The Health Promotion and Health Equity (HPHE) major was created through a collaborative effort across the departments of Counseling Psychology, Kinesiology, and Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education in the School of Education. The Department of Kinesiology is the home of this major; its mission is to research, teach, and apply knowledge related to movement, exercise, and human occupation with the ultimate goal of enhancing human health, productivity, and quality of life.

The core courses (31 credits) form the main content of the major and include: conceptual and theoretical foundations of health; awareness of multiple determinants of physical and psychological health; program planning, administration, and evaluation; and working effectively with underserved populations (e.g., persons with disability; low-income groups; racial and ethnic minority populations).

The elective curriculum (9 credits) will allow students to tailor the major in the direction of their personal interests (Physical Activity and Public Health; Chronic Illness, Disability and Health; Health Equity, Mental Health and Well-Being; Social Determinants of Health; Health Sciences).

The program is broadly designed to provide students with the skills and perspectives to facilitate healthy practices at the individual and societal levels. Students will learn about the theoretical, programmatic and empirical foundations of health promotion and health equity interventions and be taught to demonstrate competence in evaluating strengths and weaknesses in health promotion programs.

The coursework will prepare students for emerging career opportunities as health educators within community health organizations, hospitals, mental health centers, clinics, schools and universities, businesses and non-profits, governmental health offices, and various other public health-related professions.

How to Get In

Admission Overview

Students interested in Health Promotion and Health Equity may complete this major in two ways: (1) by entering the School of Education to complete a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Health Promotion and Health Equity, or (2) adding the Health Promotion and Health Equity major as an additional major while completing another degree and major on campus. Students selecting the second option should review the Additional Major in Health Promotion and Health Equity section below.

Entering the School of Education

New and Current UW–Madison Students

New freshmen and off-campus transfers interested in completing the Bachelor of Science degree with the Health Promotion and Health Equity major are admitted directly to the School of Education and the major upon admission to UW–Madison. Current UW–Madison students wishing to transfer to the School of Education to complete an undergraduate degree with this major must meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office (608-262-1651) or with the Health Promotion and Health Equity advisor (hphe@education.wisc.edu), to transfer and declare the major.

Prospective Transfer Students

Applicants not already enrolled on the UW–Madison campus must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education degree program. Admission to UW–Madison requires a separate application and admission process. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information. Prospective transfer students are advised to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office in person or by telephone in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Students with a Previous Degree

Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office in advance of their application. Consultations with advisors are available in person or via telephone; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are admitted to the School of Education as a candidate for a second degree upon completion of the admission process. Second degree students are seeking a second degree that is unrelated to their first degree. More information is available here under the Students with a Previous Degree heading.

Application and Admission

New freshmen and off-campus transfers are admitted directly to the Bachelor of Science–Health Promotion and Health Equity degree program. Current UW–Madison students must consult with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office (608-262-1651) or with the Health Promotion and Health Equity advisor (hphe@education.wisc.edu), to transfer and declare the major.

Note: Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next.

Criteria for Admission

Eligibility for admission consideration to the Bachelor of Science–Health Promotion and Health Equity degree:

  • Cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.5 based on UW–Madison campus coursework, as modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule (detailed below).
  • Filing of all required paperwork and other application materials, including program application and transcripts.
Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages may be calculated to determine candidates' eligibility to programs. GPAs will be calculated using

  • all transferable college level coursework attempted, and
  • the last 60 credits attempted.

The higher GPA of these two will be used for purposes of determining eligibility. If fewer than 60 credits have been attempted, all credits will be used to calculate the GPA. Graded graduate coursework will also be used in all GPA calculations. ("Attempted" coursework indicates coursework for which a grade has been earned.) More information on this rule is available here.

Additional Major in Health Promotion and Health Equity

Undergraduate students from all schools and colleges on campus may declare Health Promotion and Health Equity as an additional major.

Students wishing to declare the additional major must meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office (608-262-1651) or with the Health Promotion and Health Equity advisor (hphe@education.wisc.edu), to transfer and declare the major. The declaration must also be approved by the student's home school/college.

Students completing Health Promotion and Health Equity as an additional major do not need to complete the School of Education's liberal studies and other degree requirements unless their primary major is also in the School of Education.

Please note that the requirements of the additional major must be completed before or concurrently with the degree program and primary major.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credits of Liberal Studies coursework. This requirement provides an opportunity to do some academic exploration beyond the scope of the major. Students take courses in areas of particular interest and also have an opportunity to sample the wide selection of courses offered across the university. Coursework is required in humanities, social studies, science, and cultural and historical studies. Some elective coursework is also needed to reach the required number of credits.

The School of Education’s Liberal Studies Requirements automatically satisfy most of the University General Education Requirements outlined above, including ethnic studies, humanities/literature, social studies, and science. Students pursuing most School of Education degree programs may also complete Communication Part B, Quantitative Reasoning Part A, and Quantitative Reasoning Part B through courses required by their degree program. If a student cannot complete a General Education Requirement within the curriculum of their chosen School of Education program, academic advisors can offer suggestions for courses that meet the requirement and augment the student’s primary area of study.

A basic outline of the liberal studies is included below. Students must consult the detailed version of the requirements for information about course selection and approved course options.

Humanities, 9 credits

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities Electives

Social Studies (Social Science)

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits. Teacher certification programs and Kinesiology have unique requirements in this category.


All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Laboratory Science
  • Science Electives

Cultural and Historical Studies

All students must complete three requirements (9 credits) met by separate courses. Any of these courses can also be used to meet the Humanities or Social Studies (Social Sciences) requirements if it has the relevant breadth designation.

  • Ethnic Studies
  • U.S./European History
  • Global Perspectives

Complete Liberal Studies Electives to total 40 Credits.

Program Structure

The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Heath Promotion and Health Equity has three primary components:

  • Liberal studies courses expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines. The university-wide General Education requirements also encourage this breadth of study.
  • Major requirements provide an opportunity to study the interrelated areas of physical health, mental health, and disability.
  • Additional electives to reach the minimum of 120 degree credits. These credits allow students to pursue additional health-related courses, enroll in course work required for admission to graduate-level programs or develop other areas of interest. Health Promotion and Health Equity majors may also use these elective credits to complete an additional major to augment their interest in health or to explore a completely different subject.

Major Requirements

Complete a minimum of 40 credits with a 2.5 gpa across all major course work. At least 15 credits of upper-level major course work (courses numbered 300 and above) must be taken in residence with a minimum 2.5 grade point average.

Required Health Promotion Core, 31 credits

ANAT&PHY 235 Human Physiology and Health4
KINES 150 Foundations of Health Behavior and Health Equity3
KINES 370 Planning, Facilitating & Assessment in Movement and Health Professionals3
KINES 566 Promoting Health in the Community3
RP & SE 316 Health Promotion for Individuals with Disability and Chronic Illness3
RP & SE 325 Self Management of Chronic Illness and Disability3
RP & SE 505 Biological, Psychosocial, and Vocational Aspects of Disabilities3
COUN PSY 237 Mental Health, Self-Awareness, and Social Justice: Working in Diverse Communities3
COUN PSY 531 Prevention and Intervention in Mental Health Across the Lifespan3
COUN PSY 655 Clinical Communication Skills3

Major Electives, 9 Credits

Select courses from one of the following areas of emphasis, or select courses across these areas.

Physical Activity and Public Health
KINES 100 Exercise, Nutrition, and Health2
KINES 123 Living well: Lifestyle Redesign and Health Promotion for College Students2
KINES 250 Sedentary Behavior in the U.S. and Abroad3
KINES 280 Health Coaching Principles and Methods3
KINES 501 Theory-Based Health Education and Health Promotion Programs3
KINES 540 Diversity in Health and Physical Activity Settings3
KINES 547 Skills for Health: Methods and Practicum of Teaching Health3
Chronic Illness, Disability, and Health
RP & SE 100 Disability and Society3
RP & SE 121 Disability and Substance Abuse3
RP & SE 125 Health and Rehabilitation Professions3
RP & SE 310 Positive Psychology and Well Being3
Health Equity, Mental Health, and Well-Being
COUN PSY 225 Intersectionalities, Self ­Awareness, and Social Actions for Social Change3
COUN PSY 230 Race and the Developing Child3
COUN PSY/​CHICLA  331 Immigrant Health and Wellbeing3
COUN PSY 332 Gender and Queer Issues in Psychology3
COUN PSY/​CHICLA  525 Dimensions of Latin@ Mental Health Services3
Social Determinants of Health
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​POP HLTH  553 International Health and Global Society3
NUTR SCI/​A A E/​AGRONOMY  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology4
SOC/​C&E SOC  533 Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities3
INTL ST/​A A E  373 Globalization, Poverty and Development3
CSCS 125 Community and Social Change3
CSCS 460 Civil Society and Community Leadership3
HDFS 469 Family and Community Influences on the Young Child3
HDFS 474 Racial Ethnic Families in the U.S.3
Health Sciences
ANAT&PHY 337 Human Anatomy3
GEN&WS 103 Gender, Women, Bodies, and Health3
NUTR SCI 132 Nutrition Today3
NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs3
POP HLTH/​C&E SOC  370 Introduction to Public Health3
PSYCH 202 Introduction to Psychology3-4

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

These requirements are based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.5 minimum cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • Cumulative major grade point average: 2.5 cumulative grade point average in all major course work.
  • Upper-level major course work: 2.5 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level (courses numbered 300 and above) major course work.
  • Major Residency: Students must complete at least 15 upper level major credits while enrolled in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior Residency. Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus, excluding retroactive credits and credits granted by examination.
  • Total Credits: A minimum of 120 credits are required for graduation in the Health Promotion and Health Equity degree program.

 Degree Audit (DARS)

UW–Madison uses “DARS” to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree, including any additional majors and certificates. A DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report shows all the requirements for completing a degree and, against courses that are planned or completed, shows the requirements that have been met, and those that are unmet. A report can offer suggestions about courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning and enrollment process. Students can access a DARS report in the Course Search & Enroll app or Student Center via My UW.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program, major, or certificate. It is an excellent tool if considering a new or additional area of study. School of Education students in a pre-professional classification such as Pre-Elementary (PRE) or Pre-Kinesiology should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

More information on how to request a DARS report is available on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

DARS is not intended to replace student contact with academic advisors. It creates more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students.

DARS is used as the document of record for degree program, major, and certificate completion in the School of Education.


University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize concepts and theories related to health promotion and health equity.
  2. Relate the role of social factors in facilitating or hindering health.
  3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of health behavior and health equity interventions.
  4. Identify links between physiological and psychological health.
  5. Interpret and communicate the interaction between personal and environmental determinants of health and well-being.
  6. Draw from personal and professional identities to develop socially just practices and to lead effectively within their communities of practice.

Four-Year Plan

Health Promotion and Health Equity: Sample Four-Year Plan

This sample four-year sample graduation plan is designed to guide your course selection throughout your academic career; it does not establish a contractual agreement. Use it along with your DARS report, the Guide, and the Course Search and Enroll app to create a four-year plan reflecting your placement scores, incoming credits, and individual interests. Consult with an academic advisor to develop a personalized plan of study and refer to the Guide for a complete list of requirements. You will likely revise your plan several times during your academic career here, based on your activities and changing academic interests.

Communication A, (take fall or spring semester), 33Communication A, (take fall or spring semester), 33
HPHE Major Elective, 33Quantitative Reasoning A3
Liberal Studies course work9-12COUN PSY 237 (also meets ethnic studies )3
 Liberal Studies course work6-9
 15 15
KINES 1503RP & SE 3163
RP & SE 3253Quantitative Reasoning B3
Liberal Studies course work9Liberal Studies or General Elective course work9
 15 15
RP & SE 5053HPHE Major Elective3
Communication B3Liberal Studies or General Elective course work8
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work 6 
 15 15
COUN PSY 6553HPHE Major Elective3
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work9Liberal Studies or General Elective course work9
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Note: The HP & HE major requires 9 credits of elective course work. A number of the course options, e.g., RP & SE 100, RP & SE 121  RP & SE 125; COUN PSY 225, COUN PSY 230; KINES 100, KINES 123; PSYCH 202; NUTR SCI 132, can be taken during the freshmen and sophomore years.   

Advising and Careers

Health Promotion and Health Equity Advising

Students are collaboratively advised by advising staff in the School of Education Student Services office and the department. Students not yet declared in Health Promotion and Health Equity meet with advising staff in the Student Services office, see below, or the departmental advisor.  Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

Academic Advising in the School of Education

Dedicated to supporting and promoting student success, academic advisors are here to assist students with the adjustment to college, understanding their degree and career goals, and connecting them to resources. Advisors support prospective and current School of Education students in all programs through:

  • Course selection
  • Mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented and international students
  • Understanding degree requirements and progression
  • Interpreting academic policies
  • Helping students recognize their strengths and suggesting ways to expand their skills
  • Expanding learning through activities such as study abroad, volunteering/work/internship, and by assuming leadership roles

To schedule an appointment: Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Appointments can also be made through email at studentservices@education.wisc.edu, by calling 608-262-1651, or in person.

Career Advising in the School of Education

Through individual appointments, events, courses, and online resources, the Career Center provides students and alumni with the tools needed to be successful in their career development.

Career and Internship Advisors are prepared to help students with:

  • Exploration of career and academic pathways
  • Resumes
  • Cover letters
  • Job/Internship search
  • Interview preparation
  • Mock interviews
  • Graduate school search, applications and decisions
  • Negotiating job or internship offers
  • Professional networking
  • Connecting with employers

Students are encouraged to meet with their Career and Internship Advisor early in their college experience to take full advantage of the resources and support available.

To make an appointment: log into Starfish from the MyUW dashboard.

For more information, visit the School of Education Career Center website or reach out at career-center@education.wisc.edu.

Potential careers for HPHE majors include community health and wellness education, health policy analysis, public health advocacy, and direct individual client care supporting physical, mental, and social wellness. Our graduates work in community health organizations, hospitals/clinics, mental health centers, schools and universities, businesses and non-profits, governmental health offices, and various other public health-related professions.

Students develop important skills that employers look for including:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking/analytical skills
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Client-centeredness/empathy
  • Influencing in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion at individual, community, and systemic levels
  • Planning and organizational skills

Applied experiences, including paid internships, career treks, and professional networking events, are available to UW Health Promotion and Health Equity students.


Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the Health Promotion and Health Equity major can be found on the departmental websites of Counseling Psychology, Kinesiology, and Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.

Wisconsin Experience

UW–Madison’s vision for the total student experience, the Wisconsin Experience, combines learning in and out of the classroom. Tied to the Wisconsin Idea and steeped in long-standing institutional values — the commitment to the truth, shared participation in decision-making, and service to local and global communities — the Wisconsin Experience describes how students develop and integrate these core values across their educational experience.

UW–Madison encourages students to mindfully engage in four core concepts throughout their time on campus: Empathy & Humility, Relentless Curiosity, Intellectual Confidence, and Purposeful Action.

Since its inception, the School of Education has embraced the concepts of the Wisconsin Experience, providing opportunities for students to learn in venues beyond the traditional classroom. Our students also independently seek out related activities and experiences, thus creating their own unique Wisconsin Experience.

Health Promotion and Health Equity (HPHE) and the Wisconsin Experience 

Community-Based Activities

HPHE students have an opportunity to become involved in the Fit Families program, developed by Dr. Luis Columna. Fit Families is a physical activity program that brings together children with disabilities, their parents, college students, and in-service professionals in related fields such as adapted physical education, special education, orientation & mobility, psychology, physical education, and exercise science.

Students also participate in programs run through the Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), such as the Community Health Internship Program

HPHE majors have crafted their Wisconsin Experience in some of the following ways:

  • A student majoring in HPHE is the event coordinator of a new student organization, the HPHE Learning Community. This individual is also part of a research team that codes conversations about the health and well-being of Latino children and is a teaching assistant for the Waisman Early Childhood Program.
  • An HPHE student developed a passionate interest in social justice-based public health after interning at Milwaukee’s Gerald Ignace Indian Health Center and the Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation. They are currently working with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health as an enteric disease research analyst and beginning research on Asian American health under Dr. Dorothy Edwards and the NIH’s All of Us program. This semester they will continue participating on the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month Planning Committee, the Kinesiology department's Equity Climate, and Diversity Committee, and has joined the HPHE Learning Community’s Spring, 2023 cohort.
  • Another one of our students is combining HPHE with the Gender and Women's Studies Certificate. This student has spent time as a research and communications intern of the Social Media Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) and presented at two national conferences. They also assumed the role of a fellow in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program of the College of Letters & Science, facilitating conversations among undergraduate students in a weekly seminar. Previously, they worked as an intern lead for the Technology and Mental Wellness Program Youth Advisory Board, and internationally as a volunteer at the Galway Autism Partnership (GAP) in Galway, Ireland.
  • An HPHE student with certificates in environmental studies, French, and global health is part of a team working on developing an evidence-based physical activity program for adolescents. Last summer was spent teaching in a low-income neighborhood. 
  • While also completing the Certificate in Disability Rights and Services, this student serves as the co-president of the HPHE Learning Community and helped to found the organization. They work as a social media and marketing assistant for two UW-affiliated organizations and as a peer advisor with the Cross College Advising Service. 
  • A student majoring in HPHE and working toward certificates in environmental studies and global health is the treasurer of the HPHE Learning Community student organization and has been elected to serve in a financial position for the Slow Food Club on campus.


The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) offers a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. The HPHE program coordinators are currently working with NCHEC to insure that students completing the HPHE major requirements are qualified to take the CHES exam. Students in the HPHE program will be informed when this assurance has been received from NCHEC.

Resources and Scholarships

Information about scholarships, academic and career advising, study abroad opportunities, student diversity services, and other resources for students in the School of Education can be found on the school's Resources page.