East Carolina University’s (ECU) School of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in Health Communication. The program can be completed online without any campus visits. ECU uses the Blackboard learning management system for its online education programs. Through Blackboard, students can access their instructional materials, submit assignments, participate in class discussions, and communicate with instructors and classmates.

The Master of Arts in Communication requires 30 semester credit hours and can be completed in as little as one-year, although ECU also offers one-year, one and a half year, two year, and three year curriculum plans for this program. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of communication theory and research methodologies, as well as how to apply and integrate that knowledge in a variety of professional environments. The curriculum offers an emphasis in health communication that introduces students to interpersonal communication (e.g. patient-provider, family-patient, family-provider), the media (e.g. how the media can shape consumer understanding of health issues), and organizational communication (e.g. how organizational structure influence health communication processes).

Students may select from a thesis or non-thesis academic track. Program curriculum is divided between core classes (6 credits), electives (12 credits), and for the thesis track, a thesis (3-6 credits) and electives (6-9 credits). For the non-thesis track, students must choose more electives (12 credits). Students who choose the non-thesis track must also pass a comprehensive examination in order to graduate. Core classes cover fundamental concepts and principles of communication theory and research methodologies. Electives include: Communication Approaches to Health Advocacy, Media and Health Communication, Intercultural Communication in Health Contexts, and Interpersonal Health Communication. After finishing core classes, students either transition into a thesis project – along with additional electives in communication or related areas of study – or a non-thesis selection of electives that allows students to craft a customized program that meets their future professional needs.

The learning outcomes from the health communication emphasis include understanding how to evaluate communication’s role in decision-making in health-related settings, knowledge of social support dynamics in health communication, the methods to assess communication processes within healthcare organizations, and how to recognize cultural influences on health communication.

East Carolina University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Online Master of Arts in Communication

Department: School of Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: Emphasis in Health Communication
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 1 to 3 years depending on how many courses are taken per semester

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or comprehensive exam (with an additional elective)
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Communication Theory; Introduction to Health Communication; Research Methods; Media and Health Communication; Interpersonal Health Communication; Intercultural Communication in Health Contexts; Communication and Health Organizations; Communication Approaches to Health Advocacy

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: No minimum GPA to apply
Testing Requirements: GRE required - students with 5-10 years of professional communication experience who completed their undergraduate degree 5-10+ years ago may apply for a GRE waiver (professional track)
Start Dates: Fall and Spring admission

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$6,983.70 + fees (in-state); ~$26,320.50 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $232.79 per credit hour (in-state); $877.35 per credit hour (out-of-state)

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It do not include fees or other expenses.