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Wilfrid Laurier University Laurier Brantford
October 30, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Health Studies

Health Studies at the Brantford Campus

People in much of the world are living longer, yet in some places infants struggle to make it past their first year of life. Technological advances can prolong life, but aren’t available to everyone. We have health care systems that offer us treatments when we get sick, but why do we fall ill in the first place? And why do some people use the health care system when they’re sick, while others don’t? 

Health Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of health and health care. Students will learn that health is determined by far more than the availability of health care, and that health care itself involves more than simply treating illness. Health Studies is a dynamic field, continually evolving to integrate scientific advancements and new knowledge about the role of social and environmental influences on health and well-being, the costs of health care and the impact of illness on productivity and quality of life. Our graduates will learn about

  • the social, biological, and environmental causes of illness
  • health care policies and political structures
  • the management of health care in both everyday and crisis situations
  • the challenges of providing care for specific populations
  • the strengths and challenges of prevention over symptom-based treatments

It's been said that medicine is both an art and a science. The Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Health Studies, is built around that very idea. Starting with the core of our BA programs, we add a selection of science courses to ensure that students gain a fundamental understanding of the biological basis of health and disease. This combination of coursework in the arts and sciences provides an opportunity for students to understand human health and well-being from perspectives ranging from the cell to society, and should appeal to those looking to maximize both their expertise and career flexibility. 

Program highlights 

Areas of focus

  • Aging and the Life Course: The Canadian population is getting older. The implications for our health care systems are significant. Aging-specific health care issues will continue to influence the health care field, and demand for seniors’ residences and nursing homes will increase dramatically over the next 20 years. Courses specific to gerontology allow students to learn about the needs and concerns of this growing segment of the population.
  • Community Health and Health Care: Preventative medicine, health promotion, and dealing with modern health problems are the types of issues that concern community health care professionals. Courses will focus on the social nuances between groups and cultures, how to identify social inequalities of health, how to protect vulnerable groups, the special needs of rural communities and alternative health care.
  • Health Policy and Analysis: Students who choose to focus in this area will become conversant with a wide range of health policy issues, accountability and governance. Topics that are studied include government health and welfare programs, health crisis management and health care delivery systems. 
  • The Health Studies Society (HSS) is a campus club geared towards raising awareness for health related issues, on both a local and global scale. Each year a local and global health issue will be selected as the focus and HSS members collaborate to organize the year’s awareness goals. 

Courses offered

First-year courses - BA
First Year Courses - BASc
  • Physical Determinants of Health
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Core Contemporary Studies Courses (CT 121 & 1 of CT 111, CT 120, CT 122)
  • Unifying Life Processes
  • Biological Diversity and Evolution
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry I
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry II
  • Social and Political Thought
Popular courses - BA
 Popular courses - BASc
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Conceptualizing Medicalization: Midwifery and the Healthcare System
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Disease and Society
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Epidemiology
  • Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Pathophysiology

      Admission requirements 

      BA Health Studies 

      High School Admission Requirement College Grad Admission Requirements 

      4U English at 60%

      Average in top 6 4U or M courses of low - mid 70's

      4U English or college equivalent at 60%

      Overall average upon graduation in mid 70's

      Click here for transfer credit details 

      BASc Health Studies 

      High School Admission Requirements

      4U English at 60%;

      4U Advanced Functions at 60%; 

      4U Chemistry at 60%;

      4U Biology at 60%

      Combined minimum average of 70% in the Grade 12U Math and Science courses

      Average in top 6 4U or M courses of mid 70's


      The field of health studies is rich and varied in its career options and opportunities. Graduates of the program can enter the workplace directly, but we anticipate that some students will use their Health Studies degree to pursue further education and training in graduate or professional schools.

      Individuals with a background and training in health studies may pursue employment in a variety of occupations,including positions as placement coordinators, community health consultants, health care administrators, senior’s centre directors, pharmaceutical representatives, lawyers, social workers, educators, chiropractors, physical therapists and physicians.

      Student experience 

      0000Foreman.jpgFor Vanessa Foreman, finding a program which combined her academic interests and strengths looked like it was going to be a challenge. “I have always had an interest in health/anatomy/physiology, but was never particularly good at science,” she says. “I knew I wanted to work in the health field, but had no idea where I would fit.” Health Studies caught her eye,  and she knew it was perfect when she read more about the arts based approach. 

      The program covers a variety of topics, always looking at health from a number of perspectives, including biological, social, political and historical. “The human body is a fascinating thing,” she says. “It’s incredibly efficient and its physiological processes are so complex, yet require no conscious thought on our behalf.” 

      Foreman appreciated the smaller campus, and found it very easy to have her questions answered. “Anytime I’ve had a question, someone has given me their full attention,” she says. “My professors know my name, and I see familiar faces all over campus.”

      Faculty experience 

      000_LeClair_headshot.jpgDr. James LeClair remembers the moment he developed an interest in health and health care: “I was looking at a map of infant mortality rates for Detroit, Michigan, and I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing,” he says. “There was such an incredible range of rates; in most cases low, like I would have expected. But in some parts of the city, babies were dying at the same rate as they would in a poor country in South America. I wondered: how is it possible that this could be happening in the richest country in the world? What social and environmental factors could account for this pattern?” 

      Known for his enthusiastic classroom presence, Jamie (as his students call him) delights in challenging some of the assumptions that students bring into the classroom about why some people are healthy and others aren’t. “My most satisfying moments as a teacher happen when students come to me and say, ‘I’ll never see the world the same way again.’ That’s when you know that you’ve really had an impact.”