Community Health & Sustainability

About the Community Health Program

Community Health Program - Course of Studies (pdf)

The B.S. in Community Health with a concentration in Community Health provides a high level of professional preparation for health educators practicing in a variety of settings, including community health centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, corporate fitness centers and non-profit community organizations.  This program provides a basis for understanding the scientific foundation of community health, community needs within their social and political context, and how to address those needs through program development and implementation. The Community Health program is unique in its understanding that individual health is only one important aspect to consider when one is promoting health. Health also has to be addressed on the school, workplace, and community levels. In addition, consideration of policy level intervention to improve health is critical for Health Educators to understand and incorporate.

In the first two years of the program, students develop a strong foundation in the sciences, anatomy and physiology, physiological chemistry, and microbiology. In addition, courses in health-care systems, community health and environment, and human development will be undertaken. These courses provide an essential introduction and prepare students for upper division courses centered on Community Health program development, contemporary health problems, communication techniques, politics of health, environmental health, and computer methods in community health. The curriculum is dedicated to providing students strong skills in program planning, implementation, and evaluation with special emphasis on health literacy and working with diverse populations.

The program culminates with an internship in students' final semester. The faculty work closely with each student to determine the appropriate setting for their internship. Internships are assigned in settings that commonly employ health educators, health care facilities, community health centers, corporate fitness centers, etc.

Service Learning is a methodology employed through the undergraduate Community Health program, and distinguishes us from other similar programs. Service Learning allows students to learn about community health by doing health education! Students work side-by-side with health educators in the community learning about the practice of community health through well defined projects. Then, in the classroom, students reflect on these experiences and connect them to the academic theories, philosophies, and practice critical to the field.

Additionally, students interested in health care management and administration have the opportunity to further their study by enrolling in our department's joint Bachelor's to Master's Program in Health Informatics and Management. Students may apply to the program in their junior year, forgo taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and take up to six graduate-level credits in their senior year that will count toward both their undergraduate degree and their master's degree in Health Informatics and Management.

Areas of Program Focus

Areas of program focus are consistent with the Areas of Responsibility and Competency outlined by the National Commission for Community Health Credentialing. They include:
  • Assessing Individual and Community Needs for Health Education
  • Planning Health Education Strategies, Interventions, and Programs
  • Implementing Health Education Strategies, Interventions, and Programs
  • Conducting Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education
  • Administering Health Education Strategies, Interventions, and Programs
  • Serving as a Health Education Resource Person
  • Communicating and Advocate for Health and Health Education

Career Opportunities

With a degree in Community Health, you will be well positioned and an employable Community Health Educator. The emphasis the program has on Service Learning and internships as part of the curriculum allows students to network with professionals regularly throughout their undergraduate program. These contacts can be useful upon graduation. Employers of graduates in the last five years include: Massachusetts General Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, Genesis Healthcare, Inc., Lowell Community Health Center, Plus One Fitness, YWCA of Greater Lawrence, Partners Healthcare, Westford Board of Health, Lowell Health Department, and Northeast Center for Health Communities.

Admissions and Degree Requirements

All students complete a basic core of courses. The first two years cover a range of health science courses to ground students with knowledge that will serve as a foundation for their chosen applications of community health after graduation. These include anatomy and physiology, microbiology and pathology, physiological chemistry, and nutrition. Students also must take electives and general education courses. Upper level courses focus on contemporary health problems, politics of health, computer technologies, curriculum and methods, communication techniques, and epidemiology.  Each senior student is assigned to a practicum based on individual interest. The total number of required credits is 120.

For specific admissions and degree information, visit the UMass Lowell online catalog.