TCNJ to launch graduate certificate in health and wellness

Fully online program, which will start this summer, aims to assist national mental health crisis

The College of New Jersey, reacting to the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, announced it is launching a new, fully online health and wellness graduate certificate to prepare students to address wellbeing challenges in schools and society at large.

The program, which will launching this summer, will include courses on motivational coaching, stress management, health and wellness, nutrition and physical fitness, as well as an internship requirement. This track will be offered in a fully digital format.

The program is being run by the Health and Exercise Science Department in the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science.

“This new health and wellness graduate certificate is necessary for preparing current and future educators and health professionals to be active agents of change as the world deals with the mental health crisis resulting from the pandemic,” Dean Carole Kenner said. “We are proud that our faculty and students continue to proactively confront society’s most urgent challenges.”

Associate professor Laura Bruno, who is heading up the program, said it aims to aid an issue that is continuing to grow.

“Now, more than ever, wellness support and education is needed,” she said. “The goals and objectives of this program are to prepare individuals with the necessary tools to be wellness champions. We want to create agents of change who will proactively address and support the wellness needs within the communities they serve.”


The School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science at The College of New Jersey educates aspiring health professionals to become future leaders across the health care industry. Faculty work closely with local health care partners to provide students with applicative skills and foundational knowledge.

The nationally acclaimed school is dedicated to preparing individuals — through programs in nursing, public health, exercise science and physical education teaching — for the many rewards of guiding people, communities and populations toward improved health outcomes.

Before announcing this graduate certificate, TCNJ piloted an undergraduate health and wellness minor with similar program elements.

“Health and wellness coaches help people learn to live their best life by empowering clients to be the drivers of change through goal setting and applying the practical strategies for reaching those goals,” department Chair Anne Farrell said. “We have found that undergraduate majors enroll for multiple reasons: To attain information and practical experiences to improve their own health, to supplement or enhance their current major and to make themselves more marketable.

“The certificate is especially relevant for those in health- or education-focused fields, where there is an ever-growing need for professionals with this knowledge and skill base.”

Both Bruno and Farrell said they hope to extend the certificate’s internship requirement in the future to encourage students to actively assist local schools with assessing and taking action to improve student wellness.