Certificate in Undergraduate Research in Human Health Sciences

Certificate Program Description

[To Return Back to the CHS Undergraduate Research Program Home Page, click HERE.]

The College of Health Sciences Undergraduate Research Program offers a Certificate in Undergraduate Research in Human Health Sciences. The purpose of this program 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. This certificate will enhance the educational goals of any University of Kentucky student interested in obtaining experience in health-related research to benefit their pursuit of a healthcare related career. 

Admissions Criteria

The admissions criteria for the certificate are:

  • A minimum second-semester freshman
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Active participation in a research lab and a statement from a faculty research mentor confirming that they are willing to sponsor you for the certificate.
  • A completed application submitted through the College of Health Sciences Undergraduate Research web portal (see link at bottom of this page)

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

  • Register with the main UK Office of Undergraduate Research to receive funding and presentation opportunity updates
  • Complete human subjects protection and responsible conduct in research training.
    • If the student is working with animals or animal tissues, the student may substitute human subjects training with some form of animal welfare training through IACUC. 
  • Complete web-based lab safety modules as needed and directed by their faculty mentor

Requirements to Earn the Undergraduate Research (UGR) Certificate in Human Health Sciences

  1. 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 can be adapted to accommodate students enrolled in the Honors Program as requested. The courses that comprise these 12-15 hours for the certificate are described below and include the following:
    • HHS 454 (3 credits)
    • HHS 455 (6 to 9 credits)
    • Any 300-Level 3 credit course that meets the requirements for an out-of-discipline class (see description below)
  2. In addition to these course credits, the student must participate in some form of research dissemination (oral or poster presentation, manuscript prep, lit review, lecture, etc.) during their certificate program. The form of research dissemination required for a given student will be left up to the faculty mentor in consultation with the student mentee.

1.  UGR Certificate Course Requirements:

  • 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, healthcare, and within health services organizations and systems.
  • 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. As part of the HHS 455 course, students will also engage in additional activities deemed necessary by the faculty mentor including 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, etc. These additional activities are varied and flexible and are meant to involve the student into the scientific life and culture of the mentor's lab.
  • 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. (^Please note: Required courses from a student’s primary major cannot be used to satisfy the ODC requirement for the certificate. ODCs must be independent of the student’s primary major.)

2.  Dissemination Requirement - Presentation-Manuscript Preparation: 

  • Lastly, in addition to the three course requirements listed above, students seeking the UGR certificate are required to complete either (1) a presentation to a targeted group (e.g. professional meetings, journal clubs, other scientific or clinical meetings), (2) poster preparation for a regional/national/international conference, (3) manuscript development/writing with mentor, or (4) writing a scholarly literature review. Other forms of dissemination will be allowed as needed with prior approval from the CHS Director of Undergraduate Research. 

*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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