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College of Arts & Sciences

Health, Society & Populations


of the projected job growth

from healthcare and social assistance


Credit Hours


Core Hours

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The Health, Society, and Populations (HSP) B.A. degree provides graduates with a broad liberal-arts education, in addition to a concentration on social science based approaches to understanding health outcomes and inequalities. HSP students will obtain the fundamental knowledge required to understand the relationships that exist between the global economy, societal problems and needs, and the distribution of health and illness. HSP majors will develop the critical thinking, communication, and independent study skills necessary for them to pursue careers in health and human services that are currently in high demand as a result of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Grow Your Future

An HSP degree will prepare students for career opportunities in city, state and federal government, nonprofit organizations, and in the public and private health sectors. Employment web sites such as post entry-level positions that would be appropriate for HSP graduates. The majority of these positions specify a Bachelor’s in public health, social science, or another health-related degree.

HSP majors will also be prepared to enter graduate school both in the social sciences (e.g., medical anthropology, medical geography, or medical sociology) as well as professional health fields (e.g., public health). Additional coursework may be required for admission to some professional health fields (e.g., medicine). 

Career opportunities in Health, Society, and Populations

  • Health advocacy
  • Case management
  • Health counseling
  • Health marketing and communication
  • Program development and evaluations
  • Project management
  • Research Analysis
  • Graduate school in a Health Related Field

Current Curriculum Information

Access Major Template

source: myUK: GPS

  • Health, Society, & Populations (BA) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester

    This course is designed to assist undergraduates in adjusting to the academic life of the University. Through lectures, discussions, exercises, and out-of-class assignments, UK 101 helps first-year students: articulate the purpose and nature of a college education at a research university; articulate UK’s expectations of its students; gain an appreciation of the University’s mission, history, and traditions; develop skills for achieving academic success such as study strategies and library research skills; increase awareness and use of campus resources; reflect on personal and social issues that first-year students often face in a college environment; become involved in the total life of the University; and form beneficial relationships with students, faculty, and staff.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. I3
  • Foreign Language 1014
  • UK Core - Quantitative Foundations3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester

    SOC/HSP 255 is an introduction to foundational social theories and concepts through the lens of health, healing, and medicine. Social science perspectives on health disparities across populations, how health and disease are defined and managed, and cultural experiences of illness provide a window into a broader understanding of social life. The course will focus on four major social theories – social constructionism, symbolic interactionism, conflict theory, and functionalism. We will use these theoretical foundations and related core concepts to explore topics like physician-patient interaction and the social organization and distribution of health care. SOC/HSP 255 will also provide an introduction to social science research through critical analysis of original scholarly work and exposure to conducting, analyzing, and presenting one’s own empirical findings. SOC/HSP 255 is ideal for those with career aspirations in medicine, nursing, or other health professions, and covers the sociology content included on the MCAT exam for pre-med students. This course also provides a critical foundation for those interested in learning about population health from the point of view of social science. Throughout the course, we will explicitly address the unique contributions of social science to a broader understanding of the etiology, treatment, experience, and consequences of illness and disease.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3
  • Foreign Language 1024
  • UK Core - Statistical Inferential Reason3
  • UK Core - Community, Culture and Citizen3
    • Total16
    • Total Freshman Hours31

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • Foreign Language 2013
  • UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math3
  • UK Core - Humanities3
  • UK Core - Social Sciences3
  • A&S Lab or Field Work1
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester

    An open topics writing course focused on rhetorical analysis of issues of academic, political, social, or cultural significance. Students will interpret, analyze, and evaluate rhetorical strategies employed in print and digital texts.

  • Foreign Language 2023
  • UK Core - Arts and Creativity3
  • HSP Science Area (Required BIO course)3
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Sophomore Hours30

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • HSP Social Science Area3
  • HSP Health Professions Area3
  • HSP Science Area (Additional course)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • HSP Statistics Area3
  • HSP Social Science Area3
  • HSP Society & Health Area3
  • UK Core - Global Dynamics3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Junior Hours30

Senior Year

Fall Semester
  • HSP Health Professions Area3
  • HSP Society & Health Area3
  • HSP Society & Health Area3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester

    This course provides an integrative experience for HSP majors in their junior or senior year. The seminar format fosters integration of the program’s interdisciplinary coursework, while providing the opportunity to focus on a particular area of interest within the topical theme of the seminar. Students will engage in a variety of activities designed to increase their understanding of the theoretical and methodological approaches that characterize the HSP perspective. They will then use this perspective to design or evaluate a project that addresses health change. The course will consist of seminar sessions, smaller peer group meetings, and individualized tutorial sessions. Students will learn to critically and respectfully engage with the work of their peers and effectively communicate the results of their projects. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • HSP Society & Health Area3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours30

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

The Health, Society, and Populations program focuses on understanding health outcomes and their unequal distribution as a product of multiple interacting influences. These include health care, behaviors, environmental conditions, genetic and biological factors, and social and cultural characteristics of groups and individuals.

Health, Society, and Populations

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30

Major Requirements 

Statistics Requirements

  • Choose from one of the following courses: STA 296, SOC 303, GEO 309 [3 hours]

Math Requirements

  • Choose from one of the following courses: MA 109, MA 111, MA 113, MA 123, MA 137 [3-4 hours]

Writing Requirements 

  • WRD 205 - Writing and Rhetoric [3 hours]


  • Choose one BIO course and one from any of the remaining science electives: ANA 109, ANA 110, ANA 209, BIO 102, BIO 103, BIO 148, BIO 208, CHE 104, CHE 108, PGY 206 [6 hours]

Social Science Approaches to Health

  • HSP/SOC 255 - Medicine, Health, and Society [3 hours]
  • Two of the following courses: ANT 429, GEO 475G, PSY 223, SOC 355 [6 hours]

Topics in Society and Health

  • Four courses from the the Science Approaches to Health category (please refer to the UKY Bulletin for a full list of approved courses) [12 hours]

Health Professions

  • Choose two courses from the approved list (please refer to the UKY Bulletin for a full list of approved courses) [6 hours]


  • HSP 499 - Health, Society and Populations Capstone [3 hours]

Total Hours - 45-46

2016-17 Major Sheet 2015-16 Major Sheet 2014-15 Major Sheet 2013-14 Major Sheet 2012-13 Major Sheet 2011-12 Major Sheet

Featured Career

Health Educators and Community Health Workers

Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2014

Number of Jobs


in 2014

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Health educators and community health workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges. They generally work full time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

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A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at 

Enhancing Your Time at UK

There are countless ways to “see blue.” on campus, but the best way to maximize your journey at the University of Kentucky is by engaging in an Education Abroad opportunity.

This will allow you to gain a global perspective and enhance future employability. As you take the first step towards investing in your future, we encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities UK has to offer. Take a look at some of the options UK Education Abroad & Exchanges office suggests to complement your major! #SeeBlueAbroad

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