USF undergraduate public health program ranked No. 1 among nation’s best for veterans

College Factual ranks the College of Public Health as top undergraduate choice for veterans

Tampa, FL (July 1, 2015) — The undergraduate public health program at the University of South Florida ranks No. 1 in College Factual’s  “Top10 Veteran-Friendly Public Health Schools” list, which was featured in a Military Times article this week.

College Factual generated the rankings from a variety of factors when determining the top colleges for veterans pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public health, from veteran-friendly policies to affordability to overall college quality.

The College of Public Health offers the first bachelor’s degree program in public health at an accredited college in Florida’s State University System. The degree in public health provides student-centered courses required for entry-level public health jobs found in government agencies, health corporations, community non-profit organizations and health care facilities.


Joe Close meets with University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft. Close is a senior in the College of Public Health and a National Guard air defense veteran from Leesburg, Fla. (Photo: University of South Florida)

Kay Perrin, PhD, assistant dean of undergraduate studies at USF’s COPH, says that the undergraduate courses in public health are both engaging and interactive and that the classes show student veterans how the work they did in the military leads to civilian jobs in public health.

“When the student veterans become familiar with the College of Public Health, they immediately see the link between what they did in the military and how it is applied to public health courses,” said Perrin.

For example, Perrin said, when  a student veteran who worked on enhancing clean water and sanitation in a village takes a course in global or environmental health, the student can instantly see the connection between the work they were doing and improved quality of life.

Donna Petersen, ScD, dean of USF’s COPH, recognizes the value of being a veteran-friendly institution.

“We’re very fortunate to be part of a University that understands, values and supports veterans on our campus and in our educational programs,” Petersen said.  “Military veterans who understand the importance of public health enrich our classrooms in immeasurable ways; it is our privilege  to create a welcoming and nurturing educational environment for them as we all seek to create healthy, prosperous and peaceful communities around the world.”

The USF COPH’s support for veterans extends beyond the classroom.  The college also organizes events to help student veterans get acquainted with each other outside of the classroom and feel more at home in a university environment.  Additionally, the undergraduate curriculum features multiple opportunities for student research, study abroad and workforce development.  More importantly, all students are expected to practice – in the field and begin honing their public health skills as an undergraduate.

This spring, 171 students graduated with public health bachelor’s degrees, bringing the total to 1,038 who have earned their four-year degrees since the undergraduate public health major was established at USF in 2011.

At the graduate level, USF’s public health college offers several master’s degrees as well as a PhD and a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH).  Earlier this year, USF’s COPH was ranked 16 in U.S. News and World Report’s list of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

All College Factual rankings for veteran-friendly undergraduate public health programs can be found online here.

-USF College of Public Health-

Established in 1984 as the first college of public health in the State of Florida, the USF College of Public Health is a recognized leader in community health, online education, maternal and child health, social marketing, and global infectious disease research. The college offers multiple online and on-campus concentrations that lead to MHA, MPH, MSPH, DrPH, and PhD degrees, as well several dual degrees, graduate certificates, and special programs.  To learn more about the college and its 1600 students who commit to passionately solve problems and create conditions that allow every person the universal right to health and well-being, visit

-USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities. For more information, visit


Media contact:
Natalie D. Preston, USF College of Public Health,

Written by Annamarie Koehler-Shepley, USF College of Public Health