KUEC Health Sciences Degree Opens Doors to Many Health Care Career Paths

May 8, 2024

April 2024 KUEC

Healthcare-related careers are expected to grow 14% by 2028. The Health Sciences degree at the KU Edwards Campus can prepare students to fill a variety of in-demand professions.

For students looking to enter or grow their careers in health care, the KU Edwards Campus Bachelor of Health Sciences online degree is a door opener.

The Health Sciences degree program, which is supported by JCERT, is structured for students who are not pursuing medical or nursing school.

“There are a wide variety of non-clinical career opportunities in health sciences and a great need for workers,” said Mark Jakubauskas, Ph.D., director of the Health Sciences bachelor’s program. 

Those careers include health care management, nutrition, public health, wellness, research, health education, clinical trial management, or public policy.

Students can tailor their degree to their professional goals through five minors, including clinical trials management, environmental health, nutrition, public and population health, and health policy and management

“All courses are completely online and asynchronous,” said Mark Jakubauskas, Ph.D. director of the Health Sciences program. “This makes it easier for working adults who need flexibility to complete their educational pursuits. Many of our students are working adults who are juggling jobs, kids and school.”

Two of Jakubauskas' students discussed their coursework and experience in the Health Sciences program and explained what earning the degree means to them. 

Rachel Nass
Getting her undergraduate degree kept creeping higher on Rachel Nass’ bucket list. A married mother of two — three, if you count the family dog — she is balancing a job while pursuing her degree online in health sciences. The degree is the perfect fit for her work as a clinical trials coordinator at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“My minors are in population and public health, and health policy and management,” Nass said. “I can apply what I am learning in my classes on the job in my interactions with patients and my work with clinical trial regulatory requirements.” 

Although she has a deep interest in biotechnology and genomics, Nass shifted her focus to public health and accessibility aspects that exist within medicine and clinical research. Her specific concern is in disparities in health care affecting communities of color, disadvantaged communities and the disabled. 

While Nass will complete her degree in May 2025, she hasn’t ruled out pursuing a graduate degree.

“I consider myself to be a lifelong learner,” she said. “If the opportunity presents itself, I will pursue it with everything I have.” 

Apollonia Orozco
The COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for Apollonia Orozco returning to college to earn her bachelor’s degree. 

“During that time, I found myself wondering what I was going to do with my life,” Orozco said. “I wanted to continue my education. I had earned my associate degree years before and wanted to go back and get my bachelor’s degree.” And she always wanted a KU degree.

The years of balancing kids, school and work are about to ease for Orozco. She is graduating May 12, 2024, with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. 

“It was a struggle sometimes, but being able to complete my coursework online to earn the degree has been great for me,” she said.

She also cited the support she received from her instructors.

“I found everyone to be extremely helpful, available and always ready to answer my questions, even if it was a little late in the evening.”

Faculty strives to be supportive and available to students in the program.

“It’s not unusual for me to get an email or a text with a question late in the evening or on a weekend,” Jakubauskas said.

After graduation, Orozco will put her health sciences degree to work in clinical oncology. 

Orozco plans to participate in a graduation ceremony on the Lawrence campus, followed by a big family party with lots of food and plenty of laughs.