Health & Societies Major Program Goals

   GOALS of the HSOC Major

  • read scientific and medical texts critically, and assess their social, cultural, and political origins and ramifications;
  • identify and define key social determinants of health in a variety of historical and contemporary contexts;
  • analyze the interplay of factors that have resulted in particular health outcomes and policies;
  • integrate methods from history, sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines in empirical assessments of communities, populations, and policy interventions on multiple levels;
  • pursue in-depth research projects using published sources, archival material, and ethnographic and experimental data;
  • analyze data using both quantitative and qualitative methods; and
  • participate in the design of effective multipronged strategies to address health challenges in local, national, and international contexts.

         Health & Societies (HSOC) is an interdisciplinary liberal arts major that examines health practices, knowledge and systems in social context.  It aims to equip students with the sophisticated critical faculties and advanced multidisciplinary skills that will prepare them for careers in public health and health services, but will also serve them well in non-health-related careers and will enhance their understanding of the world as citizens.  The Health and Societies graduate is a "multilingual" scholar and citizen, fluent in the methods and perspectives of several social science disciplines, theoretically informed but practically minded, with a global outlook and local experience.  HSOC majors should understand how things have come to be the way they are today, and be capable of intervening to effect needed change. Even more fundamental is the ability to think critically about science, medicine and technology and their place in society.
         The program utilizes methods and courses from three core disciplines: history, anthropology, and sociology.  Other disciplines and fields—including epidemiology, political science, business/economics, law, environmental studies, and bioethics—supplement the core disciplines and provide majors with the variety of skills necessary to grasp the forces that have shaped our contemporary health landscapes.