Kennesaw State to offer new bachelor’s degree focused on public health and education

Prillaman Hall

B.S. in Public Health Education designed to meet growing demand for specialists KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct…

Georgia (Oct 14, 2015)B.S. in Public Health Education designed to meet growing demand for specialists

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 14, 2015) — Students who are interested in careers in health care outside traditional roles such as nursing, occupational and physical therapy will soon have another option with a new degree program at Kennesaw State University.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia gave approval Wednesday for the new Bachelor of Science with a major in Public Health Education. The new major is designed to meet the growing need for health education specialists as a result of the rising rates of chronic diseases, mounting health care costs, and increased recognition of the importance of health promotion and disease prevention.

“Graduates of this program can be patient navigators in the health care system,” said Monica Nandan, interim dean of the WellStar College of Health and Human Services. “They can serve as patient educators, monitor diet and medicine compliance, and help maintain and manage population health.”

Potential careers include entry to mid-level positions in public health departments, community-based health organizations, outreach education programs, health care settings, private health organizations and corporate wellness settings.

“Another reason we want to offer this program is the Affordable Health Care Act, which focuses more on maintaining healthy lifestyles,” Nandan said. “Nurses and doctors can only do so much education because they are time-bound. They cannot focus as much on the education piece, and that’s where this major comes in.”

A health promotion minor already boasts more than 120 students from diverse disciplines, including sociology, human services, exercise science and political science. Now some of these minors can convert to a public health education major.

“I think there is a lot of focus nationally, and internationally, on prevention of health issues and having a program of study that looks at health holistically and from a population-based standpoint appeals to a lot of students,” said Kandice Porter, chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education. “We are anticipating that some of our students who are in the minor or are doing the integrative studies program will find this more appealing than their current course of study, so they will shift to the new major, and we anticipate it will attract new students.”

The U.S. Department of Labor has ranked health education specialist as one of the 25 fastest growing occupations in the United States that requires a bachelor’s degree. With this approval, in fall 2016, Kennesaw State will become only the third institution in the USG to offer the public health education major.

“The vast majority of public health workers do not have any academic preparation in public health as their undergraduate degrees are in other disciplines,” Porter said. “This is due in part to the fact that undergraduate public health-related degrees are relatively new and graduate education is not feasible for all in the field. This lack of training has resulted in a call for additional educational opportunities for public health workers.”

The B.S. in Public Health Education program of study includes 30 hours of public health education core courses, along with 18 credit hours of approved electives, and a 12-credit-hour seminar and internship experience. Public Health Education majors will have the option of completing one of three possible content focus areas in Community Health, Worksite Health Promotion or Patient Education and Health Coaching.

“Because the B.S. in Public Health Education draws on regular course offerings of other majors to allow for cross-disciplinary collaboration without additional resource needs, we’re only adding seven new courses to implement the new major,” Porter said. “And, even though the program won’t be fully implemented until fall 2016, interested students can speak with our advisor now about getting started in spring of 2016.”


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit