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Health Coaching Graduate
Certificate Program

The Graduate Certificate in Health Coaching provides students and professionals working in health care with the knowledge and skills to facilitate positive behavior change to promote health and reduce chronic disease risk and experience. Specifically, training serves to develop health coaching skills that will:

  • help people clarify their health goals, and implement and sustain behaviors, lifestyles, and attitudes that are conducive to optimal health
  • guide people in their self care and health-maintenance activities
  • assist people in reducing the negative impact made on their lives by chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes

This graduate certificate program allows students to take courses (18 credit hours) specializing in health coaching to enhance their academic and professional experience. Students may work towards a graduate certificate in addition to pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree or students may enroll in this stand-alone graduate certificate program for the purpose of personal and professional development. In some programs, certificate program course credit can be applied toward a graduate degree. ALL graduate certificate program students must achieve a cumulative 3.0 (B) grade point average in all graduate certificate courses attempted in order for the graduate certificate to be granted

Requirements for Admission

Admission to the Health Coaching Certificate Program is determined by the satisfactory completion of the following:

  • A health-related undergraduate degree from an accredited institute of higher education (e.g. behavioral health, nutrition, exercise science, nursing, or related discipline(s). Health professionals with master's or doctoral degrees may choose to participate in this program. Individuals with a non-health related undergraduate degree but with commensurate and demonstrable experience in behavioral health and/or health care are also eligible to apply.
  • Successful completion of the University of Delaware Graduate Studies application including official transcript(s), 3 letters of recommendation, and an application essay.

Acceptance into the program will be determined by a faculty committee comprised of those that teach in the program curriculum. Qualifications of each applicant are assessed on the basis of a record of success in undergraduate work and potential for success in graduate-level work or demonstrated success in graduate work. If academic deficiencies are identified applicants may be required to take prerequisite courses prior to formal admission. Review of applications and admission are conducted on a rolling basis. Admission into the Graduate Certificate Program can occur after enrolling in graduate courses.

In accordance with University of Delaware academic policy, matriculated undergraduate students may take 600 level courses as part of their undergraduate course requirements, and apply a maximum of 9 credit hours toward the certificate upon admittance into the program, the only exception being HLPR 664 which can only be completed after all other course work in the program is successfully completed. Students with a Nursing degree are not required to complete HLPR 605, Concepts of Chronic Disease Management. However they will be required to take one of the following as a substitute course per approval of their academic advisor:

  • HLPR 823 Human Response to Stress
  • NURS 622 Advanced Pharmacology
  • HLPR 813 Health Psychology
  • NTDT 610 Overweight and Obesity Management

Qualifying Exam

Upon completion of the 15 credit hours of didactic course work and the 3 credit hour practicum students must take a qualifying exam to receive a certificate of completion. The exam format involves a 45 to 60 min coaching session with a standardized patient under the observation of two health coaching program faculty.

Students will be assessed based on the competencies outlined for the program for individual coaching sessions. Successful completion of the exam is based upon both faculty deeming the student competent in each of the competency areas. In the case where one or both faculty members fail the student, the student will have opportunity to discuss the areas of deficiency with the faculty assessors, and will be provided recommendations for improvement and further study/practice.

Students may retake the exam one time within four weeks of their initial test date. If the student fails the exam a second time, they are dropped from the program and do not receive a certificate.

Credit Requirements

HLPR 809 Health Behavior (3cr)
HLPR 630 Behavior Change Strategies (3cr)
HLPR 631 Health Coaching (3cr)
NURS 615 Integrative Health (3cr)
HLPR 605 Concepts of Chronic Disease
Management (3cr)
HLPR 664 Health Coaching Practicum (3cr)
TOTAL CREDITS 18

For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Peterson at 302-831-2265.


  • College of Health Sciences  •  Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition  •  26 Carpenter Sports Building 
    Newark, DE 19716 •   Phone: 302-831-2265   •  Fax: 302-831-4261   •  © 2014
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