Answer: Yes, there are currently 10 online master’s in health communication programs offered at schools throughout the United States.

Health communication is an integral part of public health, and includes patient-provider communications, communications between health care professionals, articles on health-related topics, and campaigns for patient education and preventative care. Online master’s in health communication programs teach students to create and manage important communications for medical centers, research organizations, community health centers, government departments, and newspapers. These programs also provide students with a fundamental understanding of medicine, epidemiology, and public health, and the role that communication plays in these arenas.

Graduates of online master’s in health communication programs can work as public relations or marketing managers at medical centers, community health specialists, health policy advocates, or health journalists. In these roles, they may design preventative health or patient education campaigns, manage the editing and publication of research articles, gather and analyze data about patient education needs, or help an organization manage the communications around a crisis event.

Examples of Online Master’s in Health Communication Programs

Currently, there are 10 online master’s in health communication programs in the United States. Below are brief descriptions of four of these online master’s in strategic communication programs:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Communication offers an Online Master of Science in Health Communication that includes courses in patient-provider communication, health and family communication, communication research methods, health informatics, health communications and policy, health campaigns, behavior change through communication, and social media marketing for health organizations.
  • Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts & Sciences offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Health Communication, which prepares students for careers in public health campaign development, consumer education, crisis management, and health marketing communication through courses in risk communication, social marketing, health psychology, and health program assessment.
  • Boston University’s College of Communication and Metropolitan College offers an Online Master of Science in Health Communication that features courses in epidemiology, the American health care system, contemporary public relations, health care marketing, media relations for health professionals, and research methods and advanced writing for health communicators.
  • East Carolina University’s School of Communication offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in Health Communication that covers fundamental and advanced concepts in media and health communication, interpersonal health communication, intercultural health communication, health advocacy and campaigns, family communication and health, and communication within health organizations.

While typically more flexible than campus-based programs, online master’s in health communication programs are just as intensive in terms of course content, and the time and effort students must devote to their studies. In addition to course requirements, most programs require students to complete a research project or master’s thesis on an issue in health communication. Several of these programs may also require students to complete a comprehensive exam or a practicum experience that gives students the opportunity to apply the concepts they learn in class to work in a health-related work setting.

Example Curriculum and Courses in Online Master’s in Health Communication Programs

Below is a sample curriculum for an online master’s in health communication program. Please note that programs vary in the specific content and sequence of their courses. The curriculum provided below should only serve as an example.

Curriculum ComponentCourse Titles and Graduation Requirement Descriptions
Core Courses
  • The American Health Care System
  • Epidemiology for Health Communication Professionals
  • Health Care Marketing Principles
  • Public and Media Relations Principles for Health Organizations
  • Research Methods for Health Communicators
Elective Courses
  • Health Campaign Management
  • Social Media Strategies for Health Campaigns and Marketing
  • Intercultural Health Communication
  • Family Health Communication
Graduation Requirements
(Potential Capstone Options)
  • Master’s Thesis or Applied Project/Health Campaign Proposal
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Practicum/Internship

For a comprehensive list of campus-based, online, and hybrid master’s in health communication programs, as well as details on the curricular structure of and courses in these programs, please refer to our Master’s in Health Communication Programs resource page.

Note: MastersinCommunications.com classifies programs based on their individual curriculum, taking into consideration both required and elective courses. In order for a program to be classified as a master’s in health communication programs, it must either have a clear specialization in health communication or offer at least three to four courses in the field of health communication. These courses cover the role that interpersonal, organizational, and mass communications play in population health, and the strategies that communication professionals can use to promote public health and further the objectives of health organizations. Finally, in order to be classified as an online program, the majority of instruction must be online. Therefore, only programs that require two or fewer campus visits per year are classified as online.

Online Master's in Health Communication Degree Programs

To learn more about the programs listed below, click on the program name to visit the school profile page.

Ashland University

(Ohio)

Boston University

(Massachusetts)
Department: College of Communication and Metropolitan College
Program(s):

East Carolina University

(North Carolina)

Johns Hopkins University

(District of Columbia)

Lasell College

(Massachusetts)

Mississippi College

(Mississippi)

Rider University

(New Jersey)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

(Illinois)