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Health Ed Specialist & Wellness Coaching


MS non-thesis degree program

The MS non-thesis program in Health Promotion Education merged with the MS non-thesis program in Kinesiology.  This new program will better prepare our students for success following graduation.  Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

What is the new program called? 

The Health Education Specialist and Wellness Coaching MS non-thesis degree program in the Health and Kinesiology Program.

What makes this program unique? 

To our knowledge we are the only program in the country that offers an MS non-thesis degree program in which graduates will be able to sit for both the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam AND the National Health & Wellness Coach certification exam.

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What is CHES? 

Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) are those who have met the standards of competence established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC) and have successfully passed the CHES® examination. CHES certification is important if you desire to be a health educator.  Health education specialists are professionals who design, conduct and evaluate activities that help improve the health of all people. These activities can take place in a variety of settings that include schools, communities, health care facilities, businesses, universities and government agencies.  Health education specialists are employed under a range of job titles such as patient educators, health education teachers, health coaches, community organizers, public health educators, and health program managers.

What is Wellness Coaching?  

Certified Health and Wellness Coaches partner with clients seeking self-directed, lasting changes, aligned with their values, which promote health and wellness and, thereby, enhance well-being. In the course of their work health and wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change, and honoring that each client is an expert on his or her life, while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental. Our program is based on the knowledge, standards, and skills put forth by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).  Our graduates are prepared to work as a health/wellness coach in a variety of settings such as private practice, corporate wellness, university health and wellness programs, and in hospital or other health care settings. 

What is the National Diabetes Prevention Program?

In addition to CHES and NBHWC, as part of the curriculum students complete the requisite training to become a Certified Lifestyle Coach for the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program. A Lifestyle Coach Helps individuals with prediabetes make positive changes, such as eating healthier and staying physically active, in order to delay or prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes. Potential employment includes healthcare settings, workplaces, and community-based organizations.  

How long is this program? 

This is a two-year, full-time program. Each academic year will include classes and practical field experience, as well as graduate assistantship responsibilities. Summer enrollment is not required, although many students use this time to take elective courses or work on their master’s project.

What is the curriculum? 

The coursework and other program requirements will be aligned with four focus areas: 

  • First, you will learn core health & wellness content in the areas of physical fitness, healthy nutrition, and stress management—all components of optimal well-being. 

  • Second, you will learn critical skills associated with health program planning and evaluation, interpreting research, and grant writing

  • Third, you will learn the art of ‘coaching’ which involves the development of interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Lastly, you will be involved in practical experiences each semester of the program.  This will allow you to work with professionals in the field and gain valuable hands-on experience that set the stage for your success upon graduation.  

Are there prerequisites? 

Yes, in order for you to be successful in our program it is highly advantageous for you to have the following background knowledge

  • Human physiology (e.g., *BIOL 2420) or Exercise Physiology (e.g., *KINES 3091)

  • College algebra (e.g., *MATH 1050)

  • Foundations of Health Education (e.g., *HEDU 4200)

  • Anatomy and Physiology (e.g., *HEDU 4650)

  • Scientific Foundations of Human Nutrition and Health (e.g., *NUTR 1020)

* or equivalent


Core Faculty

  1. Julia Franklin
  2. Traci Thompson
  3. Nick Galli 
  4. Kate O'Farrell

Graduate Students

  1. Collins, Kay
  2. Krahenbuhl, Rachel
  3. Kurucz, Maisy
  4. Lopez, Cale
  5. Otesanya, Blessing
  6. Powell, Michael
  7. Shikha, Deep
  8. Yonto, Caitlin

Contact Us

Co-Directors of Graduate Studies

Julie Lucero, PhD

Genevieve Albouy, PhD


Coordinator, Health Education Specialist and Wellness Coaching Program

Julia Franklin, PhD, CHES


Program Manager

Andrea Moss