New Healthcare Degree to Prepare Students for Fast-Growing Field

Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies to Provide Foundation for Careers or Advanced Study

Aug. 28, 2012

Dr. Fair

Dean George Fair says an aging population makes health-care studies important.

Undergraduates pursuing careers in medicine, pharmacy, optometry and other health care professions have a new degree designed to help pre-health students prepare.  

The Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies is being offered this fall for the first time by the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.  Dean George Fair said it’s important to offer a wide range of majors for students as the University continues to grow.

“Health care as we all know is something that is on the front page of the major newspapers almost every day,” he said.  “It’s a field that is going to continue to grow and continue to be important to our society especially because we have a population that is becoming older. As this population becomes older, then health care obviously is much more important.”

Kathleen Byrnes

Dr. Kathleen Byrnes says students can personalize the degree according to their goals.

Health care is one of the sectors expected to show the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020, according to projections released in February 2012 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the same 10-year period, the bureau projects the health care and social assistance industry to gain 5.6 million jobs.

Dr. Kathleen Byrnes, the head of the new program, said UT Dallas established the degree in part because there are already so many pre-health students at the University. She said many prospective students have inquired about a healthcare-related degree.

“The benefits of the degree are that it has the science foundation coursework,” Byrnes said. “But then it’s personalized per the health path that the student is preparing for. And then with all of the specific health care studies classes as the other part of the degree, the other benefit is that students can be employable in different health care areas with a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies.”

Science coursework will include biology, chemistry and physics. Health care courses will cover such areas as pre-health professional development, medical terminology, psychological aspects of health and illness, and an understanding of the healthcare system.

Byrnes said an advantage of the new degree is that it doesn’t solely prepare students for advanced study. Rather, the degree offers well-rounded academic preparation for any pre-health student who wants to pursue any career in the health care field.

“We’ve had enthusiastic response to the new degree by current students and freshmen as well as post-baccalaureate second degree seeking students - again because it’s the specific, pertinent health care coursework,” she said.

Last year, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies established a minor in health care studies, which it continues to offer.

Students interested in enrolling in the new program or receiving more information should contact Dr. Byrnes at 972-883-2323 or at kathleen.byrnes@utdallas.edu.


Media Contact: Marissa Alanis, 972-883-2155, mxa117530@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, 972-883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.
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