Health Communication (BS)

The Health Communication major provides undergraduate students with multidisciplinary skills for communicating in health settings or about health and medical topics. Students completing this major will analyze and evaluate health communication’s role in hospitals and medical contexts, in mediated messages for diverse audiences, and in everyday conversations. Students will create written, visual, oral, and digital communications that deliver health messages in a clear, ethical, and culturally competent manner. Completion of the major prepares students for a diverse range of career paths as a professional communicator in the rapidly expanding healthcare field. 

Program Requirements

Major Common Core

Communication impacts every facet of our experience of health and well-being. This course introduces students to the subdiscipline of health communication, its key concepts, and important theories and research in the field.

Prerequisites: none

Special interest courses devoted to specific topics within health communication. Topics vary, and course may be retaken for credit under different topic headings.

Prerequisites: none

Introduction to learning the written and oral communication of technical information. Assignments include writing and presenting proposals, reports, and documentation. Emphasis on use of rhetorical analysis, computer applications, collaborative writing, and usability testing to complete technical communication tasks in the workplace.

Prerequisites: ENG 101 

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-13

This course provides analysis and training focused on concepts and practices of visual design as they relate to technical and professional communication.

Prerequisites: none

This course addresses the skills required for technical communication within the context of health and medicine. Students will discuss typical audiences, purposes, and genres of health and medical communication. Students will adapt complex health and medical information for audiences with varying levels of knowledge, demonstrating awareness of audience analysis, visual design, plain language, and ethics.

Prerequisites: none

Basic techniques of gathering information and writing readable and accurate media stories.

Prerequisites: ENG 101, MASS 110

Creation of photo, audio, video, and written content for multi-platform distribution. Includes critical consideration and application of content creation tools, social media management tools, and legal and ethical issues.

Prerequisites: MASS 221W

Hands-on development, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of a digital advocacy campaign. Special focus on brandraising, network analysis, and social media analytics toward creating messages and determining campaign effectiveness.

Prerequisites: MASS 221W

Major Restricted Electives

Intercultural Competency - Choose 4 Credit(s). * CMST 415 and 440 must be intercultural topics and requires permission of chair.

This course is designed to develop an understanding of how gender and communication interact. Students learn the basic theories and principles of communication as it applies to gender and develop skills to enhance communication between and among gender groups.

Prerequisites: none

Diverse Cultures: Purple

Special interest courses devoted to specific topics within relationship communication. Topics vary, and course may be retaken for credit under different topic headings.

Prerequisites: none

Special interest courses devoted to specific topics within the intersecting fields of rhetoric and culture. Topics vary, and course may be retaken for credit under different topic headings.

Prerequisites: none

A course designed for students who have a general interest in communication studies. Content of each special topics course will be different. May be retaken for credit.

Prerequisites: none

Capstone - Choose 1 Credit(s).

Provides first-hand experience in applying communication theories in the workplace under the direction of an on-site supervisor.

Prerequisites: none

Students synthesize research and learning and/or prepare portfolios and job application materials. Course must be taken in the last semester in the major.

Prerequisites: none

On-site field experience, the nature of which is determined by the specific needs of the student's program option. May be repeated with change in topic.

Prerequisites: none


Prerequisites: MASS 221W, MASS 312, and MASS 411, plus two additional 300/400 level MASS courses, one of which must be MASS 325, MASS 330, MASS 334, MASS 431, MASS 434 or MASS 436

Health Specialization - Choose 11 Credit(s). At least 7 credits must be upper-division. Other health electives may be substituted with approval.

Systems approach to the structure of the human body. The course is designed for students majoring in biology or health related programs. Lab included.

Prerequisites: none

For health care personnel, emphasis on spelling, pronunciation and meaning.

Prerequisites: none

Introduces theories and models in the context of health education. Examines approaches to health education program planning as well approaches to explain and predict health behavior and their application to interventions in health education. NOTE: HLTH 360 may be taken concurrently with HLTH 260 with instructor permission.

Prerequisites: HLTH 101, HLTH 260.

Health Communication and Advocacy focuses upon the development of communication and advocacy skills for the health educator. Identifying credible sources, communicating public health information, health media campaigns, health advocacy; written and verbal communication skills emphasized.

Prerequisites: HLTH 360

An examination of the system of delivery of health care in the United States from a historical, social, political, and economic perspective.

Prerequisites: none

Behavior Change Foundations and Strategies (3 semester credits) is a course that focuses upon the complexity of health behavior change and the skills necessary for a health promotion professional to assess, plan, and evaluate behavior change interventions for individuals and communities. Health behavior change theories and strategies will be discussed. Topics covered in class will include: behavior modification, goal setting, self-management, coping skills, and social support. Emphasis will also be given to the impact of policy and environmental influences on behavior.

Prerequisites: HP 290, HP 414 

Focuses on entry-level competencies related to the administration and management of health education programs. These include obtaining acceptance and support for programs, leadership, managing human resources, facilitating partnerships in support of health education, grant writing, and training individuals involved in the implementation of health education.

Prerequisites: HLTH 380W