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BioHealth Sciences Major

Positively impacting local, regional and global health

BioHealth Sciences Major

Positively impacting local, regional and global health

A young dentist working with a child

What will you do as a BioHealth Sciences major?

At OSU, you will discover one of the nation’s top biohealth sciences programs that combines a strong foundation in biological science with its application to human health and society. As a BioHealth Sciences (BHS) major, you'll pursue an interdisciplinary course of study that studies the interrelationships among foundational biological and physical sciences and a variety of health and social sciences courses designed to meet the needs of students interested in healthcare careers. Through dynamic and interactive science and laboratory courses, you will deepen your understanding about human health, the origins of disease and the research for future cures. Undergraduate research opportunities, internships, volunteer activities and clinical experiences will prepare you to excel in professional programs and health care jobs.

Jobs in healthcare

Located in the Department of Microbiology, the BHS major offers you a total of seven academic options to supplement and broaden your studies in the field: Pre-Clinical Lab, Pre-Dental, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Med/Pre-Podiatry, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Physician Assistant. You will have the opportunity to interact with medical and industry professionals to gain hands-on experience and skills and to explore potential career paths through job shadowing. Our students find rewarding jobs in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, podiatry, physician assistantship, physical therapy and clinical laboratory science.

The comprehensive BHS curriculum provides unique pathways to enter competitive careers and graduate programs. For example, the BHS major with the Pre-Pharmacy Option is designed to meet requirements for admission to a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) professional program jointly offered by OSU and OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University) as well as other pharmacy schools across the United States.

BioHealth Sciences Options

Clinical laboratory scientists (also known as medical laboratory scientists or medical technologists) perform routine and highly specialized diagnostic procedures in clinical laboratories. The biohealth sciences major combined with the Pre-Clinical Laboratory Science option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to CLS programs across the United States. Satisfactory completion of the pre-CLS option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to a CLS program; applicants are selected on a competitive basis.

The biohealth sciences major combined with the pre-dentistry option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to dentistry schools across the U.S. Satisfactory completion of the pre-dentistry option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to dental school; applicants are selected on a competitive basis. Students pursuing this option will study advanced anatomy courses and select among microbiology, biochemistry and nutrition courses based on their interests.

There are two traditional paths to becoming a doctor: allopathic medicine, which leads to Doctor of Medicine (MD), or osteopathic medicine, which leads to a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). Both provide the education and training necessary to practice medicine. A podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), trained specifically to diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

The biohealth Sciences major combined with the pre-medicine/pre-podiatry option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to allopathic, osteopathic, or podiatric medical schools across the U.S. Satisfactory completion of the Pre-Medicine/Pre-Podiatry option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to any medical school. The option includes advanced courses in microbiology, zoology and the humanities.

Optometry is a health care profession that focuses on vision care and the diagnosis, examination and treatment of eyes. The biohealth sciences major combined with the pre-optometry option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to optometry programs across the U.S. Satisfactory completion of the pre-optometry option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to an optometry program; applicants are selected on a competitive basis. The option includes advanced courses in biology and elective courses in physics and biochemistry and biophysics.

The pre-pharmacy option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to pharmacy schools across the U.S., including OSU’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) professional program. Satisfactory completion of the pre-pharmacy option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to pharmacy school; applicants are selected on a competitive basis. The option includes advanced courses in biology and core courses in economics focused on market structure and consumer behavior.

The biohealth sciences major combined with the pre-physical therapy option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to PT programs across the U.S. Satisfactory completion of the pre-PT option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to a PT program; applicants are selected on a competitive basis. The option includes advanced courses in biology, kinesiology and psychology.

Physician assistants work in collaboration with doctors and are licensed to diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans and prescribe medications. The biohealth sciences major combined with the pre-physician assistant option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to PA programs across the U.S. Satisfactory completion of the pre-PA option facilitates, but does not guarantee, admission to a PA program. This option includes advanced courses in biology, public health and psychology.

Sample courses

Human Microbiome

Human Virology

Immunology

Mechanisms of Disease

Biomedical Ethics

What can you do with a BioHealth Sciences degree: Careers of our recent graduates

Neurosurgery Physician Assistant, Providence

Senior Biologist, Eli Lilly and Company



Physical Therapist, ProMotion AFR

Optometrist, Mile High Eye Institute

Registered Nurse, Providence St. Vincent Health Center
Clinical Research Associate, Formosa Biomedical Technology Corporation
Formulation Technical Team Lead, BioFire Diagnostics
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Intern, John Peter Smith Hospital
Dental Student, OHSU School of Dentistry
Pharmacist, Pacific University School of Pharmacy/Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center

Van Ahn Vu standing outside field
You learn so much in the BioHealth Sciences program that is hands-on besides things that you would learn in a textbook. I have worked with plasmids, origin of replication, glycolysis and I was able to apply my knowledge of everything I learned in the classroom."
Van Ahn Vu (BioHealth Sciences '16), Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Portland, Ore. 

Meet our students and alumni

Biohealth sciences, pre-pharmacy alumna graduated early to care for patients during the pandemic

As a 12th-grader, Van Anh Vu was accepted into the College of Pharmacy as part of the college’s Early Assurance Program and completed her bachelor’s degree in biohealth sciences and international studies at Oregon State University.

First-gen biohealth grad achieves huge 'next step' toward career as a dentist

Gabriela Cortes Cortes is proud not to have let any obstacle, including a pandemic or the challenges of a first-generation student, hold her back from earning a four-year degree in the College of Science.

BioHealth senior’s race to the medical school finish line

Jacob Maynes, a senior majoring in biohealth sciences, will start medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) in Erie, Pennsylvania, this July after only three years of college.

Meet a Science Grad: Steven Kurtz

Meet Steven Kurtz, BioHealth Sciences alumnus who is studying to become a physician assistant and extreme sports enthusiast.

Focusing on research full-time helps BioHealth Science student get to the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’

BioHealth Sciences junior Haelyn Epp used her SURE Science scholarship to do full-time research on motor proteins.

Biohealth student snags prestigious bioethics internship at Mayo Clinic

Biohealth Sciences major Sydney Phu selected for a prestigious bioethics summer internship at the Mayo Clinic.

Next steps

Learning online

You may also pursue the BHS major online, learning from the same faculty in Oregon State’s Department of Microbiology who teach on campus. In the online program, which does not include academic options, you can tailor your degree plan through science electives or add a minor, such as a minor in public health, psychology or Spanish to strengthen your résumé. Online students receive the same OSU diploma and transcripts as OSU's on-campus students.

Download BioHealth Sciences Brochure 2020 (PDF)