Health Communication

Communication Studies BA; Health Communication Concentration -- School of Communication and Media


Program Coordinator: Hugh Curnutt

For questions about this program, please contact Christopher McKinley.


Health Communication: The Big Picture

It’s a fact. The ways in which we manage our health are influenced by many sources, including messages we absorb from commercials, reports, news articles and public service announcements  – those which advise us on how to select a doctor, choose a medication and prevent disease.  When delivered responsibly, health communication is a vital and valuable service.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies – Health Communication concentration explores the practice and methods of informing and motivating individuals, health professionals, institutions and the public about recommended wellness behaviors and health-related issues. Through dedicated coursework and co-curricular activities you will learn practical techniques and best strategies used in health communication today, including the use of media and other tools to develop wellness campaigns that build public awareness.

Health communication is a growing field with many employment opportunities.  Montclair State graduates can find work in nonprofit, government and public health-related organizations.  Your professional endeavors may include advocating for patients and improving healthcare standards, developing public service announcements, writing medication guidelines, even training wellness staff to communicate effectively with clients.  The work of health communication specialists goes even further to positively impact consumer protection, disease prevention, public safety, and lifestyle improvement.

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What You Will Study

As a student concentrating in Health Communication, you will learn many valuable concepts and skills, including:

  • techniques for developing public health campaigns;
  • approaches to understanding how health messages contribute to attitude and behavioral change;
  • the impact that entertainment media has on consumer health;
  • how new media technology is used to advocate wellness;
  • methods for patient-provider communication; and
  • the importance of social support for maintaining healthy lifestyles.

The concentration also provides opportunities to practice advocacy, lobbying and other modes of intervention, particularly in cooperation with outside community groups and the media.

The Health Communication curriculum is comprised of 120 credits, (3 cr. per course) and includes five areas of requirement:

  1. Health Communication courses (15 credits) – sequential instruction specific to the major-concentration

  2. Common-Core School Curriculum (18 credits) – a broad foundation for understanding all communication and media disciplines (required of all students in the School of Communication and Media)

  3. Major Elective courses (15 credits) -- further development of major-related expertise

  4. General Education courses (45-48 credits)  –  exploration of studies that comprise a liberal arts education – e.g. in writing, humanities, math, and the natural, social and computer sciences (required of all University students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree)

  5. Free Electives (15-24 credits) – exploration of additional areas of interest; or inclusion of a Minor

In addition, you will have opportunity to pursue internships and practicum experiences in health communication environments where you can apply your skills and learn from professional practitioners.  Related Minor programs within the University such as Psychology, Public Health and Sociology are available to further enhance your knowledge-base, skills, and career credentials.

For complete course requirements and descriptions, go to: 

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Careers in Health Communication

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job opportunities for health communicators are on the rise.  Professionals are hired by government and non-profit health agencies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as medical and wellness facilities into positions that include:

  • Patient Advocate
  • Health Care Educator
  • Health Issues Analyst
  • Health Marketing Consultant
  • Health Researcher
  • Health Journalist
  • Health Advocate/Lobbyist
  • Health Projects Communications Director
  • Hospital Administrator
  • Lifestyle Advocate
  • Medical or Life Style Writer/Editor
  • Medical Benefits Associate
  • Medical Office Manager
  • Wellness Coordinator

The field encompasses advertising, journalism and public relations.  The goal of health communication is to promote public health and improve quality of life.  Professionals, therefore, will educate the public about such health-related issues as injury and disease prevention, healthcare policy, smoking cessation and obesity.

Visit the links below for additional professional and career-related information:

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Apply Now

To apply to the Health Communication concentration, or to any program in the School of Communication and Media, please visit School Admission.                                                                                        

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