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New health major offers less science credits

Students desiring a career in health-related fields can take a new road to earning a degree without many of the science courses required for most majors.

That’s the main difference between USF’s new health science major – to be offered in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) starting next semester – and other health degrees, said Robert Potter, associate dean of CAS.

The major, which is open to all undergraduate students, has no prerequisites nor requires classes like organic chemistry, Potter said.

Students in this major are able to choose a specialized area that suits their career interests and prepares them for a non-clinical profession.

Students with a health science degree may pursue careers in a diagnostic laboratory, hospital or pharmaceutical company, Potter said.

There are two tracks offered within the major: biological health sciences and behavioral and health sciences – which only include courses already existing at USF.

According to a release, the major requires 28 to 30 credits of core requirements and an additional 12 credits in either biological health sciences or behavioral and social health sciences.

Potter said the major has a flexible curriculum so students can take courses from a variety of fields, including biology, sociology and communications.

The major’s coursework promotes an understanding of the biological, social, behavioral, economic and ethical factors that influence health care today and disease treatment, according to a release.

“The intention of this major is to fill a need for those in the pre-health professions who are looking for an alternative to the more rigorous biology degrees currently offered at USF,” said biology professor Ashok Upadhyaya.

Upadhyaya will be teaching Biology of Humans, one of the courses required for the major.

Once the University knows how many students have declared this major, Potter said the number of available courses may be expanded.

“The cost to create this new major can be considered neutral,” he said. “It really depends on the number of students that sign up for the new major and then depending on this, we can figure out what resources would be needed.”