Health Studies Minor
This Haverford-Bryn Mawr minor explores the intertwined areas of health, disease, and social justice. We offer unparalleled training for students interested in confronting complex real-world health problems and creating solutions. Multidisciplinary in approach and collaborative in spirit, our curriculum embraces the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.
Curriculum & Courses
Our growing menu of courses follows three tracks: mechanisms of disease and maintenance of health (often biology and psychology courses); cultural, literary, and visual representations of health and illness (often anthropology and literature courses); and responses of social, civic, and governmental structure to issues of health and disease (often anthropology, history, and social work courses). Minors must complete one class from each track.
We also require minors to take an introductory level course and a senior-level capstone course, both of which bring a range of perspectives to bear on a series of specific health-related issues. Our capstone course culminates with students examining a single health issue from their own disciplinary perspective and delineating new directions for research.
The Bi-Co Health Studies minor consists of six courses, which include:
- A required introductory course (HLTH B115/HLTH H115), now offered in the fall and spring semesters, should ideally be completed during the first or second year, however, juniors and seniors are not prohibited from enrolling in the course if they develop an interest in the minor; successful completion of the introductory course is a pre-requisite for enrolling in the Senior Seminar (HLTH H398).
- Three elective core course credits from a list approved by the faculty steering committee. Students must elect two of these courses from a department outside of the student’s major, and at least two of these courses should be at the non-introductory level. Students must take one core course in each of three tracks:
- M track: mechanisms of disease and the maintenance of the healthy body
- R track: cultural, literary, visual and ethical representations of health and illness
- S track: familial, social, civic and governmental systems that structure and respond to issues of health and disease.
- One additional course, outside the student’s major. Students are encouraged to choose an additional core course from one of the three tracks, but may also select one from a list of approved affiliate courses that deal with health issues, but not necessarily as their primary focus. In order for an affiliate course to count toward the minor, the student is expected to pursue a health-related topic for the final paper or project for the course.
- A senior capstone seminar organized around a single theme, which varies each year. Potential themes could be a particular health intervention (e.g. vaccinations), a category of diseases (e.g. epidemics, cancer), a specific population (e.g. Native Americans), or an important social determinant of health (e.g. migration). Students complete two projects that address the theme: one that is grounded in their own disciplinary perspective and one that requires collaboration with fellow students majoring in other disciplines. The senior capstone is offered twice each year, once in the fall and once in the spring, on different themes.
No more than two of the six minor credits may come from institutions outside the Tri-Co. Only one course that fulfills a student’s graduation requirement for their major can also fulfill a requirement for the Health Studies minor. For students who are concentrating or minoring in an additional program, only one of the four elective courses for Health Studies can also fulfill a requirement for the concentration or second minor.
Research & Outreach
Jahnavi is exploring the world of clinical research in the division of neurology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this summer.
The English major and health studies minor is researching the Spanish flu of 1918 and the impacts of the disease on Philadelphia.
Pogostin '18 will spend his Fulbright year in the Swedish lab of physical chemist Ulf Olsson, studying how lipid molecules impact the peptide aggregation that forms plaques in the brain of Parkinson's patients.
Yuan intends to go graduate school after Haverford to pursue subjects related to genetics, public health, pharmacy or biostatistics.
Belfi started her full-time job as a genetics researcher for the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine just two days after graduation.
The biology major and health studies minor is a Center for Peace and Global Citizenship post-bac fellow. She is spending 10 months in India working with a public health NGO.
Marcus is spending the next year as a Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) fellow at La Casa de Los Amigos in Mexico City.
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