BS in Health Science

The Health Science major is a Bachelor of Science degree program. This program offers students an interdisciplinary approach to study health sciences, health and wellness at the population level, and global public health. The curriculum is based on a strong foundation in the health sciences. The first two years include core courses in the biological sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Juniors and seniors take an advanced sequence of courses focused on global public health, which culminates in an internship at one of our affiliated health care sites in the Boston area or abroad.

The Health Science major is an excellent option for students who wish to pursue the accelerated BS/MPH (4+1) program or to complete prerequisite course requirements for graduate programs in medicine, nursing, or physician assistance. Students who plan to apply to degree programs in medicine or dentistry, or in preparation for a career as a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, will take an alternate sequence of basic science courses to include graduate program prerequisite course requirements.

Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science and, if selected, a minor in a specific health concentration or other discipline. Graduates from this program may pursue employment in the health care field (e.g., public health, governmental and community agencies, insurance industry, hospitals, or the pharmaceutical industry) or may pursue graduate programs in public health or a clinical profession (e.g., physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, or medicine), health administration, business, or law. Careful selection of available courses will optimize admission to desired graduate degree programs. Students registered in this program are eligible for the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health degree (BS/MPH), offered in conjunction with Boston University School of Public Health. See Special Programs for GPA and application requirements.

Degree Requirements

The minimum requirements to enter the junior year are 64 credits, a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0, and the successful completion of the required courses (or transfer equivalents) specified in the freshman and sophomore curriculum. A course will not receive external transfer credits at Boston University if the grade is lower than a C. (A grade of C– is not acceptable.)

The minimum requirements for matriculation into the senior year are 96 credits and successful completion of the required courses (or approved equivalents) specified in the junior year curriculum. A minimum of 128 credits is required for graduation. Each course in the specified curriculum must be successfully completed and included in the 128 credits. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be achieved for graduation. This GPA must represent a record that contains no more than 12 credits of D grades. A student may repeat a course only once to meet this requirement. For further information about the Health Science program, please visit Bachelor of Science in Health Science.


Each course carries 4 credits unless otherwise indicated.

Freshman Year

First Semester

  • CAS BI 105 (Fall) or BI 108 (Spring) Introduction to Biology (Biology course I)
  • CAS CH 171 Chemistry for Life Sciences (General Chemistry)
  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar
  • SAR HP 150 Freshman Experience Seminar (0 cr)
  • Humanities elective

Second Semester

  • CAS BI Biology Course II*
  • CAS MA 113/115/213 Elem. Statistics or
  • CAS PS 211 Introduction to Experimental Design in Psychology
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar
  • SAR HP 151  Introduction to Health & Rehabilitation Sciences (2 cr)

Sophomore Year

First Semester

  • CAS BI Biology Course III*
  • SAR HP 252 Health and Disability Across the Lifespan (either sem.)
  • CAS PH 251 Medical Ethics
  • Social Science elective
  • SAR HS 210 Intro. to Critical Inquiry (2 cr, either sem.)

Second Semester

  • SAR HS 345 Global Environmental Public Health (either sem.)
  • CAS EC 101 Intro to Microeconomics (or alt. approved Management/Finance course)
  • Humanities elective
  • Minor/specialty area elective (4–8 cr)

Junior Year

First Semester

  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care Systems (either sem.)
  • SAR HS 300 Epidemiology 1 (either sem.)
  • Social Science elective
  • Minor/specialty area of study/elective (4–8 cr)

Second Semester

  • SAR HS 300 Epidemiology 1 (either sem.)
  • SAR HS 363/HS 564 Global Health: Beyond Germs and Genes (either sem.)
  • Minor/specialty area of study/elective (4–8 cr)

Senior Year

First Semester

  • SAR HS 405 Health Science Practicum (either sem.)
  • SAR HS 440 Qualitative Research Strategies in Global Public Health (either sem.)
  • SAR HS 320 Genomics in Public Health (either sem.)
  • Minor/specialty area of study/elective (4–8 cr)

Second Semester

  • SAR HS 470 Topics in Public Health (elective)
  • SAR HS 475 Advocacy Disability and the Law (elective)
  • SAR HS 450 Non-Infectious Diseases
  • Minor/specialty area of study/elective (4–8 cr)

A total of 128 credits are required for graduation.

Where marked (*) all students are required to successfully complete either: CAS BI 105 Introduction to Biology or CAS BI 108 Biology II, plus two biology courses from the following course list:

  • CAS BI 106 Human Anatomy
  • CAS BI 107 Biology I
  • CAS BI 111 Brain, Hormones, and Behavior (non-lab)
  • CAS BI 114 Human Infectious Diseases (introductory microbiology with lab)
  • CAS BI 203 Cell Biology (for students who have taken BI 108, CH 101, and 102)
  • CAS BI 206 Genetics (for students who have BI 108 or strong performance in BI 105 and CH 203 or CH 172)
  • CAS BI 211 Human Physiology
  • CAS BI 230 Behavioral Endocrinology (non-lab)
  • CAS BI 311 General Microbiology (for students who have taken BI 203)
  • CAS BI 315 Systems Physiology (for students who have taken BI 108 and CH 101 and 102)
  • SAR HS 251 Human Nutrition Science (non-lab)
  • SAR HS 342 Exercise Physiology
  • SAR HS 369 Gross Human Anatomy
  • SAR HS 370 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology (prereq: SAR HS 369)

Students may complete a maximum of one course that does not have a laboratory component from the following biology options: BI 111, or BI 230, or HS 251; these are designated as “non-lab” above.

Other biology courses may satisfy the requirement but must have prior approval of the Health Science Program Director.