Southwest Minnesota State University

Social Science Department


Community Psychology and Health Promotion

Degrees Offered: Undergraduate


At A Glance

Full-time Faculty: 5

Full-time Faculty Identifying as Community Psychologists: 1

Average number of students accepted each year: 25

Available Student Assistantships: Work study positions and scholarships.

The Program 

Accessible/affordable - all students (in-state and out-of-state pay the same public university tuition); active, ongoing advising/career development support; and annual SMSU Undergraduate Research Conference; two required internships, along with service-learning options.

Program Highlights:

  • Emphasis on wellness and health promotion
  • Interdisciplinary coursework
  • A.A. or A.S. students can complete a B.A. degree online
  • Easy transfer of previous psychology/health coursework
  • Two supervised internship experiences
  • Service learning options in several courses
  • Individualized advising and career guidance
  • Pathway to graduate study in psychology or public health

Emphasis of the Program:

This program blends online coursework in community psychology and health promotion with internships and other applied learning experiences. Foundational coursework in psychology is coupled with upper division courses in positive psychology and health psychology, developmental psychology, ethics/writing, health promotion and diversity. The degree is multidisciplinary, focusing on: promotion of wellness and resilience, public health education, social action, cultural competency, ethical practice, and use of scientific inquiry to support the well-being of individuals and communities. An introductory course in community psychology orients students to relevant professions and provides support with overall career development. Graduates of this program may find employment as health educators, program directors, consultants, community researchers, or with government agencies that promote public health and well-being. Students with this degree will also be well-prepared for graduate programs in community psychology, mental health counseling, or public health.

Program Alumni Information

The program focuses on training future researchers and practitioners. Graduates from the program are typically employed in government, healthcare, and/or the nonprofit sector. 

How does SMSU meet the needs of the working health professional?

  • Offers predominantly online courses with opportunities for face-to-face experiences on the SMSU campus.
  • Offers applied experiences in the student’s own community and elsewhere.
  • Provides ongoing career guidance and advising, helping students intentionally build on previous professional experiences to create new career opportunities.
  • Recognizes that many employers offer tuition reimbursement which can offset student tuition costs.
  • The program is designed to fit around the student’s personal/professional life, rather than the student fitting their life around school.


Requirements for Degree Completion:

All students must complete a total of 120 credits, which must include completion of the following:

  • Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) consisting of 42 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0  
  • 40 credits at the 300-400 level
  • At least 30 credits at SMSU
  • All Liberal Education Program (LEP) Graduation Requirements

Courses Required in the Community Psychology and Health Promotion Program:

Community Psychology Core Courses (24 credits):

  • General Psychology 
  • Intro to Community Psychology 
  • Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences/Lab 
  • Abnormal Psychology 
  • Positive Psychology 
  • Advanced Health Psychology 
  • Advanced Applied Psychology (taken twice)

One course from each of the following areas (12 credits):

  • Developmental Psychology
    • Developmental Psychology 
    • Child & Adolescent Psychology 
    • Adult Development & Aging
  • Ethics/Professional Writing
    • Ethical Issues in Professional Life 
    • Writing in the Medical and Health Professions 
    • Scientific and Technical Writing
  • Health Promotion
    • Principles of Health Communication 
    • Community Health and Health Promotion 
  • Diversity 
    • Cross Cultural Psychology 
    • Human Relations 
    • Racial and Ethnic Relations 
    • Diverse & At-Risk Populations 
    • Indigenous Peoples of the Upper Midwest 
    • African American History 

Additional Electives (6 credits)


Students work with a faculty advisor to locate internship experiences that fit their unique career development plans. Internships are supervised learning experiences that are intentionally structured to help make students competitive for entry level positions and/or for admittance to graduate studies programs.

Program Faculty and Research Interests

Southwest Minnesota State University faculty