Summary of the HOE Options

All HSSP majors must complete a health-related hands-on experience

Option 1 - HSSP 89a Internship Seminar & Internship or Option 1 Substitutions


HSSP 89a is a classroom-based Internship Seminar combined with a supervised health-related Internship with a public or private health (care) organization whose work may involve research (including lab research), policy, advocacy, direct care, or some other form of work so long as the human health implications are apparent.

While HSSP 89 has received a “writing intensive” (WI) designation from the University Writing Program, that grant is not transferable to other classes. Therefore, for example, an HOE taken abroad is not considered a WI course.

Internships must be:

  • health-related

  • approved, in writing, by the HSSP Internship Instructor before the internship start date

  • Note: The HSSP program does not grant retroactive approval of Internships

  • Has a minimum time commitment:

    • During the summer = 110 hours over at least 8 weeks

    • During the academic semester = 100 hours over at least 10 weeks

Internships can:

  • be paid or unpaid

  • be completed over the summer or concurrently with the HSSP 89a course. 

    Note:HSSP 89a is only offered during the academic year.

  • include work in either the public or private sector

  • be completed either concurrently with or before HSSP 89a. Ideally, students will complete the Internship Seminar as close as possible to their Internship; however, ultimately, it’s students’ decision as to how to fit these requirements into his/her own schedule.

Approval Process

To move forward on completing your HSSP hands-on experience requirement through a health-related internship, please do the following before starting your internship:

  1. Declare HSSP major

  2. Please review these resources in your search for an internship

  3. For examples of approved Internships, look at what other HSSPers have done at The Hiatt Center's Brandeis Internship Exchange

  4. Meet with the internship instructor

  5. Apply for internships

  6. When you secure an internship, please complete the internship approval form

The internship instructor will review your form and formally approve your internship in writing. Prior written approval by the internship instructor is required before students start their health-related Internship The HSSP program Doesn’t grant retroactive approval for internships which students have already completed. Email the HSSP Internship Instructor if you have any questions.

Note: For information on possible Brandeis funding sources for Internships:

  1. Brandeis internship grants,

  2. Hiatt World of Work (WOW) Fellowship

  3. Eli J. Segal Fellowship

  4. Conrad Fund

In 2012, the HSSP Program established the Conrad Fund, which provides support for HSSP students’ travel expenses. Review of applications will begin on Friday, Oct. 1, 2018, and will continue, on a rolling basis, until two recipients have been selected.

Option 1 Substitutions:With prior written approval from the HSSP Internship, a student may substitute a health-related Internship taken in conjunction with one of the following Internship Seminars:

  1. LGLS 161b, Advocacy for Policy Change - Prof. Melissa Stimell

  2. PAX 89a Internship in Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies - Prof. Leigh Swigart (for Sorensen Fellows only)

  3. NEW - PSYC 161a Clinical Psychology Practicum I & PSYC 161a Clinical Psychology Practicum II

    Note: Must complete the year-long sequence (i.e., both PSYC 161a and PSYC 161 b) to receive credit.

  4. WMGS 89a, When Violence Hits Home: Internship in Domestic Violence - Prof. Deirdre Hunter

Note: If you select one of these substitutions, upon completion of the course you will need to Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement.

Option 2 - HSSP 98 a/b - Field-based senior research


With HSSP 98a/b, under the direction of a faculty advisor, students identify and conduct an original health-related research project that involves the collection of primary data or secondary analysis of primary / existing data that culminates in a final research paper (~20-25-pages).

  • Students conduct their research under the supervision of an HSSP faculty member or, with the approval of the HSSP Chair, a non-HSSP faculty member. Each student is responsible for finding an appropriate faculty advisor by the end of the semester preceding enrollment in HSSP 98.

The research must be an intensive laboratory or field-based project that involves the collection of primary data or use of existing data (with permission from the faculty advisor) for analysis; literature reviews and library-based projects are not appropriate for this HOE option. Note: Students should have prior training in the appropriate research methods that will be used during the project.

Typically, only juniors or seniors exercise Option 2.


One semester

Approval Process

  1. Declare HSSP major

  2. Identify and gain approval for intended faculty advisor one semester before enrolling in HSSP 98

  3. Request ‘written pre-approval’ from your intended faculty advisor

Key Contact

Intended faculty advisor (also signs add/drop form)

Note: If intended faculty advisor isn’t an HSSP faculty member, request HSSP chair approval of that advisor.

Option 3 - HSSP 99d - Senior Honors Thesis


With HSSP 99d, seniors meeting GPA eligibility requirements may graduate with honors by undertaking an original research project over two (2) semesters that involves the collection of primary data or secondary analysis of primary data and a substantial paper (the “Senior Honors Thesis”) and oral defense.

The research must be an intensive laboratory or field-based project that involves the collection of primary data or use of existing data (with permission from the thesis advisor) for analysis; literature reviews and library-based projects are not appropriate for this HOE option. Note: Students should have prior training in the appropriate research methods that will be used during the project.

Thesis Committee: Students conduct their research under the supervision of a thesis committee: a thesis advisor who must be HSSP faculty and two other faculty members (one of whom must be HSSP faculty). The HSSP Chair or Associate Chair must approve the thesis committee.

Students must produce a Senior Thesis and complete an oral defense. To qualify for Senior Thesis and to graduate with honors, students must have a 3.25 overall GPA or a 3.5 GPA in HSSP courses. Students who successfully complete this option will graduate with HSSP honors. See also HSSP Senior Thesis Guidelines.

Students who complete their HOE requirement through the other options may still be eligible to undertake a Senior Thesis.


Two semesters

Note: register for HSSP 99d in your two final semesters, one (4 credits) will count toward HSSP major requirements.

Approval Process

  1. Declare HSSP major

  2. Carefully review HSSP Senior Thesis information

  3. Identify thesis committee chair or discuss plan with HSSP chair, typically during spring of junior year

  4. In consultation with thesis committee chair (who must be HSSP faculty), identify and invite 2 additional thesis committee members (at least 1 of the 2 must be HSSP faculty)

  5. Request ‘written pre-approval’ from the HSSP honors coordinator

Key Contact

  1. HSSP honors coordinator who also signs add/drop form

  2. Intended thesis committee chair

  3. Intended 2nd and 3rd thesis committee members

Option 4 - Health-related JBS


Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs are immersive academic programs that integrate classroom learning with real-world experiences to explore a topic in depth. JBS programs are small (class size), intense, and focus on practical skill development. JBS programs take place during the Summer and are usually 3 courses for 12 credits.

Note: Students must apply to JBS programs. Only a health-related JBS can fulfill the HSSP HOE requirement.

For Summer 2019, there will be one health-related JBS program:
Health, Law & Justice – Co-taught by Profs. Sarah Curi and Alice Noble

  • HL&J is designed for students with career interests in public policy, medicine and healthcare, law, ethics, business, and social research, and for any student curious to understand how the American health care system works in practice.

  • HL&J is 12 credits (3 courses): LGLS 114aj - American Health Care: Reform (Focal Area C), LGLS 131bj - Patient Autonomy: Law, Medicine & Ethics (Focal Area C), and LGLS 98bj - Independent Research (HOE).


One semester during the Summer
(e.g., 8-10 weeks during the summer).

Approval Process

  1. Declare HSSP major

  2. While applying to a health-related JBS program, request ‘written pre-approval’ from HSSP Internship instructor

Key Contact

HSSP Internship Instructor

Option 5 - Health-Related Study Abroad


Many Study Abroad Programs have a hands-on component that may satisfy the HSSP HOE requirement. Typically, the structure of this component mirrors that of Option 1: a health-related Internship paired with an Internship Seminar.

Before students go abroad, the HOE component of any study abroad program must be a) reviewed by the HSSP Faculty to ensure it meets criteria and b) ‘written pre-approved’ by the HSSP SAL.

After returning from abroad: Follow the Office of Study Abroad's Returning to Brandeis checklist, including attending their Summer Re-Entry Workshop. For HSSP credit, you will need to complete:

  1. for each course, the online Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form (include a pdf with a) a copy of your signed Academic Proposal of Study form and b) the course syllabus for any course), or

  2. if petitioning for HOE credit, the Substitution Request for HSSP Hands-On-Experience (include a pdf of a) a copy of your signed Academic Proposal of Study form and b) 20-25 pages, double-spaced, of written work) to request final approval.

    Note: Because programs and internships vary, there is no prescribed format or layout. While many programs require papers that are 20-25 pages or longer, other programs ask for a range of different written work; for example, a series of journal entries and/or case studies. As you prepare this written work, be mindful that you should not merely report experience, but also you should locate your experience within broader aspects of HSSP: consider “How does my HOE experience touch all four letters of HSSP?” Additionally, you may want to reflect on how your organization/project fits into the larger arena of health care. For example, did you observe how social conditions affect health? Were there policies that helped or hindered the goals of your organization/project? It may be useful to address the specifics of what you did, but also why you were asked to do it.


One semester

Note: If your HOE internship is an integral part of the study abroad program, then you need not take HSSP 89a - Internship Seminar.

Approval Process

  1. Declare HSSP major

  2. Carefully review the HSSP Study Abroad information page, before you meet with / request ‘written pre-approval’ from the HSSP Study Abroad Liaison

Key Contact

HSSP Study Abroad Liaison (SAL)

Additional Internships

HSSP majors interested in undertaking a second internship may do so. While HSSP credit is only available for one internship, regular Brandeis credit may be available. For example, other departments also offer internship courses, including SJSP 89 and LGLS 89. To seek academic credit for internships unrelated to a specific course, INT 89B may be an option.

Students interested in INT 89B should contact Experiential Learning and Teaching to explore what options are available.