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Master of Science in Health Promotion

The Master of Science in Health Promotion prepares professionals to successfully design, implement, administer, and evaluate health promotion interventions. Students are trained in the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle and behaviors through a combination of efforts that involve cognitive and behavioral modification and environmental and cultural change.

The program is designed to meet the needs of both traditional graduate students and working professionals, with graduates having the skills and knowledge to work with a wide variety of populations and in diverse settings. Students can pursue specific areas of emphasis within health promotion, including, for example, exercise science, aging, community health, nutrition, social marketing, health psychology, health communications, public health, global health, worksite health, and behavioral health.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to

      • Assess individual and community need for health education and promotion;
      • Identify health behavior principles and theories as they apply to health promotion;
      • Implement health promotion strategies, interventions, and programs; and
      • Conduct evaluation and research related to health promotion.

The Program Policy Statement, which covers admission requirements, curriculum information, the comprehensive exam requirement, internship and research project guidelines, financial aid, and other policy issues.

Admissions Requirements

Students will be admitted to the program based upon enrollment availability and their ability to meet the following entrance requirements.

1. A bachelor’s degree based on a four-year curriculum from an accredited college or university.
2. Acceptable undergraduate transcripts
3. Three letters of recommendation indicating the capability, interest, maturity, scholastic, and professional potential of the candidate for graduate study.
4. Adequate preparation in health as determined by prerequisite requirements (Courses in Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, 3 health related courses, health promotion programming)
5. Acceptable GRE scores (153 V, 144 Q)
6. Acceptable TOEFL scores (100 internet)

Admission is determined by the Health Promotion Graduate committee. Admission is competitive, based on the number of well-qualified applicants and the limits of available faculty and facilities. Those who meet stated minimum academic requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

Recommended Prerequisites
All prerequisites are subject to individual review by the Health Promotion Graduate committee. Specific prerequisites for the program are:

Equivalent of 3 topical health-related courses
Health Promotion or Community Health Programming course

Students may be accepted into the program without prerequisites. However, completion of graduate program prerequisites as assigned by the admission committee must be fulfilled in order to successfully complete the MS in Health Promotion program of study.

Schedule and Deadlines

Applications (all materials) for the MSHP Program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between January 15 and March 15 for admission to the program at the beginning of the following fall semester. Since application decisions will be made on a rolling basis within this timeframe (January 15th – March 15th), applicants are strongly advised to complete and submit applications as early as possible. The materials required for the application to be considered complete include the application form, undergraduate/graduate transcripts, official GRE scores, at least three letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae, and a graduate application essay (directions for the graduate application essay may be found on the University of Delaware’s Graduate College website:

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition has several full (full tuition and stipend) graduate assistantships that may be offered to competitive full-time students on a year-to-year basis. Students on full graduate assistantships are provided with experiences that can only be gained by performing teaching assignments or research activities with a faculty mentor; these activities are compensated based on the University’s guidelines of 20 hours per week. The primary assignment of the assistantship, over the course of the academic year, will consist of supporting an assigned faculty member with their grant/research and/or teaching.

Required Coursework

The Master of Science in Health Promotion requires 30 credit hours of coursework at the 600 and 800 level, and 3 credits of either an internship or research project. The 30 credits of coursework must include 18 credits of required courses, and 12 credits of advisor approved coursework. 

Credit Requirements
Core Credits 18
Electives (advisor approved) 12
Internship or Research Project*   3
Total number of required credits 33 

Courses Required Within Health Promotion (18 credits) 
BHAN 609 Survey Research Methods
Statistics course (or equivalent) Suggested: HLPR 632 Health Science Data Analysis
HLPR 803 Advanced Health Promotion Programming
HLPR 807 Topics and Issues in Health Promotion
HLPR 809 Health Behavior Theory
HLPR 823 Human Response to Stress 

*Prior to enrollment in either HLPR 864 or HLPR 868, students must successfully pass a Qualifying Exam.

Faculty Research

  • Bioinformatics, latent variable modeling, healthy aging, health disparities (Adam Davey, PhD)
  • Health literacy, program evaluation, use of wearable technology to promote physical activity and other behaviors to improve cardiovascular health (Gregory Dominick, PhD)
  • Adapted physical activity, health behaviors for populations with autism, 24-hour epidemiology (Sean Healy, PhD)
  • Policy and environmental change, nutrition and physical activity promotion in early care and education settings (Laura Lessard, PhD, MPH)
  • Physical activity, mind-body practice, health behavior coaching (Michael Mackenzie, PhD)
  • Inclusion, active community living, and cardiometabolic risk factors of individuals with disabilities (Iva Obrusnikova, PhD)
  • Psychosocial determinants of physical activity, aging and health, community based participatory research with eating and physical activity behaviors (Elizabeth Orsega-Smith, PhD)
  • Smoking cessation, sleep health, sedentary behavior, cardiovascular health, multiple health behavior change, 24-hour epidemiology, and population health (Freda Patterson, PhD, MS)
  • Social marketing and health communication, workplace stress, behavior change strategies (P. Michael Peterson, EdD)
  • Developing/tailoring community and technology-based interventions to promote healthier lifestyles, especially with underserved populations, diabetes self-management/diabetes prevention, behavior change theory (Laurie Ruggiero, PhD)
  • Health and risk communication, tobacco control, breast cancer, medical decision making, violence risk, obesity, chemical exposure, and food labeling (Christine Skubisz, PhD)
  • Community-engaged research, built-environment/physical activity promotion, community-level physical activity infrastructure, physical activity measurement (Richard Suminski, PhD, MPH)

Apply to the Masters of Science in Health Promotion Program

For questions or more information, please contact the program director,

Dr. Elizabeth Orsega-Smith