Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

What Is It?:

The College of Applied Health Sciences offers an interdisciplinary degree program in health called Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program prepares undergraduate students for a wide range of applied health careers, graduate study in health-related fields, and pre-professional study for a range of biomedical careers. Societal health trends such as inactivity, obesity, and diabetes create greater demand for health professionals in health behavior change, wellness promotion, and disability prevention. The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program is customized and individualized to serve each student’s areas of interests. The interdisciplinary curriculum encourages students to examine today's complex health issues from more than one perspective. 

A 5 year BS MPH joint degree program is available for students majoring in Community Health, I-Health, or Kinesiology. Students apply for the program in the latter part of their third year (junior year) of study. Students accepted into the BS MPH joint degree program take 12 credit hours of coursework in their senior year that apply to both BS and MPH degrees. In the 5th year of study, students complete the remaining requirements for the MPH degree, and graduate simultaneously with both BS and MPH degrees. A summary of the requirements for the MPH degree is provided hereThe requirements are explained in more detail on the MPH program website.

For more information about this major, please visit Interdisciplinary Health


  • Health & Aging: emphasizes health processes across the lifespan, with particular focus on people from young adult the end-of-life. The concentration includes fundamental knowledge of human development, and the physiological, psychological, and developmental processes associated with aging. It also provides opportunities to focus on specific aspects of aging, such as physical activity, nutrition, and communication processes.
  • Health Behavior Change: emphasizes an understanding of the interplay among personal traits, family contexts, social structures, and cultural factors for the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The educational experience will include engaging students in developing strategies to implement and evaluate interventions that foster constructive health behaviors and lead to desirable health outcomes.
  • Health Diversity: develops an understanding of the varied health needs of an increasingly diverse population. Coursework is directed at understanding people's health from various kinds of diversity factors, including: race and ethnicity, disability, gender, sexuality, religious and spiritual beliefs, and groups who may be marginalized due to poverty or social status. Students develop an understanding of the complexities of promoting and maintaining healthy living among diverse communities of people, and will take a solution-oriented approach to examine health disparities.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHLH 101—Introduction to Public Health
  • FSHN 120—Contemporary Nutrition
  • KIN 122—Physical Activity & Health
  • PSYC 100—Introductory Psychology
  • RST 100—RST in Modern Society
  • SHS 170—Introduction to Human Communication Systems & Disorders
  • STAT 100—Statistics

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

The i-Health program prepares undergraduate students for a wide range of graduate study in health-related fields, and pre-professional study for a range of biomedical careers. The i-Health is customized, encompassing an interdisciplinary curriculum to encourage students to examine complex health issues from more than one perspective. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (2008-09 edition) states that “Healthcare and social assistance—including public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and individual and family services—will grow by 25.4 percent and add 4 million new jobs.” The basic knowledge learned in the i-Health undergraduate program can be used as a foundation for professions and careers such as: 

  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Health Care Organizations, HMO
  • Health Marketing and Public Relations
  • Biotechnology Research and Development
  • Pharmaceutical Sales and Clinical Trials
  • Health Communications and Media
  • Health Education and Health Promotion
  • Counseling and Patient Education
  • Patient/ Client Relations
  • Community Organizations related to Health
  • Wellness Centers
  • Long-term Care Facility Programs
  • Health Policy and Public Affairs related to Health
  • Teaching Health Education and Health Behaviors
  • Allied Health Fields (occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, etc.)
  • Physician
  • Dentistry and Chiropractic School

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Chiropractor
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dietician
  • Doctor
  • EMT
  • Geneticist
  • Home Health Care Aide
  • Massage Therapist
  • Medical Researcher
  • Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pathologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical Therapist
  •  Recreational Therapist

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • American Medical Student Association Pre-Med (AMSA): Educates pre-medical and pre-health students on health care issues on a local and global level, as well as promotes active improvement in medical education by involving members in the social, moral, and ethical obligations of the profession of medicine including education in community outreach, volunteering, fundraising, and philanthropic events in the Champaign-Urbana area. 
    • Applied Health Sciences Student Council: Educates students of the various academic, social, and professional opportunities available. Promotes enhanced interaction between students, alumni, staff, in addition to organizations within the college of Applied Health Sciences.

Related Skills:

  • Organization & record keeping skills
  • Familiar with computers
  • Able to work in dependently & as a team
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Report/possible grant writing
  • Individual/Group health counseling skills
  • Knowledge of community/ societal health issues
  • Teaching, assessing, planning, and evaluating
  • Administrative
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Program Planning and Development
  • Leadership and supervisory
  • Oral and written communication
  • Public speaking
  • People skills
  • Remaining objective
  • Endurance

Further Information:

There are several professional organizations dedicated to careers in Health. Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Health. These organizations include American Health Care Association, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in i-Health, visit  Undergraduate Programs.