Distinguished Programs

Health Sciences Honors Program

Start a Pathway to a Career in Health Sciences

Students who participate in the Saint Joseph Academy Health Sciences Honors Program (HSHP) will be prepared for a life of compassionate leadership and service in a healthcare profession. Rigorous study starts in the classroom but extends into real-life experience with meaningful experiential learning, service learning and hands-on application alongside industry experts at Northeast Ohio’s highly ranked corporations and organizations. Health Sciences disciplines are experienced in an integrated, engaging way so students can determine career interests to pursue in college.

Program Requirements

List of 6 items.

  • Course of Study

    Completion of rigorous Honors or Advanced Placement® (AP®) coursework and a 3.7 Cumulative GPA on the Purple Pathway, or Honors courses and a 3.0 Cumulative GPA for the Gold Pathway.

    Theology/CORE Ministry: 4.0 credits
    Health and Physical Education: 0.5 credit Health | 0.5 credit Physical Education
    Social Studies: 3.0 credits
    English: 4.0 credits
    Visual & Performing Arts: 1.0 credit
    World Language: 3.0 credits (of the same language)

    Purple Pathway:
    Math: 4.0 credits - including AP® Statistics or AP® Calculus AB
    Science: 4.0 credits -
    including Honors Biology, Honors Chemistry, Honors Anatomy & Physiology and AP® Biology or AP® Chemistry

    Gold Pathway: 
    Math: 4.0 credits - including Statistics
    Science: 4.0 credits -  including Biology, Chemistry, Honors Anatomy & Physiology and Honors Microbiology/Zoology or AP® Psychology or Environmental Science 
  • Health Professionals Affinity Community (HPAC) Club

    Health Professionals Affinity Community (HPAC) Club engages students with healthcare community leaders, introducing them to ways to apply academic learning in real-world situations and address pressing community health concerns. HPAC members will help plan wellness activities and special events throughout the school year.
  • Online Portfolio

    An online portfolio links each student's experiences and provides context for learning and reflection. Students create an electronic portfolio that documents and illustrates their work, growth and development as they accomplish program requirements.
  • Projects and Competition

    Each student enrolled in the Health Sciences Honors Program will be required to complete an online portfolio that records her efforts, progress, achievements and reflection concerning aspects of the program including, but not limited to, service learning and clinical hours.
  • Service Learning

    Service-learning is rooted in intentionality, a process that develops empathy, responsibility and self-confidence. This component encompasses “serving the dear neighbor,” a key cornerstone of the teachings of the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph.

    Service-learning can take many forms, ranging from volunteering as a hospital aide or at a homeless shelter to assisting at Bible camps or participating in Youth Challenge.
  • Formal Capstone Presentation

    At the end of senior year, each student will present her reflections, growth and future plans to a panel of professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Who can apply?

    Recognizing the broad range of career opportunities in Health Sciences, the program is designed to be inclusive and open to students who have an interest in a career in the Health Sciences. Application into the program starts sophomore year. Students are expected to work diligently and reflectively towards a personal goal that reflects her interests and achievements. They may choose between two different pathways, a Purple Pathway that extends past college toward a doctoral degree and a Gold Pathway that prepares the student for success in a health sciences career that begins immediately following college graduation.
  • Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

    In order to successfully complete the program, students are expected to graduate with a 3.7 Cumulative GPA for the Purple Pathway or a 3.0 Cumulative GPA for the Gold Pathway.
  • What courses are offered?

    Coursework includes Honors and AP® level courses in Mathematics and Science, as well as the Humanities. Please refer to the Health Sciences Honors Program Course Requirements and the Course Offering Book for more details.
  • When can a student apply?

    Interested students are encouraged to select courses and pursue relevant service learning experiences as early as the 9th grade. Formal application to pursue the program begins in 10th grade.
  • Is there a faith component?

    Yes. Through the charism of the Congregation of St. Joseph (CSJ), the program prepares young women to live the Gospel through prayer, reflection and service to the "dear neighbor". Another aspect is the goal that Service Learning is an intentional, reflective process that develops empathy and compassion.
  • What is experiential learning?

    Experiential learning involves learning environments that extend beyond the classroom and provides students with authentic experiences in preparation for a Health Sciences career. Each student will develop her capacity to serve others with empathy, knowledge, compassion and skill through reflective engagement in internships, clinical research and service learning experiences.
  • Who do I contact for more information?

    Contact Health Sciences Honors Program Coordinator Ms. Clare Toole at

Christine Zaky ’17, Purple Pathway Graduate

Graduate, Biology Sciences, Spanish and Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh Medical translator volunteer for free clinics and volunteer aid for minority healthcare access

"By participating in the Health Sciences Honors Program, I had the privilege of completing my clinical hours on several units: Intensive Care, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pharmacy, Palliative Care and Oncology/Hematology. My dream is to become an internationally based physician. The Health Sciences Honors Program allowed me to explore options and specialties that the health sciences field has to offer. I was awarded generous scholarships from Johns Hopkins University, University of Pittsburgh, The Ohio State University as a Morrill Scholar and Miami University."

Emma Cleary ’09, N.P.

Nurse Practitioner, Weight Management, Sutter Medical Foundation, Sacramento, California
Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing
Yale University Master of Science in Nursing

"My Saint Joseph Academy experiences in the club Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice changed the course of my life. I learned to see the face of Christ in all people, a charism that took me from working in inner city drug rehabilitation programs to working as a nurse in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Saint Joseph Academy taught me the difference between enabling people and empowering them. It shaped my philosophy for working in healthcare: to empower patients to be successful, independent of help. Saint Joseph Academy allowed me to see a world in need of healthcare and gave me the foundation of knowledge to meet those needs."

Deborah Ghazoul-Mills ’79, M.D. FAAP, P ’13 & ’14

Pediatrician, Medical Director, Community Pediatrics Westlake, Cleveland Clinic
Case Western Reserve University/ Lerner College of Medicine 

"This program will foster student confidence, spark interest and develop reassurance. Nurturing this type of development will prepare Saint Joseph Academy graduates to face the ever-changing challenges in healthcare in the 21st century."

K. Kelly Hancock DNP, RN, NE-BC, P’17

Chief Caregiver Officer, Cleveland Clinic Health System

"The nursing profession has a profound impact on the mind, body and soul of our patients, their families and one another. The Saint Joseph Academy Health Sciences Honors Program opens a door to all the new possibilities for these young women to help transform healthcare and have the same profound impact. The program allows the young women of Saint Joseph Academy to think outside of the box, broaden their thought processes and positively impact the future of healthcare."

Meredith McGuire ’09

ORISE Fellow, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Saint Vincent College

"Thanks to Saint Joseph Academy, I was two steps ahead of my undergraduate science classmates, in both knowledge and critical thinking skills. Saint Joseph Academy prepared me on a factual basis and covered all the bases needed in the field. To pursue a Health Sciences research profession, you need confidence in your abilities and dedication. At Saint Joseph Academy, I learned self-confidence from teachers who were invested in my education."

Neil Smith, DO

President Fairview Hospital and West Region, Internist

"An excellent Health Sciences Honors Program must include an understanding of humanities, a component of reflective service to others, in addition to rigorous academic training. The Saint Joseph Academy program provides that balance. It is a great way to prepare students for success in the medical field."

Ms. Clare Toole

Health Sciences Honors Program Coordinator

I invite you to explore the Health Sciences Honors Program at Saint Joseph Academy. The program includes two pathways of study that a student can select that matches her specific career goals, whether she wants to pursue a doctoral degree or start her career immediately following college graduation. Students are provided with an authentic professional experience through experiential learning while also engaging in a rigorous math, humanities and science curriculum. These are the key components to developing critical thinkers and, ultimately, fostering compassionate and empathetic servant leaders. Please contact me if you have any questions at

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