Master of Arts Health & Wellness

The Health & Wellness major accommodates a wide variety of interests and scholarly pursuits. This unique and innovative degree combines a strong foundation in theory and research methods with evidence-based practice, health promotion and public education. You have considerable flexibility in choosing the focus of your study. Examples include complementary and alternative medicine, health education, health and fitness, local or global health challenges, health inequities and mindfulness. You are encouraged to consider additional certifications within or after your studies. Popular examples include qigong, self-hypnosis, herbal medicines, visual imagery, yoga, health coaching and Certified Health Education Specialist (which can be taken at Union). As a graduate, you will be prepared for careers such as health educator, wellness coach, wellness program coordinator, holistic practitioner and many others. You could also go on to pursue a doctoral degree.

36 Total credits
$748 Cost per credit hour
May 3 Next Start Date

The Health & Wellness major accommodates a wide variety of interests and scholarly pursuits. This unique and innovative degree combines a strong foundation in theory and research methods with evidence-based practice, health promotion and public education. You have considerable flexibility in choosing the focus of your study. Examples include complementary and alternative medicine, health education, health and fitness, local or global health challenges, health inequities and mindfulness. You are encouraged to consider additional certifications within or after your studies. Popular examples include qigong, self-hypnosis, herbal medicines, visual imagery, yoga, health coaching and Certified Health Education Specialist (which can be taken at Union). As a graduate, you will be prepared for careers such as health educator, wellness coach, wellness program coordinator, holistic practitioner and many others. You could also go on to pursue a doctoral degree.

  • 36 credit hour program
  • Full-time and part-time options
  • January, May and August start dates
  • Complete your degree in as little as 16 months
  • HWEL 512- Disciplinary Foundations I
  • HWEL 513- Disciplinary Foundations II
  • MAP 508- Elements of Scholarship
  • MAP 509- Research Methods
  • HWEL 521- Field of Study I
  • HWEL 522- Field of Study II
  • HWEL 525- Applications I
  • HWEL 526- Applications II
  • HWEL 620- Advanced Research Methods
  • HWEL 628- Thesis I
  • HWEL 629- Thesis II

Founded on Interdisciplinary Learning

Online - any time, anywhere. Union Institute & University pioneered the concept of individually mentored study rooted in each student’s own community. The Master of Arts program emphasizes the connections between scholarship and real-world application, and is built around your own questions and interests. Our faculty encourages this interplay between education and experience, theory and practice and helps you reflect on the lessons you learn by looking at a question from many vantage points. The program is 36 credits, culminating in a Master’s thesis. You are able to pursue your studies at your own convenience, full-time (9 credits) or part-time (6 credits), and finish in as little as 16 months.

One on one instruction

One-on-One
Instruction

Ethical & Creative Leadership

Focus your entire program on your own interests and professional goals

Educational Studies

Emphasis on becoming a scholar-practitioner

What Makes Our Program Unique?

“Our program is offered exclusively online, which allows for the ability for students to attend classes on their time. The small class size allows students to form lasting mentoring relationships with faculty.”

LISA AKERS
Health & Wellness Advisor

Applying Your Degree to Real World Experience

Graduates from the Health & Wellness major have gone on to become health educators, fitness coaches, wellness managers and holistic practitioners. Some have also pursued doctoral study.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the program work?

The Master of Arts program is designed for students to gain expertise in a self-designed field of study, within the larger context of their major. Learning is individualized, with students working closely with their faculty mentor. Students define their own field of study and develop a rigorous course of study in close collaboration with their faculty mentor, so to become Master’s-level experts in their chosen field.

Students begin with two core courses introducing them to graduate-level scholarship. They learn how to be part of a scholarly community, to use online databases for research, track their research, write a literature review and craft a research proposal. Students also begin an inquiry into their field during these courses. The Disciplinary Foundations courses introduce the fundamentals of the major field, including key scholars, questions, issues, methods and theories.

After these core courses, students develop their own Field of Study in collaboration with a faculty mentor with expertise in the field. The Field of Study incorporates students’ previous academic, professional, and personal experience, and combines it with their professional goals or personal curiosity, to develop expertise that is meaningful to the student, as well as to future employers or an academic community.

During Applications courses, students seek out experiential learning opportunities to deepen their knowledge base and apply what they have learned so far. In Advanced Research Methods, students go more in-depth into the methods, theories, and ethics of their Field of Study and write a proposal for their thesis. As a culminating experience, students write a Thesis; producing a scholarly paper on a topic of interest within their field of study. Students also have the option of producing creative work with a contextual essay. The student’s final transcript lists their Field of Study title and Thesis title, so they can demonstrate their expertise within the Major.

This program design is suited to students who know what they want to learn and why. Our instructors work one-on-one with each student to help them obtain the expertise they seek. The online delivery allows students to interact with peers across the globe and develop a supportive learning community.

How do I customize my program of study towards my interests or professional goals?

Some students come in primarily wanting to learn more about a topic that fascinates them (e.g. postpartum depression, childbirth education, herbal medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, wellness coaching, etc.). These students tailor their research projects, readings and experiential learning towards this topic. In all courses, students do some level of research into a personally chosen topic. In the advanced courses, students choose many of their course readings and design their assignments.

Other students come to the program primarily for professional reasons. These are as varied as our students. Some examples include: becoming qualified to teach at a community college, getting an MA degree to move up in pay or position within their profession (e.g. secondary school teachers, law enforcement officers, archaeological field technicians, librarians who want to work in an academic library, people wanting to move into management), small business owners increasing their knowledge of their business field (e.g. a yoga studio owner who wants to know more about the business side or health side of their business, a restauranteur interested in creativity in the culinary field), improving their creative writing credentials, or learning enough about a topic to move into a new professional field (e.g. public history, non-profit organizations, public policy, health education, archaeological botanical analysis). These students work with their faculty advisors from the beginning to make sure they tailor their readings, assignments and research to get what they need, professionally, out of the program. Again, your field of study title and thesis title will be on your transcript, so you can demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. You can design syllabi for your courses that cover what you need to learn and show them to employers or future graduate programs.

Still, others plan to pursue a doctoral degree and need to first complete a master’s degree. Most students come to our program with a mix of these purposes.

What are some examples of a Health & Wellness Field of Study and how a student tailored their program?

Each student spends time in Field of Study I (HWEL 521) and Field of Study II (HWEL 522) diving deep into the literature surrounding their topic of interest. Often the topics are very broad, so students use this time to narrow their focus.

Example 1: Postpartum Depression

Upon diving deep into the literature on postpartum depression, this student discovered that this topic isn’t covered in childbirth education classes. She used the information learned to develop and deliver a childbirth education course that incorporates this topic.  She went on to conduct her thesis research on postpartum depression.

Example 2: Dance

This student was a dance instructor and noticed anecdotally how dance can affect a person’s well-being and overall health. She focused her Field of Study on this topic and used the information she learned to develop a presentation for a local health fair, where an exhibit table is set-up so you can talk to attendees about the benefits of dance.

Example 3: CrossFit®

This student was interested in CrossFit®, and how the program could benefit American Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). He dove deep into the literature and used the information learned to develop a local program specific to his CrossFit® gym that would help benefit Veterans.

Hear What Our Students Are Saying

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