Public Health and Community Health Education Major - Bachelor of Science (BS)

Public health education is the development of individual, group, institutional, community and systemic strategies to improve health knowledge, attitudes, skills and behavior. The purpose of public health education is to positively influence the health behavior of individuals and communities as well as the living and working conditions that influence their health.

Public health education improves the health status of individuals, families, communities, states, and the nation. Public health education enhances the quality of life for all people and reduces premature deaths. By focusing on prevention, public health education reduces the costs (both financial and human) individuals, employers, families, insurance companies, medical facilities, communities, the state and the nation would spend on medical treatment.

Students graduating with our public health and community health education degree have a strong foundation in public health and are skilled in the competencies identified by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, to accredit schools of public health and public health programs. The BS-PHCHE program at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse is the only one of its kind in the University of Wisconsin System with national accreditation through CEPH. The program, which was initially accredited thru CEPH in May 1992, was recently reaccredited thru CEPH until July 2027.

The Public Health and Community Health Education Program prepares students for careers in county and state public health departments, private health agencies, hospitals, health clinics, community organizations, non-profit agencies, and with governmental agencies. Courses develop skills and knowledge in public health and administrative, program planning, implementation and evaluation, epidemiology, environmental health, national and global health issues, grant seeking, mental and emotional health, drug and alcohol, nutrition education, and theories of health behavior.

Admission to program

  1. Public health and community health education students must submit an application for program admission and for enrolling in the public health/community health education course sequence. Prior to applying, the following courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better (see below).
  2. A UWL cumulative GPA of 2.25 or better is required in order to be considered for admission to the public health and community health education major.
  3. Public health and community health education students must meet the following additional requirements for admission to the public health and community health education preceptorship (PH 498): apply for and receive the recommendation of the public health and community health education faculty; achieve a minimum 2.75 major GPA; successfully complete all required course work.
Pre-admission, interdisciplinary courses
BIO 100Biology for the Informed Citizen4
or BIO 105 General Biology
Select one of the following:6-8
Human Anatomy and Physiology for Exercise Science I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology for Exercise Science II (Not open for credit to students who have credit in BIO 312.)
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II
HED 210Foundations of Health Education3
HPR 105Creating A Healthy, Active Lifestyle3
or HP 105 Analysis of Health, Wellness and Disease for the Health Care Consumer
or HED 207 Youth Health Issues
or MIND 110 Introduction to Mindfulness
or REC 150 Leisure, Quality of Life, and Well Being
MIC 100Microbes and Society3-4
or MIC 130 Global Impact of Infectious Disease
or MIC 230 Fundamentals of Microbiology
PH 200Introduction to Public Health3
PH 204Introduction to Global Health3
STAT 145Elementary Statistics4
One social behavioral science course:3
Human Nature/Human Culture
Introduction to Ethnic and Racial Studies
Introduction to Philosophy
American National Government
State and Local Government
General Psychology
Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Class
Introduction to Sociology
Social Problems
Total Credits32-35


(College of Science and Health)

57 Credits (87-90 credits, including interdisciplinary, pre-admission requirements)

Core courses (57 credits)
CHE 360Methods and Strategies for Health Education3
CHE 370Motivational Interviewing for Health Educators3
CHE 380Assessment and Program Planning in Health Education3
CHE 400Health Policy, Advocacy, and Community Organizations3
CHE 430Grant Writing and Resource Management3
CHE 450Implementation, Administration, and Evaluation of Health Education Programs3
CHE 480Senior Capstone3
HED 320The U.S. Health Care System3
PH 335Environmental Health3
PH 340Epidemiology and Human Disease Prevention3
PH 498Community Health Education Preceptorship15
Health content: minimum 12 credits 12
Medical Terminology for Health Education
Physical Activity and Public Health
Issues in Mental and Emotional Health
Stress Management and Relaxation Skills (1 credit course)
Women's Health Issues
Violence and Injury Prevention
Experiential Learning Strategies for Health Education
Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior
Health Education Responsibilities, Competencies, and Certification
Sexual Health Promotion
Health Aspects of Aging
Nutrition Education
Total Credits57

All students must complete the general education, college core (waived for public health and community health education majors), major/minor, and university degree requirements in order to qualify for a degree. The easiest way to track all of these requirements is to refer to the Advisement Report (AR) found in the Student Information System (WINGS) Student Center. All enrolled students have access to the AR.  

Baccalaureate degree requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the general education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college.
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.1, 2
  5. At least 40 credits must be earned in 300/400 level courses. Transfer courses earned or transferred at the 300/400 level apply to this requirement.
  6. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA1, 2 in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected).
  7. A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UWL is required for graduation. (See undergraduate resident requirement.)
  8. Submit an application for graduation via the "Apply for Graduation" link in the WINGS Student Center as soon as the student has registered for his or her final semester or summer term in residence. December and winter intersession graduates should apply by May 1. May and summer graduates should apply by December 1.

Grade point average requirements for some programs will be considerably higher than 2.00. Re-entering students may be required to earn credits in excess of the 120 needed for graduation in any curriculum in order to replace credits earned in courses in which the content has changed substantially in recent years. Each case will be judged on its own merit.


The grade point average recorded at the time the degree is awarded will not be affected by future enrollment.

No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within 30 days after the official ending date of each term.

Below is a sample degree plan that can be used as a guide to identify courses required to fulfill the major and other requirements needed for degree completion. A student's actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Also, this sample plan assumes readiness for each course and/or major plan, and some courses may not be offered every term. Review the course descriptions or the class timetable for course offering information.

The sample degree plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UWL in the fall term. Students should use the Advisement Report (AR) in WINGS and work closely with their faculty advisor(s) and college dean’s office to ensure declaration and completion of all requirements in a timely manner.

General Education Program
The general education curriculum (Gen Ed) is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UWL. Sample degree plans include Gen Ed placeholders to ensure completion of the general education requirements. Courses may be rearranged to fit the needs or recommendations of the student’s program of study. Gen Ed courses may be taken during winter term (January between the semesters) and summer to reduce the course load during regular terms (fall and spring). Students should consult with their advisor and/or the college academic services director in their college/school for assistance with course and schedule planning. Refer to the general education requirements for more specific details.

At least 40 credits of the 120 credits required must be earned at the 300/400-level. 

Note: New students and transfer students with 15 or fewer credits earned are required to take FYS 100 First-Year Seminar (3 cr.) during one of their first two semesters at UWL.

This sample degree plan does not establish a contractual agreement. It identifies the minimum requirements a student must successfully complete, to qualify for a degree, in a format intended to assist the student in planning their academic career. Actual degree plans may differ.

This major is exempt from the CSH College Core requirement. 

Year 1
BIO 100 or 105 (Gen Ed Natural Lab Science)4PH 200 (Gen Ed Self & Society)3
CST 110 (Gen Ed Literacy-Oral)3ENG 110 or 112 (Gen Ed Literacy-Written)3
FYS 100 (Gen Ed First-Year Seminar)3STAT 145 (Gen Ed Math)4
Gen Ed Health & Well-Being3Gen Ed Arts2-3
Gen Ed World History3MIC 130 (Gen Ed Global Studies)23
Meet with faculty advisor to discuss admission to Public Health & Community Health Education (PHCHE) Program.1  
 16 15
Year 2
PH 2043HED 2103
ESS 205 or BIO 3123ESS 206 or BIO 3133
Gen Ed Humanistic Studies3Gen Ed Arts2-3
Gen Ed Natural Lab Science4-5Gen Ed Lang/Logical Systems3-4
Gen Ed Self & Society3Health Content Elective43
 16 14
Year 3
Apply for admission to PHCHE Program. See faculty advisor for assistance.1 HED 3203
PH 3353CHE 3803
PH 3403CHE 4003
CHE 3603Gen Ed Minority Cultures3
CHE 3703Health Content Elective43
Health Content Elective43 
 15 15
Year 4
CHE 4303PH 498515
CHE 4503 
CHE 4803 
University Elective2 
Health Content Elective43 
 14 15
Total Credits: 120

See the PHCHE admission policy for the admission requirements for this major.


One course from MIC 100, MIC 130, or MIC 230 is required for admission. MIC 130 fulfills the Gen Ed Global Studies (GE Category 4-2) requirement. MIC 100 fulfills the Gen Ed Science (GE Category 5) requirement. MIC 230 does not apply to the Gen Ed program, but may be recommended for students planning to enter a nursing program or for graduate study in microbiology, nutrition/dietetics, and physician assistant studies. Student should consult with their advisor if they have questions before enrolling.


One social behavioral science course is required for admission. Many of the course options fulfil the Gen Ed Self & Society (GE Category 6) requirement as well. For a list of courses, refer to the PHCHE admission policy.


Health content courses include: CHE 220, CHE 405 (Spring semester only), HED 345, HED 409 (one credit course), HED 412HED 425, HED 467HED 469 (Spring semester only), HED 471HED 472, HED 473, and HED 474.


Student should work with faculty advisor to determine an appropriate preceptorship site.