University of Florida


The 100% online Master of Science in Health Education and Behavior (HEB) can be completed in just one year and was designed by health education specialists in the College of Health & Human Performance to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in a range of clinical, community, and government health settings. The HEB core curriculum was developed around the areas of responsibility as defined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), Inc.:

  • Area I: Assessment of Needs and Capacity
  • Area II: Planning
  • Area III: Implementation
  • Area IV: Evaluation and Research
  • Area V: Advocacy
  • Area VI: Communication
  • Area VII: Leadership and Management
  • Area VIII: Ethics and Professionalism

Students also choose from a variety of program-specific electives that align with their career goals and interest areas. In addition to completing core coursework and electives, students are required to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) Exam before graduating.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Identify, define, and describe principles and foundations of health education/promotion.
  • Assess needs, assets, and capacity for health education/promotion.
  • Plan health promotion programs.
  • Implement health education/promotion programs.
  • Conduct evaluation and research related to health education/promotion.
  • Administer and manage health education/promotion programs.
  • Serve as a health education/promotion resource person.
  • Communicate and advocate for health and health education and health promotion.
  • Illustrate the highest standards of conduct and ethical behavior when making professional decisions in accordance to the Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession (Coalition of National Health Education Organizations, 2020).

Watch the Program Walkthrough

In this video, you’ll meet Holly T. Moses, an instructional assistant professor and coordinator for the online M.S. in HEB degree program, Allie McPhillips, an enrollment advisor who works directly with prospective students, and Jasmine Lollino M.S., CHES, alumna.

Speakers | About UF HHP | Faculty | Program Benefits | Program Structure | Learning Outcomes | Online Learning Experience | Career Outlook | Alumni Perspective | Admissions Requirements

UF’s program stands out thanks to its high degree of customization, with half of the degree credits fulfilled through electives. Students may choose from more than a dozen elective course options, plus different experiential options (internship, independent study, and research).

Required Courses (15 credit hours)

HSC 6037 Philosophy & Principles of Health Education (3 credits)

This course covers the history, philosophy, and ethics; theories of health behavior and principles of learning; areas of professional specialization; roles and functions of professional health educators; certification and continuing education; trends.

HSC 6318 Planning Health Education Programs (3 credits)

This course covers basic principles of health education for various community health settings and using communication media in joint planning for comprehensive health education.

HSC 6506 Epidemiology (3 credits)

Epidemiology is one of the basic disciplines of public health. One of the tasks of epidemiology is to unravel the risk factors of disease at the population level. The course will teach how to evaluate relationships between potential risk factors and health outcomes and how causal relationships are interpreted for public health decision making. This course will also provide a comprehensive understanding of sources of population data in terms of morbidity, mortality, and other vital statistics. Scientific methods for approaching population data and identifying public health problems and empirical analysis of data will be emphasized.

HSC 6603 Theories of Health Behavior & Practice (3 credits)

This course covers selected health behavior theories and applying these theories to the practice of health education and health promotion.

HSC 6712 Evaluating Health Education Programs (3 credits)

This course covers models and strategies for conducting formative and summative evaluations of health education programs.

Program Electives (15 credits)

Tier I (Complete a minimum of 6 credits from the courses listed below.)

HSC 5956 Writing for Professional Publications (3 credits)

This course covers procedures and practices in scholarly writing for health-related professional publications including topic selection, literature searches, manuscript preparation, and legal and ethical considerations.

HSC 6665 Health Communications (3 credits)

The goal of this course is to help students understand how the health industry operates and what role the student, as a health practitioner and health consumer, plays in that operation. The philosophy behind the course is that, to understand any component of the industry, students must understand how the components work and what factors have shaped and continue to shape the industry.

HSC 6735 Research Methods in Health Education (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to research methods used in health education and behavior.

HSC 6637 Social Marketing (3 credits)

The course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of social marketing theory and its application in promoting health behavior change and behavior management strategies. Key topics covered include identifying research needs and resources; selecting target markets; understanding the target audience and competition; determining the product, price, place, and promotion strategies; implementing and evaluating social marketing efforts; and exploring ethics in social marketing. The course structure incorporates a blend of presentations, group discussions, and in-class exercises to facilitate comprehensive learning and practical application of concepts.

Tier II (Complete a minimum of 9 credits from the courses listed below.)

HSC 5135 Emotional Health Education (3 credits)

This course is designed to acquaint students with theories of emotion, behavior change, and health counseling as well as their application. The course explores factors associated with the development and maintenance of emotional health and the means of incorporating positive mental health practices into health education/promotion programming and health counseling. In addition, the course focuses on the development of a core set of health counseling skills. The course builds a base of health content, theory, and skills that are useful for students interested in health careers, and, most importantly, for the individual student’s own health.

HSC 5138 Human Sexuality Education (3 credits)

The course is designed to increase students’ knowledge of human sexuality issues, to increase students’ level of comfort with sexuality topics, and to provide an opportunity for students to explore and clarify their personal sexual attitudes and beliefs. Course requirements, including class activities, emphasize the importance of both content and process in human sexuality education.

HSC 5576 Nutrition Education for Special Populations (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of assessing nutrition information needs for selected population groups. Planning, implementing, and evaluating nutrition education programs for special populations and settings will also be covered.

HSC 5925 Determinants of Obesity (3 credits)

This course will examine the causes of obesity from a variety of perspectives. We will consider biological, psychological, social, environmental, and policy-related causes. We will also consider interventions to prevent and treat obesity with an emphasis on the assumptions of the intervention on causes and maintaining factors for obesity.

HSC 6235 Patient Health Education (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to theories that apply to the practice of patient education in a variety of health care settings. Emphasis is placed on education for health promotion and lifestyle changes. Additionally, this course aims to provide a critical overview of the U.S. health care industry. This course focuses on the role of the health educator in teaching patients to maintain optimal health and become independent in self‐care activities. Course content addresses the basic foundations of the health education process, the unique needs and characteristics of learners in the patient role, a survey of instructional strategies appropriate for health educators (i.e., teachers) and patients (i.e., learners), patient health literacy and its implications for health education programming, and health education evaluation methodology.

HSC 6567 Health Promotion and Programming in Gerontology (3 credits)

Planning, implementing, and evaluating health maintenance and promotion programs for adult populations, emphasizing the aging process.

HSC 6575 Women’s Health Issues (3 credits)

The multi-dimensional roles of American women as individuals, partners, mothers, nurturers, caretakers, and career persons cause our health status to be of vital importance. While women and men both experience similar diseases, disorders, and causes of death, women often experience these in different forms and at different stages and ages in life. The primary purpose of this course is to explore current issues in women’s health. The course covers a broad range of health issues that are either unique to women or of special importance to women. Other topics include information for the health consumer, preparation as an advocate of healthy lifestyles, and awareness of the role health plays in the life of all women.

HSC 6595 HIV/AIDS Education (3 credits)

This seminar course examines the medical, social, legal, and educational impacts of HIV/AIDS on individuals and society.

HSC 6629 Health Promotion Programs for Priority Populations (3 credits)

The course addresses health issues confronting ethnic/racial minority groups politically as well as socioeconomically disadvantaged in America. The course is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of all pertinent health problems affecting minorities, but addresses some of the more salient health concerns.

HSC 6646 Community Injury Prevention and Control (3 credits)

The focus of the course is on unintentional injury; however, intentional injury is briefly introduced. Intentionality is an important component in injury prevention and control and therefore cannot be excluded completely. Unintentional injury is defined as an injury that is judged to have occurred without anyone intending harm be done; in many settings these are termed “accidental injuries” (National Association of Injury Control Research Centers). The goal of this course is to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of unintentional injuries as a public health problem.

HSC 6695 Worksite Health Promotion (3 credits)

This course explores considerations in planning, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive health education and health promotion programs at the worksite including health risk appraisal, program design, and special educational strategies appropriate for the occupational setting.

HSC 6850 Internship in Health Education (1-3; max 3 credits)

HSC 6905 Independent Study in Health Education (1-3; max 3 credits)

HSC 6910 Supervised Research (1-3; max 3 credits)

HSC 6940 Supervised Teaching (1-3; max 3 credits)

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