McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New program jets students into health care fields

Many graduate early to attend professional schools

Published: November 13, 2003

One quarter of the students from a new health sciences program at McMaster University are graduating a year early because they've been accepted at professional schools.

Twenty-eight of the 103 inaugural students of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program have obtained a three-year Bachelor degree and have moved into further studies.

Twenty-six are to receive their degrees at McMaster University's fall convocation being held Friday, Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Hamilton Place. This fall 20 are attending medical schools, three are in dentistry programs, one is in pharmacy, one is in chiropractic school and another is pursuing a second degree in the arts. Two students received their diplomas at the spring convocation and went into law and nursing programs.

The program, begun in 2000, was designed to offer students an understanding of health from biological, behavioural and population-based perspectives, with a foundation in science. It is expected graduates will follow careers ranging from medical research to hospital administration as well as becoming the doctors and rehabilitation specialists of the future.

The program is one of great demand, receiving 3,000 applications for this year's entering class of 160. Marks are not the only selection criteria, even though the entry average of this year's students was 94 per cent. They were also selected for a well-rounded lifestyle.

Dr. Del Harnish, assistant dean of the program, says the key attraction is McMaster's unique interdisciplinary approach to health sciences education with an emphasis on the critical appraisal of information, problem-based learning, and a practical link between research and clinical problems.

Students in this program come to recognize that health and illness are both broadly determined and are best addressed by multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled teams, he said.

"The emphasis on inquiry and the interdisciplinary dimension of the program are its most unique and valuable assets," says Dr. Harnish.

Some of the students who are now finishing up the fourth year of the program have set their sights on post graduate studies at American Ivy League institutions.

Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said he's proud of the first graduates.

"McMaster's program is unique within Ontario universities and it is providing our students with a premium education. They will all do well in the future."

At Friday's convocation the Faculty of Health Sciences will also have 197 graduands from the School of Nursing, School of Rehabilitation Sciences and health sciences graduate programs.

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