Health Sciences

LA Health Sciences

Program Overview  

The Health Sciences major educates the next generation of health professionals by providing students with a foundation in the life sciences and other coursework, preparing them to join the workforce or to attend professional or graduate schools in health-related fields.  Rider achieves this through small class and laboratory sizes allowing direct, hands-on instruction, and faculty accessibility. Students also have opportunities to do research with faculty via work study or independent study.  Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who provides academic advice and career guidance tailored to the student's needs. The program is designed to provide a strong foundation in its curriculum while allowing flexibility for subsequent studies in allied health programs such as physical therapy, athletic training, occupational therapy, nursing, radiological science, optometry, podiatry, epidemiology and public health.  It prepares students for graduate studies leading to advanced degrees in the life sciences; and for entry-level positions in hospitals, health insurance, pharmaceutical sales, community health agencies and other related areas.

Graduates of the health sciences program have pursued their professional or graduate studies at prestigious institutions such as Rutgers University, Moravian University, Emory University, University of Utah, NY College of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University, among others. 

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum for Health Sciences majors is structured to prepare students for a life of learning in the sciences. Students are expected to master content, develop technical skills, analytical skills and competency in oral and written communication. Foundational courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and psychology prepare students for the rigor of upper-level science and math courses, complemented by a broad base of health-related coursework in other disciplines.  Capstone experiences allow students to explore one area of the life sciences in depth through internships and seminars, as well as opportunities to engage in independent research with Rider’s science faculty. Students also have the opportunity to take part in a three-week internship course through the Capital Health System Hospitals.

Student Learning Outcomes

LA Health Sciences 5

Graduates of the Health Sciences major will be able to: 

  1. Explain foundational concepts in biological sciences.
  2. Apply scientific methods of inquiry through testing of newly formed hypotheses with observation and experimentation.
  3. Apply concepts from other disciplines in the analysis and interpretation of biological information.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to locate, critically analyze, and communicate relevant scientific information.
  5. Explain the ethical practice of scientific research and its societal applications.

Honors Programs

Honors in Health Sciences

The objective of the honors program in health sciences is to introduce talented undergraduate majors to the methods of basic research in the biological sciences. For consideration a student must have a 3.25 average at the end of their junior year.  In the senior year, participating students must complete an independent research project and present a written honors thesis.  At graduation, a student who has a 3.25 cumulative average, a 3.5 average in health sciences coursework, and who has completed an acceptable honors thesis will be awarded Honors in Health Sciences. 

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society

"Tri-Beta" is a national honor society affiliated with the American Association for Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Invitations for membership are extended to majors in the life sciences who have demonstrated superior academic achievement. Students are usually invited to join in their sophomore year when they have accumulated 12 credits in the sciences. Active membership is available to those with an overall grade point average of at least 2.8, and at least 3.0 in their science courses. The benefits of membership include academic recognition; a subscription to the journal Bios, to which members may submit research articles; opportunities to present papers at conventions; and research awards. Biology and behavioral neuroscience majors should make membership in Tri-Beta one of their goals. 

Degree Offered

  • B.S. in Health Science


Jonathan Karp, Ph.D.
Professor and Acting Chairperson
Department of Health Sciences and Nursing
School of Science, Technology and Mathematics
Science and Technology Center 339E
Program Website: Health Science

Associated Department:  Health Sciences & Nursing

Related Programs

Requirements for the Major

Course Repeat Policy

(64-68 credits)

Complete the following courses:
Principles of Biology I
and Principles of Biology I Lab 1
Principles of Biology II
and Principles of Biology II Lab 1
Human Anatomy & Physiology I
and Human Anatomy & Physiology I Lab
Human Anatomy & Physiology II
and Human Anatomy & Phys II Lab
Complete one of the following course sequences:
Principles of Chemistry
and Principles of Chemistry Lab
Intro to Chemical Systems
and Quantitative Methods Lab
Survey of General Chemistry
and Survey of Gen Chemistry Lab
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
and Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry Lab
Complete the following courses:
Algebra and Trigonometry 2,3
and Biostatistics Lab
Introduction to Research in Psychology
and Statistics and Research Design
Complete the following courses:
Introduction to Psychology
Health Psychology
Category 1 Electives 6-8
Select two or more of the following courses:
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
and Introduction to Organic & Biochemistry Lab 4
Principles of Physics I
and Principles of Physics I Lab
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
Principles of Physics II
and Principles of Physics II Lab
General Physics II
and General Physics II Lab
The Pharmaceutical Industry
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Lab
Psychological Disorders
Child Development
Youth and Adolescent Development
Category 2 Electives 8
Select two or more of the following courses:
Principles of Biology: Evolution, Diversity, and Biology of Cells
and Principle of Biology: Cells Lab
Medical Microbiology
and Microbiology Lab
and Genetics Lab
Developmental Biology
and Developmental Biology Lab
Animal Physiology
and Animal Physiology Lab
Behavioral Neuroscience
and Behavioral Neuroscience Lab
and Immunology Lab
and Neurobiology Lab
and Neurochemistry Lab
Exercise Physiology
and Exercise Physiology Laboratory
and Kinesiology Lab
Category 3 Electives 9
Select three or more of the following courses:
Public Relations
Intro to Health Communication
Global Perspectives on Health and Illness
Cultural Diversity in a Global Society
Introduction to Human Nutrition
Introduction to Public Health
Environmental Health & Human Health
Introduction to Epidemiology
Introduction to Health Care
Population Health Care Management
Scholarship in Evidence-Based Practice
Information Management and Application of Patient Care Technology
Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments
Interprofessional Collaboration and Communication for Improving Healthcare Outcomes
Medical Ethics 5
Health Care and Society
Senior Capstone3
Select one of the following:
Independent Study: Research and Creative Expression
Internship in Health Sciences
Total Credits:64-68

Students must earn a grade of “C” or better in these courses in order to meet the major requirement and before enrolling in upper-level courses for which these courses are prerequisites.  


Students must complete MTH 105 or higher.


Students must place into MTH 105 or a higher level mathematics course in order to register for BIO 115/BIO 115L and BIO 116/BIO 116L.  


BCH 225/BCH 225L cannot be counted as both a Chemistry requirement and Category 1 Elective. 


PHL 304 may also be used to satisfy the CAS Philosophical Perspectives core requirement.

Department of Health Sciences and Nursing Course Repeat Policy

The following guidelines apply to courses offered by the Department of Health Sciences and Nursing.  Students may repeat any health sciences (HSC) or exercise science (EXS) course once without special permission unless they received an unsatisfactory grade (C-, D, F).  With an unsatisfactory grade, students need permission from the dean's office to repeat a class.  They can not register on their own on myRider.  Students should email and the department chair to request permission to repeat a course.  A course will be considered repeated if the student has previously earned a letter grade in the course, or if the student has previously withdrawn from the course after the Friday of the seventh week of classes (previously Withdrawal II or Withdrawal III).    To take a health science, or exercise science course for a third time, written permission must be obtained from the dean's office and the department chair before the registrar will allow the student to enroll in that course.

Academic Plan of Study 

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who are in a Continuing Education Program; who change their major; or who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from their academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
BIO 115
Principles of Biology I
and Principles of Biology I Lab
MTH 105 Algebra and Trigonometry 1 4
PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology 3
CMP 120 Seminar in Writing and Rhetoric 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
HSC 105 Introduction to Health Professions 1
BIO 116
Principles of Biology II
and Principles of Biology II Lab
CMP 125 Seminar in Writing and Research 3
HSC Category 3 Elective #1 of 3 3
Social Perspectives 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Year 2
Fall Semester
BIO 221
Human Anatomy & Physiology I
and Human Anatomy & Physiology I Lab 2
CHE 120
Principles of Chemistry
or Survey of General Chemistry and Survey of Gen Chemistry Lab
Foreign Language 3
Social Perspectives 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
BIO 222
Human Anatomy & Physiology II
and Human Anatomy & Phys II Lab
CHE 122
CHE 123
Intro to Chemical Systems
or Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry and Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry Lab
Foreign Language 3
HSC Category 3 elective #2 of 3 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Year 3
Fall Semester
BNS 250
and Biostatistics Lab
HSC Category 1 Elective #1 of 2 3
HSC Category 2 elective with lab, #1 of 2 4
Social Perspectives 3
HIS 150 Pre-Modern World: Evolution to Revolution 3
 Semester Credit Hours17
Spring Semester
HSC Category 2 elective with lab, #2 of 2 4
PSY 345 Health Psychology 3
HIS 151
World in the Modern Era: Exploration to Globalization
or Contemporary World: Historical Perspectives
or Cold War: A Global History
Aesthetic Perspectives: Literature 3
HSC Category 3 elective #3 of 3 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Year 4
Fall Semester
HSC 491
Internship in Health Sciences 4
or Independent Study: Research and Creative Expression
Three Elective Courses 3 10
HSC Category 1 Elective #2 of 2 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
Aesthetic Perspectives: Fine Arts 3
Four Elective Courses 3 12
 Semester Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation120

For course placement information see


Scientific Perspectives general education requirements are included in major.


Elective credits may be used to complete requirements in a second major or minor.


HSC 490/491 (Capstone) can be completed Fall or Spring. Consult academic advisor for planning and requirements.

HSC 102 Medical Terminology 1 Credits

Medical terminology is the study of the principles of medical word building to help the student develop extensive medical vocabulary used in health care occupations. Students will gain an understanding of basic elements, rules of building and analyzing medical words, and medical terms associated with the body as a whole.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.

HSC 105 Introduction to Health Professions 1 Credits

Course Description: This course will provide a basic overview of the health science professions including but not limited to: athletic training, clinical exercise physiology & cardiac rehabilitation, chiropractic, physician assistant, occupational therapy, nursing, community health education specialist, and physical therapy. The course will also cover the professional activities (i.e. professional organizations, certifications, professional issues, and professional liabilities) that are related to these professional applications.

HSC 110 Introduction to Human Nutrition 3 Credits

This course is designed to offer the student an understanding of fundamental human nutrition concepts including, but not limited to, digestion, absorption, metabolism, functions, and sources of macronutrients and micronutrients. The theme of the course will align with human health and disease states and the important conceptions about the food industry and its relation to healthy dietetic choices.

HSC 150 Introduction to Public Health 3 Credits

Public Health is the science of protecting, promoting, and improving the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. Students will gain an understanding of the history and functions of public health, strategies and methods used in public health research, and the determinants of health.

HSC 200 Environmental Health & Human Health 3 Credits

The health of any individual is a function of both our genetics and environmental factors. Environmental factors most broadly defined include the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. This course will focus on numerous examples of how bacteria, viruses, and exposure to environmental chemicals result in human diseases. Examples range from failures in public health infrastructure (cholera, diphtheria, river blindness, etc), failures to vaccinate (polio, measles, hepatitis, etc) and chemical exposures (birth defects, cancer, etc). There is also much known about how diet and nutrition can prevent diseases.

Prerequisite(s): BIO 10X Life Science course or any biology laboratory course or BIO 115 or 116 or 117.

HSC 210 Nutrition for Exercise and Physical Activity 3 Credits

An introductory exploration of evidence based nutritional theory and applications in sport and exercise.

Prerequisite(s): HSC 100 with a minimum grade of D or BCH 225 with a minimum grade of D.

HSC 250 Introduction to Epidemiology 3 Credits

Epidemiology is the study of distribution and determinants of defects, disease, and injury in human populations and the application of that study to assess the magnitude of health problems and the result of interventions designed to control them. This course is designed to introduce students to the basic principles, methods, and uses of epidemiology to better understand and characterize health and disease at a population level. The role of epidemiological evidence in planning and evaluation will be also be explored.

Prerequisite(s): MTH 102 or higher OR MSD 105 or higher OR POI.

HSC 302 Kinesiology 3 Credits

The purpose of this course is to explore human movement during performance of activities. This course will explore the relationship between anatomical structures and function in the production of movement. The application and relationships between the fundamental principles of mechanics and musculoskeletal system function will be addressed within the framework of clinical and research perspectives. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches will be applied towards a better understanding of human movement, the analysis of physical activity. Prerequisite(s): BIO 221 & MTH 105 (or equivalent) or POI.

Corequisite: HSC 303.

HSC 303 Kinesiology Lab 1 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with HSC 302.

Corequisites: HSC 302.

HSC 490 Independent Study: Research and Creative Expression 1-4 Credits

Immerses the student in health science-related research. The student learns to organize material, use relevant medical/scientific literature, make precise measurements, and obtain reproducible data. If possible, the student will publish the results or present them at a scientific meeting.

HSC 491 Internship in Health Sciences 1-4 Credits

A supervised work experience in an approved organization where qualified students gain real-world knowledge and utilize their academic training in a professional environment. Placement may be in private, public, non-profit, or governmental organizations. These can include educational or research institutions. The method of evaluation will be formalized prior to the approval of the internship by the sponsoring faculty member and should include keeping a journal of activities, a term paper or project report and an oral or poster presentation.

Prerequisite(s): 2.5 GPA required.