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Explore our MS in Health Education and Promotion Health Policy and Advocacy specialization

Explore the role that health education and promotion plays in the development and implementation of health policies and programs that improve health across all populations. The Health Policy and Advocacy specialization is designed to prepare you to advocate, influence, and implement public policies, programs, and systems that facilitate healthy behaviors and are conducive to people’s health. Study critical issues in health policy and advocacy including diversity and human rights, ethics and social justice, American policies and politics, health legislation, and leadership development.

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Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 60 quarter credits
    • Foundation courses (5 cr.)
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Capstone course (5 cr.)  

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.


Course Code Title Credits

The program’s courses are delivered in a prescribed sequence.

HLTH 6005

Perspectives on Health and the Developing Professional

Students in this course cover the origins and evolution of the concept of health, including some of the important health problems that face the world today and emerging concerns for the future. In this foundational course, stuents are introduced to key events in history as well as some of the health systems and issues that a modern health practitioner may encounter. Strategies for success as graduate-level scholars and health practitioners are integrated in a way that provides meaningful context to learners. Students discuss key concepts with peers, and the course culminates with a reflection paper designed to help learners evaluate their professional goals and how to progress as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Students explore careers in various public health and health education settings and experience a virtual health department to learn about various functions and personnel.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6110

Exploring Health Education in the 21st Century

What does it mean to be a health educator in the 21st century? Students in this foundation course explore the field of health education: historical milestones, current issues, and future opportunities and challenges. They examine settings for practice, professional competencies, interprofessional collaborations, credentialing, professional organizations, use of technology, and ethical issues pertaining to health education. Students analyze current issues in the field by reviewing scholarly publications and research pertaining to health education practice. Course assignments include an introduction to commonly used health education theories and models, and students have the opportunity to develop a philosophy statement for health education practice in the new millennium.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6038

Health Behavior Theory

Students in this course are introduced to concepts necessary for promoting positive health-behavior change by examining the most commonly used theories and models in public health and health education and promotion. Coursework focuses on the identification and application of theories and models for promoting and designing effective health behavior programs and interventions. Students explore individual, interpersonal, and community theories and modules to determine the most appropriate application. 

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6205

Assessing Community Needs for Health Education

It is important for health educators and other health professionals to understand the unique characteristics and health needs of a community in order to provide effective and relevant health education and services. Students in this course are introduced to the principles and processes of needs assessment and community capacity-building as a first step in the program planning process. Students learn about individual, small-group, and community-based assessments as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches.  Students directly apply what they are reading and discussing in class to their own communities by conducting a assessment unique to their community. Other topics covered include use of primary and secondary data; selection and development of instrumentation to collect community data; interpretation and analysis of data; and prioritization of  health education needs. Community mapping tools and other technology used in the assessment process are also explored.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6475

Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation

The focus of this course is on the competencies required of the public health professional in planning for the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of community health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Attention is given to needs assessment, logic models, and collaboration with stakeholders. Strategic approaches to planning, implementation, and evaluation with particular attention to study design and sampling are addressed. Health behavior theories are considered in the development of health promotion programs, the application of evaluation findings, and prioritization of community concerns and resources.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6412

Health Education and Communication Strategies

Effective communication plays a vital role in the diffusion of a health behavior or innovation. This course is designed to introduce the health educator to a wide range of health communication strategies. Assignments allow students to apply and evaluate the use of health education delivery methods for various populations and practice settings (i.e., community, clinical, worksite, global, schools). Principles and theories of health communication and behavior change are applied to a variety of health education case studies. Students also demonstrate how to design and communicate culturally tailored health information to an audience of their choice. They explore the use of emerging technologies and social media in delivering and promoting health education.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6245

Applied Research in Public Health

Public health professionals use the results of research in many ways, including in the development of programs and interventions designed to enhance the health of communities as well as to demonstrate the efficacy of programs to stakeholders who provide funding. In this course, students will engage in an examination of the research that informs public health programs, policy, and practice.  Specific topics to be covered include study designs, sampling, identification of variables, methods of data collection and analysis, key concepts in measurement (including reliability and validity), program evaluation, and research ethics. As a major assignment in this course, students will engage in an integrative literature review and begin to develop what may become their capstone project.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6031

Public Health Administration and Leadership

Students in this course acquire the foundational understanding of the administrative, managerial, and organizational practices of public health and healthcare delivery systems. Students examine theories of leadership as well as the professional attributes, skills, styles, and strategies required to advance public health goals. They engage in a variety of contextual and practical assignments focused on management theories, policy processes, systems thinking, strategic planning and partnerships, quality and performance improvement, leadership, and organizational behavior. Students also consider the impact of global trends on public health practice, policy, and systems.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6800

Health Education and Promotion Capstone

The capstone course is intended to be taken last in the MS in Health Education and Promotion program. Students have an opportunity to synthesize knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program by completing a capstone project focused on social change. The MS in Health Education and Promotion Capstone project is designed to empower students with the skills necessary to secure external grant funding through grant proposal writing. Students will integrate theoretical and practical knowledge as well as scientific research to prepare a grant proposal for funding a health education program that addresses a pressing health need in their community.  Emphasis is placed on grant sources and resources, the grant proposal process, grant management, and sustainability.

(5 cr.)


HLTH 6051

Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice

Students in this foundational course broadly address race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status and class, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability and disability, and environment in an effort to better understand social identity. Throughout this course, students benefit from course assignments, discussions, and course materials that address the role of power and privilege and oppression and marginalization on the development of clients. Students specifically focus on activities that help them recognize systems that support or foster power inequities, oppression, and underutilization of human talent and skills. In addition, students engage in self-awareness activities that foster their understanding of their role in the hierarchy of power and privilege. At the completion of this course, students understand the importance of social workers developing competence in providing evidence-based, contextually and culturally relevant assessments and interventions for individuals, families, groups, and communities.  

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6405

Ethics and Social Justice

Ethics is a foundational element of leadership. Leaders face increasingly complex social and political challenges as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. Students in this course explore ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Students use demographic data, current social trends, and themes to understand, analyze, and address ethical and social justice issues that impact service delivery in a global community.  

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6111

Leadership and Organizational Change

Successful public sector organizations require high-caliber leaders who are accountable to multiple constituencies. A rapidly accelerating rate of change and blurring of organizational boundaries contribute to the need for leaders who are equipped to meet the challenge. In this course, students explore the theoretical underpinnings of leadership and the important role of the leader in organizational change. By exploring leadership theory, current research, and practice within an area of public administration or nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations, students will demonstrate their understanding leadership in organizations that are increasingly complex in nature. Ethical dimensions, boundary-spanning functions, and how leaders influence positive social change are key factors of this course. Students in this course draw on historical and current events and their personal experiences to examine the demands of leadership.  

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6112

Governance and Public Policy

Democratic principles are the foundation of modern life. Students in the course receive an overview of democratic governance in public administration, public policy, or nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations in modern society. Students examine the theoretical underpinnings of democratic governance and public policy in their chosen area of specialization necessary for doctoral-level research. Students review fundamental theories of governance, research current literature on a specialized topic, and apply best practices within the area of specialization. The emphasis is on the context in which public and nonprofit leaders function and the social institutions that influence public policy and guide administrative decision making.  

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6280

Policy and Politics in American Political Institutions

Students in this course are introduced to the crafts of policymaking and policy analysis in the U.S. democratic system. Students examine the tasks involved in the policy process, including setting agendas, using policy analysis tools, managing the political process, implementing policy, and providing evaluations and feedback. Through this analysis, students work toward developing skills to conduct policy and economic analyses as well as to determine the political feasibility of proposed policies. They learn about regulation as a policy choice. They also work toward enhancing their ability to develop alternatives and to assess strategies proposed to achieve certain policy objectives. Students engage in scholarly-writing assignments and discussions on policy areas of interest, such as communications, immigration, transportation, housing, labor, arts, and environmental policies.   

(5 cr.)
HLTH 6840

Health Policy and Management

Students in this course examine the factors that influence and improve health outcomes of individuals and populations, with attention to the goals of Healthy People 2010 and the main components and issues of organization, financing, and delivery of health services and public health systems in the United States. Topics include management theories and processes, systems thinking, strategic planning and partnerships, quality and performance improvement, leadership, and organizational behavior. The policy process is addressed, as well as the advocacy role of the public health professional in influencing local, state, and federal policy. The impact of global trends on public health practice, policy, and systems is also considered.  

(5 cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 60 quarter credit hours $470 per quarter hour $27,600
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $1,120


*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 25 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.


Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

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Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

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Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.



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