Public Health Biology Competency Exam

About the Exam

All students who enter the Certificate or MPH programs, beginning with students entering Fall 2010, are required to take the Public Health Biology Competency Exam (PHBCED). The test covers three (3) major categories of Public Health Biology (Infectious Disease, Chronic Disease, and Current Topics in Public Health).

The exam is made up of three (3) modules – Infectious Disease, Chronic Disease, and Current Topics in Public Health – with each module containing approximately 30 multiple choice questions. To pass a module, the student must score ≥75% on the exam. There is no fee for taking the exam.

Students who do not pass one or more of modules will need to enroll into the corresponding course(s).

The following courses can be found on the COPH course catalog:

  • ENVH 5002: Biology for Public Health Chronic Disease
  • ENVH 5003: Biology for Public Health: Current Issues
  • ENVH 5011: Biology for Public Health: Infectious Disease

Students are required to satisfy this requirement prior to registering for courses beyond the first semester of study.

Students interested in signing up for the exam will need to contact the Office of Student Affairs Office.

Study Materials

Students are encouraged to study in preparation for the proficiency exam.  To assist you in your study, the Biology for Public Health syllabus is made available and links to serve as aids and resources for some of the material covered in the courses, but NOT all.

The following text is an excellent resource for students taking the UAMS COPH Biology Competency Exams:

Battle, C. U. (2009). In Riegelman R. (Ed.), Essentials of public health biology: A guide for the study of pathophysiology (1st ed.). Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. (ISBN-13: 9780763744649)

Five copies of the text are available for checkout through the COPH Office of Student Services. There is also a website available to access flashcards to aid students with their study (see link below).

Covered Topics Include

Module 1: Infectious Disease

(Battle text Chapters: 4, 7, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31)

  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • Pathogens
  • Immunology
  • Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease
  • Human Induced Evolution

Module 2: Chronic Disease

(Battle text Chapters: 3, 12, 13, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38)

  • Genetics
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Biology of Addiction and Mental Illness

Module 3: Special Topics

(Battle text Chapters 5, 9, 10, 11, 19, 20, 39, 40, 41)

  • Biology of Growth and Development
  • Biology of Aging
  • Biology of Cancer
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity

Supplemental Study Materials