Health promotion students

About the program

The field of health promotion seeks to improve the health of individuals and communities through education, behavior change, and environmental improvement. The University of Delaware’s Master’s of Science in Health Promotion uses didactic and experiential, research, and public service learning contexts to prepare students to positively impact this field. Students engage in a comprehensive curriculum that teaches how to successfully design, implement, administer, and evaluate health promotion interventions. They develop the knowledge and skills to use strategies such as cognitive and behavioral modification, health coaching, health communication, environmental and cultural change in diverse settings.  The 36-credit program is designed to meet the needs of both full-time graduate students and working professionals. Students have the opportunity to select from the Clinical Health Coaching or Health and Disabilities concentration or pursue the general Health Promotion degree. The program provides students with the ability to choose electives within health promotion, which can include but is not limited to: aging, nutrition, social marketing, and health communication, health psychology, health policy, community and worksite health, student health, or program evaluation.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Assess individual and community needs for health education and promotion;
  • Apply 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.


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

  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, and 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, three health-related courses, health promotion programming)
  5. Acceptable GRE scores within the past five years
  6. Acceptable TOEFL scores (100)

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.

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

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • 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.

Applications (all materials) for the MSHP Program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between January 15 and July 1 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 15 – July 1), 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). Following the submission of a complete application, applicants can expect to learn their admission status within 2 months.

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 on scholarship and/or teaching responsibilities.

Credit Requirements

Core Credits 21
Concentration credits 12
Internship or Research project* 3
Total number of required credits 36


Core Credits (21 credits)

HLPR605 Concepts of Chronic Disease Management
BHAN609 Survey Research Methods
HLPR632 Health Science Data Analysis (or equivalent statistics core)
HLPR803 Advanced Health Promotion Programming
HLPR804 Program Evaluation
HLPR809 Health Behavior Theory
HLPR 610
Social Marketing and Health Communication

Health and the Media


Concentration Credits (12 credits)

Clinical Health Coaching

HLPR630 Behavioral Change Strategies and Tactics
HLPR631 Health Coaching
HLPR650 Healthy Lifestyle
HLPR664 Health Coaching Practicum

Health and Disability

BHAN 645 Health, Physical Activity, and Disability
Self-Directed Supports for People with Disabilities

Values-Based Management of Disability Service Agencies
Choose one of the following courses:  
KAAP 607    Motor Learning and Control
HDFS 621 Family Studies I: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives
KAAP 651   Neuropsychological Basis of Human Movement
EDUC 624    Introduction to Autism and Severe Disabilities
EDUC 673 School-to-Adult Life Transitions and Disability
EDUC 681    Techniques for Behavior Change and Positive Behavior Support
one elective  


 Internship or Research Project (3 credits)

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


  • 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)
  • Policy and environmental change, nutrition, and physical activity promotion in early care and education settings (Laura Lessard, PhD, MPH)
  • 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, intergenerational research and health (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)
  • Community-engaged research, built-environment/physical activity promotion, community-level physical activity infrastructure, physical activity measurement (Richard Suminski, PhD, MPH)