Health Promotion and Health Equity | Springfield College

Health Promotion and Health Equity

Master of Education
About This Program
Admissions Contact

Rachel Ahlmeyer
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions & Events
(413) 748-3383 
Make an appointment 

Are you an International Student?
Please contact 
Make an appointment

Program Contacts

Shannon Gifford, EdD
Program Director/Professor
Department of Physical Education and Health Education
(413) 748-3268

Olya Clark, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Physical Education and Health Education
(413) 748-3399

Curriculum and Delivery
  • 30-credit program
  • 100% asynchronous, fully online format - make the most of an online learning format that allows you to complete coursework anytime, anywhere
  • Courses delivered via the Springfield College Brightspace (D2L) interface
  • All asynchronous courses will include synchronous office hours and student access to one-on-one meetings as needed
  • Courses are designed for working professionals and offer real-world application
  • Students are encouraged to think critically about real-life issues and apply what they have learned to solve problems in their professions and communities
  • Our curriculum weaves social justice and health equity topics into every course and every aspect of the program
  • Benefit from state-of-the-art teaching methods and health promotion strategies that will prepare you for the realities facing underserved populations and give you the tools to advance health equity
  • Program curriculum
  • Learning outcomes
Start Dates and Duration
  • Start in September (fall semester), January (spring semester), or May (summer semester)
  • Courses are offered full or part time
  • Complete the program in 1 year (3 semesters) or learn at your own pace
Paying for Your Education
Career Opportunities
  • Advance your career by gaining knowledge of social determinants of health and skills in developing practice and policies that advance health equity, social justice and human rights
Looking for our Certificates?
Upcoming Events

Tips and Pointers for Applying to Graduate School
Wednesday, July 24 at 6 p.m.

Health Promotion and Health Equity Virtual Info Session
Wednesday, August 14 at 7 p.m.

Resources for Military & Veteran Students Information Session
Tuesday, September 17 at 1 p.m.

Health Promotion and Health Equity Virtual Info Session
Friday, September 27 at noon

Health Promotion and Health Equity Virtual Info Session
Tuesday, October 22 at 7 p.m.

Health Promotion and Health Equity Virtual Info Session
Thursday, November 21 at 2 p.m.

Health promotion educator in class

The Master of Education (MEd) in Health Promotion and Health Equity at Springfield College is guided by the core principle that health is a human right, not a privilege. The COVID pandemic and the national re-engagement on issues of social justice and racial inequity have highlighted the need for the United States to tackle health equity and health disparities. 

This program provides academic training for individuals who wish to gain a new understanding of health promotion and health education through the lens of health equity and social justice. It is specifically designed for individuals employed or planning to seek employment as health professionals in academic, clinical, community, corporate and government settings.  

There are two tracks students can take in the program:

  • The Health Education and Behavior Change track enables health and physical education teachers with an initial license to earn their professional license. The courses in this track focus on skills and perspectives that facilitate healthy practices at individual and societal levels. In addition students will take coursework in social and emotional learning, leadership, and health advocacy.  
  • The Health Equity and Social Justice track is designed for community and public health educators to develop advanced knowledge and skills they can apply to their fields. Within this track students identify structural causes of health disparities and advocate for health equity. Students take courses in social justice, ethics, and structural drivers of health disparity and inequities. The curriculum in this track is aligned with the Responsibilities and Competencies outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). Students who complete this track are prepared for and may apply to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credentialing exam, or the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) credentialing exam. CHES and MCHES certification indicate professional competency in the discipline as well as dedication to professional development, and is the gold standard for certification in the field of health education. 

How to Apply:

Admissions Requirements

  1. Complete the FREE online application: Once your application form is processed you will receive an email with your application portal login credentials and instructions for submitting supplemental materials as listed below.
  2. Essay: In two to three double-spaced pages, please describe significant life experiences that have contributed to your interest in your field, your understanding of this field, your occupational objectives, and why you have chosen Springfield College. 
  3. Resume: Please include any college activities, out-of-school leadership experiences, work history, and community involvement to support your interest in or qualifications for graduate study. 
  4. Two letters of recommendation: Two letters of recommendation from a faculty member or direct supervisor: Recommenders will receive an email when you submit your application and will be able to upload your letter to your application.
  5. Transcripts: An official transcript from each college/university you have attended is required. In order to be considered official, transcripts must be received directly from the original source, by email to or mailed to the college address: 

Springfield College
Office of Graduate Admissions
263 Alden Street
Springfield, MA 01109

International Applicants

In addition to the above admissions requirements, all international applicants from non-English speaking countries are required to submit:

  • Proof of English language proficiency by way of the TOEFL or IELTS: Other tests may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please refer to our language requirements for more information on acceptable tests, minimum scores, exemptions, and conditional acceptance. If your undergraduate degree was earned in the United States and you successfully completed college-level English, we will consider English language proficiency met.
  • Please note: Transcripts must be in English. If the transcript is not in English you will be required to submit a professional credential evaluation completed by any member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). For this we recommend SpanTran, with its customized portal for Springfield College applicants. World Education Services or Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. are also recommended for your credential evaluations.

The Office of International Admissions can assist you with questions you may have about enrolling at Springfield College as an international student by emailing

Application Deadlines

Domestic Students:

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis as space is available.

International Applications:

  • May 1 (Fall)
  • February 1 (Summer)
  • October 1 (Spring)

Priscilla Headley, G'22

“At Springfield College, their mission is focused on Humanics and helping others in various ways. This prepares me not only for my career in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, but it also prepares me to be a better person overall. With everything going on in this world, we need to have more people thinking about and taking care of others. Springfield College is giving me the tool to become the kind of person and worker that what the world needs.”

Priscilla Headley
“Your health is your life. Springfield College teaches a holistic approach to health promotion. The health promotion program prepared me to educate others on positive behaviors toward healthy lifestyles. Wellness is a way of life, and this program gave me the knowledge to improve the health of our communities.” Colleen Mistler, G'19
Colleen Mistler in front of the Rock Wall

Luis Gomes ‘18, G’20

"Attending Springfield College was a dream of mine since I was in 6th grade. The College allowed me to grow in spirit, mind, and body, as well as learn among the world's greatest leaders. Springfield College provides each individual with a world-class educational experience and equips you with a second family forever." 

Luis Gomes

Brendan Tassy, G’22

“An online master’s degree in Health Promotion and Health Equity at Springfield College is exciting for many reasons. One major reason is that it gives you a chance to understand the health inequities in our world as well as supply you with different avenues that you can take to help make changes.”

Brendan Tassy
Registered Nurse

Debra Low, G’23

“My graduate experience in the health promotion program at Springfield College has been extremely rewarding. Every professor was knowledgeable, supportive, and encouraging! The courses were structured in a way that provided a balance between work and family life. I was able to build upon my experience as a nurse and gain the skills and knowledge to further my health career in ways I could not have imagined! ”

Deborah Low

Fellowships & Scholarships

Let us help you make your graduate education as affordable as possible.

Student Employment

Work on our campus to earn money while pursuing your graduate degree.

Employee Partnerships

Employees of our partnerships are eligible to receive a $5,000 or $10,000 partner grant.

FAQs for Health Promotion and Health Equity

What courses will I take?

Students take a combination of required, selective, elective, and capstone courses. Please refer to the academic catalog for coursework

What are the next steps after acceptance to the program?

Our checklist for new graduate students is a great resource to make sure you have everything you need before your journey begins. Be sure to secure your spot by depositing today!

What resources are available for me as an online student at Springfield College?

There are multiple resources to support graduate students on their journey - these include our Academic Success CenterLibrary ServicesWriting @ SC, and more. Our online learning management system is Brightspace/D2L. All new students have access to training on how to use Brightspace.

How do I register for classes as an online graduate student at Springfield College?

Once your deposit has been received you will be assigned an advisor who will schedule an appointment with you. During that appointment, they will go over what classes you should take and walk you through the registration process online.

If you have not heard from your advisor, please feel free to reach out to the program contact.

What’s next after I submit my application?

After you submit your application you will be contacted by graduate admissions. They will assist you with getting your transcripts in for evaluations. Soon after your transcripts are in, you can expect a decision. If you would like to reach out you can contact them at

Does my place of work/organization/school have a relationship with Springfield College?

Springfield College has developed partnerships with organizations that are mutually beneficial. Check if your place of employment has a partnership with Springfield College.

What is the difference between an MEd, MS, and MA?

The degrees are basically equal in academics and in professional preparation. All three degrees require one or two years of study in advanced courses beyond the bachelor’s degree. Master of Arts (MA) degrees are usually based in the humanities. That means studying in disciplines like history, literature, and philosophy. Master of Science (MS) degrees are generally earned in STEM-based disciplines. An MEd is usually known as a “professional degree."  As such, it is more focused on skills training and leadership development, not research.

I am a teacher. How will a graduate degree in Health Promotion and Health Equity help me in my current job?

The demands on current health education and physical education teachers are high. Today’s teachers are tasked with balancing the educational needs of students with varying learning styles, integrating technology into health and physical education, and working with students and families that are becoming increasingly diverse. Many teachers find that they need additional education after completing their undergraduate degree, simply to keep up with an ever-changing world.

Having a master’s degree makes a teacher more appealing as a new hire, giving those with a graduate degree an important competitive edge. The MEd in Health Promotion and Health Equity will make a teacher infinitely more marketable.

If you are an already established health education or physical education teacher, this degree can be the key to getting a promotion or advancing your career.

Statistics show that earning a graduate degree opens the door to a wider range of employment options and greater overall income potential. Teachers who earn the MEd in Health Promotion and Health Equity will also improve their teaching skills, develop leadership skills, and prepare for an administrative role in their respective departments.

I work for a non-profit, or in community or public health. How will a graduate degree in Health Promotion and Health Equity help me in my current position?

The MEd in Health Promotion and Health Equity trains professionals to identify and address the root causes of health disparities. The knowledge and skills you gain through your degree and the Health Equity and Social Justice track will demonstrate to current and future employers that you care deeply about social justice, health equity and cultural humility. You will learn about the needs of priority populations and study the best ways to reach diverse communities with behavior change messages. It will also provide you with the knowledge and skills to implement and sustain community health programs. This will help you help you earn leadership roles in your current place of employment and make you more marketable should you choose to find a new position.

How do online classes work at Springfield College?

When students register for classes, they are given access to their online courses in the Springfield College Learning Management System (LMS). Springfield College uses Brightspace/D2L. When the semester begins, students login to their courses where the work for the semester will be available to them. 

Each week, students will be given a variety of tasks; there may be articles to read, or videos to watch, or podcasts to listen to. There are many different types of online assignments that may be required on a weekly basis; each course is slightly different. One week a student might be asked to write a paper, or create a presentation. Students might be asked to chat with classmates in online discussion, take a quiz, write in a journal, or record a voice memo.

The courses in the MEd in Health Promotion and Health Equity program are designed to be interesting and engaging. The assignments challenge students to demonstrate their understanding of weekly material, and frequently ask students to apply what they learned to real-life situations. Many times, students are given an option of assignments to complete, so students can select an assignment based on their interests and skills.


If I am only taking online classes, will I ever have a chance to meet other students in my program?

Each course in the program is slightly different, however, most courses give students multiple chances to interact with their classmates. Students may have a chance to chat with each other in weekly, or bi-weekly discussion boards. Students may share material they research online, share drafts of assignments or use online teaching techniques to engage with each other. The faculty believe students can learn from each other and have designed courses to allow students to interact, engage and network with each other.

What jobs can I get with this degree?

With your Master’s degree in Health Promotion and Health Equity you will be prepared for health education and physical education professional licensure, community and public health positions, and health promotion and wellness related occupations. Following are some of the job titles that graduates from our online program might apply to:

  • Behavioral health educator
  • Behavioral health specialist
  • Community health worker
  • Community Health Educator
  • Community outreach coordinator
  • Diabetes educator
  • Disease Intervention Specialist
  • Employee assistance counselor
  • Employee health and wellness specialist
  • Employee wellness specialist
  • Health and wellness coordinator
  • Health Communication Consultant
  • Health education specialist
  • Health Education Consultant
  • Health education program manager
  • Health educator
  • Health Information Representative
  • Health program manager
  • Occupational safety and health specialist
  • Outreach Worker
  • Patient outreach and engagement specialist
  • Prevention specialist
  • Public Health Adviser
  • Public Health Educator
  • Public health educator
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Rural Health Program Specialist
  • Safety and occupational and health manager
  • Wellness coordinator
  • Wellness project manager
  • Worksite health educator
  • Worksite wellness program coordinator

What types of organizations hire someone with a graduate degree in Health Promotion and Health Equity?

Teachers with a graduate degree in Health Promotion and Health Equity are hired by:

  • Public school systems
  • Private school systems

Community and public health educators are frequently hired by:

  • Hospitals to provide worksite wellness
  • Large companies to deliver worksite wellness programs
  • Local Departments of Health
  • State Departments of Health. 

All types of health education specialists are hired by higher education, outpatient care centers, governmental organizations or by non-profit organizations such as:

  • American Cancer Society (ACS)
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA)
  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • American Lung Association (ALA)
  • AmeriCorps
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)
  • Girls, Inc
  • Global Health Center (GHC)
  • March of Dimes
  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI) 
  • National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
  • National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)  
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) 
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA) 
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Peace Corps
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Women, Infants and Children
  • YMCA
  • YWCA