Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences

The Department of Health Sciences takes a multi-disciplinary approach to preparing students for careers in the areas of health education and health promotion, public health, community health, health care delivery, disease prevention, and rehabilitation. The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) includes three tracks:

  • Health Educator
  • Physician Assistant
  • Pre-professional, with emphases in occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, speech-language pathology or pharmacy

Health Educator Track

The Health Educator track of the BS in Health Sciences provides training in the competencies for health educators identified by the National Health Educators Competencies Update Project and qualifies students to take the Certified Health Educator Specialist (CHES) exam. In addition it provides education in population-based health and a community health education practicum. The Health Educator track provides a good foundation for careers or graduate study in health education, public health and community health promotion.

Admission Requirements

Satisfy the Application and Admission Requirements for Baccalaureate Programs.

Field Practicum

The practicum provides students with an opportunity to apply health sciences and health education knowledge and skills to specific assigned projects within a community health organization. Placements may become competitive. The Department of Health Sciences makes every effort to find appropriate field placements for students; however, admittance to the BSHS Health Educator Track does not guarantee acceptance by cooperating health agencies.

Graduation Requirements

Major Requirements

Core Courses
HS A210Introduction to Environmental Health3
HS A220Core Concepts in the Health Sciences3
HS A230Introduction to Global Health3
HS A326Introduction to Epidemiology3
HS A345Planning and Implementation of Health Education Programs3
HS/SOC A370Medical Sociology3
HS/HUMS A420Introduction to Program Evaluation3
HS/NS A433Health Education: Theory and Practice3
HS A492Senior Seminar: Contemporary Health Policy3
HS A495Health Sciences Practicum3
PEP A384Cultural and Psychological Aspects of Health and Physical Activity3
PHIL A302Biomedical Ethics3
PSY A372Community Psychology3
Support Courses
BIOL A111Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL A112Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
BIOL A240Introductory Microbiology for Health Sciences4
COMM A241Public Speaking3
DN A203Nutrition for Health Sciences3
WRTG A212Writing and the Professions3
or WRTG A213 Writing and the Sciences
or WRTG A214 Arguing Across Contexts
PSY A111General Psychology3
PSY A150Lifespan Development3
STAT A252Elementary Statistics3-4
or STAT A253 Applied Statistics for the Sciences
or PSY A260
A260L
Statistics for Psychology
and Statistics for Psychology Lab
SWK A243Cultural Diversity and Community Service Learning3
Select one course from the natural science GER list in a discipline other than Biology.3
Select one of the following focus area sequences:6-9
Aging
Introduction to Gerontology: Multidisciplinary Approach
Sociology of Aging
Adult Development and Aging
Public Policy
Introduction to American Government
Introduction to Political Science
Public Administration
Nutrition Sequence 1
Child Nutrition
Community Nutrition
Nutrition Sequence 2
Weight Management and Eating Disorders
Medical Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Biological Anthropology
Medical Anthropology
Communication
Small Group Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Research Methods
Social Science Research Methods
Research Methods in Psychology
Social Science Statistics

A total of 120 credits is required for this degree, of which 42 must be upper division.

Honors in Health Sciences, Health Educator Track

The BSHS Health Educator Track recognizes exceptional performance by conferring departmental honors in Health Sciences. In order to receive honors in Health Sciences, a student must meet each of the following requirements:

  1. Satisfy all requirements for the BSHS Health Educator track.
  2. Earn a GPA of 3.50 or higher in upper division (300- and 400-level) BSHS core and focus sequence courses.
  3. Meet the requirements for Graduation with Honors.
  4. Complete the HS A492 with a grade of B or better.
  5. Complete a senior project or thesis (HS A498 or HS A499) with a grade of B or better. The Health Sciences faculty must approve the project/thesis proposal and the final written report.
  6. Notify the departmental advisor in writing on or before the date of filing an Application for Graduation with the Office of the Registrar.

Physician Assistant Track

Physician assistants (PAs) are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. PAs practice in primary care medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and in surgery and the surgical subspecialties. Within the physician-PA relationship, PAs exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. PA practice may also include education, research and administrative services. Typical PA applicants come from a diversity of health care backgrounds, such as licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), paramedic, corpsman and community health practitioners.

The BSHS Physician Assistant track is offered in conjunction with the MEDEX (Medicine Extension) Northwest Physician Assistant training program at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine. The MEDEX model was developed in 1964 at UW with a strong emphasis on the deployment of students and graduates into medically underserved communities.

The BSHS Physician Assistant track provides a BS degree for students who complete the education and clinical experience required to work as a physician assistant. The program consists of a minimum of two years of pre-major coursework and health care experience followed by the MEDEX Northwest PA training program curriculum. The MEDEX curriculum includes one year of clinical and didactic instruction at approved training sites, and a year of clinical and family practice clerkships. UAA students can complete all of their training in Alaska.

Upon successful completion of BSHS PA track requirements (see below), UAA awards a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. In addition, upon successful completion of the MEDEX PA program the UW School of Medicine grants a Physician Assistant certificate. Also upon completion, students are eligible to sit for the National Certifying Examination for Physician Assistants.

Physician Assistant Students Enrolled at MEDEX

Completion of the BSHS requires a year of intense didactic instruction that will be taught in Alaska through the UW MEDEX program. While students may earn a PA certificate through a number of training programs, special arrangements have been made with UW so that the UAA BSHS Physician Assistant track may be awarded in conjunction with coursework taken through the UW MEDEX program. Students will receive their first year of coursework at UAA but will be admitted and registered at UW. Students will be co-enrolled during their clinical year clerkship to meet the UAA degree requirements. Students co-enrolled at MEDEX must complete their clinical year clerkship courses at UAA to receive the certificate from UW and their BSHS from UAA. Students who have already completed PA training and hold a PA certificate who are not co-enrolled at MEDEX should review the Certified Physician Assistant Degree Completion Admission Requirements section below.

Procedures for Participation of UAA Students in the UW MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program

Up to 20 students may be admitted to the Anchorage training site of the UW MEDEX program annually, in accordance with the joint selection process established in the collaborative agreement between UAA and UW. Applicants are evaluated on their previous clinical experience and their commitment to practice in Alaska, particularly in underserved areas, in addition to their overall academic performance in the pre-physician assistant curriculum.

Alaska students admitted into the MEDEX program spend their junior year of the PA program at the UAA training site where they receive intense clinical and didactic instruction. The senior year of the BSHS program is spent in training sites throughout Alaska and the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) region currently utilized by the MEDEX program.

The practicum year corresponds to UW’s year of clinical placement and supervision that completes the MEDEX certificate program. The clinical year begins in September and ends in early September the following year. The clinical placements call for 35-40 hours a week in supervised clinical training and 10-20 hours a week in self-study.

At the completion of the MEDEX PA program, students are eligible to sit for the National Certifying Examination for Physician Assistants. The UW School of Medicine grants a Physician Assistant Certificate upon successful completion of the MEDEX PA program. Upon successful completion of degree requirements (see below), UAA awards a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences.

More information is available online about the MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program.

Practicing PAs of other programs may contact the Health Sciences Department to obtain details about entering this degree pathway.

Admission Requirements

Satisfy the Application and Admission Requirements for Baccalaureate Programs.

Students who declare a Health Sciences major and do not meet the additional admission requirements listed below, but do meet the university’s general admission requirements, will be admitted as Health Sciences pre-majors (see Pre-Major Admission below).

Health Care Experience

Students without health care experience should note that admission to the MEDEX program requires a minimum of two years of recent, full-time, hands-on experience in the direct delivery of medical care to patients, in addition to specific academic requirements (see Full Admission below). Students should meet with an advisor in the Health Sciences Department to discuss what type of work experience will meet this admission requirement.

More information is available online about the MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program admission requirements.

Pre-Major Admission

Students admitted as pre-majors must contact an advisor in the Health Sciences Department and plan their academic schedule carefully in order to satisfy both the UAA BSHS admission and degree requirements and the MEDEX admission and program requirements.

Full Admission

To apply for full admission to the BSHS PA Track program, students must:

  1. Have completed UW MEDEX admission requirements and have received formal notification of admission to the MEDEX program or have graduated from an ARC-PA accredited program.
  2. Complete a Change of Major Form requesting a change of admission status from pre-major to full major.

Students seeking admission to the MEDEX program must complete the following UAA BSHS pre-major courses. The MEDEX program requires a minimum grade of B- in each course applied toward the UW admission requirements. Students who already hold a current PA certificate do not need to take the UAA BSHS pre-major courses.

UAA BSHS Pre-Major Courses
WRTG A111Writing Across Contexts3
WRTG A212Writing and the Professions3
BIOL A111Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL A112Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
Select one of the following:
Survey of Chemistry
and Survey of Chemistry Laboratory
Introductory Biology
Introductory Microbiology for Health Sciences
Highly Recommended Courses
PSY A111General Psychology3
PSY A150Lifespan Development3

Certified Physician Assistant Degree Completion Admission Requirements

Students who have graduated from the UW MEDEX program or another accredited PA certificate program and hold current NCCPA certification may be admitted to the UAA BSHS program to complete their degrees. This program is only available to those students who have not previously completed a bachelor's program. They must meet the Application and Admission Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees and must submit official transcripts and official documentation of successful PA program completion.

Students admitted to the BSHS program who hold a current PA Certificate through an ARC-PA accredited program and satisfy all UAA requirements including completion of 30 credits in residence may be awarded credits for the certificate and apply those credits toward the BSHS. Contact the Health Sciences Department for details.

Students who have already completed PA training and hold a current PA certificate are not required to take the clinical year clerkship courses , HS A464, HS A465, or HS A466.

Academic Requirements

Students in pre-major admission status who are unsuccessful after three attempts to be admitted into the MEDEX program will be removed from the BSHS program. MEDEX students who do not successfully complete or are dismissed from the MEDEX program may be removed from the BSHS program.

Graduation Requirements

  • Satisfy the General University Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees. In conjunction with a collaborative agreement between the University of Washington MEDEX program and UAA, students who hold a MEDEX PA certificate may use their MEDEX courses to meet the UAA General University Requirements that 24 upper division credits must be completed in residence at UAA and 12 credits in the major must be completed in residence at UAA. These students will, however, be required to meet all other General University Requirements including completion of at least 30 credits in residence at UAA.
  • Complete the General Education Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees.
  • Complete the Major Requirements below.

Major Requirements

HS A491Health Issues in Alaska3
MEDEX students concurrently admitted to the BSHS degree program at UAA and the UW MEDEX program must complete the following: *
HS A463Physician Assistant Clinical Clerkship I12
HS A464Physician Assistant Clinical Clerkship II12
HS A465Physician Assistant Family Practice Clerkship I12
HS A466Physician Assistant Family Practice Clerkship II12
*

Students who already hold a current PA certificate are not required to take HS A463, HS A464, HS A465 or HS A466.

A total of 120 credits is required for the degree, of which 42 must be upper division.

Pre-professional Track

The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Pre-professional (PP) track provides training in public health and health education along with preparation for occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), physician assistant (PA), speech-language pathology (SLP), pharmacy, or other professional health-related graduate programs. The BSHS PP track includes an OT option, a PT option, a PA option, a SLP option, and a pharmacy option.

Prerequisites for graduate programs vary across graduate schools. The UAA BSHS PP track includes most prerequisites for many OT, PT, PA, SLP and pharmacy graduate programs. However, students must check the prerequisites for the schools they plan to attend in order to ensure that they meet all admission requirements. Students are encouraged to meet with an advisor in the Health Sciences department early in their academic program to assist with course selection.

Admission Requirements

Satisfy the Application and Admission Requirements for Baccalaureate Programs.

Graduation Requirements

Major Requirements

Core Courses
HS A210Introduction to Environmental Health3
HS A220Core Concepts in the Health Sciences3
HS A230Introduction to Global Health3
HS A326Introduction to Epidemiology3
HS A345Planning and Implementation of Health Education Programs3
HS/SOC A370Medical Sociology3
HS/HUMS A420Introduction to Program Evaluation3
HS/NS A433Health Education: Theory and Practice3
HS A492Senior Seminar: Contemporary Health Policy3
PEP A384Cultural and Psychological Aspects of Health and Physical Activity3
PHIL A302Biomedical Ethics3
Support Courses
BIOL A111Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL A112Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
CHEM A105
A105L
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
4
CHEM A106
A106L
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
4
DN A203Nutrition for Health Sciences3
WRTG A212Writing and the Professions3
or WRTG A213 Writing and the Sciences
or WRTG A214 Arguing Across Contexts
PSY A111General Psychology3
or PSY A150 Lifespan Development
STAT A252Elementary Statistics3-4
or STAT A253 Applied Statistics for the Sciences
or PSY A260
A260L
Statistics for Psychology
and Statistics for Psychology Lab
Select one of the following option requirements:9-21
Occupational Therapy
Kinesiology and Biomechanics
Movement Theory and Motor Development
Sociology of Aging
Adult Development and Aging
Physical Therapy
Kinesiology and Biomechanics
Movement Theory and Motor Development
Basic Physics I
and Basic Physics I Laboratory
Basic Physics II
and Basic Physics II Laboratory
Sociology of Aging
Adult Development and Aging
Physician Assistant
Introductory Microbiology for Health Sciences
Organic Chemistry I
Basic Physics I
and Basic Physics I Laboratory
Sociology of Aging
Adult Development and Aging
Speech-Language Pathology
Foundations of Communication Disorders
Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing
Phonetics
Language Development Across the Lifespan
Phonology and Articulation Development and Disorders
Audiology
Aural Rehabilitation
Pharmacy
Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry II
Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Public Speaking
Principles of Macroeconomics
Principles of Microeconomics
Calculus I

A total of 120 credits is required for this degree, of which 42 must be upper division.

Honors in Health Sciences, Pre-professional Track

The BSHS Pre-professional track recognizes exceptional performance by conferring departmental honors in Health Sciences. In order to receive honors in Health Sciences, a student must meet each of the following requirements:

  1. Satisfy all requirements for the BSHS Pre-professional track.
  2. Earn a GPA of 3.50 or higher in upper division (300- and 400-level) BSHS core and focus sequence courses.
  3. Meet the requirements for Graduation with Honors.
  4. Complete the HS A492 with a grade of B or better.
  5. Complete a senior project or thesis (HS A498 or HS A499) with a grade of B or better. The Health Sciences faculty must approve the project/thesis proposal and the final written report.
  6. Notify the departmental advisor in writing on or before the date of filing an Application for Graduation with the Office of the Registrar.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the BSHS Physician Assistant track will be able to:

  • Perform data collection, medical interviewing and physical examination skills, and communicate the acquired information effectively.
  • Formulate medical decisions and treatment plans.
  • Perform procedural skills appropriate to the physician assistant’s role.
  • Provide education to patients about appropriate treatments and interventions to maximize health.
  • Prescribe medication and other treatment modalities to enable the physician assistant to function at the full scope of practice as allowed by individual state law.
  • Provide assessment and care for common mental health conditions and concerns.
  • Practice as a physician assistant within the physician assistant’s legal relationship with supervising and delegating physicians.
  • Increase health care access by providing primary care services to under-served populations.