Learning Goals

Aims for Health Studies Minor

  • To create a coherent curricular structure in which students address issues of health and disease informed by multidisciplinary investigations, combining insights from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities
  • To develop in our students the ability to think and write critically with depth, precision and sophistication about complex topics on health, disease and social justice;
  • To prepare students to work in partnership with diverse stakeholders to contribute to the well being of local communities and global populations.

Learning Goals for the Minors

(adapted from the Association of Schools of Public Health's Undergraduate Public Health Learning Outcomes)


  • Understand the interconnected physical, social, and humanistic dimensions of community health as described in the three core tracks below.
  • Analyze the determinants of health and disease employing multidisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply principles of public health and social justice to contemporary issues of disease and wellbeing.
  • Collaborate in interdisciplinary research and teamwork for improving community health.
  • Conduct a literature review on a health issue employing diverse academic and public resources.

Three Core Tracks:

M Track (Mechanisms of disease and the maintenance of the healthy body):

  • Describe the biological mechanisms and risk factors of both infectious and chronic diseases.
  • Understand how methods of epidemiology and surveillance are used to monitor population health and respond to disease outbreaks.
  • Evaluate multiple sources of health information and assess health data; use this information to develop responses to individual and community health issues.
  • Assess the influence that scientific research and technology have on individual and population health.

R Track (cultural, literary and visual Representations of health and illness):

  • Identify the role that humanistic inquiry plays in developing responses to pressing health issues.
  • Understand how literary and visual representations and cultural productions shape conceptions of health, illness, and the body.
  • Explore the diversity of health beliefs and healing practices among individuals, communities, and cultures in local, national, and global contexts.
  • Analyze ethical dilemmas in the field of public health, clinical medicine, and biomedical research.
  • Understand how intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual discrimination shape health and disease, risk and vulnerability.

S Track (familial, social, civic and governmental Structures that respond to issues of health and disease):

  • Investigate how social, political, legal, and economic structures and institutions influence responses to health and disease.
  • Examine public health as social justice with a fundamental right to health and health services.
  • Identify stakeholders who influence health programs and interventions.
  • Recognize the impact of policies, laws, and legislation on both individual and population health.
  • Understand roles and responsibilities of government, non-government agencies, and private organizations in promoting health.
  • Understand how organizational structures, financing, and the delivery of health care and public health services impact population health.
  • Recognize the role of community collaborations in promoting population health.

Learning Goals for the Capstone Course

  • Through lectures, assigned and independent reading, students will work together to develop significant expertise in the chosen thematic area.
  • Students, individually or in small groups, will identity an issue important to health and disease and prepare a research proposal that synthesizes and analyzes literature from their disciplinary field.
  • Students will propose an original study of a health issue. The nature of this original research proposal would depend on the specific disciplinary perspective and major of the student. For example, the end product of the proposed work could be: a set of experiments and a discussion of the potential results; the design of a drug trial, complete with the correct statistical analysis; an educational curriculum or community intervention; a proposal for a monograph; or an artistic work.
  • Students will share their preliminary proposals in formal oral presentations over the course of the semester. Meetings of the seminar will be set aside for formal critique of nascent proposals, such that each student will have the chance to participate in the generation of their colleagues’ proposals.
  • Students will present and defend their project in a poster or oral presentation at the end of the course.