Be a thinker for progress

Classroom learning
Engaging classroom lectures
A campus near a lake
students studying
students smiling
up close of bread at market
Looking up at the tower of Ira Allen chapel

Health and Society (HSOC) is an interdisciplinary, cross-college program

The timeliness of this major is felt globally as populations grapple with health, healing practices and health care. HSOC brings together an array of social science and liberal arts approaches to address critical questions concerning health in human societies.

This program brings together highly engaging faculty and broad-thinking students to examine the many ways in which human health, healing, and health care are defined, perceived, and enacted and distributed within and across populations.

Coursework as diverse as the major itself

Students take a selection of College of Arts and Science (CAS) courses in anthropology, critical race and ethnic studies, economics, environmental studies, gender, sexuality, and women's studies, geography, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and more. As a cross-college major, Health and Society offers students the opportunity to take some non-CAS in areas such as communication sciences and disorders, community development and applied economics, health education, health sciences, nutrition and food science, statistics, and more.


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Beyond the classroom

Madison SchafferMadison Shaffer ’20 is working towards her BA in Health and Society. In the summer of 2018 she received  practical hands-on experience in the discipline through a Vermont Public Health Association internship based in Burlington. The non-profit organization is committed to improving the health of Vermonters by fostering policy innovation and building partnerships between government agencies, communities, the health care delivery system, and academia. Flowing from that internship she founded Vermont Student Assembly for Public Health (VtSAPH), a club at UVM for students interested in public health and reviewing and updating VtPHA policy positions. “This internship has helped me get a closer look at how these initiatives come to life,” she said. “I really value the opportunity to work on policy, which provides a valuable resource the public can use to navigate public health issues.” The Washington, DC native says the work provides opportunities for real-world application of the topics she’s studying in the classroom while building on her communication, writing, and teamwork skills. “I feel like I’m gaining first hand public health knowledge from a trusted organization and inspiring professionals. I hope that my experience with them will provide me with a better understanding of my career path and the ways in which I will be a part of the public health field. I have also been given the opportunity to apply my interest in public health to help, even if in an indirect way, the state that I've grown to love so much, Vermont. It makes the topics of water safety, climate change, infectious disease, and noise pollution all the more relevant.”



  • Clinical Researcher
  • Dietician
  • Ecologist
  • Health Educator
  • Health Policy Advisor
  • Homeopath
  • Hospital Administration
  • Gerontologist
  • Medical Technologist
  • Medical Anthropologist
  • Nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Social Worker

Related Information

HSOC Student Learning Objectives

Student learning objectives in the HSOC Program include the following:

1. Demonstrate the ability to recognize and generate the types of questions that various kinds of social scientists ask about health, healing and health care, including questions related to social determinants of health.

2. Apply critical thinking skills to effectively identify and analyze important issues related to social, cultural, geospatial, political, and/or economic dimensions of health, healing, and health care.

3. Effectively acquire, comprehend, and evaluate information relevant to questions about the variety of ways in which human health, healing, and health care are defined, perceived, constructed, and enacted.

4. Effectively acquire, comprehend, and evaluate information relevant to questions about the variety of ways in which access to health and health care are distributed, within and across populations.

5. Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in genre-appropriate ways about issues related to health, healing, and health care in interdisciplinary perspective.

6. Detect and deconstruct the ways in which knowledge, including scientific and clinical knowledge, is shaped by different perspectives, values, priorities, identities, cultural frameworks, social conventions, scientific paradigms, and/or social, political, and financial interests.

7. Demonstrate the ability to conceive of and communicate about multiple ways in which their HSOC education could be ethically and effectively applied to contribute to needs and priorities identified by the members of specific communities in the spirit of partnership and cultural humility.