• Health Sciences Major

    Health is the most basic of human necessities and yet we suffer constant threats to our well-being—threats that can have a major effect on our psychology, culture, politics, and social structures. The health sciences major at Hamline is an interdisciplinary field of study through which students focus on health issues in local, national, and international arenas from a variety of perspectives. The major builds on connections between the liberal arts and the core concerns of public health, with the recognition that issues of human health are complex and influenced not only by human biology and statistics, but by all aspects of the human experience.

    The health sciences major is an excellent choice for students interested in any aspect of healthcare from the clinical applications to international aid, law, policy, and social work. Students interested in attending medical school or other health professional schools can pursue the health sciences major, however it does not include all the prerequisite courses required for application to such programs; they would have to take additional courses in addition to the health sciences major requirements.

    To complete the major, students are required to take a common set of courses and may then select one of two predetermined areas of concentration: behavioral and social sciences or science of disease. They may also create their own combination of these courses in consultation with a health sciences faculty advisor.

    • Behavioral and social sciences: The behavioral and social sciences track is designed to provide students with knowledge about the causes, patterns, and consequences of affliction and disease, both on an individual level and that of the population. Courses engage critical issues such as: health and human rights, concepts of normality and abnormality, the role of medical technologies in life and death, medical pluralism, the history of medicine, and health inequalities. 
    • Science of disease: The science of disease track provides students with a basic knowledge of the biological principles necessary to understand the causes and mechanisms of disease. It is recommended for students who wish to enter professional programs for medicine, allied health disciplines, or health education. 

    The major culminates with either an internship in the health sciences or a research project. The Twin Cities offer numerous opportunities for internships with local hospitals and nonprofit and research organizations. Hamline has a strong collaborative research program through which students work with a professor on professional research and often present their findings at national conferences, which gives them a leg-up when applying for graduate or professional school.

    In accordance with Hamline’s emphasis on civic engagement, students find opportunities to volunteer in a health-related capacity with local nonprofits, fulfilling personal desires for service and gaining valuable experience for their resumes. Study abroad programs also are available for students within the major. 

    Sample Courses

    Introduction to Public Health
    Introduction to Global Health
    Introduction to Physiology
    Cultural Politics of Impairment and Ableism
    Comparative Perspectives on the Body
    Intergroup Dialogue on Disability
    Lifespan Development
    Disorders of Childhood
    Behavioral Genetics
    Death and Dying
    Medicine, Morality, and Mortality

    Careers and Graduate Work

    Career opportunities for public health majors abound. Examples include:

    • Medicine
    • Allied health professions
    • Chiropractic medicine
    • Dentistry
    • Environmental health
    • Gerontology
    • Nursing
    • Nutrition/dietetics
    • Mental health
    • Occupational therapy
    • Optometry
    • Pharmacy
    • Physical therapy
    • Podiatric medicine
    • Public health
    • Law
    • Speech-Language-Hearing
    • Sports medicine
    • Nonprofit aid work

    Read more about life after Hamline.


    Culture, Illness, and Health

    Through this course, students will study health, illness, and healing from a cross-cultural perspective. It is designed to provide them with a framework for understanding the historical and social construction of healing practices and beliefs. Topics include: the ways in which the social construction of well-being affects therapy managing strategies across human societies; the analysis of how power is utilized to privilege some sectors and deprive others of basic standards of community health; and the meaning of signs of sickness and suffering as a way of interpreting their relationship to broader social themes including technology, ritual, and religion.


    Given the rapidly changing and expanding landscape for healthcare, coupled with the aging of the population, the creation of jobs in health care and related fields is expected to outpace job growth in general.

    Request Info



    Health Sciences Home