Dec 03, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Health and Behavioral Sciences

Department Chair: Sara Yeatman
Undergraduate Program Director: Meng Li
Program Assistant: Anne Marie Summers
Mailing Address: Program in Health and Behavioral Sciences, Campus Box 188, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364
Office Location: North Classroom 3018
Telephone: 303-556-4300


Karen Spencer, PhD, Indiana University
David P. Tracer, PhD, University of Michigan

Associate Professors:
jimi adams, PhD, Ohio State University
Patrick Krueger, PhD, University of Colorado 
Meng Li, PhD, Rutgers University
Ronica Rooks, PhD, University of Maryland College Park
Sara Yeatman, PhD, University of Texas Austin

Assistant Professors:
Jennifer Boylan, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Visiting Assistant Professors:
Hyeyoung Oh Nelson, PhD, University of California Los Angeles
Jorge Ivan Ramirez, PhD, Michigan State University

Professors Emerita:
Debbi Main, PhD, University of Colorado

Research and Clinical Faculty:
Sharon Devine, PhD, University of Colorado
Jean Scandlyn, PhD, Columbia University

The mission of the health and behavioral sciences (HBSC) program is to apply social science theory and innovative research methods to critically address emerging issues in health. The program trains students to confront issues affecting the health of communities and populations by focusing on social determinants of health and diseases. These determinants can be more influential on population health than the health care system.

The program’s overarching framework integrates social, cultural and biomedical perspectives to understand the underpinnings of health and the conditions essential for its creation and maintenance. Students and faculty conduct interdisciplinary research on topics including emerging diseases, maternal/child health, substance abuse, health disparities and global health. Graduates are innovative researchers, effective educators and leaders directly engaged in the practice of public health.

Undergraduate Information

Public health is working to protect the environment, identifying sources of illness in population groups, controlling disease outbreaks, evaluating the economic impacts of changing demographics, developing interventions to promote healthy behavior, and producing health policy legislation. Public health draws from a broad array of disciplines, such as the social and behavioral sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, business, economics, statistics, epidemiology, law and biology, and each provides unique insights for the diverse set of activities involved in public health practice.

In response to the tremendous career and research opportunities in public health, the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), in collaboration with the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH), created an undergraduate major in public health. Most core classes for the public health major are team taught with one faculty member from the downtown campus (CLAS) and the other from the Anschutz campus (CSPH).

This degree is designed to accommodate as many student interests as possible. At CU Denver, we are committed to helping students develop their own individualized educational path; we strive to serve the needs of both the student who wishes to specialize in communication strategies for effective public health education campaigns, as well as the student who wants to hasten the translation of the latest bench science technologies into public health practice. To this end, the major consists of both BA and BS tracks.

Two options are available for the undergraduate major in public health: Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS). After completion of the program, students will have a broad background to serve as the foundation for a variety of career paths, such as immediate entry into public health positions, background training for a professional school (including but not limited to medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy or law school), or the pursuit of an advanced degree such as a master’s or Ph.D. in a range of social, behavioral or natural sciences.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Students in the BA program develop a specialty in the social sciences and public health.

Click here  for information about the requirements for the BA in Public Health.

 Bachelor of Science (BS)

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health is designed to fulfill all medical school prerequisites in a four-year course of study.

Students in the BS program develop a specialty in the natural sciences and public health.

Click here  for information about the requirements for the BS in Public Health.    

Public Health Demography Minor

The minor in demography gives students focused training in theories and methods of demography. It will help students develop important skills in critical thinking and quantitative reasoning, and will prepare them for graduate level training in demography or related fields and for jobs requiring an understanding of population dynamics. Demographers are frequently employed in occupations including academia, risk assessment, marketing, consulting, non-profits, and various local, state, and federal government agencies.

Click here here  for information about the requirements for the Minor in Public Health Demography.

Public Health Minor

The undergraduate minor in public health is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the social, cultural and biological dimensions of health. The minor curriculum provides students with the intellectual and methodological tools needed to understand the joint bio-cultural determinants and contexts of health, health care and public health.

Graduates with a minor in public health will be prepared for pursuit of graduate degrees in a broad range of fields, including the natural, social and behavioral sciences; public health; law; medicine; dentistry; pharmacy; nursing; business administration; and health services research. The program is especially appropriate for students intending to pursue careers in public health, as well as primary care specialties in medicine, nursing or health policy and administration.

Click here  for information about the requirements for the Minor in Public Health.

Five year BA/BS/MPH

This 5-year degree program combines the Bachelors of Art/Bachelor of Science (BA/BS) of Public Health (PBHL) and the Master of Public Health (MPH). These degrees are offered, respectively, at the University of Colorado Denver by the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the downtown campus, and the Colorado School of Public Health, a joint venture of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado. The free-standing PBHL is composed of 120 credits of coursework (43 specific to the BA and 73 specific to the BS, with the remainder being part of the larger requirements for a Bachelor’s degree). The free-standing MPH program is 42 credit hours and typically completed in 2 years.

Click here  for information about the requirements for the five-year BA/BS/MPH.

Graduate Information

Please go to the Graduate catalog to read about our graduate programs.