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Certificate in Undergraduate Research in Human Health Sciences


Program Description

The College of Health Sciences is offering an undergraduate certificate in Undergraduate Research in Human Health Sciences. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage and recognize undergraduate students who devote a significant portion of their undergraduate education to scholarly and research pursuits within the College of Health Sciences. The Certificate in Undergraduate Research in Human Health Sciences provides any University of Kentucky undergraduate student with the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge in interdisciplinary clinical, translational, and basic research in the human health sciences fields.

Admissions Criteria

The admissions criteria for the certificate are:

  • A minimum second semester freshman
  • 3.0 GPA
  • A statement from a CHS faculty research mentor willing to work with the student
  • An application submitted through the Office of Student Affairs

Before beginning any lab work or research experience, all students will be required to:

  • Register with the UK Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Complete human subjects protection training as directed by their faculty mentor
  • Complete web-based lab safety modules as directed by their faculty mentor

Required Coursework to Earn the CHS UGR Certificate

A total of 12-15 credit hours will be required for the CHS UGR Certificate. All required courses for the certificate must be completed with an overall GPA of a 3.0 or better and each course within the certificate must be completed with at least a C or better. Courses are described below and can be adapted to accommodate students enrolled in the Honors Program as requested:

  1. HHS 454: Research in Human Health Sciences (3 credit hours)
    This course provides an introduction to basic methods for undertaking research on issues related to health, health care, and within health services organizations and systems.
  2. HHS 455: Research Experience in Health Sciences (6 -9 credit hours)*
    HHS 455 provides the student with the opportunity to engage in independent work devoted to research on a specific problem with the goal to challenge the student to synthesize concepts from his/her total program and relate them to his/her specific field of research interest.  Students work under the direction of a faculty mentor in an area of mutual scientific interest. Student and mentor collaborate to develop a research contract that outlines the expectations of the research experience including: a description of the experience with goals and objectives, and tasks for completing the objectives with timelines and criteria (with percentages) for assessment. Students seeking the UGR certificate must complete, as part of one of their HHS 455 semester experiences, either (1) a presentation to a targeted group (e.g. CHS Research Day, professional meetings), (2) poster preparation for a regional/national/international conference, (3) manuscript development/writing with mentor, or (4) writing a scholarly literature review. Additional activities expected of CHS UGR certificate holders may include participation in the mentor’s lab group/journal club, IRB or IACUC protocol preparation, discussions with the mentor on topics related to research ethics, and additional presentation experiences at scientific meetings.
  3. Out-of-Discipline Course (3 credit hours) (Course must be at 300 level or higher)
    The student and mentor will collaborate together to select an out-of-discipline course (ODC) to meet this requirement of the certificate program. The course may come from any program on the UK campus with the caveat that the content of the course be specific to the student’s scientific field of interest. For example, a student with a major in communication sciences and disorders interested in the effects of preterm birth on family stress might take a course in sociology (A&S), psychology (A&S), or health care navigation (HHS). Alternatively, a student interested in aging muscle might take a course in gerontology (GRN), public health (CPH), or physiology (ANA). The connection between the selected course and its application to the area of research the student is currently engaged in, must be clearly linked in the agreement between the student and faculty mentor. In considering course options, the student/mentor are responsible for obtaining any necessary instructor consent prior to student enrollment.

*If a student comes from another academic unit with research experience, the mentor (in consultation with the DUR) can agree to have 3 credit hours count toward the 6-9 credit hours of research experience required for the certificate. In addition, students could elect to complete this requirement under the direction of different mentors as long as they demonstrate that this is justified for their scientific field of interest.

To view a sample checklist of requirements needed for the CHS UGR Certificate, please click here (pdf).

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