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Bachelor of Science in Health Science

Health Science (BS) Program

The Health Science major is a pre-professional program designed to provide students with the appropriate background and preparation for entry into graduate and professional programs including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, physician assistant, and social work. The major is also designed for students who are seeking a general preparation for positions in health promotion, health administration, and community-based public health.


The Health Sciences integrated curriculum model builds upon a foundation of the natural sciences, social sciences, and the liberal arts. Courses in the Health Science major will introduce you to the United States healthcare system and provide you with the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of health policy and administration, health research, quality-of-care improvement, and evidence-based health care. The Health Sciences curriculum also includes a significant number of electives that enable you to pursue an area of interest or a minor. Students will have the option to complete the program in four or five years with or without a Co-op experience. In the senior year, students participate in a capstone project intended to broaden and integrate the knowledge, skills, and experience gained from the program of study.

Students interested in graduate school in medicine, dentistry, podiatry, and veterinary medicine may opt to follow a Pre-Medical focus, including courses required for medical school. Please visit the PreHealth Advising website for course requirements.

Students majoring in the Health Sciences have a myriad of curricular plans from which to choose including a 5 year Co-op plan, a 4 year Co-op plan, or a plan for those following a pre-med track. Sample curricular program plans can be found on the Student Services Curricula page.

Undergraduate Handbook
Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

PHTH 1260 The American Health-Care System (4 SH)

Introduces students to the health-care system in the role of consumers. Explores basic elements of health care including financing, personal insurance, high-risk status, and patient rights within the context of the U.S. system. Central to this exploration is an analysis of health-care issues requiring informed consent from patients; patient bill of rights, health care directives, and the use of a proxy for decision making. The role and responsibilities of various health care workers are introduced within the framework of an interdisciplinary model of health care.

MATH 1241 Calculus 1 (4 SH)

Serves as both the first half of a two-semester calculus sequence and as a self-contained one-semester course in differential and integral calculus. Introduces basic concepts and techniques of differentiation and integration and applies them to polynomial, exponential, log, and trigonometric functions. Emphasizes the derivative as rate of change and integral as accumulator. Applications include optimization, growth and decay, area, volume, and motion.

BIOL 1111 & 1112 General Biology 1 with lab (4+1 SH)

Examines the basic architecture of cells, cellular organelles, and their molecular components; information and heredity; and the mechanisms of evolution.

BIOL 1113 & 1114 General Biology 2 with lab (4+1 SH)

Continues BIOL 1111. Examines the evolution of structural and functional diversity of organisms; the integrative biology of multicellular organisms; and ecological relationships at the population, community, and ecosystem levels.

CHEM 1101, 1102, & 1103 General Chemistry for Health Sciences with lab & recitation (4+1+0 SH)

Provides a one-semester introduction to general chemistry for the health sciences. Covers the fundamentals of elements and atoms; ionic and molecular structure; chemical reactions and their stoichiometry, energetics, rates, and equilibriums; and the properties of matter as gases, liquids, solids, and solutions. Other topics include acids and bases, and nuclear chemistry. Applications to the health sciences are included throughout.

CHEM 1214, 1215, & 1216 General Chemistry 2 (4+1+0 SH)

Continues CHEM 1101. Introduces the principles of chemical equilibrium, the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions, and energy considerations in chemical transformations. Covers solutions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibria, chemical thermodynamics, electrochemistry, and chemistry of the representative elements. Such contextual themes as energy resources, smog formation, and acid rain illustrate the principles discussed.

HSCI 1000 College: An Introduction (1 SH)

Provides an introduction to the University, college, and health professions to enhance students’ understanding of self and the decisions they make academically and socially as members of the University’s diverse, multicultural community. Group activities and individual assignments along with active participation in a learning community help students adjust to life on an urban campus, develop a better understanding of the learning process, acquire essential academic skills, and make connections with the faculty and students in the college.

PSYC 1101 Foundations of Psychology (4 SH)

Surveys the fundamental principles, concepts, and issues in the major areas of contemporary scientific psychology. Approaches the study of psychology as a method of inquiry as well as a body of knowledge. Emphasizes the biological, behavioral, cognitive, and social factors that influence and regulate learning and motivation; personality dynamics; psychopathology and its treatment; life-span development; sensory and perceptual processes; and communication and social behaviors. The influence of cultural factors on psychological studies and theories is also explored.

ENGL 1111 College Writing (4 SH)

Offers students the opportunity to move across texts and genres (such as expository essays, fiction, or film), thus focusing on the basics of compositions and the use of metaphor, organization, selection, gaps and silences, tone, and point of view. Through a series of sequenced assignments, students read fiction and nonfiction texts of some complexity, make the critical interpretation of these texts the occasion for their own writing, write expository prose that makes use of a variety of rhetorical strategies, conduct library research when appropriate, reflect on and assess their writing, and refine their documentation skills. Requires students to write multiple drafts and emphasizes the writing process as well as the quality of the finished product. Students must keep a portfolio of their work.

PHTH 2350 Community and Public Health (4 SH)

Provides students with a basic familiarity with and appreciation of public health and community-based methods for improving the health of populations. Explores the purpose and structure of the U.S. public health system, contemporary public health issues such as prevention of communicable diseases, health education, social inequalities in health and health care, public health responses to terrorism, and control of unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, and violence.

BIOL 1117 & 1118 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 1 with lab (4+1 SH)

Introduces students to integrated human anatomy and physiology. Focuses on structure and function of cells and tissues. Presents the anatomy and physiology of skin, bones, muscles, blood, and the nervous system.

BIOL 1119 & 1120 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 2 with lab (4+1 SH)

Continues BIOL 1117. Presents the structure and function of the human endocrine, reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, and digestive systems as well as the regulation of metabolism and body temperature.

MATH 2280 Statistics and Software (4 SH)

Provides an introduction to basic statistical techniques and the reasoning behind each statistical procedures. Covers appropriate statistical data analysis methods for applications in health and social sciences. Also examines a statistical package such as SPSS or SAS to implement the data analysis on computer. Topics include descriptive statistics, elementary probability theory, parameter estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, nonparametric inference, and analysis of variance and regression with a minimum of mathematical derivations.

HSCI 2000 Professional Development for Bouvé co-op (1 SH)

Introduces students to the Bouvé Cooperative Education Program and provides them with the opportunity to develop job-search and career-management skills. Offers students an opportunity to perform assessments of their workplace skills, interests, and values and discuss how they impact personal career decisions. Students also have an opportunity to prepare a professional-style résumé, learn proper interviewing techniques, and gain an understanding of the opportunities available to them for co-op. Introduces career paths, choices, and career decision making. Familiarizes students with workplace issues relative to their field of study and teaches them to use myNEUCOOL database in the job-search and referral process. Presents and discusses co-op policies, procedures, and expectations of the Bouvé Cooperative Education Program and co-op employers.

HLTH 1200 & 1201 Basic Skills for the Healthcare Professional with lab (2+1 SH)

Introduces health science students to the basic skills necessary to be successful in entry-level healthcare positions. These skills include: Basic Life Support, safe patient handling, vital signs, oxygen transport and safety, and EKG prep and placement. Also covers basic medical terminology, appropriate professional behaviors, and communication skills.

HSCI 1105 Nutrition (4 SH)

Explores the fundamental role of nutrition in promoting health and introduces the use of two different diet assessment tools to assist individuals in selecting food for health promotion. Explores the nutrient composition and purposes of the food pyramid guide. Covers the physiological functions of energy-providing nutrients in the body and interrelationships.

PHTH 2300 Communication Skills for the Health Professions (4 SH)

Designed to teach students in the health professions to communicate effectively with their patients, colleagues, and other professionals. Covers interpersonal communication with patients and their families, as well as public speaking and presentations, and communicating as a leader. Students are required to make several presentations throughout the semester.

ENGL 3306 Advanced Writing in the Health Professions (4 SH)

Offers writing instruction for students in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Students practice and reflect on writing in professional, public, and academic genres—such as literature reviews, case studies, protocols, and care instructions—relevant for careers in nursing, pharmacy, and other health professions. In a workshop setting, offers students an opportunity to evaluate a wide variety of sources and develop expertise in audience analysis, critical research, peer review, and revision.

PHIL 1165 Moral & Social Problems in Health Care (4 SH)

Introduces ethical theories and moral principles, and then uses these theories and principles to analyze the moral problems that arise in the medical context. Topics include euthanasia, medical paternalism, informed consent, patient confidentiality, the right to die, the ethics of medical research, abortion, the right to health care, distribution of scarce medical resources, and the ethical implications of health maintenance organizations.

HLTH 5450 Healthcare Research (4 SH)

Provides an overview of the research process and its application in clinical arenas. Emphasizes the role of the health professional as a consumer of research, with concern for the ethical management and treatment of patients and their families. Elements of research design and their implications in clinical settings provide the framework for the analysis of research and the development of a research proposal. Also emphasizes the use of research findings for evidence-based practice. Encourages interdisciplinary projects.

PHTH 5120 Race, Ethnicity & Health in the United States (3 or 4 SH)

Explores the role of economic, social, and individual factors in explaining racial and ethnic health disparities, and examines intervention approaches to eliminate them. Topics include genetic and social constructions of race and ethnicity, measuring race and ethnicity, and the differences in prevalence and patterns of disease across groups; cultural and structural factors that affect health-care delivery, such as discrimination, racism, and health status; and public health approaches to prevention and improving health-care delivery. Class activities include field work.

PHTH 5540 Health Education and Program Planning (3 or 4 SH)

Focuses on underlying concepts of health education and explores current health education issues that require intervention. Covers program planning models and theories used in health education. Offers students an opportunity to develop a working knowledge of the planning process for health education through the analysis of case studies and by creating a program plan to address a health issue of their choice. Provides health science students with preparation for HSCI 4710, in which they may choose to implement and evaluate their program plan.

PHTH 4511 Health-Care Management (4 SH)

Provides an opportunity to develop skills and abilities related to management within the context of interdisciplinary study. Students explore issues in health-care management in small-group, case-based educational experiences or problem-solving approaches. Within the context of small groups, students explore complex problems frequently encountered in clinical practice. Group projects related to leadership, management, or administrative issues are pursued and developed as classroom or poster presentations.

PHTH 4515 Health Policy: Public Health in Crisis (4 SH)

Explores pressures facing U.S. public health practice and their implications for public health practitioners in clinical, legal, administrative, analytic, and communications disciplines. Includes increased emphasis on bioterrorism and emergency preparedness; ongoing weaknesses in disease surveillance and data collection; antiquated state and local laws; challenges to health promotion, disease prevention, and other population-level interventions; tensions between the public health and insurance systems; emerging infections, climate change, and natural disasters; significant disinvestment; and limited public health literacy among the public. This is an applied, advanced-level learning experience that requires completion of a focused, analytic public health project in service to students’ current clinical settings or to an alternative local- or state-level public or private public health agency.

HSCI 4710 Health Science Capstone (4 SH)

Provides students with the opportunity to integrate their course work, knowledge, and experiences into a project that results in a written report and presentation regarding an issue within the field of health or healthcare, a culminating experience in the health science program. May include working with a mentor in a field experience in public health education or health policy, public affairs, social service, or other healthcare environment in which the student is qualified, ending with a presentation to the seminar class. Presenting to the agency or group students are working with on their projects may be required.

Experiential Learning

Cooperative Education (Co-op) makes a Northeastern University education richer and more meaningful for our students. Co-op provides students with experiences at home and abroad that help them develop the knowledge, awareness, perspective, and confidence that transforms their lives.

Our Co-op program, founded over a century ago, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. Students alternate semesters of academic study with semesters of full-time employment in positions related to their academic or career interests.

Northeastern University’s location, just blocks from some of the most prestigious health care and medical research facilities in the world, allows students in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences to have unmatched access to top employers. Working in the Boston health care community provides tremendous networking opportunities for our students.

It’s been 3 years and I am still talking about my Co-op in Tanzania like it was yesterday!
– Leah Ettman

Students enrolled in the Health Science major pursue co-ops at some of the world’s leading:

  • teaching hospitals
  • community-based programs
  • international locations
  • research projects

Students in our Health Science major learn the value of working as members of a health care team in the class setting as well as on Co-op. Our Co-op positions allow students to learn and recognize the importance of professional behaviors both in the classroom and in the work place.

Click here for the main Experiential Learning Page.

All Health Science students have the option to complete the program with or without a Co-op experience.

Student Groups

Health Science students are actively involved on campus and in the community. Our student groups provide the opportunity to build upon your education, enhance your experience, and get to know other students both within and outside the Health Science major.


Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD
Department of Health Sciences
316 Robinson Hall

Associate Director

Annemarie C. Sullivan
Department of Health Sciences
316 Robinson Hall

Contact Info

Anthony DeFabrizio
Tel: 617.373.3666

Apply to the Health Science BS Program.

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