About the department

Geology class taking notes outdoors in White Clay Creek

With increasing understanding of the myriad benefits of a healthy lifestyle, coupled with nationwide attention on health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis, there is an abundance of opportunity and challenge for newly educated professionals in the fields of health behavior science, health promotion, health and physical education, and nutrition and dietetics. Programs in the Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition focus on the psychosocial aspects of health, wellness, illness, and aging.

Nutrition vs Health Behavior Science

Nutrition students in the demonstration kitchen

Nutrition is the foundation of health.  Rooted in biology, chemistry, and the social sciences, nutrition majors gain knowledge and skills needed to assess diet and nutritional status of individuals and populations, and identify effective strategies to prevent and treat disease and improve overall health.  With a variety of undergraduate degress in nutrition, students can prepare for careers as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, wellness coordinators, clinical research coordinators, community nutrition specialists, or for an advanced degree in graduate school, medical or dental school, or other health-related professions (e.g. physician assistant, pharmacy, physical therapy).  Our graduate programs in nutrition prepare students for advanced clinical practice, research, and leadership roles in healthcare, academia, industry, and public service.

health behavior science student doing research

Health Behavior Science students explore healthy lifestyles through evaluation on how human actions, perceptions, communication, and environment affect health, chronic disease, relationships, and quality of life. Students acquire skills in health behavior analysis, behavior change strategies, and program development and evaluation. Studying Health Behavior Science can prepare students for specialist positions in public health, health and wellness, non-profits, medical offices, and worksite wellness. It will also prepare students for post-graduate studies in public health, physical therapy, occupational therapy, accelerated nursing, and medicine.


Message from the Chair

Mike Peterson

Welcome to BHAN! –the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition.

It is an amazing time to be part of this department, as the opportunities continue to grow in these fields.

A hallmark of BHAN is the exceptional hands-on experience we provide students.  Whether it be through practicums, internships, independent studies, support research projects, and community engagement opportunities, we want you to not only learn but to grow and build your skills.  Through our Foods Lab, Demonstration Kitchen, Employee Health and Wellness program, Healthy HENS, Health Coaching and Nutrition Clinics, Research Labs, and the GUADS Social Marketing Lab students have abundant opportunities to develop and practice their skills. 

Our goal is to make you marketable, competitive, and competent.  We want you to succeed and get the most out of your UD experience.  Many BHAN students include additional minors as part of their academic experience which further expands their skills and knowledge, making them even more employable upon graduation or better positioning them for graduate school and a many health profession and medical schools.  We have minors in public health, nutrition, health and wellness, disability and health, medical social services, as well as allow numerous other minors across campus to help you tailor your program of study even further.

Upon graduation our Health Behavior Science students have found rewarding careers in the fields of health promotion, public health, epidemiology, health and fitness, athletics and sport, higher education, social marketing and health communication, health coaching, health insurance, hospitals and clinics, community health, recreation, medical device and pharmaceuticals, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, disability and health, and medicine.  Not to be outdone our Nutrition students have found rewarding careers in dietetics, medicine, community nutrition, research, public health, sports nutrition, sales and marketing in the food, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, and so much more.

What students say they like best about BHAN is first their academic programs—they love what they do, and many often remark how they never heard about our majors until they came to UD.  Second, they find the faculty amazing, helpful, supportive, and excellent.  Our faculty have consistently been ranked among the top at the university.  Students find them easily accessible, willing to provide one-on-one mentorship, and easy to connect with. Third, they are thrilled with the many opportunities and ways they can learn, grow and excel here.  And fourth, they love the flexibility we provide our students to pursue their interests. 

Whether you are interested in a career in nutrition, health behavior and promotion, or are just wanting to learn to explore the fields of health and hone a career later, BHAN is an excellent choice.

We would love to share more about what we offer at BHAN.  Please feel free to reach out to our academic advisors—who are simply outstanding, to learn more.

Finally, I will leave you with one of our recent graduate’s comments. 

“Taking BHAN classes at the University of Delaware has been an amazing learning experience.  The professors genuinely have the best interest at heart for their students and are great role models for their students and really try to get to know students personally.”

We look forward to providing you with the same amazing experience.


Yours in health,

Mike Peterson