Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health
Health Promotion & Education


 Graduate Index

Donna L. Richter, Chair


    Roger G. Sargent, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1970
    Robert F. Valois, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1984

Associate Professor

    Donna L. Richter, Ed.D., University of South Carolina, 1988
    Ruth P. Saunders, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1986

Assistant Professors

    Alexander E. Evans, Ph.D., University of Texas, 1997
    Kathryn J. Luchok, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993
    Deborah Parra-Medina, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1998
    Belinda M. Reininger, Dr.P.H., University of Texas, Houston, 1994
    Ken W. Watkins, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1999

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

    Murray L. Vincent, Ed.D., Temple University, 1967


Programs leading to degrees in health education center around changing health practices. Health education is an activist discipline and employs community development, organizational behavior and applied communications strategies to influence knowledge, attitudes, social support systems, patient/provider relationships, and the alteration of access and availability barriers to care in promoting positive health practices. Health promotion is an important focus of the department. Courses emphasizing principles of learning, motivation, behavior change, program planning and evaluation as applied to health education constitute the basis of professional preparation. The department supports the idea that health promotion and education subsume a set of activities which:

  • influence individuals to adopt or maintain healthful practices through skill development, social support enhancement, and environmental and policy change
  • foster teaching and communication skills in all those engaged in health education
  • advocate changes in organizations and the environment which will facilitate healthful practices
  • develop appropriate and effective health education programs aimed at promoting good health through change in behaviors at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community and public policy levels
  • enhance the health educator’s role as a model, advocate, and leader in public health
  • evaluate health education programs to ensure they are meeting program goals and objectives (assess effectiveness)
  • develop and disseminate new knowledge through systematic research and evaluation
  • inform people about health, illness, disability, and ways in which they can protect and improve their health, including more efficient use of the health care delivery system.

The Department of Health Promotion and Education offers the following degrees and certificates: Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Public Health, Master of Science (project and thesis options), Master of Arts in Teaching, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Public Health, Doctor of Education in Health Education Administration, Certificate of Graduate Study in Alcohol and Drug Studies, and Certificate in Graduate Study in School Health Education.

Department Admission Requirements

Application deadlines are October 1 and February 1. Admission requirements follow those of The Graduate School and include:

  • a completed application
  • official transcripts from all post-secondary schools or colleges previously attended
  • satisfactory GRE scores; for the doctoral programs a minimum of 1000 (combined verbal and quantitative) is required. For the Master of Arts in Teaching, the Miller Analogies Test is also accepted.
  • three letters of recommendation
  • a letter of intent which describes professional goals and objectives. Master’s degree applicants should describe how the applicant became interested in the field of public health. Doctoral applicants should describe research interests and professional goals.
  • satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for all international applicants.

Programs Overview

Master’s Degrees

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

The M.P.H. is designed for individuals with aspirations to be practitioners in health department, community, school or worksite settings. The program requires 45 hours of course work, including public health and health promotion and education core courses and a six-hour practicum. The public health course is designed to develop competencies in using epidemiology and biostatistics to understand distributions and causes of diseases in populations; understanding the relationship between environment and health; and managing and administering health organizations. The health education and promotion core is designed to develop competencies in planning implementing, and evaluating programs which promote informed decision making and health behavior change in individuals, and committees. Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive examination at or near the conclusion of program requirements.

Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

The M.S.P.H. degree is designed for those interested in pursuing specialized areas of health promotion and education and for those who wish to complete a thesis in preparation for doctoral work. This degree is a more individualized program of study emphasizing the scientific base of public health and the investigation of public health related problems. The program requires 45 hours of course work, including nine hours in core courses and six hours of thesis preparation. Candidates must also successfully complete a comprehensive examination.

Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. program in health education is designed for candidates wishing to prepare for health promotion and education positions in voluntary health organizations, hospitals, industry, business, and school settings. Candidates choosing the thesis option must successfully complete an approved 36 hours of graduate credit (including six hours of thesis) and a comprehensive examination. Candidates choosing the project option must successfully complete an approved 39 hours of graduate credit (including six hours of project) of which 18 hours must be in health promotion and education. Candidates must also successfully complete a comprehensive examination.

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)

The M.A.T. degree in health education, offered in conjunction with the College of Education, is designed for candidates who wish initial certification as a health education teacher in public or private schools. The M.A.T. requires a minimum of 48 hours of course work, including 15 hours of internship (practice teaching). Candidates must also complete the South Carolina licensure requirements for a Class I Professional Certificate in health education which will include successful completion of the Praxis II exams and possible additional undergraduate work. Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive examination at or near the conclusion of program requirements.

Doctoral Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. degree is designed for those who seek to advance the state of the art and science of health promotion and education. This degree stresses understanding of research design and methodologies. The program requires 60 hours of course work, including 12 hours of dissertation preparation. In addition, the following are required: a written qualifying examination, a written and oral comprehensive examination, and an oral defense of the dissertation.

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

The Dr.P.H. is the professional public health doctoral degree designed for individuals who wish to apply new knowledge in health promotion and education programs. This degree stresses program development and evaluation methodologies. The degree requires 60 hours of course work, including 12 hours of dissertation preparation. In addition, the following are required: a written qualifying examination, a written and oral comprehensive examination, and an oral defense of the dissertation.


Certificate in School Health Education

This is an 18-hour post-bachelor’s program which provides students the opportunities to strengthen their knowledge in school health education content and teaching methods. The program is designed for teachers, staff in school settings, and others who will work with school-aged children. For certified teachers, this 18-hour certificate program will lead to the 24-hour teacher "add-on" certification in health education provided by the S.C. State Department of Education.

Certificate of Graduate Study in Alcohol and Drug Studies

The 18-hour Certificate of Graduate Study in Alcohol and Drug Studies is for currently enrolled graduate students at the master’s and doctoral level and for post-baccalaureate students who choose not to pursue a degree program but want broad competency in the field with opportunities for a specialized emphasis. This interdisciplinary program is coordinated in the Department of Health Promotion and Education and involves faculty and courses from eight academic departments.

Program Requirements for Health Promotion and Education Degree Programs

Curriculum requirements for degrees in the Department of Health Promotion and Education are listed below.

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) (45 hours)

Basic Public Health Core (15 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (9 hours)

Cognate Area (15 hours)

Field Practice (6 hours)

Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) (45 hours)

Basic Public Health Core (9 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (9 hours)

Cognate Area (15 hours)

Research Methods (6 hours)

Thesis (6 hours)

Master of Science–Thesis Option (M.S.) (36 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (9 hours)

Cognate Area (9 hours)

Research/Statistical Methods (12 hours)

Thesis (6 hours)

Master of Science–Project Option (M.S.) (39 hours)

Basic Public Health Core (9 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (12 hours)

Cognate Area (12 hours)

Project (6 hours)

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) (minimum 48 hours)

Professional Education (15 hours)

Teaching Content Area (18 hours)

Internship (observe and practice teaching) (15 hours)

Class I South Carolina Certification Requirements (varies, based on prior undergraduate courses)

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) (60 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (6—12 hours)

Research/Statistical Methods (18—24 hours)

Cognate (12—18 hours)

Dissertation Preparation (12 hours)

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) (60 hours)

Research and Evaluation and Planning Courses (9—18 hours)

Cognate (24—30 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (12—18 hours)

Dissertation (12 hours)

Doctor of Education (Dr.Ed.) (60 hours)

Health Education/Health Behavior (6—12 hours)

Health, School, Business Administration (6—12 hours)

Cognate Area (12—18 hours)

Research Methods (12—18 hours)

Dissertation (12 hours)

Certificate in School Health Education (18 hours)

Core Curriculum (9 hours)

Electives (9 hours)

Certificate of Graduate Study in Alcohol and Drug Studies (18 hours)

Core Curriculum (9 hours)

Addictions Rehabilitation (RHAB 529)

Alcohol, Drugs, and Public Health Policy (HPRE 742)

Survey of Psychopharmacology (PSYC 735)

Electives (9 hours)

Applied Research in Substance Abuse (PSYC 586)

Drug Education (Required for teachers, HPRE 540)

Family Dynamics and Substance Abuse (SOWK 758)

Topics in Neuropharmacology (PHAR 734, 2 credits)

Substance Abuse and Criminal Justice (CRJU 542)

Independent Study and Practicum (1—6 credits)


Course Descriptions (HPRE)

  • 501–Family Life and Sex Education Programs. (3) (Prereq: senior or graduate level standing or consent of instructor) Family life and sex education instruction in health education programs: issues, content, and methods.
  • 502–Applied Aspects of Human Nutrition. (3) (Prereq: BIOL 120 or equivalent, CHEM 101 or equivalent, or consent of instructor) Nutrition and basic biological needs of man, metabolic mechanisms, and energy requirements; nutritional requirements as related to health education programs.
  • 511–Health Problems in a Changing Society. (3) Current and emerging health problems in society: causes, effects, and prevention.
  • 513–U.S. Ethnic Minorities and Health. (3) Health and health-related behaviors of U.S. ethnic groups (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans) are examined in light of the potential contributions of health promotion and education.
  • 521–The Total School Health Program. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 331 or 434, or consent of instructor) A course designed to acquaint the student with the various facets of the modern school health program. Includes school responsibilities for health and safety instruction, school health services, school environmental health problems, school and community relationships, resources for health, and evaluation of programs.
  • 540–Drug Education. {=PHAR 522, PHRM 626} (3) (Prereq: HPRE 223 or 224 or consent of instructor) Nature of drug actions, motivational factors that influence the use of drugs, and evaluation of procedures to provide effective drug education.
  • 547–Consumer Health in Contemporary Society. (3) An analysis and appraisal of issues related to the production and distribution of products and services as these activities affect consumer health.
  • 550–Behavioral Concepts and Processes for the Health Professional. (3) The development of interpersonal skills in dealing with health clients in various settings.
  • 551–Medical Anthropology: Field Work. {=ANTH 551} (3) Application of observation techniques, field notes, informant interviewing, and secondary data analysis to interpreting differential perceptions of health problem solving in the community and clinic.
  • 552–Medical Anthropology. {=ANTH 552} (3) Socio-cultural factors in health, illness, healing, and medical systems. Cross-cultural and ethnographic evidence for public health research and program applications.
  • 553–Community Health Problems. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Identification and analysis of major community health problems, their causes, the roles of individuals, community agencies, and government in affecting their solutions. Emphasis upon personal involvement and the responsibility for community health.
  • 558–The Teaching of Driver and Traffic Study Education. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 380) Organization, administration, specialized information, and techniques essential to the teaching of driver education in the high schools. Includes laboratory teaching experiences (for giving instruction) in simulators, on the multiple-car driving range and in a dual control car.
  • 581–The Teaching of Driver and Traffic Safety Education. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 380) Organization, administration, specialized information, and techniques essential to the teaching of driver education in the high schools. Includes laboratory teaching experiences (for giving instruction) in simulators, on the multiple car driving range, and in a dual control car.
  • 582–Driving Simulation and Driving Range Education. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 380) Study and review of operation, maintenance, and techniques of teaching with driving simulators and multiple-car driving ranges. Includes laboratory experiences.
  • 583–Teaching of Motorcycle Education. (1) (Prereq: HPRE 380, 468 or permission of instructor) Learning experiences needed to prepare the traffic educator to teach the novice rider to operate a motorcycle in a safe and efficient manner. Classroom and laboratory experiences provide practical experience in working with the novice motorcycle operator.
  • 621–Maternal-Child Health Education. (3) Application of health education and behavioral sciences theory and methods.
  • 631–Health Promotion for Elementary and Middle School Teachers. (3) A multimedia course emphasizing health education strategies for major S.C. health problems, risk factors, and concepts of positive health behavior.
  • 654–Maternal and Child Nutrition. (3) A survey of current concepts in clinical and public health nutrition which are unique to infants, children, and pregnant and lactating women.
  • 680–Laboratory Techniques in Physiological Measurement. (3) Practical laboratory skills and theoretical bases of measurements in human physiology; bioelectrical potentials, respiratory physiology, energy expenditure, body composition, temperature regulation, and biochemical assays.
  • 684–HIV/AIDS Education: Principles and Practices. (3) The role of education in preventing the spread of HIV+ infection and AIDS, including evaluation of existing educational materials and development of educational interventions for target populations.
  • 690–Independent Study. (1—3, to be designated at registration) Topics to be assigned and approved by advisor and department head.
  • 700–Public Health Education Concepts. (3) The socioepidemiologic foundations of health education. Assessment of educational needs at the community, institution, and individual level. Planning, implementing, and evaluating health education programs in a variety of settings aimed at developing and reinforcing positive health practices.
  • 701–Theoretical Foundation of Health Education. (3) Role of theory in shaping research and practice in health promotion and education; historical and ongoing interaction between health education and the applied social sciences.
  • 702–Behavioral Foundations of Health Education. (3) Integration of pedagogy, social science, and health education content for the purpose of effecting positive health behavior in persons, populations, and institutions. A special focus on increasing health literacy, personal and professional responsibility, and behavior change strategy in individuals, groups, and organizations.
  • 703–Public Health Education Seminar. (1—3) An examination of controversial and critical issues confronting the health educator, including ethical and professional concerns relating to the practice of health education in a variety of settings.
  • 704–Health Education Research Seminar. (1—3) Presentation and discussion of research topics in health education. May be repeated for up to a total of six hours.
  • 705–Contemporary Concepts of Health and Health Education. (3) This course will explore and analyze various concepts of health, disease, and illness as applicable to health education. Consideration will be given to alternative concepts of health and their implications for directions in health education.
  • 706–Consultation in Health Systems. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Consultation for role, program, and organization development in local and state health agencies, and in communities. Advanced practice in consulting roles aimed at system change.
  • 708–Health Education Methods. (3) Curricular planning and instructional strategies utilized in public health education settings.
  • 709–Stress and Support Concepts and Management. (3) Identifies environmental, organizational, interpersonal, and individual patterns of stress with particular reference to health professionals; competency in the active management of stress and mobilizing support in health settings and organizations is evaluated.
  • 710–Evaluation for Public Health Education Programs. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 700 or consent of instructor) Planning and implementation of health education program evaluations. Emphasis on political, practical, and theoretical aspects of evaluation.
  • 711–Applied Health Communication. (3) The application of principles of communication theory to health education program development.
  • 712–Changing Health Practices. (3) Students plan and implement a class on changing a health practice such as exercise, diet, or smoking. Lectures and reading assignments on theoretical foundations of how to conduct classes in changing health practices.
  • 720–Coordinating the School Health Program. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 521 or consent of instructor) For persons administratively responsible for the school health program and for individuals involved in discharging the various responsibilities. Characteristics of the Health Education Coordinator; areas of responsibility, policies and procedures relative to health education needs; curricular patterns; criteria for an extensive evaluation of selected school health programs.
  • 722–Health Education Curriculum Development. (3) The basis and nature of the health curriculum, its development, and appraisal of state and national health education curricula.
  • 726–Prevention of Teen Pregnancy. (3) Design and implementation of community-based educational practices and services to prevent teen pregnancy.
  • 730–Programs for Patient Education. (3) Knowledge and skills for identifying needs, obtaining support, designing curricula, organizing resources, training personnel, implementing activities, and evaluating patient education programs are presented.
  • 731–Health Promotion for Older Adults. (3) Research and practice issues in health promotion with older adults, including the impact of ageism, ethnicity, gender, normal aging changes, self-management skills, and social networks on healthy aging.
  • 742–Alcohol, Drugs, and Public Health Policy. (3) Public health policy issues related to treatment, prevention, research, and education in the field of alcohol and drug abuse.
  • 748–Community Health Development. (3) Organizational development, policy influence, capacity building, empowerment, community diagnosis and coalition development for enhancing health.
  • 750–Health Implications of Stress and Disease. (3) Causative agents of chronic disease, with particular emphasis placed on those illnesses which have been termed psychosomatic and related to or caused by stress; physiological response of the individual to contemporary psychological stressors as well as methods of adaptation and prophylaxis.
  • 751–Physical Activity and Health. {=EXSC 882} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) An examination of physical activity/exercise habit patterns as they relate to health status. Emphasis on the chronic effects of exercise.
  • 752–Nutrition and Public Health. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 502 or equivalent) A study of the relationship of human nutrition to public health and the potential for risk reduction through health education.
  • 753–Obesity and Eating Disorders. (3) The public health implications of obesity and eating disorders, considerations of causes, and intervention strategies.
  • 754–Community-Based Physical Activity Interventions. {=EXSC 754} (3) (Prereq: EXSC 700 or HPRE 700 or consent of instructor) Role of the physical activity specialist within the community health department. Development, initiation, and evaluation of campaigns, resources, community capacity building, and coalitions to promote physical activity.
  • 760–Health Education in Occupational Worksites. (3) An overview of health education program models and strategies designed for workers in industry and business.
  • 769–Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Child Abuse and Neglect. {=CRJU 743, =EDCE 769, =NURS 726, =SOWK 769} (3) Current knowledge about child abuse and neglect, including typologies, etiology, effects, and current practice interventions.
  • 770–Health Education in Developing Countries. (3) Development of programs in predominantly rural Third World countries. Foreign nationals may substitute this course for HPRE 700.
  • 771–Environmental Influences on Human Health. (3) (Prereq: BIOL 110 or equivalent, HPRE 333, or permission of instructor) The effects of contemporary environmental problems such as pollution, overpopulation, poor sanitation, socioeconomic status, alteration of the physical environment, pesticides, radiation, and their effects upon human health.
  • 772–Current Trends in Developing World Health. (3) Current issues in health of the developing world as represented in literature, policy documents, and program materials. For students having worked either in public health or in the developing world.
  • 773–International Public Health Seminar. (1) Various lecturers address the state of the art of public health strategies for Third World countries aimed at the reduction of death and disease. Repeatable up to a maximum of three credit hours.
  • 779–Injury Prevention and Control. (3) Etiology of injuries and strategies for their prevention are examined within an interdisciplinary framework.
  • 790–Independent Study. (1—6)
  • 792–Selected Topics in Health Education. (1—6) A study of selected issues confronted in health education programs.
  • 796–Health Education Project. (1—6) Performance of a predetermined work or service project in a health education setting. (Pass-Fail grading)
  • 798–Public Health Practicum. (1—6) (Prereq: 9—10 hours of specified courses including BIOS 700, EPID 700) Performance of a limited work or service project in a public need setting, pursuit of planned learning objectives related to previously identified aspects of the student’s chosen role. Self-monitoring and regular seminars focusing on learning accomplishments. (Pass-Fail grading)
  • 799–Thesis Preparation. (1—9)
  • 810–Applied Measurement in Health Education Research. (3) This doctoral seminar will examine conceptual and measurement issues regarding psychosocial constructs typically used in health education and health survey research–specifically health beliefs, health attitudes, health behaviors, health status, wellness, and perceptions of health care contexts.
  • 818–Advanced Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs. (3) (Prereq: HPRE 710 and permission of instructor) Evaluation methods including formative, retrospective and monitoring techniques; survey and trend analysis; application of experimental and quasi-experimental designs, triangulation, and cost-accounting.
  • 899–Dissertation Preparation. (1—12) (Prereq: one full year [18 hrs.] of graduate study beyond the master’s level)

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