Health Policy and Management Major, B.S.P.H.

Health policy and management is a multidisciplinary field within public health that works to promote healthcare equity, quality, and accessibility for individuals and populations. The mission of the B.S.P.H. program in health policy and management is to improve the health of individuals and communities and reduce health inequities in the United States and around the world by educating future health leaders, managers, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers.

The curriculum includes a combination of core public health courses, required courses in health policy and management, an 8-week internship completed the summer between junior and senior year, elective courses (including senior honors thesis and graduate-level options), and a year-long capstone experience. The curriculum emphasizes collaboration and application, with students working on multiple semester and year-long team projects, some with community partners.

Students go through the program in a cohort of about 40–45 students, creating a strong sense of community. The program also offers a supportive learning environment. Each student is matched with a faculty mentor and supported by an academic coordinator and dedicated career services coordinator within the department.

Graduates of the program are very successful. Most graduates enter the workforce immediately after graduation, with top employers including consulting firms, hospitals and health systems, private research organizations, health insurance companies, health information technology companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and more. Within 2–5 years, the majority of graduates go on to pursue a graduate or professional degree, with the most common being a graduate degree in public health or medical degree.

Admission to the program is required.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the B.S.P.H. program in health policy and management, students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

Knowledge of the U.S. Health System

  • Examine the organization, financing, management, and performance of the U.S. health system
  • Discuss the politics of public health and health policy in the U.S.
  • Discuss health-related legal and ethical issues and their impact on the U.S. health system


Analytical and Management Skills

  • Manage and analyze data using appropriate methods and tools
  • Formulate strategic alternatives for achieving an organization’s goals and objectives
  • Apply basic methods and techniques in financial management
  • Discuss approaches to effectively lead and manage people, projects, and organizations


Foundational and Cross-Cutting Skills

  • Describe health inequities, identify their root causes at multiple levels of the social ecological framework, and discuss approaches to advancing health equity
  • Locate, use, evaluate, and synthesize public health information
  • Communicate public health information, in both oral and written forms through a variety of media and to diverse audiences
  • Perform effectively on teams
  • Demonstrate attitudes and behaviors consistent with a professional environment


Throughout the curriculum, students will also receive exposure to the following foundational public health domains:

  • The history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, and functions across the globe and in society
  • The basic concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, use, and analysis and why evidence-based approaches are an essential part of public health practice
  • The concepts of population health, and the basic processes, approaches, and interventions that identify and address the major health-related needs and concerns of populations
  • The underlying science of human health and disease, including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the life course
  • The socioeconomic, behavioral, biological, environmental, and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities
  • The fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation
  • The fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the U.S. health system as well as the differences between systems in other countries
  • The basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of health care and public health policy and the roles, influences, and responsibilities of the different agencies and branches of government
  • The basic concepts of public health-specific communication, including technical and professional writing and the use of mass media and electronic technology

Prerequisite Courses Required for Admission

BIOL 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Biology
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Biology Laboratory H, F
4
ECON 101IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Economics H, F4
One of the following courses:1.5-3
Introduction to Financial Accounting
Management Accounting SS
One of the following courses:3-4
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Foundations of Statistics and Data Science F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Data Models and Inference F
One of the following courses:3-4
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Precalculus Mathematics F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus for Business and Social Sciences F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable I H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable II H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Decision Models for Business and Economics
Total Hours15.5-19
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

Admission

The undergraduate degree offered is the bachelor of science in public health (B.S.P.H.). Four majors are available to undergraduate students: biostatistics, environmental health sciences, health policy and management, and nutrition. Each of these combines features of a broad-based education with concentrated study in a specific public health discipline. The programs prepare individuals for preprofessional positions in health-related fields and provide a firm base for graduate study. Students are permitted to pursue two majors in the school if there are no course time conflicts and they are able to complete all requirements within their remaining time for degree completion. Students are subject to the requirements in place when they are admitted to the Gillings School of Global Public Health; consequently, requirements described in this catalog particularly apply to students admitted to the school during the 2022–2023 academic year.

Students who wish to obtain the B.S.P.H. degree typically spend two years in the General College of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (or in an equivalent core program of academic study elsewhere) and two subsequent years under the administration of the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Enrollment in the B.S.P.H. degree programs is limited. Typically a student is selected in the latter half of the sophomore year and admitted on a competitive basis for junior year entry to the major. The minimum recommended grade point average for admission to programs in biostatistics, environmental health sciences, health policy and management, and nutrition is 3.0.

For current UNC–Chapel Hill students, the initial step of B.S.P.H. application is available in ConnectCarolina under the "Apply for Majors Change" tab.  For additional information on application deadlines and how to apply, please visit the Public Health Undergraduate Majors web page.

Transfer students interested in any of the public health undergraduate majors must apply through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions using the Transfer Common application. 

For high school seniors, our four majors participate in the University Assured Enrollment Programs under EXCEL@Carolina. Assured enrollment programs guarantee students a spot in an undergraduate major within one of Carolina’s professional schools or a spot in an accelerated undergraduate/graduate program. Programs include unique opportunities such as early access to classes, individualized mentorship, and career connections. For additional information, please visit EXCEL@Carolina.

Requirements

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • earn a C (not C-) or better in all prerequisite, core, and additional courses required for the major
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
Public Health Core Courses: 1
BIOS 600Principles of Statistical Inference3
or ECON 400 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Data Science and Econometrics
EPID 600Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health3
SPHG 351Foundations of Public Health3
SPHG 352Public Health Systems and Solutions4
Health Policy Management Courses: 1
HPM 310Introduction to Health Law and Ethics3
HPM 320Introduction to Strategic Planning and Marketing in Health Care3
HPM 330Introduction to Health Organization Leadership, Management, and Behavior3
HPM 340Foundations of Health Care Financial Management3
HPM 341Information Systems, Technology, and Tools in Health Care3
HPM 350Introduction to the U.S. Health System I3
HPM 351Politics, Public Health, and Health Policy3
HPM 352Introduction to the U.S. Health System II3
HPM 393Internship in Health Policy and Management (requires a $400.00 field training fee)2
HPM 697Health Policy and Management BSPH Capstone3
Additional Requirements 2
BIOL 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Biology
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Biology Laboratory H, F
4
ECON 101IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Economics H, F4
STOR 120IDEAs in Action General Education logo Foundations of Statistics and Data Science F3-4
or STOR 155 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Data Models and Inference
One of the following courses: 1.5-3
Introduction to Financial Accounting
Management Accounting SS
Financial Accounting
One of the following courses:3-4
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Precalculus Mathematics F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus for Business and Social Sciences F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable I H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable II H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Decision Models for Business and Economics
Total Hours57.5-61
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

1

Requires a grade of C (not C-) or better

2

Prerequisite courses required for admission. 

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch F 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Global Language through level 3 varies
Major Courses
BIOL 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Biology
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Biology Laboratory H, F
4
ECON 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Economics H, F 4
Hours 19
Sophomore Year
STOR 120
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Foundations of Statistics and Data Science F
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Data Models and Inference
3-4
Select one of the following: 1.5-3
Introduction to Financial Accounting
Management Accounting SS
Select one of the following: 3-4
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Precalculus Mathematics F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus for Business and Social Sciences F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable I H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable II H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H, F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Decision Models for Business and Economics
Hours 7.5-11
Junior Year
Fall Semester:
HPM 341 Information Systems, Technology, and Tools in Health Care 3
HPM 350 Introduction to the U.S. Health System I 3
SPHG 351 Foundations of Public Health 3
Spring Semester:
HPM 320 Introduction to Strategic Planning and Marketing in Health Care 3
HPM 340 Foundations of Health Care Financial Management 3
HPM 352 Introduction to the U.S. Health System II 3
SPHG 352 Public Health Systems and Solutions 4
Any Semester in the Junior Year:
EPID 600 Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health 3 3
Any Semester in the Junior or Senior Year:
BIOS 600
Principles of Statistical Inference 1
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Data Science and Econometrics
3
Hours 28
Senior Year
Fall Semester:
HPM 393 Internship in Health Policy and Management 2 2
HPM 310 Introduction to Health Law and Ethics 3
HPM 330 Introduction to Health Organization Leadership, Management, and Behavior 3
HPM 691H IDEAs in Action General Education logo Honors Research I (optional elective) 3
Spring Semester:
HPM 351 Politics, Public Health, and Health Policy 3
HPM 697 Health Policy and Management BSPH Capstone 3
HPM 692H IDEAs in Action General Education logo Honors Research II (optional elective) 3
Hours 20
Total Hours 74.5-78
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

1

BIOS 600 or ECON 400 can be taken any semester in the Junior or Senior year.

2

HPM 393 is completed during the summer between the Junior and Senior year.

3

EPID 600 is strongly recommended in the junior year, but may be taken in the senior year. 

Special Opportunities in Health Policy and Management

Experiential Education

An 8-week full-time internship (320 hour minimum) is required during the summer between the junior and senior years. The internship provides students an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills being acquired through their coursework, further develop and demonstrate attainment of program competencies, and explore career interests. Learn more about internships completed by past students here

In addition, in the year-long senior capstone students work on consulting projects with health organizations in the community. This project serves as a culminating experience for the program, providing students with an opportunity to synthesize, integrate, and apply knowledge and skills gained through their coursework and further develop and demonstrate attainment of program competencies. These projects are completed under the direction of a faculty member and preceptor, typically within a public health department, community health center, hospital, medical office, or non-profit organization. Learn more about some of our past capstone projects here.

Honors in Health Policy and Management

Eligible students have the option of completing a senior honors thesis, which generally includes designing and carrying out a research study or program evaluation. Students defend their proposals in the fall and their theses in the spring. Examples of research questions examined by past honors thesis students can be found here

School and Departmental Involvement

Opportunities exist for involvement in student organizations such as the Healthcare Executives Student Association, the Healthcare Improvement Group, AcademyHealth, the Student Global Health Committee, GlobeMed, the Minority Student Caucus, the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and the school’s student government. Most students are also active in one or more health-related campus organizations, such as the Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) and Get Covered Carolina.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad prior to entering the program in the junior year. While in the program, students may complete their internship outside the United States.

Undergraduate Awards

The department presents awards for undergraduate students at an annual Awards Day in late spring.

Undergraduate Research

Students with research interests may seek opportunities to work with faculty members on research projects. Students in the program regularly find opportunities at research centers on campus, such as the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Center for Health Equity Research and the Carolina Population Center and the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

Department of Health Policy and Management

Visit Program Website

1101 McGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB# 7411

(919) 966-7350

Chair

Morris Weinberger

mweinber@email.unc.edu

Associate Chair

Kristin Reiter

reiter@email.unc.edu

Associate Chair

Erin Kent

Erin.Kent@unc.edu

Program Director

Melanie Studer

Melanie_Studer@unc.edu

Academic Coordinator

U'Ronda Higgs

uhiggs@email.unc.edu

Academic Program Support Coordinator

Ta'Keyah Holder

tholder@unc.edu