The objective of the Certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication is to train students to understand the processes of health communication and the principles for communicating about health across multiple channels. Graduate students learn to use theory-informed health communication strategies in applied practice, academic and research settings.


  • 3 credits in a required course on health communication theory and research (HBEH 825/MEJO 825);
  • 3 credits in a course from the approved list and outside the student’s home department/school;
  • 3 credits in the colloquia class for 2 semesters at 1 1/2 credits each (HBEH 826/MEJO 826); and
  • A thesis, master’s paper, dissertation, or equivalent on a health communication-related topic, broadly defined.

Only one of the two three-credit courses can count toward the student’s primary graduate degree (e.g., their Ph.D.). The Certificate will be awarded only when all requirements have been met, including submission of the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School.

Course selection should focus on one of two substantive areas:

  1. Psychological processes — examining the processes that underlie health communications intended to change health behaviors, including how thinking (cognition) and feeling (affect) influence the information used in health decision making. This track includes the study of customized messages and campaigns that result in effective public health interventions. Relevant courses focus on theories of persuasion and attitude change and the processes and effects of mass communication.
  2. Integrated communication strategies — creating and delivering health communication messages and interventions through complementary channels, including interpersonal communication, print and electronic media. This track includes the study of eHealth—the use of emerging technologies, especially the Internet, to improve or enable health and healthcare. Courses in public relations, marketing, intervention design, health information systems, and e-health are relevant for this track.