Online Master of
Science in Health

Online Master of Science in Health Promotion Management

What are the program
start dates?

Spring 2024

January 8

Summer 2024

May 6

Fall 2024

Late August

At a Glance

Lead Communities and Organizations Toward Health and Wellness

American University has a successful 40+ year history in training health and wellness leaders. The online MS in Health Promotion Management at American University is an extension of the on-campus award-winning program — the first in the U.S. to include business and management principles alongside the science of health and wellness. The innovative curriculum helps you develop the knowledge to identify what wellness changes are needed, and the leadership skills to implement them in an effective way.

You’ll graduate with the skills of a changemaker. Ready to empower people and organizations, you’ll help lead the fight against chronic conditions and the leading causes of death including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and even a global pandemic.

Program Objective

Promote Health. Spark Positive Change.

The online MS in Health Promotion Management will teach you how to address health inequities and inefficiencies and create preventive health solutions. You’ll learn how to act as a health advocate, changing the lives of others as you promote physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and vocational health. By the end of the program, you’re ready for a leadership position that oversees the creation of health and wellness programs. Graduates can:


Use Research for Practice

Conduct, analyze, and translate health science research for health promotion practice and management.


Create & Communicate a Plan

Formulate and demonstrate effective, culturally competent health communication strategies across various mediums, channels, and organizations.


Identify Areas of Improvement

Apply analytical, creative, and intuitive thinking styles to identify problems, explore opportunities, and evaluate existing paradigms for organizational advantage.


Successfully Implement Change

Apply best practices in health promotion management to assess needs, make plans, organize projects, align resources, build partnerships, monitor outcomes, and provide leadership.

Program Rankings

Since 1980, this innovative program has created leaders in the health promotion industry. A winner of the Distinguished Academic Program Award (DAPA) from the National Wellness Institute, its unique curriculum meets the eligibility requirements for Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) certification. It also expertly prepares you to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) exam — 100% of our graduates who’ve taken the exam in the last five years have passed.

Being a small program, you have the flexibility to choose independent studies and build close connections with students and alumni and be mentored by the same faculty that helped the program win the DAPA award.

A Top-Ranked Online MS

AU was recognized by Princeton Review, Best Colleges 2023, with the title of College Gets High Marks and ranked the following:

Admission to American University’s online Master of Science in Health Promotion Management requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.

Applicants will need to submit:

*The application fee is typically waived if the application file is complete within a three week period.

Online Merit Scholarships

$10,000 — No Separate Application Required

Prospective students who have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above (on a 4.0 scale) in their undergraduate program can qualify for the Online Merit Scholarship in award amounts up to $10,000. As part of your application process, your academic history will be reviewed to see if the scholarship can be applied; there is no separate application to fill out.

You will be notified of the scholarship status when you’re admitted to the program, or shortly thereafter.

To receive the scholarship, which is applied equally to the fifth and sixth courses of the program, you must remain in good academic standing.

You can impact wellness within any community or organization. The curriculum in the online Master of Science in Health Promotion Management teaches you how to lead others toward permanent changes that result in a healthier lifestyle based on the latest trends, research, and health promotion initiatives.

This 30-credit-hour program consists of 10 courses and can be completed in as few as 20 months.

This course provides a science-based foundation for the relationship between modifiable risk factors for non-communicable and select communicable diseases and lifestyle behaviors. Students gain an understanding of why and how lifestyle behaviors are associated with the etiology of most leading causes of death in the United States.

This course will focus on developing leaders in health promotion management as leaders drive innovation and change within organizations. In this course, you will explore how the dimensions of health and wellbeing, along with the importance of awareness of self, others, and the environment, can provide the foundation for becoming a successful leader.

This course addresses three distinct forms of delivering health promotion messages to the individual consumer, small groups, and large populations of people. A social-ecological perspective will be used as a framework to address communication at individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy levels.
In this course, students will:
  • Apply foundational knowledge about effective health communication skills from the micro- to the macro-level.
  • Design effective health communication materials for diverse audiences.
  • Work collaboratively with a team to create an authentic and compelling social marketing campaign.
  • Test documents for readability to improve health literacy and apply results to the creation of health communication materials.
  • Advocate for a piece of legislation with a local, state, or US official.

“In this course, students learn best practices and evidence-based strategies for designing, delivering and evaluating messages in the field of health promotion. We discover how we can more effectively and strategically promote health at the individual, organization, community and societal levels. And most of all, we learn how difficult and complex that process can actually be.” – American University Faculty Member

Topics covered include:
  • Health behavior theories such as:
    • The health belief model (HBM)
    • Social cognitive theory (SCT)
    • The transtheoretical model (TTM)
    • The diffusions of innovations model (DIM)
  • Social marketing
  • Program evaluation, advocacy, and effective presentation skills

By the end of the course you can:
  • Describe the social-ecological model and its influence on health communication.
  • Describe the characteristics of an effective social marketing campaign.
  • Explain the concepts that define four theories of behavior change and describe how theory is used to influence health communication messaging.
  • Explain the factors that influence health literacy.
  • Explain the relationship between health policy and health communication.

Behavior Change in Health Promotion provides students with an overview of the theory and application needed for assisting individuals and groups to change lifestyle behaviors related to health promotion. It includes cognitive behavior techniques to change lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, obesity, stress or diet for the reduction of chronic disease risk. Students deepen their understanding of select theories and practices necessary for effective health behavior change. This course was developed by Dr. Liz Cotter, whose work focuses on the evaluation of culturally tailored health promotion interventions and whose research has been published in journals such as Eating Behaviors.

Course objectives:
  • Identify health concerns relevant to nutrition and eating behaviors, distinguish between health enhancing and health compromising behaviors and recommend the correct action(s) needed for treatment.
  • Construct a comprehensive plan for intervention/prevention programming focused on behavior change both for themselves and for a group of their choosing.
  • Recognize the nature of the stress response in the etiology and course of many health problems and recommend strategies to reduce stress.
  • Demonstrate the ability to track and monitor a behavior of your choice, as well as reflect thoughtfully upon your experience engaging in a behavior change and create a plan for sustainable lifelong change.

What I believe sets health coaching apart from more traditional methods of providing guidance or education is that health coaching encourages the individual to explore and eventually resolve their own ambivalence to change.” – Dr. Liz Cotter

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to health behavior change and health psychology
  • The link between stress and health
  • Health-enhancing and health-compromising behaviors
  • Cognitive-behavioral approaches to health interventions
  • Chronic disease management and prevention
  • Dynamics of patient/provider communication and interaction
  • In-depth practice of health coaching skills

Introduces students to advanced principles in program planning for health promotion activities. Emphasis on the use of theories for the identification of health and lifestyle risk factors, including the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs to effectively reduce the risk factors associated with chronic disease.

This course provides an overview of the healthcare system in the United States and the emerging role of health promotion in enhancing health. Includes the different types of health promotion activities offered, clinical and theoretical foundations for initiating health promotion activities, and trends of health promotion strategies in managed care organizations. Students develop working models for the integration of health promotion programs into the existing system.

This course introduces the terminology, critical issues and current debates in the field of evaluation. Students assess their evaluation competencies and reflect on their evaluator identity. They gain the skills necessary to design monitoring and evaluation plans that reflect varying contexts, settings, and resources. Students also learn how to conduct a needs assessment, develop a program theory of change and develop a Logic Model. Sample assignments and projects include:
  • Analyze the needs and program theory of change for an initiative as described in an evaluation report.
  • Logic model narrative summary
  • Addressing causal mechanisms.
  • Identifying a performance evaluation approach
  • Identifying an Impact Evaluation Approach
  • Statement of Work (SOW) development
Course Outcomes Upon completing this course, you should be able to:
  • Discuss the importance of program theory of change.
  • Discuss how and why needs assessments are conducted.
  • Explain how a program theory of change is encapsulated into a logical framework.
  • Explain how qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches provide different types of data, show causal mechanisms, and provide different viewpoints on program objectives.
  • Discuss a logic model’s significance as it relates to the monitoring and evaluation of projects.
  • Identify different types of performance evaluation.
  • Describe what kind of data are needed for different sorts of impact evaluation.
  • Identify the components in an Evaluation Statement of Work.

An in-depth review of validity, reliability, and objectivity as they relate to measurement techniques in health promotion programs. The primary focus is on the use and analysis of assessment instruments used to determine health risks and an understanding of epidemiological and evaluation concepts in health and fitness.

This course provides students with strategic knowledge about different models and approaches used to implement health promotion programs in workplace settings. Students conduct case studies of organizations’ worksite health promotion programs, conduct an evaluation of program outcomes, and make informed recommendations to advance each program.

Organizations are constantly changing in response to a wide array of internal and external system dynamics, often unintentionally but sometimes in a planned, methodical way. This course focuses on the latter, where organizational leaders work collaboratively to make good decisions about what to change and how to manage those changes, given competing priorities and limited resources. Picking up where front-end analysis leaves off, you will work with colleagues to prioritize a strategic need, define a solution, craft a compelling vision, and communicate a persuasive business case for that change. Then, you will analyze stakeholders, identify change levers and resistance, develop change metrics and strategies, and strategize your communication, engagement, learning, and sustainment activities. This course will help you become a more influential leader and catalyst for positive change within any organization.

You can review all official course descriptions from the American University Catalog.

To learn more about the curriculum for American University’s online Master of Science in Health Promotion Management, call 855-725-7614 to speak with an admissions adviser or request more information.

Lead a Rapidly Growing Field

With healthcare costs rising alongside increased efforts to fight cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, health promotion experts are in demand. From policymaking in the public arena to private corporations and healthcare systems, professionals who have the skills to advance health while managing teams and coordinating day-to-day operations are being hired quickly for a variety of health promotion roles.

Health educators and community health workers, for example, are expected to see a 17% increase in job opportunities from 2020 to 2030 — more than double the national average job-growth rate.1 Health education specialists who work in hospitals can expect a median salary of $76,450, while the highest 10% earned $102,480 in 2021.1

With your MS in Health Promotion Management from American University, you’re well prepared to apply your skills to a variety of roles and more senior positions such as:

Alumni Employers

As passionate change-makers, our alumni are responsible for measurable differences in the health and lives of their community members. You can find some of them working at these outstanding organizations:

Learning Online

American University welcomes its online students as a part of its community. As an online student, you’ll learn from the same outstanding faculty and be held to the same learning standards as students who attend courses on campus. On-campus and online programs deliver the same outcomes, and important support systems, like career resources, are set up for online learners as well. The only difference is you’re allowed to learn when and where it’s best for you so you can earn your degree and advance your career without putting the rest of your career and life on hold.

We Bring AU to You

Our digital campus was intentionally designed based on extensive research behind what makes online learning successful. We combine advanced technology, hands-on experiences, and full access to the American University community. Here, you’re not an online student, you’re an AU student.

Rigorous Courses

Online courses are as challenging as their on-campus counterparts and taught by the same connected faculty members, influential guest speakers and prominent lecturers.

100% Support

New-student orientation, 24×7 help desk for technical issues, a student services coordinator, financial aid advisers and more are all available to ensure your success.

Expert Faculty

Home to some of the most acclaimed scholars and thought leaders in the world, you’ll learn from award-winning scholars and policymakers, diplomats, authors, artists, attorneys, scientists, journalists and more.

Collaborative Learning

Use virtual tools to talk about your coursework, work in teams with classmates, build strong connections, network with others and ask your instructor questions and turn in assignments.

Military Education Benefits

American University is dedicated to supporting military service members, veterans, and their families.

As an online MS in Health Promotion Management student, you can transform your military experience and leadership skills into new career possibilities as you earn your degree regardless of where you live or are stationed.

We support a full range of military education benefits such as:

Additionally, if you’ve served in any branch of the U.S. military on active duty within the past three years, you’re eligible to waive the application fee. We accept transfer credits from military coursework, have a dedicated Office of Veterans Services to help connect you to benefits, and maintain an active Veterans Services Support Network.

We welcome you to learn more about our military benefits and how to apply for them.

Take Your First Step Today

Become an American University student. A passion for public service, an emphasis on active leadership, and a global outlook are the hallmarks of the American University learning experience. We create graduates who stand out from their peers as active, socially aware, and compassionate leaders who work toward creating meaningful change in our world.

Join Us.

To learn more about American University’s Master of Science in Health Promotion Management, request more information, request an appointment, or call us toll-free at 855-725-7614.

Program FAQs

Health promotion is an emerging discipline that empowers people and organizations to choose behaviors and adopt lifestyle choices that support healthy decisions that reduce chronic conditions and healthcare costs.

As a graduate of the program, you’ll be well prepared to take on leadership and management roles in a variety of settings. Our graduates work as community health specialists, individual health coaches, wellness program managers, and more for small and large organizations.

Target employers include corporations, hospitals, state departments of health, schools, and health plans.

Health promotion is about empowering people to choose positive behaviors. It’s focused on lifestyle choices at the individual, community, and society level, as well as policies that support people making healthier lifestyle choices. Public health is more population-based and looks to apply policy to health solutions such as enacting vaccine requirements or seatbelt laws.

You will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a satisfactory grade point average — a 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate work is recommended.

Applicants will need to submit:

Applicants will also complete a phone interview with a Department Lead.

All applicants are considered for the Online Merit Scholarship of $10,000 during the application review — no separate application is required.

*The application fee is typically waived if the application file is complete within a three week period.

The program can be completed in as few as 20 months.

No, but a 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate work is recommended. For more submission requirements, contact an advisor.

A TOEFL score of 600 (or 100 on the internet-based test), a minimum score of 68 on the Pearson Test of English, or a minimum IELTS score of seven (7) is required. Additionally, applicants with international transcripts must have them evaluated course by course. For a list of acceptable evaluators, go to

Applicants will complete a phone interview with the Program Director a and will need to submit:

Our application deadline varies based on the term you are applying for. Please note that the earlier you submit your application, the sooner you’ll know whether you’ve been awarded the Online Merit Scholarship. Please contact our online admissions advisors for a specific timeline as to when your application file needs to be fully submitted.

Yes, graduate students enrolled at least half-time in a master’s program may be eligible for federal loans. To apply, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). American University’s FAFSA code is 001434.

Yes, online students can easily request a Student ID online to take advantage of all the same resources as our on-campus students.

Yes. When you complete the program you qualify to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) exam and can pursue the Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) credential from the National Wellness Institute.

Program Resources | Industry Updates


Home to some of the most acclaimed scholars and thought leaders in the world.


Home to some of the most acclaimed scholars and thought leaders in the world.


Home to some of the most acclaimed scholars and thought leaders in the world.


Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Health Educators and Community Health Workers. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from