Frequently Asked Questions

To become a health studies major, you need to submit an application. The application form can be accessed via the CIS webpage at the start of each semester.

We anticipate that the major will begin accepting applications in spring 2024, now that faculty have been hired to support the major. Please contact Professor Beard with any questions or concerns.


You can submit your application by the first Friday in October (Fall semester) or the second Friday in February (Spring semester). The application form can only be accessed online via the CIS website at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. The application form is not accessible online after the Fall and Spring deadlines have passed.

The application form has three components: a) You will be asked to write a brief essay about your interest in the health studies major and about your post-Holy Cross plans; b) You will be asked to list all the courses you plan to take for the major and explain why you are choosing particular courses over others; and c) You will be asked to provide two recommendation letters from HC faculty.  You can ask any HC faculty that you believe know you well enough. Your Montserrat professor and first year advisor are good choices.

Yes, your application can be unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. Some common reasons include: not completing all required sections of the application form; having an incoherent course plan; clear evidence that a student will not be able to successfully complete the major on time, especially for those planning to double-major; not providing alternative, back up courses.   It is therefore important that you meet with the program advisor as you work on your application.


The health studies major requires a total of 12 courses. If you are a double-major, you still have to take 12 courses; however, you can count a maximum of two of the same courses towards your other major.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply to the major during their sophomore year. This way, they can be assigned an advisor from the major, and thus benefit from advising support early on. Your health studies advisor will provide guidance on your course plan, including study abroad/study away options, and link you to various health-related opportunities. As a major, you will also have an opportunity to help plan key events and activities for the major, such as the annual health studies lecture, career talks, social events for majors etc.

No, your application will not be rejected simply because you are applying to the major after your sophomore year.

We strongly recommend that students apply to the major after they have at least taken Biology 161 or Biology 162, an introductory social science and one other health studies course. Please visit the Health Studies website to view the list of health studies courses.

The health studies major is relatively new, having started as a student-designed major in 2016 and then evolved into a template major in 2018. Majors have found jobs in nursing, clinical research, MPH graduate programs, and non-profit healthcare provision. Please visit the Health Studies Alumni webpage for details.
The health studies major gives students an opportunity to immerse themselves in an intensive, multi-disciplinary study of health issues during their time at HC. We believe that our multidisciplinary focus prepares students to be better equipped to deal with a host of health issues affecting the world today, most of which are not just biological, but are social, cultural, economic, environmental and political.