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Public Health


Want to make a difference in the health of individuals and communities? Are you looking for a major to prepare you for employment and graduate work in a health field such as nutrition, addictions, community health, nursing, occupational therapy, or physician’s assistant? The Public Health program provides a dynamic and academically rigorous environment in which students investigate, learn, and apply knowledge through service learning, civic engagement, and scholarship.

You’ll complete an interdisciplinary core of classes, which will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of health within the larger context of both the community and global environment.

Public Health promotes:

  • Strong student mentoring and professional development
  • Hands-on and applied learning opportunities
  • A collaborative and engaged learning environment

Program Options

This interdisciplinary major includes three options.

Population Health

Students choosing the population health option will work to change policies, environments, attitudes, and behaviors that affect health. This option offers three specializations: community health, behavior and health, and pre-professional health. The community health specialization prepares students for professional careers in community health education, global health, or for graduate programs in public health or health education. The behavior and health specialization prepares students for graduate programs and careers in health psychology, health coaching, pain management, or behavioral health. The pre-professional health specialization is a flexible track for students intending to pursue advanced study and careers in nursing, physician's assistant, chiropractic, occupational therapy, medical school or other health-related professions.


The nutrition option can prepare you to pursue careers in dietetics, food service management, community nutrition, and health promotion. Upon completion of the program, you’ll be qualified to apply to dietetic internships, which is the next step to becoming a registered dietitian. Along with the scientific foundation, the nutrition option includes the study of how food and eating are influenced by one’s environment.


Equipped with an understanding of addiction and an introduction to counseling, treatment, and related practices, students who complete the addiction option are prepared to go on to further study or to apply for entry-level employment in the field. You may also prepare for certification or licensure in addiction counseling in some states. The curriculum emphasizes research, theory, and practice related to the range of services for treating people who struggle with addiction.

The addictions minor offers addiction courses in preparation for further studies in the field as well as preparation for licensure or certification in some states. The program can provide you with a theoretical understanding of substance abuse, compulsive behaviors, and addictions and an introduction to counseling, treatment, or prevention. The curriculum emphasizes research, theory, and practice regarding the continuum of care in addictions.

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In this Section:


Public health graduates from Keene State College will be able to:

  • Discuss the relationship between health and public policy.
  • Identify and explain the social determinants that influence personal and population health.
  • Design effective health interventions.
  • Apply evidence-based knowledge in public health.
  • Apply behavior change theories in public health.
  • Identify and apply ethical principles.
  • Critically evaluate health information through the application of information literacy skills.
  • Effectively communicate health information.
  • Use research methods to complete scholarly work.

I had the chance to work for a coconut oil company in Nicaragua. It has created an entirely new economy in a part of the country that barely has access to electricity.
-Kelsey Bumsted '14

Career and Other Opportunities

Graduates go on to professional or graduate programs in a range of health fields, including nutrition, addictions, behavioral health, health promotion, as well as nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy, and naturopathic medicine. In addition, our graduates are working in a variety of fields:

  • WIC nutritionist
  • Nutrition services supervisor
  • Diet technician
  • Registered dietitian
  • Food service manager
  • Public health nutritionist
  • Nutrition and fitness coach
  • Peace Corps/AmeriCorps
  • Community health worker
  • Program manager
  • Health coach
  • Medical unit coordinator
  • Counselor
  • Drug/alcohol counselor
  • Court assistant
  • Recovery specialist
  • Mental health counselor
  • Case manager
  • Patient advocates
  • School counselors
Tyler Dabrowski '13 at the Pyeongchang Olympics
July 20, 2018 –

After four years of working with US Speedskating, Tyler Dabrowski ’13 had been on hand for a number of world cups in both European and Asian countries. Still, accompanying the...

Hungry Owl organizers
February 26, 2018 –

When students from two campus organizations – the Pre-Medical and nutrition-focused SNAKS clubs – learned last semester that food insecurity is a problem for some Keene State students, they came...

Health Science Major Julia Brida
February 22, 2018 –

Forty-one million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children. This food insecurity makes it extremely difficult for children to focus on their education. Keene State...

Contact Admissions

Admissions Office
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435