Bachelor of Science in Health Education

Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science in Health Education program is designed to facilitate voluntary changes in individual health behaviors as well as to advocate for social and economic policies which lead to health promotion and disease prevention for all. This program prepares individuals to work as public health professionals at individual, community and structural levels for health equity and social justice. The program provides a participatory learning environment that integrates theory, research and practice, honors diversity through a cultural humility lens, and fosters collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills.

The course work and field experience in health education have three primary objectives:

  1. to provide a theoretical and philosophical foundation in principles of community health education;
  2. to facilitate the development of professional skills in program planning, implementation, and evaluation; and
  3. to offer broad course work in personal, community, and school health. Students are also expected to complete course work in biological, social, and behavioral sciences.

The Bachelor of Science in Health Education has 11 units of prerequisites, 42 core units and 9 - 12 emphasis elective units to be chosen in one of the three areas described below. The program curriculum is designed in four semester tiers, where the content, knowledge, and skills required for students are scaffolded both within the courses offered in that semester and sequential semester.

Emphasis Elective Areas (9–12 units)

Community-based Public Health (9 units)

An approach that unites the community by organizing, empowering, and participating in shared-leadership partnerships for health. This emphasis gives students the freedom to choose electives from their particular health-related area of interest. Students design programs rooted in the values, experiences, knowledge, and interests of the community itself.

Holistic Health Studies (12 units)

Explores diverse cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary concepts and practices from around the world, providing students with a deeper understanding of health, healing, and optimal well-being. A holistic perspective informs course content, recognizing the fundamental interdependence of life on this planet. Experiential learning is an essential component of the curriculum.

School Health (12 units)

Fills the need created by recent increases in demand for credentialed teachers in public schools. The emphasis provides essential course work that satisfies the newly developed California State Standards in Health Science. Upon graduation, students will be ready to enter the teaching credential program with virtually all course work in the single subject program completed.

The following foundation courses or their equivalents must be completed prior to graduation. While it is not mandatory to complete the foundation courses before taking the core courses, individuals are encouraged to work toward completion of foundation courses prior to their junior year. Students entering from the community college system, or other four-year universities, should have their transcripts evaluated by a department advisor to receive credit for equivalent courses taken elsewhere. To determine whether courses taken at another college or university may be accepted as foundation courses, individuals should seek the assistance of an advisor in the Department of Health Education. Some foundation courses may be counted for SF State general education credit; a health education advisor will help determine this. Effective Fall 2008, undergraduates who are first-time college students may satisfy the GWAR (Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement) by earning a C or better in a GWAR-designated course.1 The Health Education GWAR course is H ED 400GW. For undergraduates who are first-time college students prior to Fall 2008, this requirement can be met by passing ENG 414, ENG 410 or ENG 411. Students must pass ENG 414/ENG 410/ENG 411 before enrolling in H ED 431.


Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than Health Education are still required to complete H ED 400GW of the major.

Health Education (B.S.) — 62–65 units

Foundation Courses for the Major (11 units)

Courses taken prior or concurrently with major courses:

BIOL 100Human Biology3
BIOL 101Human Biology Laboratory1
BIOL 210General Microbiology and Public Health3
BIOL 211General Microbiology and Public Health Laboratory1
MATH 124Elementary Statistics (another course may be substituted on advisement)3
or ISED 160 Data Analysis in Education

Required Courses (39 units)

Sequenced Courses

Must be taken in sequential order, except H ED 400GW, H ED 405, and H ED 425 which must be taken concurrently.

H ED 400GWCommunity Assessment in Public Health - GWAR 13
H ED 405Introduction to Community/Public Health3
H ED 425Introduction to Research and Statistics in Health 13
H ED 430Community Health Education Theory 13
H ED 431Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation 13
H ED 480Fieldwork and Reflective Seminar 19

1 Must be completed with a grade of C or better

Non-Sequenced Courses

Select one of the following:3
Personal and Social Determinants of Health
Promoting Positive Health
Relaxation and Stress Reduction
Holistic Health: Western Perspectives
H ED 410Organization and Function of Health Services3
or H ED 450 Policy Issues in Health Education
H ED 420Epidemiology3
H ED 455Community Organizing and Community Building for Health3
H ED 520Structural Oppression and Social Foundations of Health3
H ED 655Environmental Health3

Emphasis (9–12 units)

Courses taken for core requirements cannot double count as electives. Units selected from one of the emphases listed below:

Community-Based Public Health Emphasis (9 units)

Units selected from the following on advisement (one course must have an H ED prefix):

AA S 591Asian American Community Health Issues3
AFRS 370Health, Medicine, and Nutrition in the Black Community3
ANTH 630Medical Anthropology3
BIOL 326Disease!3
BIOL 327AIDS: Biology of the Modern Epidemic3
BIOL 332Health Disparities in Cancer3
H ED 100Public Health Biology3
H ED 200Global Health3
H ED 210Personal and Social Determinants of Health3
H ED 221Health and Social Justice - Burning Issues, Taking Action3
H ED 241Health and Social Movements in the United States in the 20th Century3
H ED/COUN 280Empowering Poor Families to Graduate Out of Poverty3
H ED/HH 290Promoting Positive Health3
H ED 303Health Disparities and Sexual and Gender Minority Communities: LGBTQI Health3
H ED 305Critical History of Public Health in the United States3
H ED 315Drugs and Society3
H ED 320Contemporary Sexuality3
H ED 414Women's Health - Problems and Issues3
H ED 415Health Aspects of Aging3
H ED 417AIDS: Contemporary Health Crisis3
H ED/GEOG 434Geographies of Health and Health Care3
H ED 450Policy Issues in Health Education3
H ED/CINE 527Documentary for Health and Social Justice I6
H ED/CINE 528Documentary for Health and Social Justice II6
H ED 630Elementary School Health3
H ED 635Secondary School Health1
H ED 640Structural Inequities and Public Health3
H ED 650Training and Education Processes in Public Health3
H ED 670Principles of Peer Health Education3
H ED 671Practice of Peer Health Education3
H ED 685Projects in the Teaching of Health Education1-4
H ED 699Independent Study1-3
HH 205Relaxation and Stress Reduction3
HH 380Holistic Health: Western Perspectives3
HH 381Holistic Health: Eastern Perspectives3
HH 382Holistic Health: Human Nature and Global Perspectives3
HH 430Foundation of Biofeedback and Self-Regulation3
HH 433Autogenic Training and Embodied Living3
HH 540Meditation and Imagery in Healing3
HH 690Seminar: Psychophysiology of Healing3
LTNS 210Latina/Latino Health Care Perspectives3
PHIL 383Ethics in Medicine3
PSY 442Health Psychology3
PSY 465The Psychology of Work-Life Stress3
WGS 593Gender, Health, and the Environment3

School Health Emphasis (12 units)

Units selected from the following on advisement:

DFM 253Nutrition in Health and Disease3
CFS 355Nutrition for Wellness3
CFS 453Nutrition in the Life Cycle3
H ED 210Personal and Social Determinants of Health3
H ED 315Drugs and Society3
H ED 320Contemporary Sexuality3
H ED 630Elementary School Health3
H ED 635Secondary School Health1
H ED 685Projects in the Teaching of Health Education1-4
H ED 699Independent Study1-3

Holistic Health Studies Emphasis (12 units)

Units selected from the following on advisement:

Select nine units of the following:9
Holistic Health: Western Perspectives
Holistic Health: Eastern Perspectives
Holistic Health: Human Nature and Global Perspectives
Chinese Perspectives in Holistic Health
Select three units of the following on advisement:3
Holistic Approach to Academic Success
Relaxation and Stress Reduction
The Dao of Well-Being in Chinese Tradition
Promoting Positive Health
Chinese Body-Mind Energetics
Foundation of Biofeedback and Self-Regulation
Autogenic Training and Embodied Living
Somatic Education and Holistic Health
Herbal and Nutritional Principles in Chinese Healing
Western Nutrition and Herbs
Meditation and Imagery in Healing
Imagery and Healing in Tibetan Culture
Naturopathic Medicine and Personal Wellness
Anthroposophical Health Studies
Art as Healing
Alternative Health Practices
Holistic Health Internship Seminar
Seminar: Psychophysiology of Healing
Independent Study

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Written English Communication II LD 3 A4
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Humanities: Literature LD 3 C3
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Governement LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD or UD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), in a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities (AERM) LD or UD 3
Environmental Sustainability (ES) LD or UD 3
Global Perspectives (GP) LD or UD 3
Social Justice (SJ) LD or UD 3

Note: LD = Lower Division; UD = Upper Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

This roadmap opens in a new tab.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AS-T in Public Health Science. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Public Health Science

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation, and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab and displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission, but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government
    • a 2nd-semester course in written English composition

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower division major requirements for this major, including 2nd-semester composition;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 units/90 quarters required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper division transfer (for example, if course was not passed on the first attempt, or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California community college of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower division general education in areas C and D until after transfer in order to focus on preparation courses for the major. (This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.)

Transferring from institutions other than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (GE A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Identify and complete a 2nd-semester written English composition course before transfer. This is usually the next course after the typical “freshman comp” course, with a focus on writing, reading and critical analytical skills for academic purposes, and developing skills in composing, revising, and the use of rhetorical strategies.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All students must meet the transfer eligibility requirements outlined below for admission. For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.00 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended
  • Complete 30 semester units (45 quarter units) of general education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning, with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite (same as CSU GE area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a "C" or better grade in each basic skills course.