Targeting healthcare. Smarter and faster.

The dearth of healthcare professionals poses a looming national crisis, and outmoded education and training models only add to the gap between supply and demand. Our healthcare degree, combining course work in biology, chemistry, and physics with internships and concentrations in nine specialties, including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and optometry, is aimed at improving and saving lives—smarter and faster. Ingenious.

Providing the Foundation for In-Demand Healthcare Careers

Undergraduate students pursuing careers in medicine, pharmacy, optometry and other healthcare professions at The University of Texas at Dallas have a degree designed specifically for them. The Healthcare Studies program was created in fall 2012 by the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in response to the need for professionals in the growing healthcare field.

Dean George Fair says the School of Interdisciplinary Studies is responding to the nation's demand for healthcare professionals.

“Healthcare as we all know is something that is on the front page of the major newspapers almost every day,” Dean George Fair 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 healthcare obviously is much more important.”

Healthcare 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 that the healthcare and social assistance industry will gain 5.6 million jobs.

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

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

Science coursework includes biology, chemistry and physics. Healthcare courses 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 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 healthcare field.

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

In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies offers a minor in healthcare studies.