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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

UNC Undergraduate Public Health Initiatives

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health offers undergraduate education in four of its eight academic units – biostatistics, environmental sciences and engineering, health policy and management, and nutrition. Health policy and management and biostatistics are highlighted here.


[Photo: Graduating seniors in health policy and management leave their last class at the UNC Gillings School in May]

The two-year Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) program in health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School enrolls 40 outstanding students per cohort.  About 25 percent of graduates immediately enter graduate or professional school, (e.g., Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Public Health, Master of Healthcare Administration, Master of Public Policy, Doctor of Philosophy, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery degree programs). Another 20 percent to 25 percent enter a degree program within three years of graduation. The remainder obtain other positions, including ones in health systems, public health agencies, consulting firms, universities, contract research organizations, pharmaceutical or health insurance firms, and global health organizations or fellowships.

Health policy and management BSPH students are admitted to and excel in the top public health, health administration, public policy and professional schools nationally and take on leadership roles as graduate students and upon graduation.

“Key to the program’s success,” says Dr. Karl Umble, clinical assistant professor of health policy and management and director of the department’s BSPH program, “are its high-quality students, small cohort model and highly qualified faculty members who are attentive to the nurture and support of individual students. Of particular value are the required summer internship and extensive service learning teamwork in health agencies, an honors research option for seniors, and the robust academic, work and research opportunities, all while studying in a strong department, within a top-ranked School at a top-tier public university that has a renowned medical center.”

Students rate the program highly. As a 2012 graduate now pursuing a doctorate in health policy said, “Attending the Gillings School’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health program in health policy and management was without a doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made. The program not only taught me the skills needed to excel in our post-health care reform world but also offered an immersive experience with peers and faculty members not typically available at the undergraduate level. Much of my academic and professional career thus far can be attributed in part to the people I met and studied with in the UNC Gillings School program.”

More information on the health policy and management BSPH program at the UNC Gillings School – including success stories of recent graduates – is available here.


[Photo: Biostatistics students in the Gillings School’s BSPH program take a break from final exams in April 2016 with food, friends and biostatistics games at the home of BSPH director Dr. Jane Monaco (standing, at left)]

The BSPH Program in biostatistics admits about 20 students per year, many of whom are among the top scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill, including Morehead-Cain Scholars, Robertson Scholars and National Merit Scholars. The average incoming GPA for the students enrolling in the program is 3.7/4.0, and about 20 percent of all students have a perfect 800 math SAT score.

Almost 60 percent of the BSPH biostatistics graduates continue to graduate or professional programs the first year after graduation, with the vast majority enrolling in top biostatistics graduate programs in the U.S. (including University of Washington at Seattle, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, UNC-Chapel Hill, Columbia and Duke).  Students who choose to pursue a job immediately after graduation are easily employed; the degree provides pertinent, applied skills in programming, study design and statistical analysis, which makes UNC BSPH graduates in biostatistics valuable assets in contract research organizations, nonprofit agencies and academic centers.

Mr. Larry Han, 2016 alumnus of the biostatistics BSPH program, was one the  35 Americans awarded the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship to pursue full-time graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in England. Mr. Han also was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship and was in the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. Following his studies at Cambridge, he will pursue a doctorate in biostatistics at Harvard University. During his career as a BSPH student at UNC, he contributed to research in treating HIV infections in China as well as research contributions involving malaria in Africa.

“These students amaze me,” said Dr. Jane Monaco, director of undergraduate studies in biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School.  “The BSPH students in biostatistics are a talented, focused, hard-working group. They are eager to use their outstanding quantitative abilities to improve human health – and whether it is through a career in pharmaceuticals, medicine or public health – they are succeeding. Whatever metric is used (academic achievement, job placement, graduate/medical school admission, research contributions), these students are high-achieving and game changers.”

More information is available here.