Health Promotion and Behavioral Science

The Health Promotion and Behavioral Science is an interdisciplinary major focused on preventing negative health outcomes and promoting optimal health through individual, organizational, and community change. Coursework focuses on the interactions among individual, family, group and community factors, giving you a strong foundation in theory, disease prevention, program planning, and evaluation. 

Preparing for this Major

If you are still in high school, take as many statistics, science, health, and physiology courses as you can. We also recommend shadowing a professional in your field of interest. 

If you are currently attending another college or university, contact an academic advisor to make sure the classes you are taking will transfer.

What You Need to Do

When you start the program, talk to your academic advisor. They will review your degree requirements and help you choose a certificate, track, minor, or specialization. Your advisor will help you identify and choose the option that best aligns with your career goals. 

All of our specializations would work for this major:

  • Coaching
  • Community Health and Wellness
  • Disability Studies
  • Health Fitness Instructor
  • Medical Fitness and Rehabilitation
  • Strength & Conditioning Coaching

Learn more about certificates, minors, specializations, and tracks

Courses in This Major

As a Health Promotion and Behavioral Science major, you will take 30 hours of Kinesiology and Health Education classes, including core courses that give you the foundation you will need to do well in the cognate classes specific to this major. Some of the course options include: 

  • HED 311 Intro to Health Promotion & Behavioral Science
  • HED 329K Child & Adolescent Health
  • HED 335 Theories of Substance Use & Abuse
  • HED 360 Adolescent Health Risk Behavior
  • HED 361 Psychosocial Issues in Women’s Health
  • HED 364 Strategic Health Communication
  • HED 365 Soc Determinants of Hlth & Hlth Disparities
  • HED 366 Human Sexuality
  • HED 378D 1 - Healthy Horns
  • HED 378D 2 - Mental Health Promotion
  • KIN 424K Applied Human Anatomy
  • HED 343 Foundations of Epidemiology
  • HED 350 Theories of Health Promotion & Behavioral Science
  • HED 351 Needs Assessment & Program Planning
  • HED 373 Evaluation & Research Design
  • KIN 310 Physiological Basis of Conditioning
  • KIN 312M Management of Physical Activity & Sport Programs 
  • KIN 347 Historical & Ethical Issues in Physical Culture & Sports

You also will be able to take elective courses that supplement your major. Be sure to talk to your academic advisor about the best options. 

Study Abroad Opportunity

Experience the world and change it. Studying abroad goes beyond the classroom. You also can intern, conduct research, and gain hands-on experience internationally – all of which look great on your resume. 

Exercise and Sports for Health, Fitness, and Performance - Tokyo

Join Professor Hirofumi Tanaka on this Maymester program where you will deepen your knowledge of sports science, exercise physiology, sport nutrition, and more. This program will focus specifically on athletes and the Olympic Games as Tokyo will be hosting the games that summer. 

This is just one recommended program. The university provides opportunities worldwide that will fit into your degree plan and are more affordable than you may think. Reach out to the Study Abroad Office and your academic advisor to learn more.

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Research Opportunities

The Department of Kinesiology and Health Education is home to more than 20 well-funded research labs working to promote and understand physical activity, health, movement, behavior, and physical culture and sport. Many of these labs welcome undergraduate students, so take a few minutes to learn more about the ground-breaking research happening in our department and find out if you would be interested in working with our top-notch faculty and graduate students.

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Possible Career Paths

Health Promotion and Behavioral Science graduates have a variety of job opportunities. You will be prepared for a career in public health, community health promotion, university/college health, government agencies, voluntary health agencies, corporate fitness and wellness, and healthcare centers. You also will be well prepared to pursue graduate and professional education in a variety of fields such as health behavior and health education, public health, and epidemiology.

Through your preparation in the Health Promotion and Behavioral Science courses, you may also choose to sit for various certification exams that lead to positions in the fields of Health Education. Some of these certificates include: 

Health Professions

You also may be interested in pursuing a health profession such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, and physician assistant. To do so, you must complete your degree requirements and the prerequisites for the health profession of your choice. With careful planning, you can graduate within four years even when adding the health prerequisites to your schedule. 

For more information on health professions, please visit the Health Professions Office.