Health Science Major

Thank you for your interest in Health Science at VCSU!
The Health Science major is organized to prepare you to pursue professional programs such as:

  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • optometry
  • pharmacy
  • chiropractic
  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • physician assistant
  • veterinary science
  • mortuary science

…..Or to pursue graduate school in a variety of disciplines such as

  • microbiology
  • organic chemistry
  • neuroscience
  • molecular bioscience
  • protein chemistry
  • toxicology
But if you think four years of school are enough, you will be able to find entry-level positions that require an understanding of the biomedical field and its practical application. Examples include jobs in laboratories, hospitals, the government, field offices, and small business and industry. Our alumni work for the North Dakota Department of Health, University of North Dakota Medical School, dental and optometry offices to name a few.

The program is thorough and rigorous, and gives you the opportunity to explore a wide variety of career options. The department has a strong practical-application emphasis. We encourage you to be involved in research. Each course has a lab associated with it to provide hands-on learning. We pride ourselves in our small class sizes, which provides a superior learning environment for our students.

Why pick Health Science at VCSU?

  • It is the only program in the state of North Dakota that combines all prerequisite courses for a variety professional schools in one major, which means you won’t be taking extra courses to fulfill graduation requirements.
  • It’s a flexible program that allows you to explore your interest in a variety of biomedical and health-care careers.
  • Each course utilizes a hands-on approach using techniques and technologies used in your future career.
  • A variety of research opportunities are available:
    • synthetic biology (biological engineering)
    • environmental contaminant using a Fruit fly model
    • cancer genetics
    • computer modeling
    • water quality
    • stress physiology
  • You’re eligible to join the Pre-Professional Club, which
    • supports the admission process into professional and/or graduate school
    • provides opportunities for job shadowing and volunteering
    • offers opportunities to gain leadership skills
  • More than 55% of Health Science graduates move on to professional school or graduate school

The Health Science and Biology programs at VCSU prepared me well for transitioning into the professional program of optometry. The science courses provided an excellent educational foundation, and VCSU offered many extracurricular activities to stay active. With this balance, I was able to round out my college experience and build a solid résumé. The small class size allows students to find lifelong mentors within the faculty, which made all the difference for me. VCSU is a place where you can expand your knowledge, try new things and create relationships that make college feel like home away from home. Amy Field, Class of 2013, optometry

I’m at VCSU because I play basketball at the university and also because it had the degree I wanted to complete. I chose the Health Science program because I enjoy all the aspects of it, plus it leads into so many different grad school courses. I wasn’t sure which profession I wanted to go into exactly, but Health Science fit all of them. It creates a great knowledge basis for my master’s in physiotherapy and podiatry. Georgia Williams, Class of 2017

Contact Information

Hilde van Gijssel, Ph.D
Professor of Science
Health Science and Medical Laboratory Science
701-845-7337 or

Nicholas Galt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Science
Health Science
701-845-7459 or
Becky Pfennig, PN
Dakota College at Bottineau – Valley City site
701-845-7682 or

Susan Ashline, RN
Dakota College at Bottineau – Valley City site
701-845-7681 or