Island University Launches Innovative Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health Degrees

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Looking to meet the ever-evolving public health needs of the Coastal Bend community, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is proud to introduce two new academic programs aimed at preparing future leaders in public health.

Beginning in August 2024, the Island University will offer Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health degrees, which will provide students with a comprehensive and dynamic education to address the growing challenges in public health in South Texas and beyond. Both programs emphasize experiential learning, with opportunities for internships, fieldwork, and collaboration with community partners. Program administrators are working to recruit a varied student population that includes those from Texas and other states, working professionals, underrepresented students, and those with backgrounds in the armed forces.

Graduates of both programs will be prepared to address current and emerging public health issues, ranging from infectious diseases to health disparities and beyond. The two degrees, which will be housed within the university’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS), will provide a valuable credential with excellent employment prospects.

What is a distinctive factor for our programs is a focus on public health issues specific to South Texas, including cultural, political, and historical perspectives; along with border issues.

Dr. Hassan Aziz, CONHS Dean

Dr. Hassan Aziz, CONHS Dean, said both programs were developed in accordance with Island University directives, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requirements, and the national standards of the Council on Education for Public Health, an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs outside schools of public health.

“What is a distinctive factor for our programs is a focus on public health issues specific to South Texas, including cultural, political, and historical perspectives; along with border issues,” Aziz said. “We believe that gives us an edge over the other programs in the state.”

Bachelor of Science in Public Health

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is designed to provide students with new approaches to emerging global and public health issues in the context of human rights and cultural understanding. The areas of focus include disease prevention, environmental health, public health surveillance, health policy, and health management. All classes will be delivered in a face-to-face format, which is based on student preference obtained through surveys.

Aziz said that between 2015 and 2019, the number of bachelor’s degree completions in public health grew at an annualized rate of 45.8% in Texas, a rate that is almost 13 times higher than the growth rate for all bachelor’s degree conferrals in the state.

“Student demand for a bachelor’s degree in public health degree program has rapidly grown in Texas, the region, and the nation,” Aziz said. “We have seen a robust response to the addition of the bachelor’s degree plan to our website — and that’s prior to the official launch of our marketing plan.” 

The curriculum, which consists of a 120-credit hour degree plan combines interdisciplinary coursework, hands-on experiences, and cutting-edge research opportunities. A 300-hour internship helps students gain critical workplace experience that, in turn, makes students more competitive in the job market. The inaugural cohort has space for up to 30 students and would grow to up to 50 students in its fifth year.

Graduates can expect to work as a biostatistician, environmental health scientist, health education specialist, or public policy writer, to name a few. And there’s plenty of work to be had. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate a significantly greater than average employment growth of 11% to 32% for health-focused occupations. 

Master of Science in Public Health

The Master of Science in Public Health at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is designed to address local and regional health care disparities and looks to enroll individuals who aspire to take on leadership roles in public health organizations, governmental agencies, and health care institutions.

CONHS administrators say public health professionals with advanced degrees benefit the communities they serve: They improve global health; create healthier communities; reduce the impact of natural disasters and global pandemics; and address health disparities. They are also well-versed in scientific research, policy development, implementation and assessment, education, and effective community skills.

“Our graduates will use the public health approach to focus on applications to a population instead of individuals which helps create holistic solutions for broad problems,” he said. “This means that everyone in a community will be able to exercise their right to be healthy by having the knowledge and access to health care needed to make healthy choices.”

The TAMU-CC MPH program, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, has a specialization in population health research and analytics; it consists of 45 credit hours and provides advanced foundations in public health research, planning and program development, administration, evaluation, and policy. Its 100% online delivery format allows for individuals who are already in the workforce build their skills and knowledge base while maintaining an existing schedule.

“Our program emphasizes application-based learning, a broad-based curriculum, and content-based specificity,” Aziz said. “Students will experience the industry through practical and culminating experiences, and learn more about public health, disease, prevention, program management, and policy.”   

Graduates will be organizational leaders whose skills in budgeting and strategic planning will lead to the creation of data-informed public health policies, programs, and services to help their communities. Students will learn how to manage modern public health information systems, including vital statistics systems, online analytical processing tools, immunization registries, and more. The inaugural cohort will accept up to eight graduate students with projected plans to grow the program to 35 in its fifth year.

Prospective students interested in these innovative programs can find more information at or by contacting the TAMU-CC Admissions Office at 361.825.2624.