Students studying health communication explore various methods of conducting public health campaigns on an array of topics. Courses in health communication principles, health and culture, mass media and organizational health communication usually emphasize writing skills while other courses discuss research methodology. Some programs require that students take a few courses in other disciplines such as psychology, nursing or child development. Students can often choose a specialization, such as organizational communications or public relations. Internships or practica are often required.
Applicants to these programs need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as biological science, pre-medicine, communication or public relations. Applicants may also need to meet a minimum grade point average, have test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and provide a personal entrance essay. Once accepted, students can usually complete the program with two years of full-time study, totaling 33-35 credit hours.
Master's Degree in Health Communication
Health communication curricula can offer students the tools to become public health advocates through mass media. Students learn to write clear health messages for consumer audiences. Programs typically focus on teaching students how to develop health campaigns that educate the public on topics such as illness prevention, disease detection, hygiene and nutrition. Graduates of these programs are usually qualified to create written health-related campaign materials and design advertising strategies that inspire the public to make positive health changes.
Potential courses could cover the following topics:
- Communication research
- Health rhetoric
- Interacting with the media
- Writing for health markets
- Technology in health communication
- Public relations and advertising
Popular Career Options
Graduates of these degree programs are typically qualified for employment opportunities with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, local government health organizations, private biotechnology corporations and nonprofit agencies. Some possible job titles in this field could include:
- Healthcare advocate
- Hospital communication specialist
- Health communication marketing expert
- Director of health communication
With a master's degree, interested individuals can apply to Ph.D. degree programs in public health specializing in health services, environmental health or community health. Prospective students can also choose to pursue Ph.D. degrees in communication with emphasis in health relations.
A master's degree program in health communication gives students the necessary skills in marketing and media to work as various kinds of communication specialists in the field of healthcare.