the center come from multiple disciplines at GSU: Psychology, Criminal Justice, Public Health, Sociology, Social Work, and Neuroscience.
Center for Resilient Youth
1112 Urban Life Building
The Resilient Youth (ResY) was funded by the Next Generation Program and is an initiative that seeks to build interdisciplinary scholarship that uses the concept of resilience as a framework for addressing health disparities among urban youth. ResY builds on existing strengths among current senior and supporting GSU faculty in Psychology, Public Health, and Sociology that have established, externally funded, and nationally/internationally recognized research programs. The initiative will attract new faculty and seed a new postdoctoral fellowship program that will collaborate with current faculty to build an internationally recognized Center of Excellence focused on scholarship focused specifically on urban drivers among youth in Atlanta and other major urban centers in the U.S. and across the globe.
Academic Resources and Services
Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services
Urban Life Building, Suite 300
Denise Gouveia, Director
Vanessa Thomas-Meikle, Associate Director
Lynette Reid, Graduate Recruitment Manager
Jonathan Key, Graduate Advisor
Kelsey Francis, Undergraduate Advisor
Mayana Silas, Undergraduate Advisor
Marquetta Slaughter, Administrative Coordinator
The Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services (OAA) provides the SPH current and prospective students with comprehensive student support services to ensure academic and career success.
Advising and Academic Assistance
The Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services (OAA) supports the school’s commitment to quality education in the field of public health by advising undergraduate seniors and coordinating the recruitment, admission and advising of graduate students. Through the advisement process, students learn to identify and use university resources effectively to: satisfy degree requirements; plan programs of study; discover how interests, skills and goals connect to fields of study and careers. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-in advisement without an appointment is scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m..
University Career Services (UCS) within Enrollment Services is a comprehensive career center dedicated to the success of all Georgia State University students, including public health students. UCS
- helps students and alumni explore academic majors, find internships and jobs, launch careers, explore graduate and professional school options and pursue their professional goals.
- helps employment recruiters from big corporations to small agencies discover, recruit and hire Georgia State University students and alumni. UCS is like an extension of a recruiting organization’s human resources wing, seeking collegiate talent. They help with both internship hiring and entry-level career position hiring.
- manages Handshake, Georgia State University’s online job board for students, alumni and employers. There is no student or employer fee to use Handshake.
- helps professional and graduate school recruiters connect with students and alumni seeking advanced educational opportunities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
UCS provides primary career support to undergraduate public health students, while the School of Public Health Career Services office supplements UCS offerings as appropriate. To contact UCS, please call 404-413-1820 or visit them in Student Center West, Room 270, located at 66 Courtland St. SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, or visit their website at: career.gsu.edu/
Public Health Student Life
The Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services (OAA) also supports all SPH student clubs and organizations - students are encouraged to read about the various groups within the college, and join one while being enrolled in the SPH: https://publichealth.gsu.edu/academics-student-life/
SPH Study Abroad Website: publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/study-abroad/
Study abroad is one of the ways the School provides a learning environment that prepares students with broad skills regarding diversity and cultural competence. Opportunities to earn Signature Experience and undergraduate elective course credits abroad are available in most years, and opportunities increase as student interest increases. Previously planned study abroad opportunity cities include: Salvador, Brazil; Kampala, Uganda; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Shanghai, China. Students should check the above-linked study abroad website for future opportunities.
Grades of C- in Major and Signature Experience
Grades in the public health major area and signature experience area requirements, where applicable, require a grade of C- or higher. The overall GPA for the public health major and signature experience area is C (2.0).
Transient Status at Other Institutions
Students enrolled in the Georgia State University School of Public Health who wish to take course work in transient status at another institution, whether as a full-time or part-time student, must have prior written approval from the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services if they wish to apply the credit to a Georgia State degree program. A transient petition form should be submitted prior to registration.
Transferring Credits into the Major
To maintain the integrity of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree program, no more than a total of 15 credit hours will be allowed to transfer into Areas F, G, and I, with the further stipulation that no more than 9 of those credit hours can be counted in Area G. All credits transferring in as public health courses must be from CEPH-accredited schools or CEPH-accredited standalone bachelor’s programs. With the exception of university-approved dual degree programs, if the course to be transferred in was used to satisfy another degree program either at GSU or elsewhere, the BSPH Program Director reserves the right to require the student to complete a different undergraduate-level course prescribed by the BSPH Program Director. That course will be substituted into the student’s BSPH program.
Directed Readings courses in the undergraduate program are intended to allow students of proven performance to do independent study in a specific subject area. Enrollment in a directed readings course requires prior consent of the instructor and the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services. A maximum of one directed readings course may count toward fulfillment of degree requirements, and the course may not be substituted for a core course requirement. The subject of the independent study will be determined in consultation with the faculty member responsible for supervising the independent work. A faculty member may seek the assessment of a second faculty reader on any directed readings paper. Letter grades, rather than grades of S or U (satisfactory or unsatisfactory), will be assigned for all directed readings courses.
Modification of Degree Requirements
Students may petition for modifications of the degree requirements of the School of Public Health. Degree modification petitions are granted only in the case of extenuating circumstances and only when an educationally acceptable substitution is proposed. Petition forms and information are available at the University Advisement Center for freshman, sophomore, and junior students, and at the School of Public Health Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services for seniors (at least 90 credit hours completed).
Undergraduate students should refer to the Change of Catalog Edition section in the University Academic Regulations chapter of the undergraduate catalog.
Grade Point Average and Course Grade Requirements
For Bachelor’s level students, an overall institutional grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better must be earned to receive the BSPH degree. Other GPA requirements are listed throughout the BSPH major in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Final Course Grades
Most public health faculty and instructors follow the following course grading scale:
- A: 90-100
- B: 80-89
- C: 70-79
- D: 60-69
- F: below 60
Any deviations - including the availability of plus/minus grading - will be at the discretion of the individual public health faculty member or instructor, and specifically stated in the course syllabus. Throughout this Catalog, there are noted grade requirements for certain courses in each area. It is important to note that if the grade requirement is a “B (3.0) or better,” then a B- (2.7) grade does NOT meet that “B (3.0) or better” grade requirement. Likewise, if the grade requirement is a “C (2.0) or better,” then a C- (1.7) grade does NOT meet that “C (2.0) or better” grade requirement.
Student Complaints, Petitions for Policy Waivers and Variances, and Appeals
The appeals procedure for students in the School of Public Health will follow different courses depending on the nature of the student’s appeal. Please refer to Student Complaints, Petitions for Policy Waivers and Variances, and Appeals section University Academic Regulations chapter of the undergraduate catalog or visit deanofstudents.gsu.edu/student-assistance/student-complaints-petitions/ online for details.
Global Scholars and Global Distinction Courses
The Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) program includes five courses designated by the University Senate as Global Distinction Courses:
Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences Department:
- PHPB 4230 Global Perspectives on Injury and Violence Prevention
- PHPB 4880 Public Health Study Abroad
Population Health Sciences Department:
- PHPB 3035 Introduction to Maternal and Child Health
- PHPH 4050 Health Equity and Disparities: Global and Urban Health Challenges
- PHPH 4070 Introduction to Chronic and Infectious Disease
- PHPH 4880 Public Health Study Abroad
Students who meet the current university rules for Global Scholar designation may be eligible to be recognized as a Global Scholar upon graduation. Students should consult the current university rules for Global Scholar designation at the time of their graduation. Examples of university rules for Global Scholar designation can include grade requirements in each of the Global Scholar courses and institutional grade-point average requirements at the time of graduation. These BSPH courses address the following skills, knowledge and awareness deemed to help students gain global competence.
- World language skills: the ability to communicate in a language other than English
- Communication skills: the ability to communicate with diverse audiences and with people from different backgrounds and learning styles
- Analytical skills: the ability to analyze and synthesize comparative and cross-cultural information with sound judgment
- Comparative grasp of political systems, histories, religions, cultures, literatures, economies, etc.
- Recognition of global interconnectedness and conflict
- Ability to think critically about the U.S. and see it in a global context
- Openness to different thoughts, ideas, and perspectives; curiosity; adaptability; flexibility in ambiguous or unfamiliar situations as well as in international or intercultural environments
- Willingness to stay abreast of international current events and seek out new intercultural opportunities at home or abroad
- Appreciation of and respect for difference and diversity and a highly developed sense of empathy, awareness, and concern
Option for Public Health Pre-majors to Declare an Academic Minor in Another Area
The School of Public Health extends the option of declaring an academic minor in another area to those Public Health pre-majors who meet the university’s requirements for doing so and would like to do so. The School of Public Health does not currently offer a public health minor.