Health communication is a dynamic, growing field that is dedicated to the study and use of communication methods that positively influence individual and community decisions about health. Our online Undergraduate Certificate in Health Communication prepares you to create, analyze, and assess health communications in a diverse and global world, where health is an increasingly important aspect of our lives.
Effective health communication has the power to move communities to adopt healthier lifestyles, motivate individuals to take steps to improve their health, change public opinion about health issues, and encourage behavioral changes that promote health. Through this fully online certificate program, you will learn the major theoretical and methodological approaches to healthcare communication, how to create and assess health messages, and how to use storytelling to design health messages and campaigns that make an impact.
Our program serves as a gateway to healthcare-related careers and opportunities by honing in on the communication aspects of health through theoretical and real-world application. This online certificate benefits undergraduates and adult learners looking to build a career as a health communicator or improve their role within the healthcare industry through the use of clear, accurate, culturally sensitive, and ethical health communication.
The online Health Communication Certificate is a five-course, 15 credit-hour program that allows you to specialize in the growing field of health communication.
Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on the program. Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting an Enrollment Navigator today.
Tuition and Fees
Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at the University of Colorado is a high-quality and affordable option for learners of all types. Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in.
The tuition amount assessed is determined based on which University of Colorado campus, school, or college is offering your degree program, as well as if it is at the undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page for more information.
Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.
Our 15-credit undergraduate certificate provides a theoretically rich and practically relevant education in how health messages are generated, negotiated, and understood across a wide range of communication contexts, spanning intrapersonal communication to the mass media. Our hands-on coursework offers you the opportunity to learn essential skills in writing, marketing, technology, media relations, and patient communication. The certificate program concludes with an experiential capstone that allows you to put the knowledge and skills you’ve gained throughout the program into practice.
Students in the health communication certificate program are required to take the following 3 core courses:
- COMM 2500: Health Communication — Health industries are among the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy. This class enables students to begin thinking about their health, the health of their communities, and the health of the nation as systems of language and power.
- COMM 4500: Advanced Health Communication — In this class, you will examine the role of communication in a wide range of health contexts. Topics include cultural constructions of health and illness, public health communication campaigns, client-provider interactions, telemedicine, community-based health programs, and medical journalism.
- COMM 4575: Designing Health Messages — This course takes a closer look at the roles of communication in the design and impact of health messages/campaigns. You will design and assess health communication messages/campaigns in a participatory, process-oriented way using varied communication tools.
Students are required to choose one elective from a wide variety of interdisciplinary health classes, including:
- ANTH 4600: Medical Anthropology
- COMM 4525: Health Communication and Communities
- COMM 4550: Rhetorics of Medicine and Health
- COMM 4620: Health Risk Communication
- ENGL 4745: Humanistic Writing Regarding Medicine & Biology
- ETST 3002: Ethnicity, Health, and Social Justice
- GEOG 3501: Geography of Health
- HIST 4346: Medicine and Society: Ancients to Present
- PBHL 3070: Perspectives in Global Health
- PBHL 3041: Health, Culture, and Society
- PSCI 4330: U.S. Health Policy
- PSYC 3262: Health Psychology
- SOCY 4110: Society of Health Care Interdisciplinary health elective approved by certificate advisor
At the end of the Health Communication Certificate program, you must complete a health communication-related capstone that uses experiential learning or a high-impact practice. You can complete this requirement with an internship related to healthcare communication, a health communication-related service learning class, or another high-impact health communication practice class to apply your knowledge and skills to healthcare settings.
Health capstone courses include:
- COMM 3660: Social Media for Social Change (Service Learning)
- COMM 3939: Internship (in Health Communication) (Internship)
- COMM 4051: Advanced Strategic Communication (Service Learning)
- COMM 4525: Health Communication and Communities (Service Learning)
- COMM 4588: Digital Health Narratives (Service Learning)
- COMM 4550: Rhetorics of Medicine and Health (Writing Intensive)
- COMM 4620: Health Risk Communication (Writing Intensive)
- Discipline-specific health methods class approved by certificate advisor
Upon completion of the Undergraduate Certificate in Health Communication, you will be able to:
- Articulate the key assumptions and purposes of major theoretical models of health communication
- Explain key methods of conducting health communication research
- Locate and assess current research related to health communication
- Analyze culturally diverse stakeholder needs for and interests in health messaging
- Develop a plan for community participation in health message design
- Employ digital, visual, oral, and textual information to influence audiences about health and wellness
- Use storytelling to convey health messages across platforms
- Design, critique, and assess health communication messages and campaigns utilizing a variety of communication tools
- Create participatory, process-oriented, systemic health campaigns designed to change health behaviors