Physical Activity and Health Promotion BS

About the program

Program overview

Physical activity and health promotion explores how individuals and families can increase physical activity and improve healthy lifestyles to help prevent disease and/or the progression of chronic disease. Coursework and applied experiences are focused on how to collect and analyze data to plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs designed to encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles. The major prepares you for careers in health coaching, worksite wellness, physical activity adherence, corporate fitness and other health promotion-related fields.

Degree competencies

Graduates will have the knowledge and skills to utilize scientific findings to understand the effect of physical activity and healthy lifestyles on improving individual and community health.

Why study physical activity and health promotion at the University of Minnesota?

The physical activity and health promotion program at the University of Minnesota is:

  • Housed in a top research 1 university, ranked within the top 50 schools by the 2020 Best Global Universities rankings.
  • Taught by world-renowned faculty and scholars with diverse research interests who are engaged and committed to students’ success.
  • Located in a physical activity, health and wellbeing hub, home to nationally known physical activity and health companies (Lifetime Fitness, Twin Cities Marathon, and HealthPartners), the number three (Minneapolis) and two (Saint Paul) best park systems in the nation, and the second most bike trails of all 50 states.
  • Offers major-specific advisors and career counselors who will support students throughout their program.
  • Accessible to unique and industry-leading field work experiences that will prepare students to begin their careers immediately following graduation.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 16 percent for community health educators and community health workers between 2016 and 2026, a rate that’s faster than average across industries. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health Educators and Community Health Workers)
  • The health and wellness industry is a rapidly growing field, having surpassed $3 billion in market value globally. (Globe News Wire)

Meet our faculty

Dr. Daheia Barr-Anderson’s research focuses on obesity across the lifespan, physical activity epidemiology, sedentary behavior, and health disparities.

Dr. Emily Kringle’s research focuses on health promotion among adults with disabilities and neurological disorders.

Dr. Beth Lewis’s research focuses on physical activity promotion, behavioral interventions for physical activity, exercise and mental health.

Major requirements/course catalog

Core courses

The purpose of the core courses is to provide students with a broad and diverse understanding of the study of physical activity and health promotion. Students will have the opportunity to engage in an in-depth study within contexts such as exercise, health, physiology, nutrition, and wellbeing.

See the University catalog for information on the current core courses and their descriptions.

Focus electives

The purpose of the focus elective credits is to enhance the core courses in the major and provide a greater understanding of topics of interest that tie in with students’ professional and educational goals. Students are required to take six (6) credits.

See the University catalog for information on the current approved focused electives.

Physical education requirements

Students of physical activity and health promotion are required to participate in the courses that promote movement, physical activity, and sport. Students are required to earn a total of three (3) credits.

See the University catalog for information on the current approved physical activity courses and their descriptions.

Become a physical activity and health promotion major

In order to apply to enter into the physical activity and health promotion major, students must complete specific prerequisites and have a total of 30 college level credits completed (see the University catalog for specific information). Current CEHD students should contact their Student Services Advisor. Students who are either U of M students in a different college or transferring from outside the U of M should review the transfer credit information below.

Transfer students

In order to declare a physical activity and health promotion major, students must be enrolled in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). The following resources are for all transfer students, including both current U of M students who need to transfer colleges and non-U of M students who need more information regarding how their non-U of M credits will transfer.

CEHD Transfer Admissions

Office of Admissions - Transfer information

Minnesota community college transfer guide


High school students

Contact the University Admissions Office

Transfer students

CEHD Transfer Admissions

University of Minnesota students

Application to transfer from within the U of M system

CEHD students

Call or email CEHD Student Services to schedule an appointment with your student services advisor.
Phone: 612-625-3339

Physical activity and health promotion BS Majors

Major advisor: Tracey Hammell

Internships and career exploration

What graduates do

Physical activity and health promotion professionals are trained to collect and analyze data to plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs designed to encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a career counselor in CEHD Career Services to work on developing their marketing materials (resume and cover letter) and their preparedness to find jobs and experiences:

Practicum internship experience

All of our physical activity and health promotion students graduate with applicable field experience as part of their professional development and degree requirements.

Student engagement opportunities

Learning abroad programs

The Learning Abroad Center offers a variety of international learning opportunities that support our students.

  • International sport: The impact of the olympic games
  • Martial arts and medicine: Traditions in China
  • Empowering youth through sport and physical activity
  • Health and medicine in India
  • Sustainable approaches to health in France
  • Study and intern London
  • Study and intern Sydney
  • University study New Zealand - University Otago
  • IES South Africa - Summer health studies

To learn more, visit the Learning Abroad Center website.

Undergraduate minors

  • Communications study
  • Comparative race and ethnicity
  • Developmental psychology
  • Family and community engagement
  • Health psychology
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Mass communication
  • Psychology
  • Public health
  • Social justice
  • Sociology
  • Sports coaching
  • Statistics
  • Youth studies

Student organizations

Students are encouraged to explore the vast array of student engagement opportunities on campus, including the following student organizations.

  • Growth and Gratitude
  • Nutrition Experiential Learning and Advocacy
  • Food Science and Nutrition Student Support Collective
  • Student Health Advisory Committee
  • Wellness and Culture Club

To learn more, visit the Office of Student Affairs Student Organization website.