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Meet the Major: Public Health

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Meet Dante Behan, a public health student here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. With aspirations to attend medical school, here is how UMass Amherst is helping prepare him to reach his goals.

Why did you decide to come to UMass Amherst?

I decided to come to UMass because I wanted to be at a top university in science in Massachusetts. Since I was looking to major in the sciences, I wanted to ensure that I was attending a university with not only great programs but worthwhile research opportunities. UMass Amherst also has a vast amount of resources on campus that have helped me tremendously, like tutoring, which drew me into the university. 

Why did you choose your major?

I originally was a biology major when I came to UMass but later switched to public health. I made this shift because I was unhappy with the inequality in the medical field. I want to be someone who can help change that, to help all people in need, hence my shift to public health. 

What are your classes like? Do you have any favorites? 

My classes are mainly science-oriented. They are challenging but in a good way that makes me want to learn more. Some of my favorite classes I have taken are Biological Evolution, because of how interesting it is, and Intro to AfroAm, because there is so much history to learn from. As you can see, there is a wide variety of courses you can take as a public health major.

What are the professors like?

The professors at UMass Amherst care and want to see you succeed. The more you get to know them the more opportunities you can get for things such as research or help in the class. My professors have always been there to help me with my course work and navigating my career path; I cannot thank them enough. The professors at UMass Amherst are a great and valuable resource. 

How do you plan to use your degree? How have you prepared for this path?

I plan to use my degree to further my education in medical school. I believe a degree from UMass does not only hold a high value, but teaches its students things that they will carry for life. I have prepared for this path by being a pre-med student and taking classes that can help me in the work environment.

Any tips for incoming students within the major?

My biggest tip for someone coming into the public health major is to not just learn the materials but to think about them in the real world and apply your education to things within society. It will make being in the major just that much more interesting and exciting! 

Have questions about majors and life as a UMass Amherst student? Contact Dante and our other student tour guides by emailing


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