Prospective Students



Master of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion with a concentration in Health Promotion

The Master of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion with a concentration in Health Promotion is a 33 credit hour program. The program offers both Thesis and Non-Thesis options and is available in traditional on-campus as well as a distance learning format (http://www.distance.msstate.edu/health/).

The core of the program is designed around coursework that helps students to develop the skills and competencies required of entry level health educators as delineated on the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) license (http://www.nchec.org/exam/overview/).

Qualifying students may enter the program at the start of any semester. This program may be completed in a calendar year but this is not required.


Admissions

Regular admission to the Master of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion (Health Promotion concentration) requires a minimum 2.75 GPA on all undergraduate work if accrued over a four year (or more) period. If accrued over a two year period, a 3.0 GPA is required. Applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A score of 280 (Verbal + Quantitative) is required on the current GRE in order to be considered for full admission. International students ma be required to provide a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam score. Minimum TOEFL requirements are 550 PBT (213 CBT or 79 IBT) or an IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) score of 6.5.

Provisional admission is possible. For more information please contact a program advisor (bhunt@fsnhp.msstate.edu) or the Mississippi State University Graduate School (http://www.grad.msstate.edu/)

For full admission to the Master of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion with a Health Promotion concentration distance program, students must complete the process for classified admission on-line.


Teaching and Curriculum

The Master of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion concentration in Health Promotion is designed to develop practitioners with the skills and competencies to effectively assess, design, implement, and evaluate health promotion programs in a variety of settings.

The program is offered via traditional campus delivery as well as via distance education (on-line delivery).


Program of Study

The Health Promotion concentration course work is based on the skills and competencies included on the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Course listed in the Research Methods and Core areas are required. Electives include those listed below; however, students may also choose other electives, based on approval from their major professor.


Research Methods (9-12 hours)
  • FNH 8563 - Principles of Epidemiology and Health Science Research
  • KI 8313 - Interpretation of Data in Kinesiology (or approved transfer course) OR EPY 6214 Educational and Psychological Statistics
  • FNH 7000 - Directed Individual Study (3 hours) OR FNH 8000 Research/Thesis (6 hours)

Core Courses (15 hours)
  • FNH 8513 - Theory and Practice of Health Education
  • FNH 8523 - Health Promotion Techniques
  • FNH 8553 - Behavioral Epidemiology
  • FNH 8613 - Design and Administration of Health Promotion Programs
  • FNH 8653 - Implementation and Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs

Electives (6-9 hours)
  • FNH 6393 - Prevention and Control of Disease
  • FNH 6773 - Intro to Environmental Health
  • FNH 6783 - School and Community Drug Use Prevention
  • FNH 8193 - Problems in Health Education
  • FNH 8543 - Health Education in Diverse Populations
  • FNH 8623 - Current Issues in School Health

Other electives may be taken as approved by advisor

A student must have acquired 33 hours in order to graduate in both the thesis and non-thesis options.


The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

According to the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) the CHES examination is a competency-based tool used to measure possession, application, and interpretation of knowledge in the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists. The exam reflects the entry-level Sub-competencies of these Areas of Responsibility. Consisting of 165 multiple-choice questions (150 scored and 15 pilot tested), the CHES examination is offered in paper-and-pencil format at college campuses throughout the United States. While there are approximately 120 testing sites currently registered, any campus with a testing service is eligible to become a testing site.

A CHES is an individual that has:

  1. Met required academic preparation qualifications
  2. Successfully passed a competency-based examination administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Incorporated
  3. Satisfies the continuing education requirement to maintain the national credential

Students in the program are not required to take the CHES exam, however, program faculty urge all graduates to sit for the exam. National certification benefits practitioners and the public in that it:

  • Establishes a national standard of practice for all health education specialists
  • Attests to the individual health education specialists' knowledge and skills
  • Assists employers in identifying qualified health education practitioners
  • Develops a sense of pride and accomplishment among certified health education specialists
  • Promotes continued professional development for health education specialists

Graduates of Mississippi State University's Master of Sciences in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion (Health Promotion concentration) degree program have a 97% pass rate on the CHES exam. National average pass rates on the exam for the exam vary with each cohort that takes the twice yearly exam. The national average pass rate for Spring 2012 was 73%.



Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural and Extension Education with an emphasis in Health Promotion

Ph.D. students in Agricultural and Extension Education may select an emphasis in health promotion by taking courses in the Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion Department’s Health Promotion curriculum. These courses must be approved by the minor professor. This program is designed to equip students for careers as public health educators, health promotion specialists, and health scientists. Students in this emphasis may sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist exam offered by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (www.nchec.org) when they have successfully completed at least 25 hours in the Health Promotion area.

Students should consult with their minor professor before selecting courses for their concentration area. Those courses should be selected as “minor or supporting area courses or electives.”

There are six required courses for Health Promotion Area of Emphasis:
  • FNH 8513 - Theory and Practice of Health Education
  • FNH 8523 - Health Promotion Techniques
  • FNH 8553 - Behavioral Epidemiology
  • FNH 8613 - Design and Administration of Health Promotion Programs
  • FNH 8653 - Implementation and Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs
  • FNH 8543 - Health Education for Diverse Populations

Students must also select three courses from the following list:
  • FNH 6393 - Prevention and Control of Disease
  • FNH 6783 - School and Community Drug Use Prevention
  • FNH 8193 - Problems in Health Education
  • FNH 8563 - Principles of Epidemiology and Health Science Research
  • FNH 8333 - Food Safety and Security in Public Health

Admissions

The minimum requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is the completion of 90 semester hours of graduate credit on an approved program of study above the bachelor's degree. Required courses for the Ph.D. include 30-36 hours of graduate credit in Agricultural and Extension Education; 16 graduate credits in statistics, research, and evaluation; 12-18 graduate credits in a minor or supporting area, 0-12 graduate elective credits; and 20 credit hours of dissertation research/dissertation. Students must pass a written and an oral comprehensive examination in both the major and minor/supporting area. To be eligible for the preliminary/comprehensive examination, a graduate student must have a 3.00 GPA on all graduate courses taken after admission to the degree program. Students must also pass the final dissertation examination. The student's graduate committee supervises the dissertation and examinations.

For full admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural and Extension Education with an emphasis in Health Promotion distance program, students must apply online



Meet Our Graduates
Tia L. Bradley
Tia L. Bradley, MS, CHES

Tia currently serves as Associate Nutrition Scientist for PepsiCo's Quaker Oats division. In this role, she is responsible for contributing to the company's nutrition and health promotion efforts. Through strategic communications and partnerships, she advocates for healthy eating and a better understanding of physical activity, education and lifestyle behaviors/actions. As an integral part of her work, she supports the company's community engagement efforts related to food accessibility, food security and health promotion. Additionally, Tia has planned and implemented a variety of wellness-related programming for diverse employee populations.

Don Chaney
Dr. Don Chaney

J. Don Chaney earned his Ph.D. in Health Education and Promotion from The University of Alabama and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. In July 2013, he began his current position as Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University (ECU). Prior to ECU, he served as the Assistant Dean for Distance Education and Outreach in the College of Health and Human Performance and the Associate Director for the Center for Digital Health and Wellness at the University of Florida (UF). Dr. Chaney has received the Association for Health Education (AAHE) Fellow Award, the AAHE Horizon Award, the AAHE Health Education Directory Award, the AAHE Presidential Citation and the Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award.

Stephanie Greunke
Stephanie Greunke, MS, RD, CPT, WHE

Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian who works both in private practice and at a naturopathic doctor's office. She also teaches at UCLA, where she developed a nutrition course for their work-site wellness program. As an integrative dietitian, Stephanie works with her clients to help discover the underlying issues that are preventing them from reaching their goals. She educates her clients so they feel empowered to take control of their own health through nutrition and lifestyle modifications. Her primary passion is women's health focusing on fertility issues, optimizing health during pregnancy, and supporting women through their transition into menopause.

Jason Horay
Jason Horay, MS, ATC, CHES

Jason is employed by Medical Mutual of NC in partnership with the NC Medical Society. In this role, he acts as a liaison with brokers, producers, and vendors to educate statewide medical practices on the resources available through the health plan and assist in the creation and/or enhancement of a health promotion initiative that will empower employees to maintain, improve and manage their health. Prior to joining the North Carolina Medical Society Employee Benefit Plan, Jason was Program Manager at Duke University's LIVE FOR LIFE employee wellness program. Jason spent more than ten years with Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems/Health Fitness Corporation, implementing fitness/wellness programs and driving organizational culture change at Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and Cisco Systems. Jason has earned a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Medicine from High Point University and a Master's Degree in Health Promotion/Health Education from Mississippi State University. He is a Certified Member of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (CHES).

Alice Anne Lee
Alice Anne Lee, MS, RD, LD

As an alumna of the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion Department (FSNHP) at Mississippi State University, I can proudly say that the education I received during my time as a student helped prepare me for my elected career path. I started out as an undergraduate in nutrition wanting inevitably to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). At that point in time, I had not thought about obtaining a master's degree; however, because I was accepted into the dietetic internship program at MSU, we were required to take graduate coursework during the internship which caused me to take interest in health promotion. I realized that my purpose for choosing a career path was the definition of health promotion, "helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health". With my nutrition background, I knew I could help others improve their quality of life by providing nutrition education to facilitate positive health behavior changes. This is exactly what I do in my current position as the Registered Dietitian at the North Mississippi Medical Center Wellness Center. I am able to use both my nutrition and health promotion training to help others by not only working within the wellness center providing nutrition counseling and education, but also by working in the community teaching classes, public speaking, and working with other health affiliates to promote health awareness. Without the sound knowledge and experience I gained through the FSNHP department, I would not be where I am today doing what I love, helping others.

Christopher Thomas
Christopher Thomas, MS, MCHES

Christopher Thomas received his master's degree in health education and health promotion. Since 2001, he has worked in public health at the state and federal level. His work has focused on chronic disease, injury, and health communication.


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