Please note: This program currently does not admit new students. Please contact Graduate Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The Health Journalism & Communication program has two distinct, but overlapping, programs of study. Students in the Health Journalism emphasis will gain advanced knowledge about public health and the evaluation of claims from health, medical, and scientific sources, as well as advanced training on reporting health stories for different media. Students in the Health Communication emphasis will learn the fundamentals of writing about health topics for different audiences in different formats, as well as health campaign development and evaluation.
All students will develop multimedia skills and advanced computer-assisted research and reporting skills and learn about the news and communications industries.
The program requires 33 credits, and courses are arranged over two years to be amenable to both working students and full-time students.
Students take eight credits of graduate-level elective credits, generally courses designated as 5-level courses and above. Examples of these courses are Psychology 5202, 5702 and 5441; Anthropology 4047 and 5404; Communication 5431, 5451. Students may work with their advisers and the program's academic director to select electives that match their interests.
Health & Media Practicum (3 credits)
This course will place students in practicum settings with the health and media organizations represented by our advisory panel. There would be a once-a-week classroom meeting to cover important writing/reporting/communication issues, and the students would spend additional hours each week completing projects for their assigned organizations.
This course will give journalists/communications professionals more insight into the specific challenges of the health beat and give health professionals insight into how the media works. It will also address themes of questioning the conventional wisdom in health care - that more and newer is not always better, that there is uncertainty in much of medical science, and that consumers need to be better informed about tradeoffs involved in health care decision-making.
Mass Communication and Public Health
This course will provide the basis of understanding of theories involved in delivering health messages and would be useful for students in both the journalism and communication tracks.
Advanced Health Journalism: Computer-assisted Reporting on Health
In this course, students will be assigned to a semester-long team project. Journalists will become more familiar with databases, and health professionals or other communicators will build on their research skills. The project could include in-depth news stories, as well as consumer-friendly sidebars, making it applicable to all students and giving everyone a role in the project. Non-journalists must take JOUR 5101 as a prerequisite.
Online Media Creation and Design
This course will offer insights about how to write for the Web, how to plan effective health content, and how to employ best practices in usability on health Web sites.
Health Journalism Capstone
Capstone course. Students focus on different aspects of health communication and journalism content development according to their interest. Students prepare a final project (possibly a group project) that could be a publishable article or series of articles on an important health topic, an original research paper on a dimension of health/communications, or a multimedia production on a health issue/problem, aimed at a particular audience.
Fundamentals of Epidemiology
Basic concepts and knowledge of epidemiology, a methodology used to study the etiology, distribution, and control of diseases in human populations.
Biostatistical Methods I
Descriptive statistics, graphical methods. Use of Excel. Proportions, relative risk, odds ratios. Random sampling. Estimates of mean, medians, measures of variability. Normal distribution, t-/chi-square tests. Confidence intervals. Correlation/regression. Inference/causality.
Health-specific video or magazine journalism (3 cr)
Students develop skills in video or long-form journalism, focusing on health topics.
Introduction to basic techniques of news reporting and writing, as well as additional journalistic and outside-the-newsroom forms of health writing, including magazine-style features, communications/promotional pieces, new media content (including blogs), news releases and advocacy pieces.
Theory-based Health Message Design
This course will draw upon the behavioral theory and persuasion literatures to explore best practices for message design across a variety of media and contexts. Students will be asked to apply theoretical concepts to design health campaign messages that hypothetically should affect various audiences and to consider the implications of prominent theories of message engagement for current public health practice.
Public Health Campaign Evaluation
This course will draw upon the campaign evaluation literature to offer recommendations on evaluation research design. The course will consider cross-sectional, experimental and time-based designs and will focus primarily on summative efforts
The M.A. in Health Journalism & Communication requires a minimum of 33 semester credits, to be completed over a two-year schedule. The program has two distinct areas of emphasis: Health Journalism and Health Communication. Students in the Health Journalism emphasis area learn to evaluate claims from health, medical and scientific sources and to tell health-oriented stories in broadcast or magazine journalism. Students in the Health Communication emphasis learn the fundamentals of writing about health topics for different audiences, as well as health campaign development and evaluation.