The Health Education program in the Department of Human Studies at The University of Alabama at Birmingham prepares students to work in all aspects of the Health Education Profession. We have program offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Health educators focus on encouraging healthy lifestyles and wellness through educating individuals and communities about behaviors that promote healthy living and prevent diseases and other health problems. The health educator roles and responsibilities include: assessing needs, assets and capacity for Health Education, planning Health Education programs, implementing Health Education programs, conducting evaluation and research related to Health Education, administering and managing Health Education programs and services, serving as a Health Education resource person, and communicating and advocating for health and Health Education. The uniqueness of the Health Education approach lies in the educational approach along with working directly with the target populations to design, implement, and evaluate appropriate interventions.
Health Educators in Action
Health educators attempt to prevent illnesses by informing and educating individuals and communities about health-related topics, such as proper nutrition, the importance of exercise, how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, and the habits and behaviors necessary to avoid illness. They begin by assessing the needs of their audience, which includes determining which topics to cover and how to best present the information. An example of this approach is holding programs on self-examinations for breast cancer to women who are at higher risk or may teach classes on the effects of binge drinking to college students. Health educators must take the cultural norms of their audience into account. For example, programs targeted at the elderly need to be drastically different from those aimed at a college-aged population.
-National Commission for Health Education Credentialing
- Mentoring of students
- “Service learning” components to many courses allow students “real world” experience in the health education field
- Numerous online courses offered to appeal to the busy working student
- New degree program in Human Services
- UAB Eat Right Program
- Children’ Health System of Alabama
- UAB Pediatrics – Infectious Disease Unit
- Lakeshore Foundation
- UAB S.H.A.P.E
- Jefferson County Department of Health
- Jones Valley Urban Farms
- AIDS Alabama
- American Cancer Society
- American Red Cross
- American Diabetes Association
- Girls, Inc
Health Education Credentialing
Health Education Undergraduate Program Flyer
B.S. Health Education:
Concentration in Community Health
The Community Health Education degree provides students with the knowledge and training to pursue employment in public, volunteer, and private health agencies. Health educators are described as those who promote, maintain and improve health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Health educators collect and analyze data to identify needs that are used to plan, implement and evaluate programs that encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments.
This degree was developed using the Responsibilities and Competencies of Health Educators, developed by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Successful completion of the Community Health Education program fully prepares students to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist certification.
Completion of this degree program also requires a minor program of study. This is chosen by the student and advisor and must be approved by the student's Health Education advisor. The program also requires a semester long internship experience.
Concentration in Human Services
In collaboration with Educational Psychology and Research, the concentration in Human Services is designed for students interested in the helping profession. The Human Services profession is one which promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but also by seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery.
Coursework includes but is not limited to interviewing and intervention skills, case management, human development, ethics in the helping professions, assessment/treatment, planning interventions, theories, human behavior and social welfare and public policy.
Examples of job titles common to Human Services occupations may include rehabilitation case worker, social service liaison, drug abuse counselor, social service aide, probation officer, home health aide, and others. This concentration was developed using the National Organization of Human Services standards and prepares students to sit for the Certification in Human Services.
Community Health Minor
Health Education as a minor provides students with an overview of the profession. This can provide support for a variety of major areas of study in the social sciences.
MA in Health Education, Community Health
This program prepares students for a variety of employment opportunities beyond the bachelor's degree level. Work settings include public, volunteer, and private health agencies, clinics and worksites. Students learn advanced health education program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Course work includes research design, health foundations, planning and evaluating programs, administration, and health behavior. There are two options within this program thesis and non-thesis.
Students in the non-thesis option must complete comprehensive exams. Comps should be taken during the LAST term of the program. Students must be signed up for a minimum of three hours of graduate level coursework during the term they complete comps.
To be eligible to sign up for comps, students must be currently enrolled in or have successfully completed HE 610, HE 631, HE 642, EPR 607/608, HE 689 AND HE 697. Students must earn a "C" or above in all courses.
PhD in Health Health Education/Health Promotion
The PhD in Health Education / Health Promotion is a University of Alabama System degree jointly administered by three units: UAB School of Education, UAB School of Public Health, and UA College of Human Environmental Sciences. Students draw upon the expertise and resources of a diverse and highly qualified faculty. Graduates in the PhD program develop advanced training to become leading researchers, clinicians and faculty in higher education, government agencies and foundations. We strive to create a rigorous scholarly and supportive atmosphere for students to develop intellectually with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be ethical and responsible health education professionals.
This program is designed to provide students with the coursework and practical experience to become leading researchers and practitioners in Health Education and Health Promotion. Course work includes a core of courses in advanced research and statistical methods, social and behavioral sciences and the completion of a research internship and dissertation. Upon completion, job opportunities include university faculty appointments, research and clinical positions as well as other career paths.
This program is offered jointly by:
College of Human Environmental Sciences, Department of Health Science - University of Alabama
School of Education, Department of Human Studies - University of Alabama at Birmingham
School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior - University of Alabama at Birmingham
Students may apply to any of the three academic units. A flexible course of study can be designed by the student in consultation with their advisor. The general components of the Ph.D. program are listed below.
The PhD program requires students to complete a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit: 36 hours of coursework,12 hours of research internship and 24 hours of dissertation. Students must have satisfactory performance on comprehensive exams, and complete a doctoral dissertation.Research Internship
A research internship is required. The internship gives students an opportunity to engage in a meaningful research experience by working with ongoing faculty research projects. The internship may be carried out in any one of the three academic units contributing to the PhD program or with approved research projects in other academic units at UA or UAB, or with the CDC, NIH, or other governmental or private agencies.
Core Comprehensive Exams
Prior to taking the comprehensive exams, the student must have completed the Health Education/Promotion Core Courses.
Doctoral students are required to successfully complete comprehensive examinations before proposing a dissertation.
The doctoral dissertation is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and original research experience, and it requires the completion of a minimum of 24.0 sem. hours of dissertation credit. Students complete credits for the dissertation after completing coursework and comprehensive exams, and being admitted to candidacy.
Masters Programs Application Checklist
Masters Programs Admissions
Ph.D. AdmissionsPh.D. Program Application Checklist
Candidates for admission must have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution in health education or a health-related field. Admission to doctoral study is initiated through the Graduate School. Applicants will:
- (a) request official transcripts of all college coursework to send to UAB Graduate School;
- (b) submit (3) letters of recommendation from professors or others who are qualified to judge your ability to complete doctoral coursework;
- (c) complete the GRE indicating UAB as the recipient of your scores; and
- (d) submit writing sample(s), such as an essay describing your academic training, professional experiences and career goals, or scholarly papers presented during professional meetings. Admission to the program is competitive.
Ph.D. applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.00/4.00 or greater for prior college coursework and preferred GRE scores of 156 or greater for Verbal Reasoning and 156 or greater for Quantitative Reasoning. Faculty considers GRE scores as one indicator of an applicant’s potential success in the doctoral program.
Application Deadlines for the Masters and PhD Programs:
(all incoming freshmen, transfer students, and current UAB students)
Advising and Mentoring
) in the School of Education’s Office of Student Services, Rm 232 in the Education Building. If a student wants more individualized advisement about health education courses or career mentoring, find your health education faculty advisor by the first letter of your last name:
It is helpful to review your entry in entry in the GPS system prior to any advising appointment.
Graduation Planning System (GPS)
The GPS system allows students to view their degree requirements at any time. You can see what has been completed and what remains for completion. There is also a “what if” function that allows you to see what would be needed if you made changes such as changing your major or minor.
1. Initially, students should take time to look over the different graduate programs offered in Health Education as well as the information about applying to the UAB Graduate School.
2. At any time, prospective students can contact the Department of Human Studies, 205.934.2446 or send a message, for questions about any of our programs.
3. If a student wants to take a few hours to see if a particular Health Education program “fits”, they must fill out a non-degree graduate student application form from the UAB Graduate School. A student can take up to 12 hours as non-degree seeking student.
4. Upon admission to the program, contact your Health Education advisor to set up an appointment about needed coursework. View the program checklists on the Office of Student Services website to learn more about specific course requirements.
For the masters program, find your advisor by the first letter of your last name:
For the PhD program, your advisor will be appointed upon admission to the program and based on availability.
Wajih Ahmad, Ph.D.
Retta R Evans, Ph.D.
Bio and Research Interests
Laura Forbes, Ph.D., MCHES
Bio and Research Interests
Cynthia J Petri, Ph.D.
Bio and Research Interests
Larrell Wilkinson, Ph.D., CHES
Bio and Research Interests