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Fully Online Program

This 100% online master's degree program prepares students for advanced employment opportunities in public, volunteer, and private health agencies, clinics, schools, and worksites. Graduate students build on their existing skills in program planning, implementation, and evaluation while learning advanced research protocols.

  • Admissions Requirements

    This master's degree program admits students based on the UAB Graduate School's application deadlines.

    Prospective students must complete the online application and also submit the application fee. They must send one official transcript to the UAB Graduate School:

    UAB Graduate School
    LHL G03
    1720 2nd Avenue South
    Birmingham, AL 35294-0013

    Transcripts should be mailed directly from the issuing institution(s) and reflect all completed coursework. The MAT/GRE test is not a requirement for admission and has been waived. We require three (3) letters of recommendation and prefer them to be submitted through the online application, though we will accept hard copies mailed to the School of Education at the address provided above. We also require all applicants to submit responses to professional questions in which they describe their academic training, professional experience, and career goals as they relate to community health education. International applicants must request that their official TOEFL test score or official IELTS test score be sent to the UAB Graduate School, and they themselves should mail to the Graduate School a Financial Affidavit of Support.

    Please note: College graduates may take a few courses (up to 12 credit hours) in the community health master’s degree program to determine if our program is the right one for them. Prospective students must fill out a non-degree seeking graduate student application form obtainable from the UAB Graduate School. If such students are later admitted to the CHHS master’s degree program, they may apply their earned credits towards the total number required for completion of the MAEd.

  • Career Opportunities

    In elementary, middle, and high schools, health educators teach health as a subject, promote and implement Coordinated School Health programs, foster related school-community partnerships, and encourage a healthy school environment.

    In colleges and universities, health educators work to create caring communities and environments in which students feel empowered to make healthy choices, identifying needs and developing programs to address those needs, teaching courses, developing mass media campaigns, and training peer educators, counselors, and advocates.

    In corporations, health educators coordinate employee education services, employee health risk appraisals, and health screenings. They design, promote, lead, and evaluate programs to address weight control, hypertension, nutrition, substance abuse prevention, physical fitness, stress management, and smoking cessation. And they write grants and develop educational materials in support of such projects.

    In clinical settings, health educators teach patients about medical procedures, services, and therapeutic regimens; create activities and incentives to encourage patient compliance; train staff; consult with other health care providers about behavioral, cultural and social barriers to health; and address ways to maintain health and reduce risky behaviors.

    In community organizations and government agencies, health educators identify needs and mobilize resources to improve health. They organize community and outreach efforts, write grants, build coalitions, advocate on behalf of their constituency, and develop, produce, and evaluate mass media health campaigns.

  • Comprehensive Exam for Non-Thesis Option

    Comprehensive exams are the culminating event for our students in the masters program. The process requires the application of the core components of health education including needs assessment, planning, implementing, application of health behavior theory, and evaluation of a health education intervention. Comps are required for those students who are on the non-thesis track.


    1. Register for comps by the fourth week of the term you plan to take comps. Students should sign up during the last semester of coursework. 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. Successful completion is defined as earning a “C” or above in each of these classes.
    2. Comprehensive exams include a written paper, development of a PowerPoint and an oral presentation. These products will be developed by the student using the information contained in a case study, which has been developed by health education faculty. Upon registration, students will receive the dates for the comps as well as a study guide; students should also sign up for a time slot for the oral presentation (contact Loretta Jackson).
    3. There are TWO important dates for the comprehensive exams – release date and due date of the case study.
      The case study will be sent via email to the student from Dr. Forbes by 12:00 noon on the release date. Students
      should open their case study and begin working. Students have approximately 2 weeks from the release date to complete and turn in the paper and PowerPoint. Students may choose to submit early but MUST submit a completed paper and PowerPoint to Dr. Forbes by the due date, 12 noon. NO EXCEPTIONS ARE ALLOWED; a student will fail comps if they do not submit the paper and Power Point on or before the advertised due date. (If you have not already done so, sign up for a presentation time slot– see #4).
    4. Students should provide a 25-30 minute oral presentation (with Power Point) summarizing their responses to the case study (time slots will be divided into 45 minutes). Students should bring three copies of their PowerPoint slides for faculty. Presenters should be well prepared, professional, thorough but concise and considerate of time. Questions from faculty should be expected. The student should finish in time for the next scheduled presentation. (To sign up for a time slot for the oral presentation, contact Loretta Jackson.)
    5. Faculty will grade both the paper and presentation within two weeks. The student will receive notification stating their pass/fail status via email from Dr. Forbes. IF a student fails, it is the responsibility of the student to immediately contact Dr. Forbes for remediation instructions.

    Important Reminders:

    • Registration and Preparing - Register for comps no later than the fourth week of the term. Use the study guide handout to begin studying immediately! Use old notes, textbooks, professional websites and other pertinent material for review.
    • Oral Presentation – Sign up for a time slot for your oral presentation through Loretta Jackson.
    • Deadlines - Submit your completed paper and PowerPoint to Dr. Forbes ON OR BEFORE the due date!
    • Evaluation – Rubrics will be used to evaluate the paper and oral presentation (refer to study guide). A passing grade for the oral presentation is 20/25. A passing grade for the paper is 40/50. IF a student fails one or both parts of the examination, they will have the opportunity to remediate the following term. Any student who fails the exams (one or both sections) a second time will be dismissed from the program.

Course and Degree Requirements

Required courses include Foundations of Health Education, Planning and Implementing Effective Health Education Programs, and Statistical Methods and Research among others. Coursework is aligned with the responsibilities and competencies of advanced-level health educators as developed by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and will prepare students to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exams. For more information on the benefits of CHES and the National Commission for Health Education, visit the NCHEC website.

Graduate students choose either to write a thesis or to complete an internship and sit for comprehensive exams. The thesis option requires a student to complete a research project under the guidance of one of the community health faculty members. Students who choose this option are strongly advised to meet early in their course of study with the appropriate faculty member in order to discuss their research interests and plan the steps necessary to complete successfully their projects. The non-thesis option requires a student to complete an internship and also take a comprehensive examination (see above). Both of these requirements are to be fulfilled during the student's last semester. For more information about internship placements, please contact Internship Coordinator Amy Carr.

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