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Health Sciences

Overview 

The Health Sciences major is located in the Department of Health Sciences within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.

Concentrations

Health Assessment and Promotion
Health Studies
Occupational Studies
Public Health Education

Admission and Progression Standards

Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

The purpose of the Health Sciences Department is to educate future health professionals through engaged learning and to contribute to the health and well-being of the JMU community. The degree emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of health and is designed for students interested in either entry level health education or health-related positions in city, state, regional, national, and international health agencies or private industry or continuing their education in graduate and/or professional programs within health-related fields. Students are encouraged to research future graduate school options and take needed pre-requisite classes. Students may also declare a pre-professional minor through the Office of Pre-Professional Health advising to guide their class choice selection from one of the following: pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-occupational therapy, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-physician assistant, or pre-veterinary medicine. Undergraduate admission to JMU does not guarantee admission to a graduate program.

More About the Field 

Health Sciences is an applied discipline that deals with the study of health in the broadest sense. The B.S. in Health Sciences degree is designed for students interested in understanding the determinants of health, strategies for promoting wellness, and the scientific basis and methodologies for analysis of health concerns. The major combines a broad foundation of health-related course work, including research methods and ethics, with a choice of preparatory courses suitable for entry into graduate programs in athletic training, dentistry, medicine, optometry, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health, or veterinary medicine. Those in this profession are drawn by the desire to make a difference for society. The goal of the Health Sciences Department is to maximize the potential of the individual and society through the enhancement of health and wellness.

Specialization

There are four concentrations within the Health Sciences major: Health Assessment and Promotion, Public Health Education, Occupational Studies, and Health Studies. Each concentration prepares students to enter careers that allow them to work at a number of levels from face to face contact with individuals, groups and communities to more strategic work such as policy development. Health Promotion is a term that has been applied to a wide range of approaches to improving health of people, communities and target populations. Promoting healthy practices could occur in organizations such as schools, corporations, hospitals, or in broader settings such as advocating for effective public health policies at all government levels, or impacting the wellness and healthy lifestyles of individuals. Health Educators are an integral part of community health education programs. Health educators often work with agencies and programs dealing with substance abuse, HIV/STDs, nutrition, smoking, pregnancy, safety, and diabetes. Health educators develop educational materials, public information reports, grant proposals as well as collect and analyze data for the purposes of designing preventative health care programs. Students interested in becoming occupational therapists can choose occupational studies to prepare them for entrance into graduate level occupational therapy professional schools. Students in the Health Studies concentration gain a strong foundation of health science and it's principles in preparation for professional programs.

Complementary Majors and Minors 

Health sciences students often minor in Biology, Health Communication, Medical Spanish, Substance Abuse Education, or complete a pre-professional minor relating to one or more professional programs.

Characteristics of Successful Students

Successful students have a keen interest in the fields of health, research techniques and the human sciences.

Careers

Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

  • Cancer Outreach Worker
  • Clinical Coordinator
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Community Health Specialist
  • Community Volunteer Director
  • Consumer Safety Inspector
  • Corporate Fitness Director
  • Corporate Wellness Specialist
  • Dentist
  • Disability Claim Manager
  • Emergency Room Technician
  • Employee Wellness Specialist
  • Extension Agent
  • Fitness Program Coordinator
  • Grants and Research Associate
  • Health Advocate
  • Health Care Recruiter
  • Health Educator
  • Health Information Specialist
  • Health Insurance Planning Specialist
  • Health Planning Analyst
  • Health Promotion Coordinator
  • HIV Counselor
  • HMO Contract Coordinator
  • Hospital Wellness Coordinator
  • Immunization Specialist
  • Industrial Fitness Specialist
  • Medical Office Manager
  • Medical Record Administrator
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Outreach/Referral Coordinator
  • Patient Care Administrator
  • Patient Advocate
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Agent
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician (D.O. or M.D.)
  • Physician Assistant
  • Prosthetics/Orthotics Tech
  • Public Health Educator
  • Public Health Statistician
  • Quality Services Coordinator
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Technician
  • School Health Educator
  • Spa/Health Club Manager
  • Substance Abuse Case Manager
  • Substance Abuse Educator
  • Surgical Assistant
  • Veterinarian
  • Wellness Coordinator

Who Employs Graduates?

Advocacy Agencies, Colleges/Universities, Community Service Agencies, Consulting Firms, Corporate Wellness Programs, Federal/State/Local Governments, Foundations, International Health Organizations, Health Clinics, Hospitals, Managed Care Organizations, Manufacturing Companies, Medical Centers, Nonprofit Agencies, Pharmaceutical Firms, Public Health Departments, Public/Private Schools, Rehabilitation Centers, and Women’s Clinics.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities 

Possible experiences include: undergraduate research, service learning, study abroad, field placements in hospitals and health agencies, attendance at workshops and conferences, and organizing and conducting a campus-wide or community event. Students could also benefit from membership in professional organizations. Students should consult with the faculty of the area in which they are interested for more information.

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Career Profiles

Advocacy, Grant Writing, and Civic Organizations
Dentists
Health Educator and Community Health Workers
Healthcare Occupations
Medical and Health Services Managers
Occupational Therapist
Pharmacists
Physical Therapist
Physician Assistants
Physicians and Surgeons
Recreational Therapists
Veterinarians

Research Careers

Visit our Career Outcomes page to find out what alumni were doing right after graduating with this major.

JMU CAREER OUTCOMES


Log in to Vault for access to detailed information on over 900 professions including employment prospects, estimated salaries, possible job titles, and top companies.

EXPLORE PROFESSIONS


Visit our Research Careers page for even more career research tools.

MORE RESEARCH TOOLS

Copyright

© Career and Academic Planning, James Madison University,

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career and Academic Planning. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to cap@jmu.edu

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