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A passion for new experiences in sports brought Julie Naugler to Saint Mary’s University, unexpectedly opening new horizons in the classroom too. When she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 2020, in she was also the first student to receive the university’s new Certificate in Health, Wellness and Sport in Society (HWSS).

“It’s something I genuinely recommend to students who want to have another edge up,” she says. “You come out with two credentials—a degree and a certificate—and you can still do both within four years.”

A star rugby player, volunteer coach and student leader while attending Saint Mary’s, Naugler was first drawn to the new certificate program because it combined her academic interests with her experience in sports. Graduating just a few months into the global pandemic, Naugler landed a job right away with Manulife in Halifax. Health and wellness are central aspects of the insurance industry, so the certificate helped her stand out in job interviews.

“It comes up at work all the time,” she says. “Having a background in the area of health and wellness has proven really beneficial for me so far. It’s a big part of workplace culture, so it’s valuable knowledge in a lot of different fields.”

The interdisciplinary HWSS program also appeals to any students who find that they are interested in health care administration, health policy, sport management, the personal wellness or recreation fields and much more, particularly with the evolving nature of work amid Covid-19.

“Everyone has been impacted by this,” says Naugler. “The pandemic will definitely strengthen interest in the program; it’s shaping the way people are learning and the things they want to learn about. The program offers a great opportunity to study health and wellness in more depth.”

With three core courses, plus a flexible range of electives that can also count toward your major, the program delves into the social, cultural, political and moral aspects of health, wellness and sport. Administered by the Faculty of Arts in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health, it’s open to students in Arts, Science and Business at Saint Mary’s.

“For me, it really broadened my education,” says Naugler, adding that the certificate and her Anthropology major complemented each other. “I would also recommend it because it’s a unique classroom situation. The professors are great, and the other students add so much to the whole experience with a lot of open dialogue and class participation.”

Other certificate programs at Saint Mary’s include Atlantic Canada Studies, Forensic Sciences, Human Resource Management and Peace Education and Conflict Management. Language and culture-related certificates are also available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Linguistics and Spanish.

With over 70 areas of study and a wide range of course offerings, Saint Mary’s offers a well-rounded degree and a customized educational experience. SMU ensures student success by providing supports and services at every step of the application experience whether you’re a new student coming out of high school or one transferring from another institution. Transferring to SMU is easy—you may even be eligible to receive up to 60 credit hours toward your degree.

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