Graduate Academic Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Public Health Degree (MPH), Professional Health Education Major

Description of Program

This MPH degree program in Professional Health Education has a two-fold mission. The first is to enhance the professional practice of health education in general by preparing graduates to meet the criteria as Certified Health Education Specialists. The second is to prepare graduates to meet the health challenges of the 21st century as professionals in a variety of public health settings. This program places a greater emphasis on education including instructional and training competencies, and educational outcomes regarding health program development, planning, and delivery. There will be in depth focus regarding curricular design, instructional/training strategies and communication, as well as competencies regarding health literacy. This program is designed to empower individuals and groups to acquire, understand and utilize information to enhance health promoting behaviors.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 43 graduate credit hours is required for this program.  A minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is required for graduation. A minimum grade of C– is required in each course. All electives for completing the degree must be approved by the advisor. Prerequisite courses may be prescribed for students lacking sufficient background for graduate study in public health.

Master of Public Health Degree Requirements (43 credits)

MPH Degree Common Course Requirements (25 credits)

Complete each of the following public health core courses (15 cr.):

  • SPH-B 589 Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 651 Epidemiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-P 510 Organization and Administration of Public Health Programs (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Q 501 (Formerly: HPER-T 591) Introduction to Statistics in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 541 (Formerly: HPER-V 512) Environmental Health Science (3 cr.)

Complete each of the following required public health courses. (7 cr.):

  • SPH-H 696 Field Experience in Public Health (5 cr.) (prerequisite: GPA of at least 3.0)
  • SPH-H 698 MPH Culminating Experience (2 cr.)

Complete one of the following required public health research courses. (3 cr.):

  • SPH-X 590 Introduction to Research in Health, Kinesiology & Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 580 Introduction to Qualitative Inquiry in Public Health Research (3 cr.)

Professional Health Education Concentration (18 credits)

Complete each of the following courses (12 cr.):

  • SPH-H 500 Philosophy & Principles of Health Education (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 552 Instructional Planning for Public Health Settings (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 610 Professional Applications in Health Education (3 cr.) (P: SPH-H 552)
  • SPH-H 682 Research in Health Education (3 cr.)

Complete six credits of graduate-level electives selected in consultation with the student's advisor (6 cr.):

Special Opportunities

Graduates with health education degrees are more likely to be hired soon after graduation. "Employment of health educators is expected to grow by 37 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors.” ( Health Educators : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor, , September 23, 2012).


A health educator is defined as a professionally prepared individual who serves in a variety of roles and is specifically trained to use appropriate educational strategies and methods to facilitate the development of policies, procedures, interventions, and systems conducive to the health of individuals, groups, and communities. Professional Health Educators are needed everywhere and hold a variety of job titles in a wide array of public health settings. Below are just a few of the settings for which you may be employed:

  • City, county, state, federal government: health departments/agencies
  • Nonprofit health organizations: American Cancer Society, American Heart Assoc.; others
  • For Profit business: health related products and equipment
  • Professional health organizations: APHA, AAHE, SOPHE, ACHA, ADA, AMA, others
  • Businesses & corporations: Employee worksite wellness programs
  • Universities & schools: health clinics/centers, health education classes/programs
  • Hospitals/community clinics: Patient education, community outreach prevention programs
  • Civic organizations: Charities, foundations, social welfare/advocacy groups
  • Health Museums & Centers: Children’s , geriatric , disability health
  • Independent health consultant: Substance abuse, adolescent health, disease prevention
  • Health information or marketing firms: health journalism and advertising

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