UConn Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management

UConn's Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management undertakes the 21st century public health demand to understand the lead causes of the obesity crisis and to develop, implement, and evaluate solutions for this disease.

Over 70% of American adults and nearly one-third of U.S. children have overweight or obesity (CDC, 2018).

The new in-person 12-credit program offered by the University of Connecticut’s Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) intends to train the next generation of researchers and clinicians to tackle one of the biggest public health threats: obesity. This certificate program is only open to students currently enrolled in any UConn graduate program.


Program Overview

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management is designed to educate and equip graduate students from a wide range of educational backgrounds for the joint mission of understanding, preventing, and treating obesity through clinical care, interdisciplinary research, and cross-functional collaborations. Given that there are multiple drivers of the obesity epidemic, the program will challenge students to explore solutions for obesity at various levels and settings including from prevention to treatment, from childhood to adult, and from individual to policy.

Upon completion of the program, students will:

  • Describe the antecedents and consequences of the obesity epidemic across the lifespan, including risk factors, social and physical determinants, health disparities, etc.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the physiology of diet, hunger, physical activity, energy consumption, and weight management principles.
  • Analyze and apply evidence-based dietary and physical activity guidelines and behavior modification principles.
  • Organize the research literature related to obesity prevention/management using the socio-ecological model.
  • Apply systems thinking to obesity prevention and treatment.
  • Evaluate policies with the potential to impact obesity.

Requirements and Courses

Students are required to take CHIP 5000: Obesity from and Interdisciplinary Perspective, plus three additional elective courses (3 credits each), one from each of the three areas below, as approved by the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management Committee. Students are allowed, but not required, to take one elective course in their home department. The certificate requires completing all four courses while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher in each required course. All classes will be administered in-person.

Qualifying Courses

Electives courses (minimum of one course from each category):

Nutritional Sciences

  • NUSC 5398 - Special Topics in Nutrition
  • NUSC 5200 - Macronutrient Metabolism
  • NUSC 6315 - Lipid Metabolism in Health and Disease
  • NUSC 6317 - Nutritional Epidemiology
  • HDFS 5095 - Public Health Nutrition through the Lifespan: Concepts and Controversies

Physical Activity/Exercise Science

  • KINS 5507 - Fundamentals of Exercise Prescription
  • KINS 5508 - Exercise Prescription for Individuals with Chronic Diseases and Health Conditions
  • KINS 5595 - Special Topics in Exercise Prescription

Behavioral Science and Policy

  • ARE 3260 - Food Policy
  • COMM 5770 - Health Communication
  • GPAH 6305 - Program Planning and Evaluation for Health Professionals
  • GPAH 6324 - Critical Issues in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • HDFS 3450 - Food and the American Family
  • HDFS 5095 - Designing and Evaluating Health and Wellness Interventions
  • HDFS 5340 - Prevention, Intervention, and Public Policy
  • PSYC 5120 - Health Psychology
  • PSYC 6750 - The Social Psychology of Stigma
  • PUBH 5477 - Food, Health, and Politics

Note: Please also check the graduate catalog, department websites, and instructors for course availability. Not all courses are available in each academic year.


The certificate program is administered by faculty in the Departments of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Allied Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, Communication, Human Development and Family Sciences, Psychological Sciences, Public Health Sciences, and InCHIP.

Affiliated Faculty

Allied Health Sciences
  • Tricia Leahey, Ph.D. (Program Director)
  • Caitlin Caspi, Sc.D.
  • Kristen Cooksey Stowers, Ph.D.
  • Valerie Duffy, Ph.D., RD
  • Tania Huedo-Medina, Ph.D.
  • Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D.
  • Molly Waring, Ph.D.
Agricultural Resources and Economics
  • Tatiana Andreyeva, Ph.D.
Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Kim Gans, Ph.D., MPH
  • Rebecca Puhl, Ph.D.
  • Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D.
  • Linda Pescatello, Ph.D.
Nutritional Sciences
  • Loneke Blackman Carr, Ph.D., RD
Psychological Sciences
  • Amy Gorin, Ph.D.
  • Diane Quinn, Ph.D.


Students must apply to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management via The Graduate School’s online application system. The application process is managed by The Graduate School, not InCHIP, and is similar to the Master’s/Ph.D. program application process.


Application Requirements and Costs

Individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree are eligible to apply for the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management. The graduate certificate is open to students who are currently enrolled in a UConn graduate program, as well as individuals who are not currently enrolled at UConn.

Applicants enrolled in another UConn graduate program

Applicants must submit an online application via The Graduate School. The application fee is automatically waived for students currently enrolled in a UConn graduate program (certificate, master’s, or doctoral) when they apply to another graduate program.

In addition, applicants must upload the following documents to the online application system:

  • Digital copy of unofficial transcripts
  • Personal statement (1 page)
  • Short letter signed by either a primary advisor, home department head or director of graduate program supporting the application
  • A planned list of electives and timeline for certificate completion

Contact Us

For questions about the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Obesity Prevention and Weight Management, please contact the program director:

Tricia Leahey, Ph.D.

InCHIP Director
Professor of Allied Health Sciences


Students interested in the certificate should contact the InCHIP Graduate Program Coordinator, Greidy Miralles, at greidy.miralles@uconn.edu to coordinate the appropriate forms and records for admission.