Pre-Health Scholars (PHS)

Beyond 120 offers a Pre-Health Scholars (PHS) program for pre-health students in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS). The purpose of the PHS scholar program is to provide pre-health students an opportunity to focus on the humanities and social sciences providing a foundational and contextual understanding of the human complexities experienced in healthcare.  Study and involvement in the humanities and social sciences benefit pre-health students as they offer depth and diversity related to worldviews of people and how others experience and apply meaning to healthcare experiences.  This context assists students with the development of the soft skills such as empathy and compassion along with other pre-health competencies required for admission to healthcare professional schools and interactions with future patients.

For more information, contact Bobbi Knickerbocker at

You can also book and manage appointments.

Pre-health competencies are best developed through depth and diversity of thought and reflection through the humanities. social sciences and experiential learning.  Information from the experts below!

"The humanities provide an outstanding foundation for understanding complexity and human variability, the conceptual basis for understanding medicine.
“…health humanities foster critical thinking, empathy, and tolerance for ambiguity—qualities in high demand for medical school and beyond. What’s more, “the programs give students the opportunity to really grapple with the importance of culture in medicine and societal responses to illness and disability.”
- Charles M. Wiener, MD. "More Pre-Med Students Opting for Health Humanities Programs"

"For pre-med students, they can offer insight about the social and cultural contexts of health care.  The health humanities trend dovetails with recent changes in the MCAT® exam, the need for more humanistic criteria in the admissions process, and a growing recognition that medical schools need to be turning out physicians who can function effectively in teams, think on their feet, and interact well with patients from diverse backgrounds. In fact, researchsuggests that academically, medical students with undergraduate degrees in the humanities perform as well as pre-meds with science backgrounds but tend to have better empathy and communication skills, and a more patient ."
- Howard, Beth. "More Pre-Med Students Opting for Health Humanities Programs"

"Humanities programs focusing on health and healthcare delivery in their cultural, historical, aesthetic, and political contexts complement efforts of health professions schools to recruit students who are patient-centered, ethically intelligent, skilled in communication, and competent with diverse populations."
- Lamb, E.G., Berry, S.L. PhD, Jones, T. , "Health Humanities Baccalaureate Programs"

The program has both academic and experiential requirements which operate on a point-based system that requires students complete:

  1. A minimum of 12 credits of approved health-related humanities and/or social science courses in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS). <u>Courses need to be at the 3,000 and above level and outside of a student’s major requirements.</u> Courses must be passed with a grade of ‘C’ or above. Students may seek approval for courses not on the approved list by emailing Bobbi Knickerbocker at
  2. Complete 20 points of Experiential activities in the Beyond120 PHS Scholar tiers.

Upon completion of PHS requirements and with graduation you will be recognized as a Pre-Health Scholar.

How Can I Earn Points?

  • Full semester = a minimum of 12 weeks
  • Full semester Research in humanities or social science
  • Full semester Study Abroad/Exchange
  • Full Semester of participation in the Pre-Health Service Groups
  • Full Semester working as a Pre-Health Scholars Ambassador
  • Full semester in a Pre-Health Scholars Internship
  • Full semester volunteering with a nonprofit community service organization - examples:
    • Family Services
    • Ronald McDonald
    • Hope Lodge
    • Extended Care Facilities
    • Foster grandparent programs
    • Arts in Medicine
    • Food insecurity - pantries, hand-out bags,
    • Student proposed service – student may develop a community service project
  • Beyond120 Pre-Health Coursework
  • Healthcare Shadowing – minimum of 40 hours
  • Beyond120 MentorConnect – consultation with at least one mentor
  • PHS Excursion
  • Short Study Abroad/Exchange
  • Beyond120 PHS Self Designed Project  - you will need to find a faculty mentor for collaboration. You may submit a proposal for a self-designed project that relates to humanities and/or social sciences in health.  This can be diverse in context whether a cultural event, art show, research project, etc. You will need to work with a mentor and have your mentor complete the form for confirmation of project completion.
  • Beyond120 PHS Workshops
  • Pre-health Advising Workshops
  • Beyond120 PHS Speaker Series
  • Pre-Health Events - Beyond120 or Pre-health Advising
  • Humanities and Social Science Department Events
  • Pre-Health related Cultural Community Events.

As you complete points, Beyond120 PHS Scholars are eligible to receive the following:

  • 3 - 19 Points:
    • Assistance in building a PHS Scholar plan
    • Priority registration for Beyond120 events and excursions.
  • 20+ Points & 12 credits of Humanities and Social Science PH related courses (3k+) outside of major with Cs or above:
    • Beyond120 graduation regalia.

The PHS Roadmap form is provided for you to keep track of your activities and points earned. You can use this form to keep track of the experiential learning opportunities you engage with, the program points you earn through them, and to make and monitor goals for future experiential learning. When you have earned the required 20 points for completion, email  this form in to Bobbi Knickerbocker

You may apply for the PHS Scholar program as early as completion of 3 credits of 3,000 or above humanities/social science courses from the approved list. These courses cannot count for your major. Courses must be completed with a C or above. However, you must apply no later than one year prior to graduation.

You may finish the remaining academic credits and experiential points in a flexible fashion prior to graduation.  Feel free to exercise creative freedom in mixing and matching  Beyond120 courses, study abroad programs, shadowing and other approved opportunities that aid in developing an understanding of the human dimensions and competencies in healthcare and the versatility of a CLAS degree.

Email for information on regalia and certificate of completion.

Pre-Health Scholars Application

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