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Undergraduate Course Offerings

The Department of Health Systems and Population Heath offers a diverse set of courses for undergraduates who wish to learn about some of the major health issues facing the U.S. and the world.

For those considering majoring in public health, HSERV 100 and HSERV 204 are prerequisites for the major. If you are a public health major, 300 and 400 level courses fulfill upper level elective course requirements for the major. For questions about registering for these courses, contact For general questions about the Public Health-Global Health major, contact

Whether you plan to go into a health field or want to learn more about topics outside your main interests, these courses are stimulating electives that will give you additional knowledge and tools to better understand health.

Personal and Public Health
Provides an overview of the key components of health and wellness. Presents a balance between individual responsibility and social determinants of public health, emphasizing a holistic preventative model. Incorporates self-assessment and considers the impact of personal, family, social, cultural, and environmental factors on health.

Communicating About Health: Current Issues and Perspectives
This course provides an overview of health communication topics and perspectives for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the health field and/or those with a general interest in health communication. Course content includes communication skill building in areas of interpersonal communication strategies, planning and evaluation of health promotion and health communication campaigns.

Sleep and Population Health
Examines the role of sleep in population health, including risk factors and short and long-term consequences for inadequate sleep. Expands understanding of sleep science and how sleep can function as not only an outcome, but also as a predictor, mediator, confounder, and effect modifier of health outcomes and disparities. Also explores established and emerging sleep interventions and their potential to improve population health outcomes.

Health Behavior and Health Promotion
Introduction to health behavior change and health promotion. The course will cover theoretical foundations of health behavior and health promotion, as well as how to apply theory and evidence in health promotion practice. It will also introduce strategies for implementing and evaluating health promotion programs.

Public Health and Health Systems Management
Introduces public health and health systems management concepts. Students learn key tenets of high-performing public health and healthcare organizations, and environments in which these organizations operate. Examines a variety of health system models, including governmental public health, healthcare delivery systems, accountable communities of health and other collaborative models.

Community Health Assessment
Introduces role of assessment in planning for community health improvement through health promotion activities. Considers determinants of health; methods to find, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data; interpret findings to describe the health resources, risks, and outcomes; role of assessment in identifying health disparities and patterns of health inequities.

War and Health
Explores the health consequences of war (injury, infectious diseases, mental health, chronic disease, malnutrition, infrastructure) and the role of health professionals and others in preventing war (advocacy, measurement and application of epidemiology methods, promotion of social equity).

Topics in Indigenous Health
Covers the fundamentals of Indigenous health, including Indigenous conceptual frameworks specific to health, wellness, and resilience. Topics include Indigenous social determinants of health, Federal Indian health policy, and American Indian and Alaska Native trends in population health outcomes within the context of the socio-ecological model.

Introduction to Applied Ethnographic Methods in Public Health
Introduces practical methods of gathering ethnographic data. Students investigate a local culture, including such diverse groups as graffiti artists and dumpster divers.

Black Lives and Police Violence: Racism and the Public's Health
The effects of racism on health are profound and multi-dimensional. Critically analyzes theories of human behavior in relation to epidemiological concepts of race, against the backdrop of the current Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

The Health of Populations
Explores what makes a population health or unhealthy. Examines why the USA is less healthy than all the other rich countries, despite being one of the healthiest fifty years ago.

Homeless in Seattle
This course is designed for undergraduate and graduate students from any department or discipline who seek to understand the dimensions, causes and health consequences of homelessness, especially in Seattle.