Want to declare in HSSP?

Begin by reading our FAQ sheet!

If you have a question you think is appropriate for this page, please send it to:

Kathryn Howell
Program Administrator

Frequently Asked Questions

faculty member at blackboardMust HSSP courses be taken in a specific order?

HSSP 100b is generally considered a Junior year course and HSSP 110a must be taken during the spring semester of your Senior year.  Your other HSSP courses may be taken in any order that works for your schedule.  However, you should keep in mind that all HSSP core courses provide students with foundational knowledge and skills that can be applied in their “hands-on” learning experience course and electives; and therefore are best taken early in one's academic career. 

What is the “hands-on” learning experience? 

The "hands-on" learning experience refers to a health-based Internship or Research Project and its accompanying HSSP course, and is a core requirement for all majors.  

The Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) Program offers four options for fulfilling this Hands-On Experience (HOE) Requirement:

  1. HSSP 89a (Internship Seminar)
  2. HSSP 98a/b (Independent Research)
  3. HSSP 98a/b (Study Abroad)
  4. HSSP 99d (Field-based Senior Research)

For more details on each of these Options, please go to our Experiential Learning page.

How do I earn honors in HSSP?

In order to receive honors in HSSP, you must enroll in HSSP 99d and write an HSSP senior thesis. The thesis must be defended before a committee of three:  two HSSP faculty members (one is advisor) and one professor from outside of the HSSP program.  To qualify for honors courses, students must have a 3.25 overall GPA or a 3.5 GPA in HSSP courses. Students wanting to pursue honors should contact the HSSP Undergraduate Advising Head, their HSSP adviser or a faculty member during the second semester of their Junior year.

Does it matter which course I take to fulfill the biology core requirement?

Yes.  For the HSSP bachelor of arts or minor degree, BIO 14a, 15b, 16a or BIO 42b will fulfill that core science requirement. For the HSSP bachelor of science degree, only BIO 42b fulfills the HSSP Core Science Requirement .  The course used to fulfill either the HSSP BA or BS Core Science Requirement must be taken at Brandeis University.  Please note ~ All accompanying labs must be satisfactorily completed in order for any of these courses to count toward any HSSP Degree Requirement.

If I double major, can I “double count” courses for HSSP?

You can’t double count within the HSSP program (i.e., you cannot use one course to meet two different HSSP degree requirements): e.g., LGLS 114a - American Health Care: Law & Policy can only fulfill either the Core “Policy” Course requirement or a Focal Area C requirement; not both.  However, a course may fulfill an HSSP requirement while also fulfilling a requirement towards a degree in another department or program:  e.g., LGLS 114a  - American Health Care: Law & Policy could fulfill both a degree requirement in your HSSP major/minor and towards your Legal Studies minor. 

How many courses taken elsewhere can be counted toward the HSSP major; and AP credits fulfill any HSSP degree requirements?

Students may bring in up to two elective courses taken elsewhere (including HSSP pre-approved StudyAbroad courses) for the HSSP major.

For students entering Brandeis in Fall 2013 or later, AP credits (including AP BIO) do not fulfill any requirements for HSSP degrees. 

What does it mean to be at 'Reduced-Rate Status' and how would it work with HSSP?

Having a 'Reduced-Rate Status' means that the second semester senior had been granted a lower tuition in their final semester (details). This privilege is only granted to petitioning seniors who have met all the 'Reduced-Rate Status' criteria listed by the Registrar's Office (please review the criteria and your SAGE audit carefully before seeking to petition).  

If you are an HSSP Senior interested in seeking 'Reduced Rate Status', and your SAGE audit projects completion of all HSSP Major requirements (except the HSSP 110a capstone course) by the end of your seventh semester; then contact Andrew Marx  for an evaluation and possible petition permission. 

I want to change the courses listed in my Sage audit. How can I?

Many students take more courses than the minimum credits required to complete an HSSP major or minor; however manipulating courses within your degree audit in order to maximize your HSSP GPA is impossible. The sole purpose of the degree audit is to confirm that you have met the minimum requirements of the major/minor. So, for example, the 1st Focal Area A course you successfully complete will automatically and permanently fulfill your 1st Focal Area A requirement.

If you are concerned about your ability to pursue honors in HSSP, please consult this page's section entitled "How do I earn honors in HSSP?" to learn about the HSSP GPA requirements for honors. For more general information, here are some “degree honor’s facts” from the Registrar:  

"Degrees with Honors - Students whose grade point average at the end of the junior year is 3.00 or above in their major may petition the department concerned for permission to work for honors in their major. 

  • Department distinction is awarded by each department or interdepartmental committee.
  • The levels of distinction are "honors," "high honors" or "highest honors."
  • The awards of cum laude and magna cum laude require a cumulative GPA of 3.500 and 3.700, respectively.
  • The award of summa cum laude requires a cumulative GPA of 3.800 and the award of distinction in the major.
  • The university has a policy of depositing honors theses with the library and making them available to future students and scholars for research purposes."