Dr. Andy Peachey takes you through the details of JMU Health Sciences.

Health Sciences Frequently Asked Questions

Why Health Sciences?

The B.S. in health sciences degree is designed for students interested in understanding the causes of disease, 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 with a choice of preparatory courses suitable for entry into graduate programs in medicine, dentistry, optometry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, public health, physician assistant and veterinary medicine.

How do I become a health sciences major?

As a new freshmen or transfer student, you will declare your major through the JMU One Book website when you sign up for orientation. This major becomes your official major on your academic record and you will be assigned a first-year adviser. For current students, the change of major process is started in myMadison and requires a meeting with the Health Sciences adviser.

What health sciences courses would I take my first year?

HTH 100 Personal Wellness is currently a required course in the major and fulfills a general education requirement. You will work with your first-year adviser to determine what other courses are appropriate. HTH 150 Introduction to Health Sciences is another required course that you will complete in your first two years.

What other health sciences courses will I take in the department?

There is a core curriculum of the B.S. in health sciences degree that includes courses on population health determinants, infectious disease, chronic disease, statistical methods for health science research, health behavior change, U.S. and global healthcare systems, health research methods, epidemiology, and ethics and critical thinking in health.

What science courses do I take as a health sciences student?

Most health sciences students complete BIO 270 Human Physiology and BIO 290 Human Anatomy. Then, working with your advisers, you will select additional science classes aligned with your career or graduate school goals. These may include additional courses in biology (microbiology, cell/molecular biology, genetics), chemistry (general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry), and physics. Details of the curriculum and course descriptions are available in the undergraduate catalog.

What minors are popular among students in the health sciences major?

At JMU, there are several pre-professional health minors (medicine, dentistry, optometry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, physician assistant studies and veterinary medicine) that students may complete. Be sure to look into the criteria and support offered by the Office of Pre-Professional Health Advising.  

Other common minors include: biology, health communication, chronic illness, medical humanities, gerontology, medical Spanish, substance abuse education, and special education non-teaching.

How do health sciences students participate in undergraduate research?

All health sciences students complete a course sequence that includes a statistical methods in health sciences course and then a course in health research methods. Currently, during the health research methods course, students work in groups to propose and conduct a research project with a faculty member serving as the research adviser. Students present their findings at a research symposium at the end of the semester. With approval from the Institutional Review Board, students may be able to present their research at state or national conferences or publish the findings in a research journal.

What opportunities are available for study abroad?

In addition to study abroad opportunities made available by the university through the Center for Global Engagement, students have completed summer study abroad courses in Ghana, South Africa, and Thailand. Faculty in the department have also supported alternative spring break trips to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Chicago, Illinois.

What graduate programs at JMU are available to health sciences graduates?

While the graduate programs at JMU do not offer preferred admission for JMU undergraduates, the Department of Health Professions offers graduate programs in athletic training, occupational therapy, and physician assistant studies.

What other graduate programs do health sciences graduates attend?

Drexel (PA), Eastern Virginia Medical School (MD), Emory & Henry (OT and PT), Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (OT and PT), Shenandoah University (OT), The Ohio State University (MD), Virginia Commonwealth University (OT, PT, Pharmacy, and Dentistry)

What jobs do health sciences graduates begin without attending graduate school?

Graduates may be eligible for entry-level support positions within medical facilities (but not clinical positions), health departments or other government agencies, and non-profit organizations. With an emphasis on research methods in the curriculum, graduates are also prepared to begin work as a research assistant in a variety of settings.       

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