Health Policy Studies

The study of social factors and their relationship to the health care system has become increasingly important in recent decades. It is now widely accepted that understanding the social dimensions of health, illnesses, and the health care system is crucial for all the health-related professions and for an informed consumer citizenry as well.

In recognition of its importance, the UM-Dearborn offers a Bachelor of Arts major in Health Policy Studies. This program provides future health professionals with a strong behavioral and social science orientation but also draws on resources in humanities, management, education and engineering. Students study important perspectives that enable them to broaden and deepen their understanding of health care and health systems. The objective is to provide students with analytic frames of reference, as well as research and evaluation approaches that illuminate issues and provide a good basis for approaching problems the health care delivery field. These include the economics and politics of health care delivery, sociological perspectives, cross-cultural comparisons of health care systems, ethical considerations, computer applications, and practical work in aspects of the American system. Much of the course work is developed around a policy orientation.

Students participate in undergraduate coursework that prepares them for health-related work, strengthens their position for admission to graduate programs, and enhances professional socialization. This program is intended for students interested in health services administration, health policy and planning and the health professions such as medicine, dentistry and nursing.

Health Policy Studies (HPS) is also available as a minor and as an area of focus for the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) and the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (LIBS).

Joint Programs with Community College Degree in Allied Health and Nursing

Students who have completed an Associate Degree program from an accredited community college in Nursing (RN) or Allied Health (including, inter alia, Health Information Technology, Health Services Manager, Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiography Technician, Respiratory Therapy Assistant, Surgical Technology, and Diagnostic Medical Sonographer), with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher, may apply for admission to Health Policy Studies through the joint program. Students who have been accepted will be able to transfer up to 62 credit hours of their Associate’s Degree program toward an AB in Health Policy Studies.

Students transferring into HPS under the joint program will have to complete distribution requirements, including prerequisites to the major, major requirements and an HPS track, as set forth in the next sections. The transferred allied health and nursing courses may only be used for the HPS bachelor’s degree; that is, a student who comes to UM-Dearborn through the joint program, but subsequently changes majors from HPS will lose many of the 62 transferred credit hours, retaining only those course credits that would otherwise transfer to UM-Dearborn.

Prerequisites to the Major

The following courses fulfill distribution requirements as well as serve as prerequisite courses for certain HPS core courses.

SOC 200Understanding Society3
or SOC 201 Contemporary Social Problems
ECON 2001Introductory Economics3
or ECON 201 Prin: Macroeconomics
Any 100 or 200 level PHIL course (PHIL 240 preferred)3

Dearborn Discovery Core Requirement

The minimum passing grade for a Dearborn Discovery Core (DDC) course is 2.0. The minimum GPA for the program is 2.0. In addition, the DDC permits any approved course to satisfy up to three credit hours within three different categories. Please see the General Education Program: The Dearborn Discovery Core section for additional information.

Foundational Studies

Written and Oral Communication (GEWO) – 6 Credits

Upper Level Writing Intensive (GEWI) – 3 Credits

Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving (GEQT) – 3 Credits

Critical and Creative Thinking (GECC) – 3 Credits

Areas of Inquiry

Natural Science (GENS) – 7 Credits

  • Lecture/Lab Science Course
  • Additional Science Course

Social and Behavioral Analysis (GESB) – 9 Credits

Humanities and the Arts (GEHA) – 6 Credits

Intersections (GEIN) – 6 Credits


Capstone (GECE) – 3 Credits

Major Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts in Health Policy Studies includes three components of requirements: CASL General Education Distribution Requirements (approximately 42 credit hours—HPS students are required to take 6 credit hours in the Behavioral and Social Analysis Area of Inquiry, instead of the usual 9 hours) within which certain prerequisites are taken; Health Policy Studies Core Courses (31 hours) and one of several tracks (15 hours). The degree, like other CASL degrees, requires a minimum of 120 hours, 48 of which are upper division.

Health Policy Studies Core

All HPS majors take 31 hours of core courses. HPS 440 Medical Sociology, should be taken first as it is intended as a gateway course to Health Policy Studies. HPS 410 Social Research Methods, should also be taken early on, as it shows students how to read scientific articles and familiarizes students with basic statistics. HPS 402 Health Policy Studies Senior Seminar is a capstone course for the major, bringing together the various issues raised in the program and looking at both the past and the likely future of the health care system, hence students should enroll for this course after they have taken most of the other HPS courses. HPS 401 Health Policy Studies Internship should be taken in the senior year.

Required Core Courses
HPS 440Medical Sociology3
HPS 410Quantitative Research4
HPS 364Health Policy and Admin3
HPS 442Medical Ethics3
HPS 456Health Care and the Law3
HPS 403Medical Information Systems3
HPS 404Financing Health & Medical Sys 13
or ECON 355 Econ of the Medical Sector
Select one course from the following group of three courses:3
Comparative Health Care System
Medical Anthropology
Health Psychology
HPS 401Health Pol Studies Internship 13-6
or HPS 405 Healthcare Administration
HPS 402HPS Senior Seminar3
Total Credit Hours31-34

By permission of the HPS Director by petition

Health Policy Studies Tracks

All HPS majors take a 15 credit hour track. These tracks provide training in areas directly applicable to careers in health care services. Increased public interest in the American health care system has created a demand for administrators in hospitals, neighborhood clinics, long-term care facilities, group practices, ambulatory facilities, managed care entities such as health maintenance organizations (HMO) and preferred provider organizations. Employment in such organizations may require specialized training in management and the social and behavioral sciences.

Students with an eye toward the occupations within these organizations will find an optimal combination of background and skill through completing one of the tracks, below, and thus improve their chances of working successfully in the health care field or enhance their chances of admission to graduate programs.

Some of the courses in the tracks within the College of Business require additional prerequisites, such as accounting courses, ACC 298 and ACC 299; or Principles of Microeconomics, ECON 202; or ITM or CIS introductory courses. Other tracks also include courses that have prerequisites, such as CHEM 225 or BIOL 140.

Health Planning Track (CAHP)

Select five courses from the following:15
Nutrition and Health
Medical Anthropology
Topics in Biology
Introduction to Toxicology
Healthcare Administration
Principles of Epidemiology
Obesity and the Lifecourse
Reproductive Health Policy
Org of Hospital Systems
Int Group and Pol Process
Legislative Process
American Policy Process
Psychology of Aging
Health Psychology
Poverty and Inequality
Structure of American Society
American Social Classes
Society and Aging
Political Sociology
Images of Organizations
Total Credit Hours15

Health Behavior and Health Education Track

HPS 430Health Behavior & Health Educ3
Select three courses from the following:9
Perspectives in Women's Health
Principles of Epidemiology
Obesity and the Lifecourse
Reproductive Health Policy
Diversity Iss in Mental Health
Program Evaluation
Select one course from the following:3
Nutrition and Health
Medical Anthropology
Educational Psychology
Perspectives in Women's Health
Principles of Epidemiology
Obesity and the Lifecourse
Reproductive Health Policy
Diversity Iss in Mental Health
Life-Span Developmental Psych
Psych of Child Development
Psychology of Aging
Health Psychology
Program Evaluation
Family Violence
Total Credit Hours15

Information Systems Track (CAIS)

Select five courses from the following:15
Info Systems in Management
and Mgmt Information Sys Lab
Database Systems I
Info Systems Development
Networking and Collab Comp
The Legal Environment of Bus
Total Credit Hours15

Human Resources Track (CAHR)

Select five courses from the following:15
Human Resource Policy/Admin
Staffing, Training & Develop
Compensation & Performance Mgt
Employment Relations
The Legal Environment of Bus
Behavior in Organization
Management Skills Development
Organizational Change & Devlp
Seminar:Organizational Behavr
Total Credit Hours15

Marketing Track (CAMK)

Select five courses from the following:15
Entrepreneurial Thinking&Behav
The Legal Environment of Bus
Mktg Principles and Policies
Understanding Customers
Marketing Management
Business to Business Mktg
Marketing Research
Advg and Sales Promotion
Comm Strategy & New Media
Total Credit Hours15

Finance Track (CAFT)

Select five courses from the following:15
Corporate Finance
Advanced Corporate Finance
Investment Fundamentals
Corporate Fin Models and Appls
Seminar: Financial Management
The Legal Environment of Bus
Total Credit Hours15

Individualized Track

(15 hours)

Students with special interests can design their own tracks in conjunction with the HPS Program Director by petition. Individualized tracks have included gerontology, medical social work, and organizational behavior.


  1. The same courses cannot satisfy both major and minor requirements.
  2. The same courses cannot be used to satisfy both HPS core and track requirements.
  3. The same course cannot be used in more than one track.
  4. Upper level courses, particularly in finance, information systems, and health behavior and education tracks, may require additional prerequisites.
  5. Students not enrolled in the BBA program (in the College of Business) cannot elect and/or transfer more than 30 credits of coursework in disciplines offered by the College of Business.

Health Policy Studies Minor Or BGS/LIBS Concentration

The Health Policy Studies Program offers a specialization called Health Administration for the BGS major.

The minor or  concentration in Health Policy Studies consists of 15 credit hours of upper level HPS courses (excluding HPS 498 and HPS 499). It is recommended that the minor or area of focus include HPS 440, Medical Sociology and, at a minimum, either HPS 456 Health Care and the Law or HPS 442 Medical Ethics.

Premedical students should consider a minor in Health Policy Studies. The International Organization of Medical Sciences Conference of Medical Education addressed a number of issues, including the question of premedical education. The Conference emphasized the need for colleges to offer courses in the social and behavioral sciences so that future physicians would develop an understanding of the larger health care system and the social factors that influence health and illness. Since that time, other national organizations have continued to recommend that pre-medical students should take courses in the social and behavioral sciences that have a focus on the health care system and on the experience of health and illness. HPS offers an ideal set of courses that may be taken as a minor for a student planning on attending medical school. Students should contact the HPS Program Director to design a minor that would provide the breadth and depth of a social and behavioral science emphasis related to the delivery of medical care.

Health Policy Studies (HPS)

HPS 301     Intro to Health Policy     3 Credit Hours

The aim of this course is to provide students with an overview of the U.S. health care system, its components, and the policy challenges created by its organization. We will focus on the major US governmental and non-governmental political and policy players, health policy institutions and important issues that cut across institutions, including private insurers and the federal/state financing programs (Medicare and Medicaid/SCHIP). (F,W)

HPS 336     Perspectives in Women's Health     3 Credit Hours

Topic: Perspectives in Women's Health. This course examines women's health issues across the human lifespan, using feminist and sociocultural perspectives. Topics to be explored include the social construction of women?s sexuality, reproductive options, health care alternatives and risk for physical and mental illness. Attention to the historical, economic, and cultural factors that influence the physical and psychological well-being of women is an underlying theme. (F,W,Y)

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

HPS 364     Health Policy and Admin     3 Credit Hours

A survey of the structure and processes of health administration in America, including analysis of current issues in health policy. (F, W, S).

Prerequisite(s): HPS 301

HPS 390     Topics in Health Policy Stds     3 Credit Hours

Special topics course taught periodically. (F,W,S)

HPS 390F     Topics in Health Policy Stds     3 Credit Hours

TOPICI TITLE: Population Health - Determinants, Evaluation, and Opportunities for Public Much too often, population health is understood to be either a ?sum? of the health of individuals comprising the population or to be identical with public health. Yet, population health is distinct in its definition, determinants/ risk factors, measurement/evaluation, and strategies for improvement from both individual health and public health. Population health encompasses traditional public health and individual-level preventive medicine but emphasizes the full range of health determinants affecting the entire population rather than only ill or high-risk individuals.

HPS 401     Health Pol Studies Internship     3 to 6 Credit Hours

A practical experience; volunteering is done in a health care delivery setting combined with a support seminar to develop an understanding of health care system issues and problems.

Can enroll if Class is Senior

HPS 402     HPS Senior Seminar     3 Credit Hours

Focus on current issues and practical problems in health care organization, delivery, and financing. Use of the case method (where appropriate) to demonstrate and discuss real problems and approaches in functioning health care institutions in Southeastern Michigan. Taught primarily from the point of view of individuals responsible for administering or advising such institutions. (F,W,S).

Prerequisite(s): HPS 440 and (HPS 336 or HPS 364 or HPS 390 or HPS 401 or HPS 403 or HPS 404 or HPS 405 or HPS 410 or HPS 412 or HPS 430 or HPS 442 or HPS 448 or HPS 456 or HPS 475 or HPS 498)

Can enroll if Class is Senior

HPS 403     Medical Information Systems     3 Credit Hours

Medical Information Systems deals with how information is created, stored, and used in health care settings. Areas of interest for this course include fundamentals of computers and data management, medical information documentation in the form of paper and electronic medical records, health data privacy issues, disease classification and scoring systems, quality assurance in health care delivery, commonly used health care statistics, reimbursement methodologies, health care monitoring by internal processes and external review agencies, and vital statistics and disease surveillance systems. The course also includes some hands-on computer applications instruction to familiarize students with commonly used software platforms utilized in health care administration. Students cannot receive credit for both HPS 403 and HPS 503. (W)

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

HPS 404     Financing Health & Medical Sys     3 Credit Hours

The American health care system faces two problems: access to health services and high and rising costs. This course looks at the problems of uninsured citizens as well as the strains placed on health care facilities in providing services for them. Europeans have dealt with problems of access and cost controls through universal health care coverage and the course takes up various models in use today. The course also looks at American health insurance and "managed care" programs such as HMOs and PPOs as methods of providing health coverage as well as controlling costs. The course introduces students to services provided by the government including Medicare, Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Students will learn the basics of creating a budget under constraints such as contractual limitations and Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs). Offered once a year, ordinarily in the Winter semester. Students cannot receive credit for more than one of the following: HPS 404, HPS 451, HPS 504, HPS 551, or PADM 451.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 201

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

HPS 405     Healthcare Administration     3 Credit Hours

This course introduces students to administrative models and skills that can be used at a supervisory level. These conceptions include strategic planning, marketing, organizational communications, quality assurance, project management and team skills, supervision and evaluation, conflict resolution and office cultures and politics. A critical and historical perspective is used to understand the origins and meanings of these conceptions and the extent to which they correspond with the service mentality of health and human services. Applications to the health and human services will be central to the course.

Prerequisite(s): HPS 440

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

HPS 410     Quantitative Research     4 Credit Hours

An introduction to methods of data collection and analysis. Elementary statistics data are analyzed using computerized statistics programs. A discussion of research design and the philosophy of social science is also included. Students cannot receive credit for both HPS 410 and HPS 510. (F,W,S).

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201

HPS 412     Principles of Epidemiology     3 Credit Hours

The study of the frequency and distribution, as well as the causes and control, of disease in human populations. Using data analysis tools, one can identify causes of disease and the effects of prevention and treatment. This course is an application of research design to determine the extent to which environment (toxins, for instance), heredity, childhood development, and lifestyle influence morbidity and mortality rates.

Prerequisite(s): (SOC 410 or HPS 410 or CRJ 410)

Cannot enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

HPS 430     Health Behavior & Health Educ     3 Credit Hours

This course provides an overview of social and behavioral science theories that guide the development of health education and promotion interventions aimed at preventing, reducing, and eliminating public health problems. Part one of the course describes the relationship between behavior and health, through a review of several current health problems faced by people in the United States. Part two presents a survey of health behavior theories ranging from those aimed at individual behavioral change to community health education promotions. The final part of the course looks at the application of theory to real-world health promotion and education interventions. Students will learn how social and behavioral theory informs intervention design, implementation, and evaluation.

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

HPS 435     Obesity and the Lifecourse     3 Credit Hours

This course aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of the lifecourse perspective on health, while using ?obesity? as a unifying example to illustrate its theoretical linkages to individual and population health, the practical implications for the administration and financing of the health care system, and for framing policy options. The course highlights the differential impact of obesity on (1) the health and socioeconomic achievement of individuals at various stages in the lifecourse; (2) the population health and economic needs or opportunities, as derived from the lifecourse profile of a specific population (i.e., age distribution and aging trends) and in the context of a changing structure of society; and (3) the demand for healthcare services and other stressors on the healthcare system. The course identifies the rationale, goals, scope, design, and potential for successful implementation of obesity-reducing policy interventions at different points during the lifecourse.

HPS 436     Reproductive Health Policy     3 Credit Hours

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of reproductive health in the US. Understanding women?s reproductive health requires consideration of the intersections of gender, race, class, culture, geography, economic status, and nation within a sociopolitical context. The course introduces students to the historical trends in the regulation of women?s fertility and reproductive health. Readings draw from a number of different disciplines, including: law, medical studies, history, social sciences, and personal narratives to critically examine the intent and impact of current standards for reproductive health policy and practice. Topics include: reproductive justice, contraception, pregnancy, reproductive control, and family leave. Course discussions include a focus on health policy and activism to affect change related to women?s reproductive health, all within a framework of reproductive justice. A major emphasis is on developing critical thinking skills that can be applied to issues of women?s reproductive health in order to educate and empower students to become proactive healthcare consumers.

Prerequisite(s): SOC 201 or ANTH 303 or HUM 303 or SOC 303 or PSYC 303 or WGST 303

HPS 440     Medical Sociology     3 Credit Hours

An analysis of health and illness behavior from the point of view of the consumer, as well as medical professionals, the structure, strengths and weaknesses of the medical care delivery system in the U.S.; the impact of culture and personality on illness behavior; and a study of the institution of medicine and activities of health care professionals. Students cannot receive credit for both HPS 440 and HPS 540. (F).

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201

HPS 442     Medical Ethics     3 Credit Hours

An examination of moral issues in medicine. Among the problems to be considered are truth-telling and paternalism in the doctor-patient relationship, psychosurgery and behavior control, death and euthanasia, the allocation of scarce resources, and genetic counseling and control. Specific attention will be given to ethical theories and to philosophical concepts such as rights, autonomy, and justice. Students cannot receive credit for both HPS 442 and HPS 542. Prerequisite(s): any previous course in Philosophy or permission of instructor. (F,W,S).

Prerequisite(s): PHIL 100 or PHIL 120 or PHIL 233 or PHIL 234 or PHIL 240 or PHIL 301 or PHIL 302 or PHIL 303 or PHIL 304 or PHIL 305 or PHIL 310 or PHIL 315 or PHIL 320 or PHIL 340 or PHIL 350 or PHIL 355 or PHIL 365 or PHIL 369 or PHIL 370 or PHIL 371 or PHIL 375 or PHIL 380 or PHIL 390 or PHIL 441 or PHIL 445 or PHIL 485 or PHIL 490

HPS 448     Comparative Health Care System     3 Credit Hours

An introduction and overview of the English, Swedish, and People's Republic of China health care systems. Focus on cultural and other organizational characteristics, unique features, approaches, and ability to solve problems. Emphasis on how the three systems help us understand the American health care system. Students cannot receive credit for both HPS 448 and HPS 548. (F,W,S)

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201

Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

HPS 456     Health Care and the Law     3 Credit Hours

A sociological study of legal issues in health care, including regulation of hospitals, consent for treatment, confidentiality, experimentation, family planning, children's rights, access to health care. The emphasis will be on the organizational and personal consequences of legal requirements. Junior/Senior standing is a requirement. Students cannot receive credit for both HPS 456 and HPS 556. (F).

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201 or POL 364

HPS 475     Diversity Iss in Mental Health     3 Credit Hours

Diversity Issues in Mental Health explores varied cultural descriptions and models of mental illness. By focusing on the ways that culture shapes how people experience, and respond to, mental illness this class explores cultural representations of mental illness, ranging from discrete illness resulting from a chemical imbalance to a profound threat to order. We seek to understand the cultural, personal, and political underpinnings of mental illness and medical practices in societies throughout the world. The course utilizes an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing from multiple sources of information regarding mental health issues, including feminism, psychiatry, history, sociology, and literature. Issues raised throughout the course include the ways gender, race, culture, religion, and stigma influence the diagnosis of mental illness, patterns of help-seeking behavior, formation of comprehensive mental health policy, and treatment options.

Prerequisite(s): WGST 303 or ANTH 303 or HUM 303 or SOC 303 or PSYC 303 or WGST 336 or HPS 336

HPS 498     Independent Study     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Readings or analytical assignments in accordance with the needs and interests of those enrolled and agreed upon by the student and instructor, which shall not duplicate a formal course offering. (F,W,S)

HPS 499     Independent Study     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Readings or analytical assignments in accordance with the needs and interests of those enrolled and agreed upon by the student and instructor, which shall not duplicate a formal course offering. (F,W,S)


An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally