Doctor of Education in Health Education | Health Education

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Health Education

In the Department of Health & Behavior Studies

Doctor of Education in Health Education

What Are the Details, Regarding the Program of Study for the Ed.D.?

  • Mission of the Ed.D. Program

The degree of Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Health Education at Teachers College emphasizes broad preparation for advanced professional responsibilities through a program based upon extensive study in a specialized branch of the field of education or in an area of instruction. The program of study and research leading to the Ed.D. degree in Health Education is designed to prepare graduates who will assume positions of leadership as program development and evaluation specialists in health education in various educational, governmental, and human-service delivery settings.

The program emphasizes the development of advanced competencies in: (1) assessing the cultural, psychological, social, economic, and political determinants of health and health-related behaviors; (2) developing and implementing educational and other interventions based on ecologic models of health behavior and behavioral change that are appropriate to the various educational practice settings (the community, hospitals, schools, and workplace) and which have the potential to result in voluntary health-related behavioral and social change among individuals, groups, and populations, and their communities; and (3) conducting program evaluation and applied research in health education and health promotion. 

  • Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program in Health Education is limited, being based upon several criteria.  These criteria include the following: adequacy and relevance of preparation at the undergraduate levels and in any prior graduate study; relevance of prior professional experience and related activities; and, potential for contributing significantly to professional practice and research in health education or closely related fields.  In general, applicants who present strong backgrounds or academic preparation in the behavioral and social sciences, education, nursing, public health, social work, or allied health professions are given priority consideration for admission to the program.

  • Degree Requirements

The minimum College requirements for the Ed.D. degree include satisfactory completion of a program of 90 points of course work beyond the baccalaureate degree (at least 45 points of which must be taken through Teachers College registration).  A maximum of 45 semester hours of graduate transfer credit may be granted for work completed at other recognized institutions to satisfy the minimum College point requirement.  Candidates for the Ed.D. degree also are expected to demonstrate satisfactory performance on a departmental Certification Examination and to prepare and defend an acceptable dissertation project.  In addition to the College requirements, all candidates for the Ed.D. degree in Health Education must have fulfilled the equivalent of the requirements for the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in health education.  For those students entering the program with only a baccalaureate degree, the M.A. degree must be completed first.  Those applicants who do not present at the time of admission to the program the equivalent of a Master's thesis are required to prepare and present an acceptable essay or pre-doctoral project prior to or during the term in which 60 points of applicable graduate study have been completed.

  • The Required Course Progression

The program of study for the Ed.D. degree in Health Education includes required introductory core courses, required advanced courses, elective courses, broad and basic courses to enhance preparation for professional scholarship and practice, as well as research courses. The exact program and sequence of study is determined by the previous academic preparation, professional experience, and professional career objectives of the student. The selection of courses that fulfill an area requirement in the program of study listed below is guided by individual needs of the student; selections are not limited to those courses that are listed.  A student who presents evidence of proficiency in required courses or in an area of course work required for the program may, at the discretion of the major advisor and upon approval of the Program Coordinator, select and substitute courses; these substitutions may represent more advanced study in the area in which the student has demonstrated competence, or represent additional preparation in areas in which the student's preparation is less extensive.  Programs of study typically exceed the minimum College requirement of 90 points, with candidates offering anywhere between 90-120 points for the degree.


1. MAJOR (45 Points)

a. Introductory Core Courses (Required 9 points)

HBSS4100 Behavioral and Social Science Foundations of Health Education      3

HBSS4102 Principles of Epidemiology in Health Promotion      3

HBSS4118 Principles of Health-Related Behavioral and Social Change:

Initiation to Maintenance      3


b. Advanced Core Courses (Required 15 points)

HBSS5110 Determinants of Health Behavior      3

HBSS5111 Planning Health Education Programs      3

HBSS5112 Social Marketing and Health Communications      3

HBSS6100 Program Evaluation      3

HBSS6145 Health Psychology      3


c. Elective Courses (21 points), to be selected from among:

(There is variability with regard to the courses actually being offered within an academic year.)

HBSS4001 Health Provider Communications and Health Promotion      3

HBSS4110 Health Promotion for Children and Adolescents      3

HBSS4111 Addictions and Dependencies      3

HBSS4112 Social Policy and Prevention      3

HBSS4113 Human Sexuality Education      3

HBSS4114 Competency with Multicultural Populations: Research & Practice      3

HBSS4115 Health Promotion for Aging Adults      3

HBSS4116 Health Education for Teachers       3

HBSS4117 AIDS Education      3

HBSS4120 Topics in Health Education (See the Topic covered)      3

HBSS4121 Death Education      3

HBSS4122 Women's Health      3

HBSS4123 Violence and Its Prevention      3

HBSS4130 Alcohol and Health      3

HBSS4140 Developing Workplace Health Promotion Programs      3

HBSS4141 Health and Illness in Cross-Cultural Perspective      3

HBSS5113 Community Health Analysis      3

HBSS5116 Social Relations, Emotions and Health      3

HBSS5408 Practicum in Individual Health Advisement      3

HBSS5410 Practicum in Health Education      1-6

HBSS5551 Bioethics      3

HBSS5800 Health Disparities Research Conference      1

HBSS6100 Program Evaluationn      3

HBSS6500 Grant Writing      3

HBSS6901 Research and independent study in health education      1-4



a. Nature of Education, Persons, and Learning Processes (Required 6 points) Students should take two courses approved by their advisor in learning theory, human development, or counseling pertaining to a population group of interest, such as the child, adolescent, adult, or older adult.

      • Recommended courses include, but are not limited to those offered by the
        Departments of:


      • Organization & Leadership (e.g. Program in Adult Learning and Leadership)
      • Counseling & Clinical Psychology (e.g. Program in Counseling Psychology)
      • Human Development (e.g. Developmental Psychology Programs)

b. Communications, Computing and Instructional Technology and Media (Required 3 points) Students should take one course approved by their advisor in communications, computing or instructional technology and media.

    • Recommended courses include, but are not limited to those offered by the
      Departments of:
      • Mathematics, Science & Technology (e.g. Programs in: Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education; or Computing in Education; or Instructional Technology and Media)


c. Note on Options: Depending upon an individual student's needs, the student's advisor may approve a course selection from another Department.

      • Potential Departments include:


      • Education Policy & Social Analysis
      • International & Transcultural Studies   



[SPECIAL NOTE: Professor Sonali Rajan has new course offerings that are highly recommended and serving as important substitutes for some of what is recommended in this overall section. Please check with your Advisor and Professor Rajan for details.]


a. General Research Methods (Required 9 points)
  Students should take courses selected in consultation with their advisor.  

Recommended courses include, but are not limited to:


HBSS5040 Research Methods in Health and Behavior Studies I      3

HUD4120 Methods of Empirical Research      3

MSTU5020 Methods of Social Research      3

ORLJ4009 Understanding Behavioral Research      3

ORLJ5040 Research Methods in Social Psychology I      3

ORLJ5041 Research Methods in Social Psychology II      3


b. Measurement and Evaluation (Required 6 points)
  Students should take courses selected in consultation with their advisor.  

Recommended courses include, but are not limited to:


HUDM4050 Introduction to Measurement      3

HUDM5055-5056 Evaluation of Institutions, Programs, and Curricula      3

ORL5522 Evaluation Methods I      3

ORL5523 Evaluation Methods II--Seminar      3

ORL5524 Instrument Design and Validation--Seminar      3


c. Statistics (Required 6 points)
  Students should take courses selected in consultation with their advisor.  

Recommended courses include, but are not limited to:


HUDM4122 Probability and Statistical Inference      3

HUDM5122 Applied Regression Analysis      3

HUDM5123 Linear Models and Experimental Design      3

HUDM6026 Statistical Treatment of Mass Data      3


d. Research Seminar and Preparation of the Dissertation (5 Points) 


HBSS 6510 Research Seminar in Health Education      3

HBSS 7501 Dissertation Seminar in Health Education      2

HBSS 8900 Dissertation Advisement in Health Education      0



  Elective courses or additional research and independent study enable the student to develop a specialization in an area of interest pertaining to a practice setting and the populations specific to that setting (e.g., schools and children, hospitals and chronically ill adults, or workplaces and well adults), or may be used to develop additional preparation in a related professional area or one of the behavioral or social sciences underlying the practice of health education.  Course work or other learning experiences are selected by the student in consultation with the major academic advisor, and may be taken in other departments of Teachers College or in other divisions of Columbia University with permission of the academic advisor.

Recommended courses include, but are not limited to:


HBSS6901 Research and independent study in health education      1-4


Note on Total Points/Credits for the Ed.D. Degree: Variability

There may be variability in the total number of points/credits accumulated in each of the requisite categories shown above: i.e., 1) Major; 2) Broad and Basic Areas of Professional Scholarship and Practice; 3) Research, Scholarship and Inquiry: Methods of Evaluation, Statistics, Dissertation Preparation; and 4) Elective Courses, Additional Research, or Independent Study. This variability in points/credits in each of the requisite categories usually becomes apparent when the student and their advisor review and approve the student's Statement of Total Program, including approving any variability in the number of points/credits taken. The Statement of Total Program is completed before the student takes the last 20 credits in the program and the Certification Examination. At the time of completion, the Statement of Total Program will list all courses already taken at Teachers College, any credits transferred (up to 45 credits), and all courses to be taken (projecting into the future and up to the last semester of matriculation). Some students accumulate up to 120 credits, while 90 credits is the required minimum for the Ed.D. degree. Also, while the present document has listed (above) 45 points for the Major, on the Statement of Total Program this number may vary (e.g. 50 credits) for Major, as well as for the other areas; as just one example, a student might accumulate 18, 22, 26 or more points for the category Research, Scholarship and Inquiry: Methods of Evaluation, Statistics, Dissertation Preparation. Thus, please consider the points indicated on the prior pages as a guide, given this variability.

  • Additional Requirements

In addition to the above minimum program requirements, students enrolled in the Program in Health Education are expected to fulfill requirements and achieve goals that transcend the completion of the requisite course work and other formal requirements for a degree.  Although these additional requirements are difficult to define precisely, and the extent to which a student has fulfilled them equally difficult to evaluate, they are nevertheless recognized as being important in enabling the student to grow and develop both intellectually and professionally during the period of graduate study and afterward.  These additional requirements include but are not limited to:

    • Demonstrating a willingness to attend and become actively involved in the breadth of departmental, college, and university functions (e.g. conferences, colloquia, etc-') which facilitate interaction with faculty and other students, and which have the potential to enrich the student's intellectual and professional growth;


    • Developing the capacity to undertake the complex and challenging tasks associated with graduate study and other related learning experiences in such a manner that demonstrates the student's intellectual discipline, including integrity, creativity, and innovativeness, as well as the student's abilities to conceptualize at a high level, think critically, communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and provide leadership;


    • Demonstrating ability to appreciate, relate to, and communicate with ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse individuals and groups of people who possess different personal, social, and cultural histories than one's own;


  • Developing a strong sense of professional identity and commitment to professional affairs in or related to heath education which are demonstrated through active membership in appropriate national, regional, or local professional organizations, and through participation in such activities as attending a professional meeting, presenting an abstract or a paper at professional meeting, or serving on a professional committee.


Program faculty periodically monitor the progress of doctoral students throughout the program of study (e.g., read more below about the The Ed.D. Program Progress Evaluation). Students whose progress toward completion of the degree program is determined by the faculty to be insufficient may be asked to terminate their studies.

  • Statement of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students in the program must maintain a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 while at Teachers College and must achieve at least a B grade in all of the required core courses.  Students who do not achieve at least a B grade in a required core course will be required to repeat the course.

Students who do not pass the Certification Examination in their first attempt meet with the Program Coordinator to review test performance.  Those who do not pass on the second attempt are not allowed to continue the program.

Reviews of student enrollment are done on a periodic basis.  Students not enrolling for dissertation hours or not progressing in dissertation completion after allowances for extraordinary circumstances are not allowed to continue the program.

The program faculty who are teaching courses analyze the results of their individual course assessments on a course-by-course basis.  Faculty of the program meet once annually to formally review and discuss program requirements, as well as the curriculum and any feedback from advisors and instructional faculty who are participating in the instructional program and advising students.  In addition, progress of students with respect to dissertation proposals and dissertation completions and graduations is also reviewed.  These discussions are conducted so as to arrive at consensus about changes or refinements that may be necessary in both program requirements and curriculum in order to meet goals and to be responsive to changes in the needs of professional preparation in the field of health education.

This process, together with ongoing consideration of profession-and practice-wide changes in the domains of core competency for health education (such as those recommended by the Galway Consensus Conference and professional societies), has informed a number of curriculum changes in the Ed.D. degree program.  Recently, the outcomes of these faculty reviews and discussions have included a number of improvements implemented within the program: articulating core competencies to be achieved via course participation; revising course titles to better reflect new content and attention to diversity issues and cultural competency goals; updating and clarifying the out-of-program (i.e., broad and basic) course requirements; improving the quality of instruction and scope of technology utilized (i.e. video integrated with PowerPoint) for use in courses, while also seeking to enhance online courses and distance learning, while also increasing the number of courses offered online; and, the use of group advising to foster a greater sense of cohesion among cohorts of newly admitted students, as well as other group activities to foster professional identity development.

  • Description of How the Program Monitors Student Progress

Students accepted into the program are informed during their initial advisement session with a faculty advisor at entry into the program that the student is responsible for scheduling a formal review of their progress with their academic advisor when they have completed the first third of points to be taken at Teachers College (typically 14-16 points).  Faculty advisors review the student's program of study and academic progress and sign off on a form that is entered into the student's file (i.e. The Ed.D. Program Progress Evaluation).

In addition, students complete with their advisors the Statement of Total Program, listing courses to be taken and plans to meet other non-course requirements. This document is carefully reviewed by the student's advisor. Upon approval, the document is submitted to the Office of Doctoral Studies-'"meeting the requirement that it is submitted prior to the student taking the Certification Examination, and before the student takes the last 20 credits in the program; these are key requirements for certification as a doctoral student.  A student does not achieve the status of being a certified doctoral student until satisfactory completion of the Certification Examination.

Other indicators of student progress are successful completion of the dissertation proposal and dissertation. These tasks are monitored by the individual student's dissertation sponsor and other dissertation committee members. It should be noted that the academic advisor and dissertation sponsor may not be the same faculty member.



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