Jul 15, 2024  
2024-2025 Springfield College Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Springfield College Catalog

Health Promotion and Health Equity, M.Ed.


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Program Description


Through a mix of required and elective courses consisting of 30 credit hours, students will examine critical and complex health equity and social justice challenges. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the economic, social, environmental, political, and health issues impacting vulnerable populations. Students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to drive policy changes, evaluate needs, identify assets, and solve pressing health-related challenges. Program graduates are prepared to use social and behavioral theories and models to design, implement, and evaluate interventions aimed at addressing social determinants of health and decreasing health disparities. In addition to core courses, students choose a track, two electives and complete a capstone course ensuring their degree aligns with their current role and future career goals.

The core courses will form the primary content of the major and will include: conceptual and theoretical foundations of health behavior change; determinants of health and health inequity; planning, implementation, and evaluation of health programs; and working effectively with underserved populations. Students will select one of two tracks that will provide an opportunity to focus on specialty areas in Health Promotion.

The Health Education and Behavior Change track will provide students with the opportunity to focus on skills and perspectives to facilitate healthy practices at individual and societal levels. These perspectives include the theoretical, programmatic and empirical foundations of learning and teaching; strategies and policies that promote healthy populations; and administration and management of health education programs.  In addition to the primary core courses, students will take additional coursework in social and emotional learning, leadership, and health advocacy. Upon completion of the degree, students in the Health Education and Behavior Change track will have obtained the credentials to earn their professional/permanent teaching license in their respective states.

The Health Equity and Social Justice track provides students with the opportunity to focus on diverse perspectives in community health education and health promotion. These perspectives include how to educate others about health; create a culture of health; advocate for health equity; identify structural causes of health inequities; and interpret health trends. In addition to the primary core courses, students will take additional courses in social justice, ethics, cultural humility, structural drivers of health disparity and inequities, and implementation and sustainability of community health programs. The core courses, along with the courses in the Health Equity and Social Justice track, are aligned with the Responsibilities and Competencies outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). Students who successfully complete the degree and this track will be eligible and may apply to take the Certified Health Education SpecialistⓇ (CHESⓇ) credentialing exam, or the Master Certified Health Education SpecialistⓇ (MCHESⓇ) credentialing exam. CHESⓇ and MCHESⓇ certification indicate professional competency in the discipline as well as dedication to professional development, and is the gold standard for certification in the field of health education.

Students will choose two elective courses as part of their program. The elective courses will allow students to identify and select courses that supplement and/or complement their knowledge base in the fields of health promotion and health equity. Of the seven elective courses proposed, three of the courses are already on the books in the current 4+1 graduate program. One of these three courses (HLTH 640) was previously approved to be taught asynchronously online, and a course shell has been built, reviewed by instructional designers, and implemented successfully with graduate students.
Four additional courses are being proposed that provide the opportunity for students to study specialized topics related to health promotion and health equity. 

These four courses will be submitted at the 500 level, allowing upper-level undergraduate students to enroll in them as well. These four courses will also be proposed as options for students to take in the Social Justice Themed Exploration for the Core Curriculum. There are many reasons the department believes this is a smart decision. First, in order to provide a wide variety of electives for graduate students to take, the department needs to make sure the elective courses “fill.” Having upper level undergraduate students take the courses will help fill the courses, and thus allow the department to provide more options for graduate students. If the four proposed courses are approved as Social Justice Themed Exploration courses, the four courses will be serving a crucial role in the undergraduate curriculum. The 4 proposed courses will also become selectives for the undergraduate minor in health promotion. If students take one or more of the proposed courses at the undergraduate level, they may become more interested in exploring the proposed M.Ed. program, providing a “funnel” of students moving from face-to-face undergraduate, to the on-line graduate program.

All students will complete a capstone project as their culminating program experience. The capstone requirement is meant to synthesize the scope of knowledge, theory, and skills developed across the breadth of the program and allow students the opportunity to put theory into practice and engage with the community. Capstone proposals and projects will be unique to the student and their current or anticipated professional experiences. Comprehensive capstone proposals and projects are accomplished with consultation and direction provided by the faculty member teaching the capstone course. Given the intensive effort and oversight needed to supervise students in the development and implementation of capstone projects, the department is recommending that the student cap on the capstone course be lower than the cap on the other courses in the program.

The proposed online M.Ed. in Health Promotion and Health Equity is meant to replace the current graduate degree program in Health Promotion. The face to face format of the current degree program has been a barrier to graduate enrollment. The faculty believe that the online format of the proposed program will increase enrollment exponentially and the curriculum of the current 4 + 1 program can be modified to include the online graduate courses for future students.

Condensed Description for Publication:

The Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Health Promotion and Health Equity program is guided by the core principle that health is a right, not a privilege. The M.Ed. in Health Promotion and Health Equity is delivered in a 100% online, asynchronous format and can be completed in one year, if desired. The program provides academic training for individuals who wish to gain a new understanding of Health Promotion and Health Education through the lens of health equity and social justice. 

The program was designed by health education specialists to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in a range of settings. The program is designed to promote career advancement, enhance an earned related undergraduate degree and/or to provide advanced academic training for individuals employed or planning to seek employment as health educators in academic, clinical, community, and corporate settings. The underlying program philosophy will be to advance health equity and social justice through applied and engaged practice. 

In addition to core courses, students in the program will choose a track, two electives and complete a capstone course ensuring their degree aligns with their current role and future career goals. The core courses will form the primary content of the major and will include: conceptual and theoretical foundations of health behavior change; determinants of health and health inequity; planning, implementation, and evaluation of health programs; and working effectively with underserved populations. Students will select one of two tracks that will provide an opportunity to focus on specialty areas in Health Promotion.

The Health Education and Behavior Change track will provide students with the opportunity to focus on skills and perspectives to facilitate healthy practices at individual and societal levels. These perspectives include the theoretical, programmatic and empirical foundations of learning and teaching; strategies and policies that promote healthy populations; and administration and management of health education programs.  In addition to the primary core courses, students will take additional coursework in social and emotional learning, leadership, and health advocacy. Upon completion of the degree, students in the Health Education and Behavior Change track will have obtained the credentials to earn their professional/permanent teaching license in their respective states.

The Health Equity and Social Justice track provides students with the opportunity to focus on diverse perspectives in community health education and health promotion. These perspectives include how to educate others about health; create a culture of health; advocate for health equity; identify structural causes of health inequities; and interpret health trends. In addition to the primary core courses, students will take additional courses in social justice, ethics, cultural humility, structural drivers of health disparity and inequities, and implementation and sustainability of community health programs. The core courses, along with the courses in the Health Equity and Social Justice track, are aligned with the Responsibilities and Competencies outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). Students who successfully complete the degree and this track will be eligible and may apply to take the Certified Health Education SpecialistⓇ (CHESⓇ) credentialing exam, or the Master Certified Health Education SpecialistⓇ (MCHESⓇ) credentialing exam. CHESⓇ and MCHESⓇ certification indicate professional competency in the discipline as well as dedication to professional development, and is the gold standard for certification in the field of health education.

All students will choose two elective courses as part of their program. The elective courses will allow students to identify and select courses that supplement and/or complement their knowledge base in the fields of health promotion and health equity. 

All students will complete a capstone project as their culminating program experience. The capstone requirement is meant to synthesize the scope of knowledge, theory, and skills developed across the breadth of the program and allow students the opportunity to put theory into practice and engage with schools, families and/or the community. Capstone proposals and projects will be unique to the student and their current or anticipated professional experiences, allowing students to tailor their projects to individual, specific educational goals.

Program Highlights


Degree: Master of Education

Required Credits: 30

School: School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership

Department: Physical Education and Health Education

Modality: Online

Locations: Online Campus

Additional Information: https://springfield.edu/programs/graduate/health-promotion-and-health-equity

I. Degree Requirements (30 credits)


B. Track Selectives (9 credits)


Select 9 credits from the following list:

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