Eradicating diseases, promoting healthy behaviors, and improving the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities—an education in public health will provide you the skills to do it all. Mercyhurst’s multidisciplinary Public Health program focuses on disease and injury prevention by promoting healthy lifestyles through the implementation of educational programs, development of policies, research, and administration of health services. With only 16% of colleges offering undergraduate public health programs, Mercyhurst Public Health graduates have excellent prospects of finding work in the field, entering one of the more than 50 graduate schools of public health or continuing on to medical school or a law school offering a health law program.

Beyond the fact that a degree in Public Health can lead to fulfilling careers in medicine, health care, biotechnology, and the life sciences, there is a strong and evidenced need for public health workers in the coming years. As we have seen firsthand over the past few years, global health crises require well-trained and dedicated professionals who can understand the full scope of public health to create solutions for the betterment of our local and global communities. Public health is integral to every society; through research, public policy, and by supporting various organizations, public health graduates learn unique ways to indirectly and directly impact the well-being of a population. This exciting field of study will introduce you to an array of fulfilling, diverse job opportunities that specialize in human health, illnesses, disease prevention, and the environment.

B.A. in Public Health

Graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health will be well-equipped for careers in the following areas:

  • Health Education and Advocacy
  • Public Health Communication and Marketing
  • Bioterrorism and Terrorism Investigations
  • Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Outbreak Investigations and Global Health
  • Health Law, Public Policy, and Analysis
  • Microfinance for Health Interventions in Developing Countries
  • Program Management
  • Public Health Practice and Planning

B.S. in Public Health

Graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health will be well-equipped for careers in the following areas:

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Information Technology
  • Public Health Informatics and Biostatistics
  • Modeling and Simulation of Pandemics
  • Environmental Health
  • Water, Air, and Soil Safety Testing
  • Food Safety
  • Vaccines and Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Biomedical and Lab Practices

Public Health Fields

In The Classroom

Dr. Beatriz Torres and six Lakers from the Social Determinants of Health class spoke at Erie City Council meeting and met with City Council members Mayor Joseph V. Schemberand. These students, chosen by their peers to represent the class of 28 students, conducted a community assessment which included thorough observations of built environment, resources, and assets. They walked the streets and spoke with neighbors about aspects that encourage and/or hinder health and wellbeing. Each student presented their observations and provided recommendations for improvement coming from neighbors’ input. Dr. Torres asked the City Council members to reflect on ways each of their policies could affect Erie’s community health.

public health students

Learning Outcomes

The Public Health faculty members have identified five major Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for Majors in the Public Health Program. These SLOs are based on the 14 Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH) specific learning outcomes, which have been combined into 5 broader learning outcomes.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and philosophy of Public Health, the healthcare system and the relevant dimensions of health policy, law, ethics, and economics related to public.
  • Identify the role and importance of using data in Public Health for identifying and addressing population health challenges.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the science of human health and disease and the principles of health promotion and health.
  • Describe the role socioeconomic, behavioral, biological, and environmental factors on human health and their contribution to health.
  • Use mass media, technical writing, and technology to effectively communicate health-related information and to disseminate public health messages to a wide range of audiences.
public health club


Public Health Club facilitates cooperation between Public Health students and Erie community members through activities that promote wellness of the entire person. By applying classroom learning to service projects and community partnerships, students help to improve the quality of life for others as they reflect on their role as community members.

public health brushing


Public Health students learn outside the classroom and even around the world. Recently, our students embarked on a medical mission trip to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, where they conducted health screenings for local residents, worked with Mexican nursing students, and taught schoolchildren about handwashing and dental hygiene. 

public health scholar bowl


The Department of Public Health encourages students to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom through internships, fieldwork, and academic conferences. In 2019, Mercyhurst took first place in the case competition against top public health programs from Brown University and Ohio State at the Public Health Scholar Bowl at Saint Louis University. 

Contact Us

Maria Beatriz Torres, Ph.D., MPH, CHP, M.A.
Chair, Department of Public Health
Office: Hirt 312D
Phone: 814-824-3864