Health and Well-Being (HWB)

Do you hope to combine your passion for helping others with your interest in a health sciences related career? What major should you choose to create your pathway to success? The Health and Well-being program at West Virginia University will provide you with a flexible track toward a health sciences related career such as nursing, athletic training, physical and occupational therapy or chiropractic. This program offers both an option for students who wish to pursue either a professional degree in health science or an alternative career pathway for those interested in community health and well-being.

The health sciences field is especially diverse, allowing individuals to serve in a variety of roles. The Health and Well-Being major allows you to complete a curriculum that includes foundation courses related to community health while providing a level of customization specific to your career goals. This plan of study was designed to help you tailor your degree program and prepare you for your next step after college graduation.

Students in the Health and Well-being program can opt to pick up multiple related certifications depending upon how they customize coursework throughout their degree. Certifications allow students to provide integral support to communities, campuses and numerous businesses by promoting health awareness. Graduates can work in a variety of settings with different types of clients by supporting healthy habits in several areas, including nutrition, fitness, substance abuse, pregnancy, financial health and environmental health.

Coursework

What you'll study

The customizable approach to the Health and Well-being program allows you to tailor the degree to your specific career goal

Whether you see yourself in a hospital or recreational setting, or an aquatic facility, the Health and Well-being program can provide an academic pathway to make that dream a reality. Curricular space exists to allow you to take the additional electives necessary for admission into the graduate/professional program of your choice.

Foundation coursework

All Health and Well-being students (BA and BS) will complete foundation coursework centered on exercise and health promotion, health education and pre-health professions pre-requisite courses in the sciences and human development. These core concepts will lay the groundwork for a variety of careers in the health sciences field.

Professional coursework

All students will complete a series of courses related to career exploration and hands-on learning. During freshman year, you will complete a course providing an in-depth examination into career options and the steps necessary to meet those specific career goals. By junior year, you will take a more robust career exploration course. To meet graduation requirements, all students are required to complete a personalized capstone experience based on their specific career goals. This involvement is intended to ensure that you gain an in-depth understanding of your chosen profession. You will gain practical knowledge thanks to capstone projects, and hands-on learning opportunities, such as an internship or research experience.

Choose between two degree tracks

Pre-Health Professions (BS)

Upon admission to West Virginia University, all students will join the Bachelor of Science in Health and Well-being program. The Bachelor of Science option includes many of the necessary science prerequisites for you to be eligible for admission to health profession graduate programs in fields such as nursing, athletic training and other allied health related professions. If you choose to pursue a graduate/professional degree, you will work with your academic advisor to determine an appropriate plan of study based specifically on your career goals.

Bachelor of Science Example Plan of Study

Community Well-being (BA)

If you are intending to pursue a career outside clinical practice, consider a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Well-being. The foundation coursework will be the same as the Bachelor of Science. However, students in the Bachelor of Arts track will take classes that are focused on community health promotion and individual lifestyle management. Students are encouraged to supplement their plan of study using available areas of emphasis or minors.

Bachelor of Arts Example Plan of Study
Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

  • Taliaferro

    Andrea Taliaferro

    Professional Highlights

    • Research interests include minimizing health disparities for individuals with disabilities through the improvement of inclusive physical activity opportunities in school- and community-based settings. 
    • West Virginia University 2019 Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching 
    • APENS Certified Adapted Physical Educator, National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities 
    • Vice President - National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (2019-2021) 
  • elliot 

    Eloise Elliott

    Professional Highlights

    • Ware Distinguished Professor in the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences since 2009
    • Co-Author of the book, Teaching Children and Adolescents Physical Education (Graham, Elliott, Palmer, 2016) 
    • Recent Honors: Research Fellow, Society of Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) America (2017), Outstanding WVU CPASS Grantsperson Award (2019), Chair, U.S. President’s Council for Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition Science Board (2017) 
  • portrait of sean bulger

    Sean Bulger

    Professional Highlights

    • Received the 2016 Ray O. Duncan Award from the state HPERD association for outstanding service and leadership. 
    • Co-authored more than 60 books, chapters and journal articles on physical activity promotion and best teaching practices.
    • Collaborated on over $5 million in external funding to support physical activity in school, community, and family settings. 
    • Delivered over 130 presentations at state, regional and national conferences/conventions. 
  • Portrait of Dana Voelker

    Dana Voelker

    Professional Highlights

    • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology
    • 2018 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teachers
    • 2018 Association for Applied Sport Psychology Dorothy V. Harris Memorial Award
    • 2019 Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant
  • Portrait of Peter Giacobbi 

    Peter Giacobbi

    Professional Highlights

    • Deputy Director, West Virginia Prevention Research Center (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) since 2016
    • Research focus on chronic disease risk reduction using digital and other delivery technologies 
    • Expert in the use of guided imagery in sport and exercise settings, overall well-being and managing health behavior
    • Current Google Scholar H-index of 30, Scopus H-index of 22; 68 peer-reviewed publications
  • Sam Zizzi

    Sam Zizzi

    Professional Highlights

    • Twice recognized as Most Outstanding Teacher at WVU CPASS
    • Recognized as the Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor to focus efforts on the health and wellness of WV citizens
    • Published one of the first books on awareness in the present moment, entitled Mindfulness in Sport and Exercise Psychology (2017) with friend and colleague Mark Andersen
    • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
    Beyond The Classroom

    Field Experiences and Research

    You will participate in community partnerships as part of your capstone experience.

    Hands-on experience

    We partner with a strong network of Morgantown area health-related professional organizations to support student placements. These organizations include athletic training and healthcare facilities, such as the WVU Student Recreation Center, Mylan Aquatic Facility, WVU Extension, local fitness clubs, WellWVU, WVU Student Life groups and clinics for PT, OT and chiropractic services.

    Student research opportunities

    Students have opportunities to get involved with research within the college or the larger university community. At the end of each spring semester, the college hosts an annual research day. Students and faculty from within the college present their research to members of the university community, alumni and beyond. Students also have the opportunity to work under the mentorship of a college faculty member through the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). 

    Students can engage with researchers in our Center for Active WV. The center is focused on improving the health and quality of life of all West Virginians through changes to policy, systems, and environments. Current projects involve increasing access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities in rural communities; statewide cardiovascular risk factor surveillance, intervention, and education in K-12 schools; and implementation of sustainable infrastructure to provide wellness opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

    Career Preparation

    After Graduation

    Students in the Health and Well-being program can opt to pick up multiple related certifications depending upon how they customize coursework throughout their degree.

    Career Pathways

    Healthcare Communications Specialist

    Health communication specialists work in hospital settings, as well as community-based organizations to help society better understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and disease prevention. These individuals blend their interest in marketing and public relations with their passion for helping others. 

    Suggested minors:

    Health PromotionAdvertisingMarketing

    Resume builders:

    interning in the marketing/patient relations department of a hospital, volunteering with WellWVU, job shadow current health communications specialists

    Certifications:

    N/A

    Health Education Specialist

    Health education specialists work in community organizations, corporate settings, and higher education facilities to promote health and wellness. These individuals teach behaviors related to healthy lifestyles to include physical health, mental health, environmental health, and financial health.

    Areas of emphasis:

    Fitness or Recreational Sport

    Resume builders:

    Volunteering with WellWVU, working at the  Student Recreation Center, get involved in a  student organization related to sport and recreation

    Healthcare Project Manager

    Healthcare project managers work in hospitals, medical offices, insurance companies, assisted living facilities, and community clinics. Generally, these individuals oversee day-to-day operations within healthcare facilities and lead projects to maximize efficiency while improving patient care.

    Resume builders:

    Practice coding with online modules, job shadow a current project manager or director of operations, intern with an operations department within a hospital or healthcare setting

    Medical and Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

    Health communication specialists work in hospital settings, as well as community-based organizations to help society better understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and disease prevention. These individuals blend their interest in marketing and public relations with their passion for helping others. 

    Resume builders:

    intern with the marketing department of a company

    Certifications:

    N/A

    Graduate School Pathways

    Accelerated Nursing Degree (BS/BA to BSN)

    Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care surrounding various health conditions. Registered nurses also educate, provide advice and emotional support for patients and their family members. Registered nurses work in many different settings that may include hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, outpatient clinics and schools.

    Suggested minors:

    Biology, Gerontology, Medical Humanities and Health Studies, Human services

    Resume builders:

    Shadowing a registered nurse. Working in a healthcare setting as a nursing assistant, orderly, or other position that provides opportunities to interact with medical care providers and patients

    Athletic Training (MS)

    Athletic trainers work to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries. Athletic trainers often work in educational settings such as middle and high schools, and colleges/universities. Other athletic trainers work for professional sport teams, or in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, physician’s offices or fitness centers.

    Suggested minors:

     Sport and Exercise Psychology, Personal TrainingStrength and ConditioningBiology, Gerontology, Leadership studies, Medical Humanities and Health Studies, Human services

    Resume builders:

    Shadowing an athletic trainer on the job. Volunteering to help an athletic trainer provide services to athletes in an educational setting

    Chiropractic (DC)

    Chiropractors work with patients who are experiencing problems associated with the neuromusculoskeletal system. Such problems may include nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Chiropractors use techniques such as spinal adjustments and manipulation, as well as other clinical interventions, to manage patients’ health concerns.

    Resume builders:

    Informational interview with chiropractor, shadowing chiropractors at work, working in a chiropractic office, working in a supportive role within a hospital or health related setting.

    Occupational Therapy (OTD)

    Occupational therapists utilize everyday activities to help injured, ill, or disabled patients develop, recover, improve and maintain the skills necessary for daily living and working. Occupational therapists often work occupational therapy offices or in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and home health services.

    Suggested minors:

    Sport and Exercise Psychology,Biology, Gerontology, Medical Humanities and Health Studies, Human service

    Resume builders:

    Shadowing an occupational therapist. Volunteering with an occupational therapist in a hospital or clinic, working in a supportive role within a hospital or health related setting.

    Physical Therapy (DPT)

    Physical therapists help individuals suffering from injury or illness improve movement and manage pain. Physical therapists provide rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention for patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. Physical therapists often work in private offices and clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.

    Suggested minors:

    Sport and Exercise Psychology, Personal Trainer,Biology, Gerontology, Medical Humanities and Health Studies, Human service

    Resume builders:

    Shadowing a physical therapist. Volunteering with a physical therapist in a hospital or clinic, working in a supportive role within a hospital or health related setting.

    Pubic Health (MPH)

    Public Health graduate programs are typically offered at the master's level and provide Health and Well-Being graduates with an opportunity to go more in-depth regarding topics related to community health, corporate wellness, and epidemiology. MPH programs typically allow students to specialize in topics such as environmental health, biostatisitcs, health education and communication, epidemiology, health law, social and behavioral sciences related to health outcomes, health promotion, international health and development, and industrial hygiene.

    Resume builders:

    Participate in CPASS Student Research Day, work with a faculty member on a research study, apply to participate in SURE or RAP 

    Disclaimer:

    The number of credits and courses required for admission into specific “Professional Preparation” areas can vary and will depend on the specific graduate program the student is working toward. Each profession and graduate program can have different required undergraduate courses. Your academic and faculty advisors will assist you with choosing the correct classes each semester so that you are ready to apply to the graduate program of your choice. To be sure that you are taking the correct list of elective courses, students are encouraged to identify the specific program(s) into which they would like to apply.

    How To Apply

    The Admission Process

    How to apply

    On your WVU Admissions materials indicate Health and Well-being (HWB) as your program of choice.

    Prerequisites and requirements

    Incoming freshman and transfer students are directly admitted into the Health and Well-being major upon meeting the University admission requirements.

    To meet graduation requirements, students must remain in good academic standing at West Virginia University and earn the minimum grades necessary in each of their major requirement courses. Students must complete a graduation application by the deadline during the term in which they plan to graduate. For more information, students can contact their assigned academic advisor.

    Learn more

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    Lindsay Augstine Portrait
    Lindsay Augustine
    Student Services Specialist
    Valerie Wayda
    Valerie Wayda
    Associate Professor