Earn your BA in Health Studies

The BA in health studies is designed for students who want a more flexible health science curriculum. The major interconnects the systems, technologies, and policies driving the U.S. wellness and health care industries. It provides flexible opportunities to work with faculty in developing the knowledge and skills needed to understand health determinants and anticipate continuing changes in preventive and clinical health delivery.

Students who earn the major in health studies can earn a minor in human physiology, but:

  • May not also earn a major in either exercise science or health promotion
  • May not earn a minor in lifestyle medicine

The Bachelor of Arts with a major in health studies requires a minimum of 120 semester hours, including at least 37–41 semester hours of work for the major. A minimum of 16 semester hours in the major must be earned at the University of Iowa. Students must maintain a grade-point average (GPA) of at least 2.00 in all courses for the major and in all UI courses for the major. They also must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core.

Learning outcomes

  • Gain a broad education in the health sciences
  • Employ their fundamental knowledge of human physiology and health sciences
  • Use and understand scientific methods to solve problems at the level needed in their chosen professional and/or graduate career fields
  • Instill an understanding and appreciation of the relevance of healthy behaviors to a fulfilling and productive life
  • Engage in and encourage life-long learning in the rapidly evolving fields of physiology and the health sciences

County Health Rankings model

As a health studies student, you'll learn how different elements affect health outcomes and explore the measures that influence how long and how well we live.

Required coursework

Students must complete 3–4 semester hours from one of the following courses.

  • BIOL:1141 Human Biology: Health Professions, 4 semester hours
  • MATH:1440 Mathematics for the Biological Sciences, 4 semester hours
  • PSQF4143/STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • STAT:1020/PSQF:1020 Elementary Statistics and Inference, 3 semester hours
  • STAT:1030 Statistics for Business, 4 semester hours
  • STAT:3510/IGPI:3520 Biostatistics, 3 semester hours

Students must complete all of the following requirements:

  • HHP:1050 Exploring Health and Human Physiology, 1 semester hour
  • HHP:1100 Human Anatomy (3 semester hours) AND HHP:1300 Human Physiology (3 semester hours) OR HHP:1400 Human Anatomy & Physiology (3 semester hours)
  • HHP:2200 Physical Activity and Health, 3 semester hours
  • HHP:2310 Nutrition and Health, 3 semester hours

Students must complete all of the following requirements:

  • HHP:3030 Lifestyle Medicine, 3 semester hours
  • HHP:4030 Social Determinants of Health, 3 semester hours (prerequisite HHP:2200, HHP:2310)
  • HHP:4040 Health Services, 3 semester hours (prerequisite HHP:2200, HHP:2310)
  • HHP:4390 Understanding Human Disease, 3 semester hours (prerequisite HHP:1300)

Students must complete at least 12 semester hours selected from courses numbered HHP:2000 or above. Possible electives to consider:

  • HHP:2130 Human Development Through the Lifespan, 3 semester hours (no prerequisites)
  • HHP:2280 Cultural Competency in Health Promotion, 3 semester hours (no prerequisites)
  • HHP:3045 Physical Activity Psychology, 3 semester hours (prerequisite HHP:2200)
  • HHP:3050 Obesity: Causes, Consequences, Prevention and Treatment, 3 semester hours (prerequisites HHP:2200 and HHP:2310)
  • HHP:3200 Health Behavior and Health Promotion, 3 semester hours (prerequisites HHP:2200 and HHP:2310)
  • HHP:3300 Human Growth and Motor Development, 3 semester hours (no prerequisites)
  • HHP:3430 Health Management and Administration (prerequisites HHP:2200, HHP:2310, HHP:1100, HHP:1300)
  • HHP:3850 Promoting Health Globally, 3 semester hours (no prerequisites)
  • HHP:3900 Writing for Health and Human Physiology, 3 semester hours (no prerequisites)
  • HHP:3930 Practicum in HHP, 1-3 semester hours
  • HHP:4020 Health Coaching, 3 semester hours (prerequisites HHP:2200 and HHP:2310)
  • HHP:4365 Practicum in Health Coaching, 3 semester hours (prerequisite HHP:4020)
  • HHP:4490 International Med: Experiential Learning (Winter only), 3 semester hours (no prerequisites)
  • HHP:4930 Health and Human Physiology Internship, 3-12 semester hours


This is a picture of Shawn Flanagan

Shawn Flanagan

Associate Professor of Instruction

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Health Studies Alumni Spotlights

Health Studies Alumni Spotlights

Tram-Anh Doan

Tram-Anh Doan

Tram-Anh Doan graduated with a BA in Health Studies in 2021, went on to earn her BSN, and is now working as a registered nurse in Plano, Texas.
Jessica Digrazia

Jessica DiGrazia

Jessica DiGrazia graduated in fall 2021 with a BA in Health Studies and now works at Northwestern University as a Research Study Assistant for the Fienberg School of Medicine in the Preventive Medicine Research Clinic.
Lindsay Bright

Lindsay Bright

Lindsay Bright graduated in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Human Physiology (Health Studies track) and minors in Spanish and Psychology, earned her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and is a program assistant with Amplify OT - Occupational Therapy Policy and Advocacy.
Ian Rowland

Ian Rowland

Ian Rowland graduated in May 2019 with a BA in Health Studies and is now employed as a corporate operations manager for a company in Chicago that owns and operates 215 assisted living facilities across the country.

"As a graduate of the health studies program, I can say my learning experience was unmatched through this program...I not only learned the necessary information, but I also learned how to apply it, how to critically think about it, and how to harness it to discover what avenues I wanted to pursue in my career with health care. The professors and their dedicated TAs worked with me diligently to ensure I was comfortable, prepared, and had the same opportunities excel, even with my challenging and full schedule as a student-athlete. My professors and TAs were always encouraging and educated me beyond just the curriculum of the course.

This track prepares you for every aspect of the healthcare field. Now that I have gained this knowledge, I feel very equipped to excel in my occupational environment and am very excited to pursue higher education to do so."

photo of woman smiling

Alexis Gay, Class of 2019

Health studies faculty

steph pfp

Stephanie Borst

Portrait of Lucas Carr

Lucas Carr

Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies - Exercise Science, Health Promotion, & Health Studies
Director, Community Health Collaborative
This is a picture of Shawn Flanagan

Shawn Flanagan

Associate Professor of Instruction
Amy Fletcher is a lecturer in the department of Health and Physiology

Amy Fletcher

Associate Professor of Instruction
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Megan Jacobi

Visiting Instructor
This is a picture of Megan Lewey

Megan Lewey

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Kelli Saginak

Co-Director, Health Coaching Pathway
This is a photo of Lauren Steinke

Lauren Steinke

Co-Director, Health Coaching Pathway