Boston University Online Health Communication Degree & Certificate Programs

Boston University is located in Boston, Massachusetts (MA), and offers an online master of science in health communication program. Additionally, the school offers a graduate certificate in visual and digital health communication. These programs are 100 percent online with asynchronous course delivery.

The MS in health communication focuses on where the areas of healthcare, public relations, digital media, and marketing meet to prepare graduates to address the various issues they will face to communicate effectively to consumers in the healthcare industry. These may include public health campaigns, health education, medical breakthroughs, the development of new products, and communications between healthcare providers and their patients.

One tenet of the program is to prepare health communicators to be sensitive to ethical and socially responsible communication practices by studying and learning the Code of Ethics published by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Other core subjects include communication strategies, digital and social media, how to affect change in the healthcare community, and how to present health and scientific information clearly and effectively.

The MS in health communication program can be completed in just 18 to 20 months on a part-time basis. Applicants who have earned the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential may be able to waive two courses equaling eight credits, thereby completing the degree in just 14 months.

This program earned the Silver Award for Distance Learning Programming through the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) in 2010. In addition, the course “Visual Communication in the Digital Health Age,” which is offered for both the MS and certificate programs, earned the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching & Learning in 2017.

The graduate certificate in visual and digital health communication is designed for those with bachelor’s degrees who wish to delve into healthcare marketing and digital storytelling. Students explore the principles of design; the use of mobile apps, videos, and branding; and the use of social media in healthcare communication.

No prior work experience in healthcare or communications is required for these programs. Graduates may go on to careers guiding healthcare communications, including campaigns, the announcement of new products or programs, and various healthcare initiatives and education. Job titles may include medical and health services manager, public relations specialist, social and community service manager, health educator, community health worker, and advertising manager.

What to Expect from the Boston University Online Health Communication Programs

Admission Requirements: Applicants to the MS and graduate certificate programs must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to apply. No work or healthcare experience is required; however, candidates must submit a resume or CV. GRE or GMAT exam results are not required.

Admissions materials include an application for graduate admission, college transcripts, a resume or CV, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and proof of English language proficiency if applicable.

Study Plan: The Boston University online MS in health communication can be completed in just 18 to 20 months on a part-time basis. Those holding the aforementioned APR credential may be eligible to waive two courses equaling eight credits, thereby shortening the program completion to 14 months.

The graduate certificate can be completed in just eight months on a part-time basis. Start dates land six times per year in September, October, January, March, May, and July. Programs typically run on a seven-week schedule with 100 percent online coursework and no campus visits.

MS in Health Communication Curriculum: The MS in health communication program comprises 32 credits with all online coursework and no campus visits. Courses include the American healthcare system for health communicators; the biology of disease; introduction to epidemiology for health communicators; contemporary healthcare marketing; interactive marketing communications; contemporary public relations; health communication; media relations for health communicators; research methods for health communicators; and advanced writing for health communicators.

Students may also replace up to two qualifying courses with the following: visual communication in the digital health age or social media strategies and tactics for health communicators.

Graduate Certificate in Visual and Digital Health Communication Curriculum: The graduate certificate comprises 16 credits and is also fully online. Required courses include visual communication in the digital health age and social media strategies and tactics for health communicators. In addition, students choose two of the ten courses offered for the MS in health communication degree.

Online Experience: Boston University’s online programs offer innovative learning opportunities through the asynchronous delivery of recorded lectures, course materials, animations, readings, case studies, interactive multimedia components, discussion boards, and lectures from guest experts. Assignments may include projects, papers, readings, and participation in discussion boards. Web conferencing is also available. A Distance Education Team collaborates with the faculty to facilitate the use of new learning tools and apps and innovative ways to use technology in the online classroom.

Students have access to library and bookstore services, email and phone communication with faculty, 24/7 technical support through the Distance Education office, academic advising, and career counseling.

On-Site Requirements: There are no on-site requirements for the Boston University online health communication programs as they are 100 percent online.

Paying for the Boston University Online Health Communication Programs

The online MS and graduate certificate in health communication cost $955 per credit plus fees. Interested students should contact the Boston University School of Public Health for current tuition information as costs may change from year to year.

Boston University may offer financial aid including scholarships, grants, and federal student aid through unsubsidized student loans. In addition, students should check with their employers to see if they qualify for tuition reimbursement or discounts. Finally, graduate students are encouraged to seek outside opportunities for funding such as scholarships and grants through community organizations.

Boston University Health Communication (MS)

  • Learn how to use digital media, marketing, and public relations to communicate health care concepts and developments
  • Complete in just 18-20 months
  • Completely online with no campus visits required
Program Essentials
Degree Level Master's Degree
Program Start Dates 6 - September, October, January, March, May, July
Credits Needed to Graduate 32
Time to Complete? Graduate in as little as 18 months.
100% Online? Yes
Program Accreditation None
Program Admissions
Level of Education Required? Bachelor's degree
GRE or GMAT Required? No
Work Experience Required? None
Program Tuition
Credit Hours 32
Average Cost Per Credit $955.00
Estimated Program Tuition * $30,560.00
Sara Navratil
Sara Navratil

Sara Navratil is a freelance writer and a Certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer. She's the owner of Sara Liza Life, a company dedicated to helping people rewrite their lives. She enjoys researching and writing about healthcare-related topics, including information on online MHA programs. When not working she likes to read, bake, and spend time with her family.