Public Health to offer more online courses


Following the success of its other online programs, the College of Public Health will be launching new online programs at the start of the next academic year.

Students interested in earning a master’s degree in public health will have the option of choosing between 34 graduate-level online courses. 

The college will also offer 51 undergraduate-level courses in public health.

Sandhya Srinivasan, director of the Office of Education Technology and Assessment at the College of Public Health, said the college is already experiencing a great number of students who are registering for these classes because of the increasing demand for online degrees. 

“When compared to fall 2012, we will have a 21 percent increase in the number of undergraduate courses and 13 percent increase in graduate courses offered online,” Srinivasan said.

As of this academic year, Srinivasan said, there are more than 4,300 students enrolled in the online public health-related courses offered at USF. 

The newest program will offer a master of public health degree in health, safety and the environment (HSE), which will focus on preventing incidents and accidents that result from dangerous and unregulated working conditions.  

According to Srinivasan, the program has attracted students not only from the state and around the country, but also from all over the world. 

Graduate students already enrolled in the master of public health program represent more than 40 states, Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In addition, there are more than 15 countries represented, with students enrolled from countries such as China, Japan, India, Italy and Saudi Arabia. 

Layla Aysheh, a master’s candidate in community and family health, said even students who already go to the university, could stand to benefit from the program.

“Being that I live an hour away from Tampa, I am able to complete the courses I am currently enrolled in, in the comfort of my home,” Aysheh said. “This not only saves me time from driving back and forth, but also money as well. With taking online classes, it gets rid of the exhaustion, commute and hassle.”

There are six different concentrations that are provided online, including infection control and epidemiology. 

Through this online expansion, the college hopes to reach out to a greater number of students who find it difficult to take classes on campus due to their busy schedules.

Kay Perrin, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the College of Public Health, said the entire university is working toward making more online courses available for all undergraduates working on Foundations of Knowledge and Learning (FKL) courses. 

By adding more online courses to the curriculum, Perrin said the university hopes to gain the attention of more students from around the state who currently look to other universities for online education.

“I hope within the next five years, all FKL courses are available on campus, as well as online,” she said.