Post-Baccalaureate Science Courses at UNE Online – An Overview

Post Baccalaureate Science courses at University of New EnglandThe Science Prerequisites for the Health Professions (SPHP) at UNE Online is a suite of a-la-carte, post-baccalaureate courses offered 100% online.

The SPHP suite of courses is designed to offer a convenient way for students to take the prerequisite courses that they need to fulfill their goals. Many of our students are working toward acceptance into a graduate program in the health sciences or a program that encompasses these sciences.

Complete course offerings and contact information can be found on our website: https://online.une.edu/science-prerequisites/

For a more casual look into the SPHP program, we sat down with Program Director Barbara Fortier to talk about the program and what she feels are the strengths of the course offerings.

Can you talk a bit about the SPHP program at UNE Online?

The SPHP program at the University of New England is a non-matriculated program, so students don’t have to apply. Students simply register and begin the course as early as the next start date.

We currently offer 22 courses:

There are two start dates for each class per month. While courses are self-paced, these are very rigorous courses that are designed to be completed on a 16-week timetable. Students don’t have to worry about being in class at a certain time during the day or turning in their assignments on certain due dates, but there are 16 weeks worth of assignments to be completed within the maximum 16 allotted weeks to complete the course. With this said, a very motivated student may be able to complete more than one weekly module during some weeks and complete a course in less time. The majority of students, however, take 14-16 weeks to complete a course.

Get the SPHP Program Guide with Course Calendar

Barbara Fortier: Program Director Spotlight



Barbara Fortier, Program Director of the online Science Prerequisites for Health Professions program

Does the class format help with students getting to know one another?

Building a community is a really important aspect of online education, so we have built-in ways for students to interact with each other and with the faculty within each course. At the beginning of the course, the faculty member reaches out and welcomes students, encouraging them to go into the introduction section of the discussion board, read about their classmates and their instructor, and introduce themselves. Many times, students will find commonalities with other students and/or their instructor through their introductions, and that serves as a convenient opening to strike up a conversation and start building relationships.

Students also connect with one another throughout the course through the graded discussion posts. Students can join those conversations at their own pace and at various points during the 16-week course.

What is the interaction like between students and instructors in the online classroom?

Interactions vary from course to course, but every course has the discussion board with discussion topics related to the content, a study lounge where students can ask questions of each other, and the introduction area where they can introduce themselves. They also have access to a minimum of one hour a week of office hours/review sessions with their instructor where they see other student participants as well as their faculty member.

All faculty members make themselves available to students for a minimum of one hour per week via video conferencing, and students are encouraged to attend these sessions. These online office hours are intended to function as review sessions and to provide extra help on difficult concepts. In courses where there are difficult problems to work through, office hours can be a session where a student works through these problems collaboratively with a faculty member and with other students at the same time. In addition to office hours, some courses offer “live” review sessions before exams.

What if a student is not able to attend office hours or a live review before an exam?

Everyone has different schedules, so live sessions may require some creativity. If a student were to need some extra help but is not available to attend a live review session, they are encouraged to submit questions to the instructor ahead of time. In this way, even if they can’t participate live, they can participate by submitting the question that they have. The live review sessions are recorded and posted within the course, so students can watch them at a time that is convenient for them.

If students are unable to attend the weekly office hours due to a scheduling conflict, they are strongly encouraged to reach out to their instructor to schedule a 1:1 appointment. This can be done by phone or via video conferencing if the students’ questions involve working through homework problems or drawing chemical structures. Students are always able to get help from their instructor if they reach out and ask for it.

Are there other ways for students to interact within a course?

In addition to live sessions and office hours, some of our courses have projects or assignments where students record a video of a presentation. They then share their video with one another to get feedback from their classmates and their instructor.

The feedback that we have received from students via student satisfaction surveys, course evaluations, and faculty evaluations is that students enjoy feeling that they are a part of a community. They value the opportunity to network, to get to know their instructor, and to get to know other students throughout their course. Being a part of an online community and partaking in the support that comes from that community is important for student success.

What types of programs do your students begin once they have completed their online science prerequisites?

Based on feedback from students, the majority of our SPHP students have goals of getting into PA programs, medical school to become either an MD or a DO, veterinary school, pharmacy school, or nursing. We also have many students who want to get into programs to become a physical or occupational therapist, nurse anesthetist, nutrition specialist, or who take our courses for reasons other than the health professions. Our students have a broad range of aspirations.

Are SPHP classes similar to on-ground science classes?

These Science Prerequisites for Health Professions courses are a convenient way for students to get their prerequisites or finish up a required number of credits in the sciences. The courses are self-paced, so students can often work within the schedule and timeline that works for them.

With that said, these are rigorous, full-semester courses that require students to commit to a similar number of study hours that they would need to complete an on-campus course, including the time they would spend in an on-campus classroom. The difference is that a motivated student can choose to commit to these hours over the course of fewer weeks if they desire to do so.


If you are interested in the Science Prerequisites for the Health Professions post-baccalaureate class offerings or if you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an enrollment counselor via email at prehealth@une.edu or by phone by calling (855) 325-0894 if you were to have any questions.

Ready to start right now? Click here to register for a science prerequisite class today!

For more online Science Prerequisites program information:

Get the SPHP Program Guide

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