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

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-athletic training, 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. 

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. 


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 
Health Educator and Community Health Workers 
Healthcare Occupations 
Medical and Health Services Managers 
Occupational Therapist 
Physical Therapist 
Physician Assistants 
Physicians and Surgeons 
Recreational Therapists 

Additional Resources to Research Careers
  • Handshake: view new internships and jobs that employers are looking to hire JMU students from your major 
  • Career Outcomes: see where alumni worked or studied right after graduating.
  • GoinGlobal: learn more about employment opportunities overseas as well as H1B visa information for international Dukes pursuing jobs in the U.S.
  • O*NET: browse occupational profiles to learn about thousands of different careers, pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • CareerOneStop: explore thousands of different careers by looking at career profiles 
  • Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni tool to see what others have done with their majors and what their career paths look like. Reach out to alumni via LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview.

© University Career Center, James Madison University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the JMU University Career Center. 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 career@jmu.edu

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