The Health Communication specialization focuses on theories, research, and practices connecting communication (in any of its channels and platforms) with health-related beliefs, behaviors, and outcomes. The specialization combines both scholarship and practice. It embraces not only traditional scholarship, emphasizing theory and data collection; it also includes the use of research for broad “therapeutic” goals, using knowledge about message formation and communication to alleviate suffering, reduce risky behavior, and promote health equity. Health communication specialists design messages, distribute them, and evaluate their effectiveness in promoting healthy behavior and reducing health disparities.
Graduates in this specialization can pursue careers in private and public sector health fields — e.g. biotechnology firms, social advocacy organizations, health and wellness related businesses, and more.
COM Program Planner **Updated 2023-2024 Academic Year
Core Course Selection for Health Communication (6)
COM 103: Introduction to Communication Theory
COM 117: Introduction to Film Studies or COM 118: Introduction to Television Studies or COM 172: Introduction to Media Communication or COM 242: Interpersonal Communication or COM 265: Emerging Communication Technologies
COM 292: Health Communication or COM 293: Messaging for Health Communication
COM 390: Methods of Communication Research and Analysis or COM 385: Intercultural Communication (formerly COM 411)
COM 394: Global Health & Risk Communication Campaigns
COM 415: International Communication
Specialization Electives (3)
COM 118: Introduction to Television Studies (if not taken as a core course)
COM 172: Introduction to Media Communication (if not taken as a core course)
COM 242: Interpersonal Communication (if not taken as a core course)
COM 261: Introduction to Public Relations
COM 265: Emerging Communication Technologies (if not taken as a core course)
COM 292: Health Communication (if not taken as a core course)
COM 293: Messaging for Health Communication (if not taken as a core course)
COM 310: Theories of Persuasion
COM 330: Sexual Communication: Identities, Relationships, and Health (formerly COM 370 Special Topics course.)
COM 335: Interpersonal Health Communication
COM 342: Lifespan Communication
COM 345: New Media and Health Communication
COM 371: Strategies of Public Relations
COM 385: Intercultural Communication (formerly COM 411) (if not taken as a core course)
COM 390: Communication Research Methods (if not taken as a core course)
COM 487: Advanced Student-Faculty Research
Communication Studies Electives (Pick 3 Communication Courses)
Topics in Communication Studies (COM 270 or 270), Internship (COM 399), and Independent Study (COM 391) may be taken to complete the major.
One unit each of internships or independent studies may count as electives toward the major.