Health and Society Track

The health and society track requires a minimum of 15 s.h. The undergraduate program in health and society is designed for students preparing for positions in government, nongovernmental organizations, international development agencies, and business. It also provides preparation for graduate programs in geography or public health, or for professional programs such as law, business, or planning. The program provides an understanding of how disease and health services vary geographically and the causes and consequences of these patterns. Included concepts are the increasing globalization of the modern world, the role of the natural environment in effecting social change in different parts of the world, and the processes through which economic and policy decisions are reached. Courses cover social and economic theories of location and regional formation, hazards, vulnerability and environmental justice, and methods of spatial analysis and geographic modeling.

Students develop skills in quantitative analysis; the development, management, and application of geographic information systems and computer methods; GIS applications for public health; spatial modeling and statistical analysis of health patterns; and decision support for health services. They have opportunities to work on applied problems, such as assessing patterns of disease, identifying the best locations for health facilities, forecasting the populations of small areas, and assessing the social dimensions of environmental impacts. This concentration also gives students interested in international development the opportunity to examine competing theories intended to explain international and regional inequalities, and to investigate and evaluate the patterns and practice of development worldwide.

Health and society students have the opportunity to learn from leading experts with strong ties to key public health agencies (e.g., The National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and other highly ranked programs within the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine and College of Public Health.

In addition to the common requirements, students in the health and society track complete three common track courses (9 s.h.) and at least two upper-level geographical and sustainability sciences courses (6 s.h.).

Course List
Code Title Hours
Common courses—all health and society track students take these:  
GEOG:2110/GHS:2110 Eight Billion and Counting: Introduction to Population Dynamics 3
GEOG:3110/GHS:3111 Geography of Health 3
GEOG:4150/GHS:4150 Health and Environment: GIS Applications 3

Students choose two upper-level courses (at least 6 s.h.) from the following, in consultation with their advisor. Those who wish to gain additional experience in theory and application of GIS systems should also take an additional 6 s.h. in GIS-based geographical and sustainability sciences courses.

Course List
Code Title Hours
At least two of these:  
GEOG:3070/GHS:3070 Hungry Planet: Global Geographies of Food 3
GEOG:3210/CPH:3400 Health, Work, and the Environment 3
GEOG:3300 Envisioning Future World: Sustainable Development and Its Alternatives 3
GEOG:3760/GHS:3760 Hazards and Society 3
GEOG:3920/URP:3001 Planning Livable Cities 3
GEOG:4770 Environmental Justice 3