Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences

Jody Rajcula, Co-Chair
Berkshire 230a, Midtown campus
(203) 837-8688
(203) 837-8638 (fax)

Dr. Robyn Housemann, Co-Chair
Berkshire 230b, Midtown campus
(203) 837-8882
(203) 837-8638 (fax)

Karen Ferraro, Department Secretary
Berkshire 230, Midtown campus
(203) 837-8612
(203) 837-8638 (fax)


J. Rajcula, Co-Chair R. Housemann, Co-Chair J. Schlict
V. Verhoff E. Stevens  

Adjunct Faculty

H. Alviti D. Arifian M. Dalton
T. Blood R. Burkhart A. Heron
J. DeBenedetto J. Dreyer K. Martel
E. Hollenbeck E. Littrell S. Russell


There are two distinct degree programs within the health promotion and exercise sciences area: one leading to a bachelor of science degree and teaching certification as a school health educator, and one leading to a bachelor of science degree as a health promotion studies educator, with options in community health and wellness management. Following completion of a Bachelor of Science in Health Education or Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion Studies, students will be prepared to sit for the national CHES examination (Certified Health Education Specialist, the credential for health educators). Examination sites are located throughout the United States.


The health promotion and exercise sciences department strives to educate all WCSU students about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices which encourages life-long, optimal health and well-being. The students in our degree programs are additionally prepared for entry-level, certified health education specialist (CHES) positions in schools and in a wide variety of private and public settings (i.e. corporations, hospitals, community organizations and other multi-public service organizations).

In addition to a liberal arts core of courses, students must successfully complete health content courses and teaching methodology, including the use of technology, in order to achieve professional competence as identified by standards set by national credentialing organizations. The focus of studying health promotion and exercise science is to educate students on the importance of a physically active lifestyle, wellness, fitness, healthy leisure time activities, health promotion, health protection and preventive services in schools and the larger global community.

It is the goal of the health promotion and exercise sciences department to be known as the undergraduate program of choice in the region to prepare for careers in school health education and fitness/leisure activities.

The department also strives to be recognized for its scholarship and to provide programs which utilize a holistic, integrated and multidisciplinary approach. Our programs link the education of the mind with opportunities to apply newly learned skills in experiential, cooperative and internship experiences. The multidisciplinary academic program includes courses in health promotion and wellness, psychology, safety and health protection, total fitness, knowledge of and opportunities for healthy leisure activities, nutrition, biology, education, social welfare and politics, and related areas.

As such, this holistic approach to healthy living does not focus on illness or specific parts of the body or one facet of community life. It emphasizes the connection and interdependency of the components of individual and community health. These components include environmental, political and economic aspects of health, as well as the physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual elements of well-being.

Program Objectives

The curriculum is driven by competency-based objectives derived from ongoing internal and external program evaluations. Our graduates’ performances in pre-professional activities and worksite placements with schools, public and private health agencies, fitness centers and corporations assist in the realization of the department’s mission. We strive to meet the educational needs of a diversified student body so that our majors will be prepared to address health education in a global society.


B.S. Health Education (PK-12)
B.S. Health Promotion Studies

Community Health
Wellness Management


Program Goals

  1. Prepare students with the proficiencies to become life-long learners, provide the skill needed to contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and improve quality of life for themselves and the students they educate.
  2. Provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary academic curriculum that prepares graduates for careers in a variety of health education fields.
  3. Prepare students to meet the standards set by state and national credentialing organizations for health educators.
  4. Provide a comprehensive approach to health and fitness education emphasizing the connection and interdependency of individuals, school, family and community.


Certification Program for PK-12
The teacher education programs at Western are rigorous and not all candidates applying for professional program admission are accepted. While students may gain acceptance to the university, those interested in obtaining state teacher’s certification (elementary, secondary, music, and health education) must file a separate application for professional program acceptance usually during the second semester of their junior year.

Self-declared health Education majors must maintain a GPA of 2.67 or higher upon the completion of 60 credits of course work in order to remain a self-declared education major. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be contacted by the Dean of the School of Professional Studies. Students must achieve a GPA of 2.8 or higher in order to be accepted into all professional education programs as candidates for teacher certification.

Course Restrictions

For a complete list of prerequisites, corequisites and other restrictions for all courses, please consult the Course Description section of this catalog.

Application And Submission Process For Professional Program Acceptance

Applications for professional program acceptance can be obtained at the department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences (BR 230). Before the process of screening for professional program acceptance, applications must be filed with the school health coordinator of the Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences department.

Criteria For Professional Program Acceptance

Students seeking admission to any of Western’s teacher education certification programs must have completed and met the following criteria. The following deadline dates must be met for students applying for professional teacher education program acceptance. The deadline date for fall semester admittance into a Professional Teacher Education Program is 12 noon on April 1. You must have all of your materials submitted to the Health Education program coordinator by the deadline date. After your materials have been submitted and reviewed, you will be contacted for an interview with faculty.

Candidates must:

  1. Pass a Connecticut state mandated basic skills examination (PRAXIS I) in mathematics, reading and writing, or must obtain a waiver from the State Department of Education by presenting a combined score of 1100 or more with no less than 450 on either the verbal or math subtest. If the SAT was administered prior to March 31, 1995, the candidate must present a combined score of 1,000 with at least a score of 400 on both the verbal and the math sections. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for this waiver. (Students may present a passing score on a similar test for another state with which Connecticut has certification reciprocity agreements.) Information concerning the PRAXIS I exam and waiver information is available in the Office of the Dean of Professional Studies, Midtown campus, 123 White Hall, (203-837-8575) or in the Education Office, Westside campus, Classroom Building 249 (203-837-8510).
  2. Present at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA for undergraduate courses taken prior to professional program acceptance (approximately 90 credits and reflecting courses in progress). Note: The 2.8 cumulative GPA requirements is effective for all students, including any change of majors. All work done both at Western and other colleges will be considered in the computation of the cumulative grade point average. Note: Students with less than a cumulative 2.8 grade point average will not be admitted to or retained in the program.
  3. Completed the university’s general education requirements (42 semester-hour minimum) in communication, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences and mathematics/computer science, and exercise science, as well as completed a writing-intensive course.
  4. Complete with a minimum grade of “B” the following education courses:
    ED 206 Introduction to Education
    HPX 215 Health Issues in the Schools (Grades PK-12)
    EPY 204 Adolescent Development in School Setting
  5. Prepare and present an essay demonstrating a command of the English language identifying reasons for wanting to enroll, emphasizing experience relevant to teaching health.
  6. Present at least two letters of recommendation from persons outside the university who are able to testify to the candidate’s suitability as a prospective health teacher.
  7. Participate in an interview with health education faculty members who will assess personal attributes that suggest potential performance as a teacher.

Note: Students may not register for the following courses until they have been formally admitted to the health education program: HPX 311, HPX 386, HPX 460, HPX 464, ED 340, ED 440, EPY 405.

To graduate, students must complete all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below and free electives to total a minimum of 125 semester hours, including HPX physical activity requirement.

PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology*
SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology*
BIO 105, 106 Anatomy and Physiology I & II*
COM 161 Decision Making in Groups*
ENG or WRT Writing Intensive Course (W)*
HIS 148 American History to 1877* or HIS 149 American History since 1877*
EPY 204 Adolescent Development in School**
ED 206 Introduction to Education**
ED 340 Assessment of Teaching Strategies*
ED 440 Integrating Language
EPY 405 Introduction to Special Education*
HPX 100 Health Promotion and Maintenance
HPX 160 First Aid & Safety
HPX 177 Fitness for Life
HPX 205 Nutrition and Health
HPX 215 Health Issues in the Schools**
HPX 230 Drug Studies
HPX 253 Concepts of Disease
HPX 271 Health Education Programs in the Community*
HPX 311 School Health Programs*
HPX 352 Mental Health
HPX 355 Human Sexuality
HPX 371 Health Communication Methods and Strategies*
HPX 386 Health Education Professional Development School Experience
HPX 460 Health Education Student Teaching Seminar*
HPX 464 Student Teaching

Required Course Sequence

First Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
BIO 105* (fall only) BIO 106* (spring only)
HPX 100 HPX 160
SOC 100* HPX 177
PSY 100* HIS 148* or 149*
COM 161* MAT or CS
  General Education Requirement

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
CHE 102 Writing Intensive Course*
ED 206** (Prereq. PSY 100) HPX 271* (spring only)
EPY 204** HPX 205*
HPX 230 (fall only) HPX 215**
HPX 253 (fall only) General Education Requirement

Junior Year
Note: Students must make official application for Senior-year status by April 1 in their Junior year.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HPX 371* (fall only) HPX 352 (spring only)
HPX 355 (fall only) General Education Requirement(s)
General Education Requirement Free Elective Course(s)
Free Elective Course(s)  

Senior Year

Fall Semester (Professional Semester) Spring Semester
HPX 311* ED 340*
HPX 386 (Professional Semester Lab) HPX 460*
HPX 160 HPX 464
EPY 405** (Prereq. EPY 204)  
ED 440**  
Free Elective Course  

Total 125 Semester Hours
* Minimum of “C” grade required.
** Minimum of “B” grade required.
2.8 QPA for a B.S. Degree

In order to register for student teaching, Health Education majors must present at least a 2.8 overall GPA. Students are advised not to register for other courses, except for ED 340, HPX 460 and HPX 464, or be working in other jobs during this semester. A student teaching application (available at the Education Office), approved by the appropriate Health Education advisor, must be filed with the Chairperson of the Education department during the semester just prior to the student teaching semester. The student teaching requirement for Health Education majors consists of one semester. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from their assigned schools.

Students earning other than a “P” grade in student teaching may be required to complete additional student teaching and/or course work before receiving a recommendation for graduation and certification. Students must have at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA in all courses to graduate as a Health Education major.

To complete the Health Education degree program, the student must pass the Health PRAXIS II examination. The PRAXIS II exam tests health subject area knowledge. The Initial Educator Certificate will be issued by the State of Connecticut upon completion of program requirements and the passing of PRAXIS II (0550). All CONNTENT exams are being offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS utilizes the national teacher examination (PRAXIS) specialty area tests for CONNTENT requirements. Additionally, students are encouraged to sit for the national CHES exam.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the B.S. Health Education (PK-12) Certification Program will be prepared to demonstrate the following outcomes:

    1. Apply health content knowledge as competent health educators.
    2. Assess individual and community needs for health education.
    3. Plan effective health education programs.
    4. Implement health education programs.
    5. Evaluate effectiveness of health education programs.
    6. Coordinate provisions of health education services.
    7. Act as a resource person in health education.
    8. Communicate health and health education needs, concerns, and resources (#2-8   responsibilities and competencies for school health educators have been established, as seen in The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.


Program Goals

  1. Prepare its students with the proficiencies to become life-long learners, and provide the skills needed to contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and improved quality of life for themselves and the people they educate.
  2. Provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary academic curriculum that prepares its graduates for careers in a variety of health and fitness educational fields.
  3. Prepare students to meet the standards set by state and national credentialing organizations for health fitness educators.
  4. Provide a comprehensive approach to health and fitness education emphasizing the connection and interdependency of individuals, careers, family and community.


Completion of all general education requirements, the Health Promotion Studies core and option course work, and free electives, a minimum of 125 semester hours. Overall GPA minimum of 2.0; 2.5 in HPX major classes.

Health Promotion Studies Core Course Work

BIO 105 Anatomy & Physiology I
BIO 106 Anatomy & Physiology II
PSY 260 Health Psychology
HPX 100 Health Promotion & Maintenance
HPX 200 Intro. to Community Health & Organizations
HPX 270 Health Ed. Theory & Application
HPX 370 Health Promotion Program Design & Implementation
HPX 371 Health Communication Methods & Strategies
HPX 470 Health Promotion Program Evaluation
HPX 490 Practicum for Health Promotion Studies*
HPX 491 Health Promotion Studies Senior Seminar*

Community Health Option Course Work

HPX 202 Epidemiology of Disease
HPX 353 Environment & Global Health
Nine HPX Elective Credits

Wellness Management Option Course Work
HPX 205 Nutrition & Health
HPX 207 Nutrition & Health Laboratory
HPX 254 Fitness Seminar & Laboratory
HPX 255 Group Exercise Instruction
HPX 281 Principles of Wellness
HPX 380 Worksite Health

Recommended Course Sequence for the Community Health Option:

First Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HIS 101 CHE 102
SOC 100 HPX 177
COM 162 HPX 100*
PHI 111 PSY 100
General Education elective Writing Intensive course (W)

Sophomore Year

Fall Seemster Spring Semester
HPX 200 HPX 270
HPX 202 HPX 353
SW 220 BIO 106 (spring only)
BIO 105 (fall only) MAT 115 or 120
General Education elective HPX elective

Junior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HPX 370 HPX 470
HPX 371 HPX 353
PSY 260 HPX 160
HPX Elective HPX elective
General Education elective Free elective

Senior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HPX 490 Electives
HPX 491  

Recommended Course Sequence for the Wellness Management Option:

First Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
SOC 100 PSY 100
HIS 101 HPX 177
PHI 111 CHE 102
COM 162 HPX 100*
General Education elective Writing Intensive course (W)

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HPX 200* HPX 205
HPX 254 HPX 207
PSY 260 HPX 255
MAT 115 or 120 HPX 270*
BIO 105 (fall only)* HPX 281
  BIO 106 (spring only)*

Junior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HPX 370* HPX 470*
HPX 371* PSY 218
SW 220 HPX 380
General Education elective HPX 160
Free Elective Free Elective

Senior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
HPX 490 Free Electives
HPX 491  

* Must be completed prior to HPX 490 and 491.


Graduates of the B.S. Health Promotion Studies program will be prepared to demonstrate the following outcomes:

  1. Knowledge of core concepts of community health, global health, epidemiology, nutrition and physical fitness necessary for entry level health promotion practitioners.
  2. Proficiency in applying knowledge and skills of health promotion studies, including program planning, implementation and evaluation.


This requirement is fulfilled by taking HPX 177 Fitness for Life, a combination of one 1.0 credit lecture class and one 1.0 credit activity class. The lecture and activity classes must be taken during the same semester and both classes have to be passed in order to receive any credit.  Refer to physical activity courses (under course descriptions at the back of this catalog) for a list of activity courses available.

Splitting the course is possible and available to students who transfer in partial activity credit or for Western students fulfilling varsity team requirements. Western students fulfilling varsity team requirements shall receive 0.5 semester hours of physical activity credit but only a maximum of one credit is acceptable for general education activity credit. Because of the physical demands of activity courses offered at Western, students are strongly urged to have a physical examination before registering for these courses. Since part-time students are not covered by university accident insurance, part-time students are strongly urged to carry accident insurance.


Abilities Beyond Disabilities, Brookfield
AIDS Project, Danbury
Alternative Incarceration Center, Danbury
American Cancer Society, Wilton
American Red Cross, Danbury 
American Red Cross, Waterbury
Avery Heights, Hartford
Bethel Health Dept., Bethel
Boehringer Ingelheim, Fairfield
Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield
Brewster Athletic Club, Brewster, NY
Birth Partners Labor Assistants, Naugatuck
Cardinal Hayes Home for Children, Millbrook, NY
Connecticut Holistic Health Association (CHHA), West Hartford
Connecticut State Dept. of Health
Danbury Children First Initiative, Danbury
Danbury Health Care Affiliates, DHCA, Danbury
Danbury Hospital, Danbury
Danbury Dept. of Health and Housing, Danbury
Danbury School System, Danbury
Danbury High School, Roberts Avenue School, Hayestown Avenue School, Danbury
Danbury Senior Center, Danbury
Danbury Youth Services, Danbury
Danbury Visiting Nurses Assoc., Danbury
Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, Danbury
Duracell Fitness Center, Bethel
Dow Chemical Corporation, Fitness Center
Devereux Glenhome School, Washington, CT
Even Start, Danbury
Filosa Nursing Home, Danbury
Girl Scouts of Southwest Connecticut
Green Chimneys School, Brewster, NY
Good Friends, Danbury
Habitat for Humanity
Hancock Hall, Danbury
Harambee Center, Danbury 
Heal the Children, New Milford
Healing Hearts (Danbury Hospice)
HealthQuest, Danbury
Health South, Danbury
Hispanos Unidos Contra El Sida, New Haven
Human Resource Development Agency, Naugatuck
ICES, Waterbury
Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Danbury, Danbury
Just for Women, Waterbury
Laurel Ridge Nursing Home, Ridgefield
MasterCard Pro-Fit Center, Purchase, NY
National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD), New Fairfield
New Fairfield H.S., New Fairfield
New Milford H.S., New Milford
New Milford Senior Center, New Milford
Newtown Youth Services, Newtown
Northwest CT AIDS Project, Torrington
Pepsi Bottling Group, Armonk, N.Y.
Planned Parenthood, Danbury and New Haven
Pitney Bowes Corporate Fitness Center, Danbury
Region #15, Pomperaug High School, Southbury
Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, Ridgefield
Rockland County Dept. of Health, New City, NY
Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, Danbury
Salvation Army, Danbury 
St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury
Sun Family Outreach Program, Meriden
The Nat’l Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, Brewster, NY
Town of Kent, Environmental Protection, Kent
United Way of Western Connecticut, Danbury
Visiting Nurses of Oxford
War Memorial, Danbury
Waterbury Health Dept., Waterbury
Western Connecticut Senior Exercise Program, Danbury
Western Connecticut State University, ChildCare Center, Danbury
Western Connecticut State University, CHOICES, Danbury
Western Connecticut State University, Housing & Residence Life, Danbury
Western Connecticut State University, V-DAY Project, Danbury 
Until Violence Stops, Danbury
Women’s Center, Danbury
Women, Infant and Children (WIC), Danbury
Youth Action Programs & Homes, Inc., NY
YMCA, Waterbury

Health Fitness Corporation, Minneapolis, MN
MediFit, Florsham Park, NJ
ProFitness Health Solutions, Shelton

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