McALLEN, RGV – Great careers can begin with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and now such degrees can be earned in McAllen.

This is the message Texas A&M School of Public Health in McAllen wants to get across to students that may be interested in pursuing such an education.

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health program at Texas A&M School of Public Health in McAllen starts next fall but applications need to be submitted early in the New Year.

“The opportunities for our community keep growing with a new program coming to fruition in the fall of 2016 – the Bachelor of Science in Public Health,” said Olga Gabriel, executive director of Texas A&M Health Science Center in McAllen. “For those who want to continue their education locally, Texas A&M Health Science Center is expanding programs in McAllen. We are very excited to continue our partnerships throughout the Rio Grande Valley to offer, in addition to the existing Master of Public Health program.”

Gabriel explained why these programs can lead to great careers.

“These public health programs have unlimited avenues for future employment – from health administration, the environment, research, policy, planning, disaster preparedness to health in general.  I am always reminded that there is very little that touches our lives daily that does not lead back to some aspect of public health, from the air we breathe, the water we drink to the ergonomics of the chairs in our schools and offices. Students who participate in this course will be exposed to fascinating, eye opening classes, sure to get creative minds thinking of new ways to improve the health, lifestyle and future of our community.”

Frequently Asked Questions

To help potential students understand the program, Texas A&M School of Public Health in McAllen has produced a Frequently Asked Questions document. Here it is:

Q) What is the new degree opportunity now available in McAllen through the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health?

A) A Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH). The BSPH program in McAllen is “2 + 2” program requiring successful completions of 60 prerequisite semester credit hours (including AP or dual credit hours) to be considered for admission to Texas A&M McAllen for the public health major in the third and fourth years.

Q) Is there a minimum GPA requirement to apply?

A) Yes. A 3.0 GPA or above (on a 4.0 scale) is required.

Q) Do all prerequisite courses have to be completed before I can apply?

A) No. Prerequisite courses may be in progress during the application period, but must be completed prior to the first class day. To be considered for admission, applicants must be complete at least 40 semester credit hours of the 60 required before the program application deadline. Of these 40 semester credit hours, 15 must come from the following math and science prerequisites: Biology 1407, Chemistry 1411 and Math 1425. Acceptance offers will be contingent upon successful completion of these courses with a grade of “C” or better.

Q) Is overall GPA weighted equally with GPA in prerequisite courses?

A) Both an overall GPA in the prerequisite courses and a “C” in the math and science courses are considered during the admission process.

Q) Is an entrance test required?

A) No. Only the successful completion of the 60 prerequisite semester credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA are required for admission.

Q) Do prerequisite courses have to be completed within the past five years?

A) No. There is no restriction on the date of completion for courses. However, if a significant amount of time has lapsed since completion, applicants are strongly encouraged to review the material, especially the prerequisite science course work.

Q) Can I participate in the program on a part-time basis?

A) No. The BSPH is a full-time degree program.

Q) Can high school students nearing graduation apply directly to the BSPH program for entry as a college freshman?

A) No. Entry into the BSPH program requires completion of the prerequisite 60 semester credit hours, followed by application through a competitive admission process, and completion of prerequisite courses prior to the first day of class?

Q) Is Texas A&M Health Science Center part of Texas A&M University?

A) Yes. Texas A&M Health Science Center is an academic unit of Texas A&M University. Graduates from the BSPH program will receive a Texas A&M University diploma and are eligible to receive the Aggie Ring.

Q) What job opportunities will be available with a BSPH?

A) Examples of job growth areas:
* Health educators (in community schools, corporations, non-profits)
* Environmental science technicians (air and water quality, ergonomics, health risk assessment)
* Health service, social service and community service managers
* Health information technology and informatics, global health, health communication
* Disaster preparedness (monitoring community health, disease surveillance, outbreak and disaster response, and program and project management)
* Pre-health professions track for medicine, nursing, dentistry, as well as graduate studies in public health

For more information, contact: [email protected] or (956) 668-6300 or

Articulation Agreement signed

To prepare for the Bachelor of Science in Public Health, South Texas College and Texas A&M School of Public Health in McAllen signed an articulation agreement last April. In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian at the time, South Texas College President Shirley A. Reed said of the agreement:

“This articulation agreement allows students to spend two years at South Texas College and transfer to Texas A&M Health Science Center’s new bachelor’s program in public health. It’s a great opportunity for students interested in the public health field with high demand and tremendous need in the Valley and throughout Texas.

“This is one of many articulation agreements we have with Texas A&M. Our relationship began in 2000 when the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine provided an opportunity for the very best South Texas College students to get advanced admissions into medical school. We then went on to articulate our associate degree in nursing to Texas A&M’s bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“These are strong articulation agreements, and it’s just the beginning. The Texas A&M School of Public Health is located adjacent to the South Texas College Nursing & Allied Health Campus. The expansion South Texas College is planning right next door is going to provide many more opportunities to collaborate and work together for the benefit of the entire region.”

Dr. Brett Giroir was CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center at the time the STC-Texas A&M School of Public Health articulation agreement was signed. Giroir was at the articulation agreement ceremony. At the event he pointed out that public health is one of the most popular degrees for undergraduates across the country.

“Public health professionals work in hospitals, they work in public health departments, but they are one of the most needed disciplines for the energy industry, for the information technology industry, in ergonomics, in environmental health, in safety. They are ubiquitous and they are one of the most sought-after fields of training. Public health also sets you up perfectly to go to nursing school, medical school; dental school, any of the health professions,” Giroir said.

In his remarks, Giroir also referenced Texas A&M’s new Healthy South Texas initiative. He linked the new Bachelor of Science degree with the new initiative.

“The graduates of this new program will not enjoy a wonderful life, a fulfilling life working in the public health area but they really are the future of sustainable public health in this area. We (Texas A&M) are going to change health, we are going to transform health. We are going to improve the health of this community here and throughout Texas and a key part of that, the cornerstone, is training our future leaders.”

At the articulation agreement, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling read a proclamation for National Public Health Week. Darling said: “I never appreciated it until the last eight years, when I started working with the hospital (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance) and began dealing with public health officials and public health graduates, how much need there is for public health professionals. Probably more here than any other place in the state. So, this is a great opportunity for us to provide an educational opportunity but more importantly an employment opportunity for our kids to come here, have a good job and provide for the needs of our citizens. I am very excited about this program.”