M.Ed. in Community Health

What is Community Health?

Health education is a social science that draws from the biological, environmental, psychological, physical, and medical sciences to promote health and prevent disease, disability and premature death through education-driven voluntary behavior change activities.

Community Health Educator Video

What is a Community Health Educator?

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines health educators (SOC 21-1091.00) as those who promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors, collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. Health educators attempt to prevent illnesses by informing and educating individuals and communities about health-related topics, such as proper nutrition, the importance of physical activity, and the habits and behaviors necessary to avoid illness.

Our Program

The mission of the Community Health program is to prepare graduates for leadership in the profession of health education and health promotion and to promote the health of society. Through a curriculum of “hands on” educational and research experiences, students are equipped to address health disparities and the underlying causes of social and health inequities. Students are prepared to pursue a range of careers in a variety of settings including health care, community organizations, government agencies, schools, and college campuses.

The program’s curriculum is 36 hours and consists of a core curriculum including theories of health behavior, leadership in health promotion, and program planning, a research curriculum, related elective courses, and internship/practicum.

Alumni and Student Spotlight

Areas of Responsibility for a Certified Health Education Specialist

Graduates of the program are encouraged to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam which validates competency in Seven Areas of Responsibility, a comprehensive set of Competencies and Sub-competencies defining the role of the health education specialist. Get more information about becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Seven Areas of Responsibility:

  • Area I: Assess Needs, Assets and Capacity for Health Education
  • Area II: Plan Health Education
  • Area III: Implement Health Education
  • Area IV: Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education
  • Area V: Administer and Manage Health Education
  • Area VI: Serve as a Health Education Resource Person
  • Area VII: Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education

Please, May I Do Research?

Yes! Do you have your own research questions you would like to explore? Meet with the faculty! You are strongly encouraged to become involved in research.

Core Curriculum

HSS 675 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Individual Level3
HSS 676 Community Health Promotion and Disease Prevention3
HSS 684 Program Planning in Health Education and Promotion3
HSS 655 Current Trends and Issues in Health and Sport Sciences3
HSS 631 Leadership in Health Promotion3

Research Methods

ELFH 600 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics3
HSS 604 Research Methods in Health and Sport Sciences3


HSS 692 Internship/Practicum6


Courses approved by advisor9

Minimum total credit hours: 36

Exit Requirements: Student must also submit a portfolio of all Hallmark Assessments and internship materials as well as satisfactorily complete an exit exam or thesis.

Exit Recommendations: Students are strongly encouraged to take the Certified Health Education Specialist exam.

For details about this program, visit the Graduate Catalog.

Note: Meeting GRE score and GPA minimums does not guarantee a student will be accepted to the program.

Alumni and Student Spotlights

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit an online application for admission to the University of Louisville School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

The deadlines will be:

  • March 1 for Summer or Fall admission
  • October 1 for Spring admission

The Community Health Admissions Screening Committee requires the following materials before reviewing applications:

  • Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work. Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or higher either overall, or within the last 60 hours (senior college hours).

    Applicants who have attended a college or university outside of the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through either WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

    Please have transcripts sent to:
    School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292

    If transcripts are sent electronically,
    please have them sent to the following e-mail: gradadm @ louisville.edu

  • For GRE scores prior to August 1, 2011, a minimum combined (verbal and quantitative) score of 800 is required for unconditional admission. For GRE scores taken August 1, 2011 or after, a minimum combined (verbal and quantitative) score of 293 is required for unconditional admission. Other professional school entrance exams such as the MCAT and the GMAT may be considered upon permission from the program director. Please note that applicants who exceed the combined verbal and quantitative score of 800 (previous scale) or 293 (new scale) are not guaranteed admission into the program.
    Please note: when submitting GRE scores through ETS, have scores sent to the general University of Louisville code, 1838.
    Need help preparing for the GRE? Sign up for a GRE Information Session.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score for international students from countries where English is not the native language. Students holding a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the U.S. are exempt from the requirement.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Formal Statement of Purpose with cover sheet [PDF]

Faculty may require interviews in addition to written credentials as part of the admission process.

If you have questions about applying to the program, please contact Delsie Essig, Admission Counselor, at 502-852-0953.


Learn more about our program faculty.

Kristi McClary King, PhD, CHES
Associate Professor
Department of Health & Sport Sciences
Room 105G - SAC E
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Office: 502-852-8843
Email: kristi.king @ louisville.edu

Community Health Faculty

Where Will I Work When I Graduate?

In health care settings

Health educators educate patients about medical procedures, operations, services and therapeutic regimens, create activities and incentives to encourage use of services by high risk patients.

In community organizations/government agencies

Health educators do community organizing and outreach, grant writing, coalition building, advocacy, and develop, produce, and evaluate mass media health campaigns.

In schools

Health educators implement Coordinated School Health Programs, including health services, student, staff, and parent health education.

On college campuses

Health educators are part of a team working to create an environment in which students feel empowered to make healthy choices and create a caring community.

In business & industry

Health educators perform or coordinate employee counseling as well as education services, employee health risk appraisals, and health screenings.

Financial Aid

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities. You may also check for other availabilities on campus.