UGA College of Public Health posts record fall enrollment, increased diversity

September 14, 2010

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Athens, Ga. - Continuing a trend of sustained growth, the University of Georgia College of Public Health has set another record for enrollment: nearly 800 students are currently enrolled in the college's undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

Across the college, enrollment increased by 25 percent to 780, an increase of 140 new students. This is the fifth consecutive year that enrollment has risen by more than 20 percent.

"This growth has occurred in the shadow of the worst recession in recent memory," said Phillip Williams, dean of the College of Public Health. "We have moved forward despite sustaining significant budget cuts. Growth during this economic downturn says a lot about the college, its determination and its importance to this state and this country."

The fastest growth has been in the college's graduate programs.

An increase of 60 new graduate students represents a 35 percent increase compared to 2009. This is the largest jump in enrollment in graduate programs since the establishment of the college in 2005. There are 172 students pursuing a masters of public health degree and 51 students seeking a doctoral degree as either a doctor of public health or a doctor of philosophy in toxicology or health promotion and behavior.

Undergraduate enrollment was up 103 students, a 23 percent boost from the previous year, with 452 students studying for a bachelor's degree in health promotion and behavior and 97 pursuing one in environmental health.

In all, 17 percent of total student population in the college is minorities.

In the college's doctoral programs, 31 percent of those enrolled are African American, while 14 percent of the students seeking a master's degree in public health are African American. African-American students are 11 percent of the college's undergraduate population. Overall, the 100 African-American students enrolled in the college account for 13 percent of its population.

There also is a steadily growing population of international students in the college, with 12 students from across the globe enrolled in the undergraduate program and 20 seeking an MPH. Overall, 32 international students, or four percent of the college's total enrollment, are seeking degrees in public health.

"Improving public health is always a challenge, but that challenge is most deeply felt by minorities and in certain nations without the resources of the United States," said Williams."It is critical that our college embrace the different experiences and perspectives of all parts of a global society."

Additionally, 17 students have enrolled in the college's new minor in public health. These students have diverse academic roots, with many pursuing majors in varied disciplines, such as anthropology, international affairs, political science and pre-medicine.

In 2011, the College of Public Health will become the largest tenant at UGA's new Health Sciences Campus on Prince Avenue, which is currently home to the Naval Supply Corps School.The MCG/UGA Medical Partnership will be the other primary tenant at the campus.

About the University of Georgia's College of Public Health

Founded in 2005 as a response to the state's need to address important health concerns in Georgia, the UGA College of Public Health is comprised of four departments and two research institutes, as well the Center for Global Health. The college offers degree programs in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health promotion and behavior, public health, health policy and management, and toxicology, and a certificate program in gerontology.

Graduates from the College of Public Health-which is nationally known for its work related to infectious disease, cancer research, gerontology, disaster preparedness and other areas-typically go on to a diverse range of careers, including medicine, health education, emergency management, public health policy, environmental science andsocial work.

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