Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX approves new Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health degree

December 5th, 2016
L-r, BASc in Health steering committee members, Donna Trembinski (History), Edwin DeMont (Biology), Joanne MacDonald (Nursing), Karen Brebner (Dean of Arts), Petra Hauf (Dean of Science) and Maica Murphy (Dean’s offices). Absent are Lindsay Berrigan (Psychology) and June Webber (Coady Institute)

Starting in September, students at StFX will be able to enroll in an innovative new degree that will allow them to study health from both an arts and science perspective. The Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health is a four-year degree that takes an interdisciplinary approach to health and draws on scientific, social and humanistic knowledge. 

StFX Dean of Arts, Dr. Karen Brebner, and Dean of Science, Dr. Petra Hauf, are both excited by the interfaculty approach to the program. “When we integrate the sciences and the arts we broaden students’ understanding of what they’re learning,” Dr. Brebner says. 

Dr. Hauf says the degree is also in keeping with today’s health landscape and will ensure students are in pace with developments in the health field, including the recognized importance of the humanities in developing a culturally knowledgeable approach to health. 

Students are also very much looking forward to the offering. 

“As a student, I am thrilled that the BASc in Health passed Senate* and will come into reality next year,” says Ryley Erickson, Students’ Union VP Academic. “Coming into StFX, I knew that I wanted to go into medical school, but also wanted to keep up my writing and social science learning as well. This degree would have been perfect for me, and especially with the recent changes to the MCAT (the test for medical school admission), it provides a more nuanced and well-rounded idea of what health really means.”

Dr. Hauf says StFX already has successful health professional programs, but a need was identified outside those programs. “The BASc in Health is going to fill this gap.”

The first year of the program is a foundation year consisting of introductory courses in science and arts. As they progress through the program, students will focus their studies by choosing to complete either a biomedical or social determinants and health equity concentration, in addition to taking courses in the Health Humanities. In their fourth year, students will complete a project aimed at addressing a health-related issue.

During each of the four years of the degree, students will also take two core health courses together. “We’re excited about the cohesiveness of the degree,” Dr. Brebner says, noting that students will bring the knowledge and skills they learn in their other classes to these core courses.

Dr. Hauf and Dr. Brebner say the program is suitable for students who come to StFX knowing that they want to pursue a career in a health-related field. It’s a demanding program, they say, where students will need to work at developing skills traditionally associated with both the arts and sciences.

Dr. Hauf and Dr. Brebner say the new degree will give students an innovative and contemporary education that will make them competitive in the growing health care field—a field that is increasingly putting a premium on interdisciplinary problem-solving skills. With this program, StFX will become the Maritime destination for interdisciplinary health education, they say.


* pending MPHEC approval

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