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Bachelors of Science in Healthy Communities

Program Description

The BS degree in Healthy Communities is a cross-disciplinary academic program consisting of 36 (thirty-six) required major credits that prepare students with a foundation in community and social health-related history, theory and practice. Students will have the option to further specialize in a certain “track” by taking an additional 15 (fifteen) credits in one of three concentrations: Gerontology, Case Management, or Health Service Administration.



Total Major Required Credits: 36 (12 courses)

Required Courses: (36 credits)
(CD) Course Descriptions Link

HCA 105 Introduction to Public Health
SHS 100 Foundations of Social & Health Services
CD 220 Elements & Issues in Community Development
SHS 258 Social & Health Svcs & Family Systems
EMS 302 Public Health Culture and Diversity
EMS 303 Public Health Emergency Preparedness
CD 351 Sustainable Community & Econ Develpment
SHS 352 Social & Health Services Policy
PA 360 Organizational Communication
HCA 413 Moral and Ethical Issues in Health Care
PA 411 Grant Writing
SHS 454 Research Methods

The practicum may be satisfied through either the documentation of community development employment or experience or through learning experiences acquired by placement.

Major Electives (9 credits)
Select three courses from the areas of leadership and nonprofit management, housing, planning and development skills, and community economic and social development, with advisor approval.

Core Curriculum (30 credits)
Includes two writing courses (including Expository Writing or the equivalent); a Mathematics skills course; and at least one approved course from each of the following categories: Natural Science, Humanities, Fine Arts, Social Science, and speech; and additional liberal arts electives for a total of 30 credits.

Electives (66 credits)

Total Credits required to graduate (120 credits)

Course Descriptions

HCA 105 – Introduction to Public Health
Introduces students who are currently practicing in health care fields to an overview of public health on a state and national level. Students will learn about the public health system, including infectious disease, chronic disease, occupational health, injury control, maternal and child health, regulation, behavioral health issues, surveillance, quality assurance, and policy. (3 credits) Fall

SHS 100 – Foundations of Social and Health Services
Examines the historical, philosophical, and theoretical frameworks of professional social and health services in the United States. Emphasis will be placed on the theoretical bases of developmental psychology, including structural theory, ego psychology and adaptation, object relations, and life cycle development. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

CD 220 – Elements and Issues in Community Development
Overview of the concepts, theories and applications in the field of community development. This is the foundation course for the Community Development program, but it is appropriate for all students interested in a comprehensive look at the elements required to understand what makes for successful communities, from housing to education, to social services and infrastructure. (3 credits) Fall, Summer

SHS 258 – Social and Health Services and Family Systems
Provides an understanding of the therapeutic models used to assess and work with families. Content of discussions will center on assigned readings, videotapes, role plays, and special areas of interest brought into class. This course will benefit students who have contact with families in the social and/or health services field. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

EMS 302 – Public Health Culture and Diversity
Prepares the student for an administrative position as a high level, or chief officer, in an EMS agency. This course will cover aspects of government structure, strategic planning, leadership, marketing, risk & human resource management, and financial management. (3 credits)

EMS 303 – Public Health Emergency Preparedness
Prerequisite: Junior Standing Prepares the student for an administrative position as a high level, or chief officer, in an EMS agency. This course will cover aspects of government structure, strategic planning, leadership, marketing, risk & human resource management, and financial management. (3 credits)

CD 351 – Sustainable Economic and Community Development
Explores key subject areas related to sustainable economic development, including business creation and retention, microenterprises, co-ops, job creation, asset development, sector analysis, the connection between economic development and social health. Examines the role that community development professionals can and should play in ensuring that economic development occurs in a sustainable manner. (3 credits)

SHS 352 – Social and Health Services Policy
Provides a theoretical framework for the critical analysis of current social welfare and health care policies and their effects on the provision of services. Emphasis is placed on the political/ideological forces that shape these policies and on the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability systems of various approaches to the allocation of resources and the provision of social and health care services. Students will learn how to engage in this critical analysis, including identification of how to personally participate in these systems, and how outcomes of policy directly impact individuals, particularly those in society who are among the more powerless and vulnerable. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

PA 360 – Communication in Organizations
Prerequisite: POLSC 100 or PA 201 or PA 202 or consent of instructor A study of the nature and importance of communications in complex organizations such as corporations and agencies. Topics include communication theory, theory of organizations, managing communications in organizations, and effects of communication on behavior and attitudes. (3 credits)

HCA 413 – Moral and Ethical Issues in Health Care
Introduces students, currently employed (or intending to be employed) in the health care field, to the moral/ethical issues and dilemmas facing the healthcare industry/employee(s) today and into the future. A sampling of selected topics that will be discussed and researched include: informed consent, euthanasia, rationing of health care services, advance directives, biomedical research, heroic measures, the uninsured and underinsured. (3 credits) Spring, Summer

SHS 411 – Grant Writing
Cross-listed with PA 411 Provides a working knowledge of the various sources of funds available to the grant writer as well as the terminology and the components (problem statements, objectives, methodology, evaluation, budget) of various funding applications and instruments. At the conclusion of the course the student will have the skills to do basic research for a grant proposal and to write a proposal. (3 credits) Spring

SHS 454 – Social and Health Services Research Methods
Introduces principles of research methodology pertinent to health care and social service fields of practice in which Social and Health Services students are currently or will be employed. As such, the course focuses on the formulation and design of an independent research project related to practice. (3 credits) Fall, Spring


Regardless of which programing offering is pursued, students gain competencies in the field of Healthy Communities by showing mastery in the following seven key areas: 


  • Know and Understand the Community 

  • Organizational Leadership & Management 

  • Providing Learning and Development Opportunities 

  • Building & Maintaining Relationships 

  • Promote & Facilitate Community Empowerment 

  • Operate Across Multiple Systems to Work Collaboratively 

  • Establish, Evaluate and Inform Best Practices in Community Health