Online Master's Degrees in Health Communication


An online master’s in health communication is a stepping stone to working in a variety of healthcare settings focused on creating content and messages that can potentially change lives. Completing this degree is an investment in both time and finances, but can be extremely rewarding for professionals looking to move into healthcare or are seeking advancement in their field.

Professionals working in health communication must have the training and education to craft messages that will reach and impact patients and families. Just traditional business, most communication is to inform or call people to action. Where it differs from health communication is that the message is a typical one that aims to improve health outcomes or change individual or community behavior to everyone’s benefit. Types of communication can include outbreak notifications, public health campaigns, health advocacy, provider alerts, and patient education.

There are two primary options for pursuing this degree. Students can complete a master’s in health communication or they can complete a master’s of art or science in communication with an emphasis in health. There are advantages to both options. Dedicated programs have targeted classes that typically only pertain to health education, whereas broader programs will require students to take more general coursework with some specialized classes in health.

While there are many options to completing a master’s in health communication through traditional on-campus school, online programs offer students a number of benefits. These benefits can include reduced tuition, part-time studies, the ability to work while completing a degree, internships in the student’s local community, and no need to relocate to attend a top institution. Online programs are typically taught by the same top-tier faculty that teach on-campus and most diplomas do not designate that the degree was earned online, affording online students the same prestige as traditional students.

If a master’s in health communication sounds like an exciting education path, here are the top online programs to consider.

  • Paul Bolls, PhD

    Washington State University Murrow College of Communication

    Dr. Paul Bolls is the associate dean of research and graduate studies at Washington State University Murrow College of Communication. His primary area of research is in how humans process and are influenced by media and technology.

    Through his research and lecturing, he is internationally recognized in the field of media psychophysiology, which is the use of biometric and physiological metrics to determine how people process media and technology. He is also interested in the effects of health communication with his most recent work on the impact of traffic safety videos published in the Health Communication Journal.

  • Leigh Curtin-Wilding, MS

    Boston University Metropolitan College

    Leigh Curtin-Wilding was appointed as the program director of the master’s of science in health communication at Boston University Metropolitan College in 2015.

    Prior to stepping into her role as the director, Curtin-Wilding served as a teaching facilitator for the program. She is intimately acquainted with this degree program as she graduated from it with her master’s in 2011. Presently, she teaches the advanced writing for health communicators course. In addition to her work at Boston University, she is an executive for Curtin Communications, her successful public relations and marketing firm.

  • Lauren Weiner, PhD

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

    Dr. Lauren Weiner serves as the program coordinator and academic advisor for the health communication online master of science program. In addition, she is a teaching assistant professor in communication and teaches courses such as introduction to health communication and family and health communication.

    Dr. Weiner’s research interests include interpersonal communication and health communication. Much of her research is centered on family dynamics and family communication. She completed all of her education at Northwestern University, including her bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world-traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was six and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 25 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. When not writing or parenting she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.

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