Clemson University’s public health bachelor’s degree recently became the nation’s only nationally accredited health science major to stand on its own merit, unaffiliated with any graduate-level program in public health.
Official accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health marks the program as first of its kind. Public health sciences professor Lee Crandall suggested that Clemson was well-prepared for the designation, having offered public health courses for the past 25 years.
“[The department] was ahead of the game when there was a push in the early 2000s for baccalaureate degrees in public health,” Crandall said. “We were so closely aligned with the criteria already … almost as if the council had built some of the criteria and best practices around specific aspects of our program.”
Whereas a Clemson public health sciences degree is already valid, national accreditation increases its worth. With a nationwide trend towards a higher awareness of health in general and a better educated health care work force, Crandall pointed out that the specialized undergraduate degree will be useful both to educators and administrators as well as those who pursue additional degrees to work in various medical specialties.
“This accreditation proves we are already a stringent program,” Crandall said. “We are only going to fine tune and improve from here.”
The designation will remain effective for a five-year period. For the benefit of students who graduated with the bachelor of science in public health relatively recently, the certification is retroactive to May 2014.