Health Studies

Health Studies: Self-Designed Major

How can we help humans across the globe achieve health? Why are some people and some social groups more vulnerable to illness than others? Is access to healthcare a right or privilege? 

The health studies major could be a great choice for you if you find these questions intriguing!

Applications are now open for students from the classes of '25 or '26 to apply for the major. These are DUE February 9th. Please reach out to Professors Beard, Sheehy or Ugarte with any questions.

We hope to open applications to subsequent cohorts after completing our review of the classes of '25 and '26.

Health Studies News

Dr. Paul Farmer was an honorary degree recipient and commencement speaker at Holy Cross in 2012.
WATCH: Holy Cross Faculty Discuss the Living Legacy of Global Health Champion Paul Farmer
aerial photo of the HC campus
Holy Cross Professors’ Research to Address HIV Stigma, Racial Equity in Health and the Impact of Local Poetry in Worcester
The initiative was sponsored by an $800,000 Mellon Foundation grant
Nine Holy Cross faculty members are participating in a panel discussion at a faculty symposium held in Dinand Library. Photo by Michael Quiet
True Democracy Is Made Possible Through Work of Liberal Arts Institutions Like Holy Cross, Says Famed Legal Scholar Martha Minow
Holy Cross faculty symposium on democratic citizenship and global engagement was part of the inauguration festivities for President Vincent D. Rougeau


The health studies major engages students in critical dialogue on human health from multiple perspectives: biological, cultural, economic, environmental, historical, philosophical, political, psychological, and social. We draw on our liberal arts and Jesuit identity as a college to explore health as a social justice issue. The major also prioritizes questions as much as solutions by interrogating what health means, who has health and how health is distributed within and across societies, and why.

Why Health Studies?

The health studies major offers students a unique opportunity to study health issues intensively over a four-year period; and to do so from multiple perspectives. Our multidisciplinary approach helps students understand the complexity of human health and wellbeing and engage with pressing health questions. 

The health studies major provides a broader perspective on health and illness by focusing heavily on issues of social justice and by drawing from disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, and the natural sciences.

Many health studies majors are also on the pre-health track. However, the requirements for the health studies major are distinct from the prerequisite courses you need for the College’s Health Professions program. Health studies majors should therefore contact the Health Professions directly for more details if they are interested in the pre-health program.

Program Goals

Health studies majors will learn:

  • biological and social determinants of health 
  • methodological approaches used in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to study health and wellbeing
  • quantitative and/or qualitative analysis of health data
  • fundamentals of ethical thought in the health field
  • government and civil society responses to health at local and global levels

Health Studies Committee

​​​​​Contact Us

  • Please contact Renee Beard, Office Beaven Hall 218 and PO Box: Sociology and Anthropology
  • You can also contact the CIS Director, Prof Nadine Knight, or any member of health studies committee.

Health on The Hill

The Health Studies program manages the Health on The Hill blog in which majors express their concerns, feelings, and overall thoughts about health issues on The Hill, and globally.