BS in Health Science

The Health Science major is a Bachelor of Science program. This program offers students an interdisciplinary approach to study health sciences and global public health. During the first two years of the program, the curriculum integrates core courses in the biological sciences, humanities, and social sciences, included in the BU Hub requirements, with a strong foundation in global health and the health sciences. The second two years feature specialized coursework applying health sciences to the challenges of global public health, including training in both qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as focused study of a chosen area in global health through the senior seminar. The program culminates in a practicum wherein students gain hands-on experience in public health or clinical healthcare at an affiliated site, either in the Boston area or while studying abroad. Students in this major are eligible to apply for the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction. The Health Science program articulates with three different BU Study Abroad programs to offer specialized opportunities to fulfill at least two program requirements while abroad, and both students and faculty in the program are active in international service-learning through the Sargent Service Learning program.

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, physician assistant training, or physical therapy. 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 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 field of health and human services (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., medicine, physician assistance, nursing, physical therapy, or pharmacy), health administration, business, or law. Careful selection of available courses will optimize admission to desired graduate degree programs. Students registered in this program who meet GPA requirements are eligible to apply for the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health (BS/MPH), offered in conjunction with Boston University School of Public Health. See the Sargent website for GPA and application requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world at it relates to individual and population health.
  • Develop intellectual and practical skills to prepare students for future graduate school plans and research.
  • Develop personal and social responsibility to prepare students for future jobs in various workplaces and environments.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Health Science will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning, Communication, Scientific and Social Inquiry, Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship, and some elements of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 128 credits is required for graduation. Each course in the specified curriculum must be successfully completed and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be achieved for graduation. The total of 128 credits counted for graduation must represent a record that contains no more than 16 credits of D grades. A student may repeat a course only once to meet this requirement. 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.) For further information about the Health Science program, please visit the Bachelor of Science in Health Science website.


Each course carries 4 credits unless otherwise indicated.

First-Year Students

First Semester

  • CAS BI 105 Intro Biology for Health Sciences (Fall) or CAS BI 108 Biology 2 (Spring)
  • CAS CH 171 Prin. of General Chemistry or CAS CH 101 General Chemistry I
  • First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 120)
  • SAR HP 150 First-Year Experience Seminar (0 cr)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major

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
  • Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., CAS WR 151/152/153)
  • 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
  • SAR HS 210 Intro. to Critical Inquiry (2 cr, either sem.)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major and/or electives

Second Semester

  • SAR HS 345 Global Environmental Public Health (either sem.)
  • SAR HS 325 Intro to Global Health (either sem.)
  • CAS EC 101 Intro to Microeconomics (or alt. approved Management/Finance course)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major and/or electives
Junior Year

First Semester

  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care in the US (either sem.)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major and/or electives (8–12 cr)

Second Semester

  • SAR HS 300 Epidemiology (either sem.)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major and/or electives (8–12 cr)
Senior Year

First Semester

  • SAR HS 405 Health Science Practicum (either sem.)
  • SAR HS 440 Qualitative Research Strategies in Global Health (either sem.)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major and/or electives (4–8 cr)

Second Semester

  • Global Health Seminar: SAR HS 400 Gender in Healthcare or SAR HS 430 Maternal & Child Health or SAR HS 434 Global Health Governance or SAR HS 441 Neglected Tropical Diseases or SAR HS 442 Health Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries or SAR HS 444 Child Health Programs in Low-Resource Settings or SAR HS 445 Emerging Infectious Diseases or SAR HS 450 Non-Infectious Diseases or SAR HS 463 Beyond Germs and Genes or SAR HS 480 Comparative Health Care Systems (either sem.)
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major and/or electives (8–12 cr)

A total of 128 credits is required for graduation. Students are required to complete one Global Health Senior Seminar. We strongly encourage students to take a second Global Health Senior Seminar or an additional elective course offered within the Health Science Program.

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 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 (prerequisites: BI 108 and CH 101 and 102)
  • CAS BI 206 Genetics (prerequisites: BI 108 or strong performance in BI 105 and CH 203 or CH 172)
  • CAS BI 210 Human Anatomy (prerequisites: BI 105 or equivalent)
  • CAS BI 211 Human Physiology
  • CAS BI 230 Behavioral Endocrinology (non-lab)
  • CAS BI 311 General Microbiology (prerequisites: BI 203 and BI 206)
  • CAS BI 315 Systems Physiology (prerequisites: BI 108 and CH 101 and 102)
  • SAR HS 251 Human Nutrition Science (non-lab)
  • SAR HS 342 Exercise Physiology (prerequisites: BI 211 or BI 315)
  • SAR HS 369 Gross Human Anatomy (prerequisites: BI 105 & 106 or BI 107 & 108 and BI 211 or BI 315)
  • SAR HS 370 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology (prerequisites: SAR HS 369)

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

Other biology courses may satisfy the requirement with prior approval of the Health Science Program Director.

Honors Requirements

Health Science students are eligible to participate in the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction. This experience offers a thorough understanding of the research enterprise. The thesis will develop your technical writing and oral presentation skills through interactions in the laboratory, writing a final report on your project, and summarizing your research in a final presentation to students and faculty. It will help prepare students for graduate school where the dedication, creativity, and independence honed during your thesis experience will be invaluable. Successful completion of the thesis will result in the designation of “graduation with distinction” appearing on the student’s diploma and transcript.

Further information is available here.