Schools with Health Journalism Degree Programs: How to Choose

Health journalists must have an understanding of medical issues and the health care industry as well as journalism skills in order to clearly convey important information to the public. Students can prepare for this field in a number of ways, including through bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in health journalism and health communication.

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Many schools offer journalism and communications programs, though not all of them offer health journalism programs. While it's possible to do a double major in health sciences and journalism, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a school.

10 Schools Offering Health Journalism Degree Programs

The following table providers additional information for these programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Clemson University Clemson, SC 4-year, Public Postgraduate certificate $8,404 in state, $17,590 out of state
DePaul University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $17,904
Emerson College Boston, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $28,728
George Washington University Washington, DC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $27,810
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Master's $16,122 in-state, $31,674 out-of-state
Ohio University - Main Campus Athens, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $11,548 in-state undergraduate, $20,512 out-of-state undergraduate;
$9,510 in-state graduate, $17,502 out-of-state graduate
San Diego State University San Diego, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,976 in-state, $18,136 out-of-state
Tufts University Medford, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $48,412
University of Houston Houston, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $8,759 in-state undergraduate, $20,519 out-of-state undergraduate;
$8,120 in-state graduate, $16,940 out- of-state graduate
Winona State University Winona, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,047 in state, $14,744 out of state

Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following:

  • Health journalism programs vary in structure; choose a curriculum that balances broad journalism study with more specific coursework in health and medical reporting.
  • Bachelor's degree programs offer courses in reporting and writing along with the opportunity to study scientific health subjects
  • Master's degree programs offer further specialization possible dual-degree options; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs can lead to career opportunities in academic or research-based professions.
  • Students may want to find schools that offer internships to journalism students; these are usually for credit and are strong additions to a resume.

Bachelor's Degree in Health Journalism

Some bachelor's degree programs in health journalism include a capstone research project, an internship, or both. Curriculum features courses in scientific medical subjects such as epidemiology, health informatics and healthcare law.

Master's Degree in Health Journalism

Master's degree programs may concentrate on health journalism or result in dual degrees in both public health and journalism and have the opportunity to specialize in specific health subjects. Completion time can vary between two and three years.

Ph.D. in Health Communication

Some doctoral programs offer health communication as concentration area. Coursework can include mass communication techniques, distribution of health information, communication research and public health issues. Students must complete and defend a dissertation.

Health journalism may be a bachelor, master or doctoral level program. Each level of program study will have specific courses and focus to prepare the student for career reporting on health issues.

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