quality of living careers
If you're interested in the areas of health and wellness, there's a pretty good chance you like being involved with others, and that you care about their quality of life and well-being. Like you, health and wellness professionals want to help people and society overcome the effects of illness, disease, disability and injury. If this sounds like how you want to give something back to your community and make the world a better place, Oregon State University is a good place to start. Oregon State programs in science, health and human sciences, nutrition, pre-health areas, pre-pharmacy and pre–veterinary medicine will prepare you to step into a career, go on to graduate school or apply for admission to a program in one of the medical professions.

Areas of study in health and wellness

College of Agricultural Science
Animal Sciences

  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Bioresource Research

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Food Quality
  • Toxicology

Food Science & Technology
Therapeutic Horticulture
College of Engineering
Radiation Health Physics
College of Public Health & Human Sciences


  • Pre-Therapy & Allied Health*

Human Development & Family Sciences

  • Child Development
  • General option
  • Human Services


  • Dietetics
  • Nutrition & Health Sciences
  • Nutrition & Foodservice Systems

Public Health

  • Health Management & Policy
  • Health Promotion & Health Behavior

*Although they are not official majors at OSU, students in any of the above majors can pursue preliminary (pre) coursework to prepare them for:

  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Other allied health professions

College of Pharmacy
College of Science

  • Genetics
  • Marine Biology


  • Pre-Medicine

BioHealth Sciences

  • Pre-Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Pre-Dentistry
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Optometry
  • Pre-Pharmacy
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Pre-Physician Assistant

Zoology (Integrative Biology)
Professional Programs
College of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.)
College of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)


student getting job experienceCollege is often merely the first step on a career path. Traditional health professions such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and veterinary medicine all provide rewarding careers, but there are also growing opportunities in athletics, nutrition and the assisted-living industry. Many of these careers require further education in graduate, professional or medical school. Career choices vary widely, and your options are as broad as your imagination. Depending on your interests, you might work with young children, teenagers, adults or senior citizens -- or you may select a career that involves working with people across the lifespan. With a focus on health and wellness studies, you might be:

  • A primary care physician, a surgeon or a specialist in a particular medical area
  • A dietitian or nutritionist, helping people avoid or overcome illness, obesity or poor eating habits
  • An athletic trainer, aiding in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries
  • A leader in organizing, directing and managing fitness and wellness programs in a corporate, commercial or clinical setting
  • A physical or occupational therapist, helping people overcome the effects of injury or disability
  • An administrator in a hospital, long-term care facility or other health services organization
  • A health educator, focusing on risk reduction and the prevention of premature death and disability among diverse populations
  • A pharmacist, serving as a drug and medication expert working with physicians and other members of a patient's health care team
  • A veterinarian, taking care of people's pets and farm animals or helping keep the nation's food supply safe.


health care professionalsTo prepare for study in the health and life sciences, you should have a strong academic background with an emphasis on mathematics and the sciences, especially laboratory sciences. Because you will need good communication skills to deal with people -- especially those who are concerned about their health and well-being -- you should also have a well balanced background in the social sciences and humanities. And as with most fields today, computer skills are helpful. If you have questions about preparing for university-level study in these fields, please feel free to contact the advising staff in the program you are looking into.

Your first year

Health care professionals have multidimensional jobs, and a broad education is an important foundation for a successful career in the field. To help prepare for this, you'll spend your first year focusing on courses from Oregon State's Baccalaureate Core -- the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, writing, fitness, cultural diversity and freshman orientation -- along with some beginning courses in your major fields.

"Oregon State University researchers in biochemistry recently announced significant new advances in determining the structure of all possible DNA sequences. The advances could help set the stage for new discoveries in biology, biomedicine and other fields."


The on-the-job experience provided by internships is required in some programs and encouraged in most others. Increasingly, graduate and professional schools in health areas prefer students who have experience working or volunteering in the field.

An exciting preceptorship program in pre-medicine and pre-dentistry assigns students to spend time with a working professional. You’ll get to observe office procedures, patient handling and other aspects of your preceptor’s career. Your professors, department and college, as well as Oregon State's Career Services, can help you organize an internship. Depending on your internship, you can choose to take a term or two off from classes, intern during the regular school year while you continue taking classes or do a summer internship. The College of Public Health and Human Sciences can direct students to an array of internship opportunities.

Over the past several years, Oregon State graduates have been accepted into medical schools at about twice the national average.

womens buildingResearch

Like internships, research experience can give you an edge over others who are applying to graduate and professional programs. In most health areas, you'll have opportunities to engage in research under the direction of faculty members or graduate students. Undergraduates are involved in ongoing investigations that address local, national and international health concerns. The College of Public Health and Human Sciences maintains a list of undergraduate research opportunities.

The College of Science offers 10 different programs in the health sciences geared toward preparing students for professional schools in the medical, dental and other health care fields.

Other academic programs

At Oregon State, you'll be part of a small college nestled in a major research university. Because of this relationship, many students in health areas take advantage of opportunities in the Honors College, National Student Exchange and Study Abroad programs. Such programs offer challenges and academic training to support your intellectual, professional and personal growth.


Alphabetical list of all Majors, Degrees, and Programs