142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Characterizing the growth of the undergraduate public health major, 1992-2012

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Emily Burke, MPH, CPH , ASPPH Data Center, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Washington, DC
Christine Plepys, MS , Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Washington, DC
Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH , University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Lousiville, KY
In recent years, interest in undergraduate public health education has grown dramatically. However, little is known about how many public health undergraduate degrees are conferred in the United States.

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), we identified undergraduate degree conferrals in Public Health and extracted those records from NCES’ census of all degree conferrals in the United States for 1992 through 2012. Twenty-one individual datasets were cleaned, combined, and processed to create conferral estimates by institution, degree type, program area, gender, and race/ethnicity.

In 2012, approximately 6,500 students graduated with a public health undergraduate degree. NCES data suggest a significant increase in undergraduate conferrals beginning around 2005.  The majority of students graduated in programs in Public Health Education/Behavioral Sciences (27%) and Public Health-General (25%) during 1992-2012. In 1992, 45 schools conferred undergraduate degrees in Public Health with 17 degree conferrals per institution on average (median 15, max 63). In 2012, 176 schools reported conferring undergraduate public health degrees with an average classes size of 37 (median 19, max 341). Only 120 schools graduated more than 10 students in 2012 (28 schools in 1992).  This suggests a small number of schools account for most of the degrees conferred nationally.

Thousands of students are graduating annually with public health undergraduate degrees, but little information exists on what skills they have when they do graduate and where they end up. Further research is needed both into the quality/comparability of new public health undergraduate degrees, and on alumni themselves.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe trends in the number of undergraduate students that graduate each year with public health degrees. Define “public health degree” using categories from the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDS data source.

Keyword(s): Research, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Manager of Data Analytics at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. I coordinate annual data collection and reporting efforts and support various research activities. I worked closely with our research partners on this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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