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Health Communication—M.A. & Graduate Certificates

Program Overview

Program Overview

Health communication is an area of study that examines how different communication methods, strategies and tactics can increase health literacy, motivate healthier behaviors and enhance provider-patient relationships. Public and interpersonal health communication is a complex dynamic process that includes elements such as persuasion, motivation, cultural difference, resistance, misunderstanding, situational contexts and active listening.

Health professionals can improve the quality of public health by strategically adapting messaging for changing social norms, cultural differences and emerging new media technologies to meet the challenges of escalating complexity increasingly essential at all levels. This program invites you to learn the practical, insightful and adaptable knowledge; the communication tools, techniques and technologies; and skills needed to apply what you learn in successful professional careers.

Leverage your master’s-level expertise in a wide range of health communication careers. Or supplement other health professional training with the advanced insights and solutions of effective communication knowledge. For example, health care providers who communicate more effectively and use specialized communication models and methods can work more successfully with their partners in health care delivery as well as to better help those to whom they give care.

Both the Master of Arts in Health Communication and the graduate certificate programs are offered in a virtual online format.

Why Choose Lipscomb University’s Health Communication Graduate Program?

Careers in health communication have a 13% (much faster than average) projected job growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Equipped with the knowledge and strategic insights gained through advanced studies of health communication at Lipscomb, you will graduate well prepared to pursue career opportunities available in many different sectors of society.

Health Communication Graduate Certificates

These certificate programs are designed to help you harness essential health-related communication skills in a short period of time. In one of these 15-credit-hour graduate certificate programs, you can learn effective strategies for communication of health information in the context of a health care setting, public health or risk management, and among different cultures.

Learn More about the Master of Arts and Graduate Certificate Programs in Health Communication

Are you ready to enter a health care-related communication role or start your career in the growing field of health communication? Earn a master’s degree or a graduate certificate in health communication. Apply today or request information to learn more about Lipscomb’s health communication graduate programs.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Ready to apply to Lipscomb University’s health communication program? Let’s get started. We’re here to help at every step. Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and submit the following for admission review and enrollment:

  • Completed and submitted online application
  • $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Official college transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities (including graduate, if applicable)
  • Two letters of reference
  • Résumé
  • Goals statement describing career aspirations
  • Interview with faculty (virtually or by phone)

For transcripts, electronic copies can be emailed directly from your undergraduate institution to gradadmissions@lipscomb.edu.

If you are having a hard copy mailed, have it sent to:
Lipscomb University
Graduate Admissions
One University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204

Prior coursework and experience in communication, including advertising, public relations, mass communication or communication social sciences are desirable but not required.

Application Deadlines

Fall

  • Priority deadline: June 1 with decisions released on June 10
  • Final deadline: August 1

Spring

  • Priority deadline: November 1 with decisions released on November 10
  • Final deadline: December 10

Please note: You may submit your application and required materials prior to the priority deadline; admission decisions and interviews are conducted on a rolling basis.

Courses

Courses

Lipscomb University’s health communication master’s degree program consists of 36 credit hours of study, which students can complete in as little as one year, as well as several graduate certificate programs containing 15 credit hours of courses.

*Completing the Master of Arts in Health Communication program in one year requires full-time study (12 hours) for three consecutive semesters including summer.

Master of Arts in Health Communication Courses

The master’s program courses focus on critical areas including communication between health care providers and patients, health care team collaboration, persuasion in mass communication, epidemiology and risk communication, and crisis and emergency communication.

Students must complete 30 credit hours of foundation requirements and required core courses. In addition, the Master of Arts in Health Communication program includes the option to choose between six hours of credit for a thesis and defense or a non-thesis option that consists of two additional elective courses.

Graduate Certificates in Health Communication Courses

The certificate program courses are designed to help you harness essential health-related communication skills in a short period of time. In one of these 15-credit-hour graduate certificate programs, you can learn effective strategies for communication of health information in the context of a health care setting, public health or risk management, and among different cultures.

Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid

Lipscomb University’s world-class education is a smart investment for your future. The health communication program tuition is $1,030* per credit hour. You can also apply for financial aid to reduce your cost of attendance. Learn more about our financial aid options:

*Note: Graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective at the start of the summer term.

Types of Aid

Student Loans

As a graduate student, you are still able to file the FAFSA—and you should! By filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you may be eligible for a number of student loans.

Practical Applied Experiential Curriculum

With an immersive course of study emphasizing experiential learning, you will build skills and experience through internships or externships while expanding your knowledge of professional best practices in our relevant, cutting-edge curriculum.

World-Class Subject Matter Expert Faculty

Guided by distinguished health communication experts and prominent guest faculty members with years of professional experience in the field, you will learn the most current industry best practices and forward-thinking health communication strategies that you need to elevate your career as a professional communicator.

Professional Contacts and Career Networking

Lipscomb’s Health Communication program provides ample networking opportunities. You can build a network among your peers and with connected faculty who will provide support and encouragement during your time in the program and beyond. These connections can help you open more doors to a variety of career paths.

Global Perspectives

Through coursework focused on international communication, you’ll gain a global perspective that will help you deliver clear messaging across cultural boundaries.

Our Faculty

  • Bob Chandler headshot

    Bob Chandler

    Director, Graduate and Professional Programs

    Dr. Chandler provides leadership with the graduate and professional programs in communication as well as serving as teaching faculty graduate student mentor. He serves as the coordinator of graduate studies...

    Meet Bob Chandler
  • Aerial Ellis

    Aerial Ellis

    Assistant Professor

    Emerging among the brightest in the industry, Dr. Aerial Ellis is a gifted strategist and storyteller who nurtured an entrepreneurial spirit early in her career by launching her first public...

    Meet Aerial Ellis

Career Paths

Health Communication Specialist

A health communication specialist is often a content expert and advisor for national and state level public agencies such as the CDC, HHS, FDA, CPSC, state and county health departments, as well as major private sector companies along with a wide range of health, regulatory or human services programs that utilize health communication specialists. The demand for a variety of health communication experts has grown exponentially and includes several national agencies and all the state governments. For example, in 2020 the CDC activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Joint Information Center (JIC) to lead the national coronavirus (COVID-19) public health communication response creating a demand for those with health communication knowledge and skills.

Health Communication Advocacy Strategist

Health communication advocacy strategists work for health-related organizations and are experts in creating campaigns that spread the message and further the mission of health promotion advocacy. The career opportunities include roles to support important public health causes, educate patients through health promotion communication, and develop message strategies for companies that have products or services that promote consumer wellbeing. Strategists employ online content, video, outdoor advertising, print, public outreach events, various health “nudges” and social media campaigns to create and spread important health-related messages that seek to create positive behavior changes in target audiences.

Crisis and Emergency Communication Specialist

Crisis, emergency and disaster communication management is a highly specialized small but expanding career field that spans both the private and public sectors. Crisis communication managers are responsible for planning and implementing the notification and communication response to a major threat to a business, school or community. They identify risks, prepare contingency and recovery communication plans, and manage information resources during the crisis. Careers include corporate communication, public relations, emergency management, product safety (product recall communication specialists), and emergency notification specialists.


Health Public Affairs/Public Information Specialist

Professionals who help advance institutional and public missions to save lives and protect people from health threats serve as media relations specialists who support the public health communication activities responsible for helping ensure that scientific information is accurately reported and key public health messages are incorporated into news media coverage. Additionally, by providing timely and effective responses to inquiries, these specialists cultivate relationships with journalists that are critical for advancing communication objectives. Professionals with health communication jobs may work closely with the media, responding to stories on health, communicating risk and confirming or rectifying stories. They may also design health promotion campaigns.