Department of Communication Studies

Health Communication (MA)

Timothy Edgar, Health Communication

Graduate Program Director for Health Communication and Associate Professor Timothy Edgar teaches the theory course, research methods, and social marketing. (Filmed and edited by Emerson College students.)

Emerson’s Master of Arts program in Health Communication, in collaboration with Tufts University School of Medicine, is a unique program emphasizing application firmly grounded in theory and research. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to plan, deliver, and evaluate health information and disease prevention campaigns; advocate for health policy initiatives; manage healthcare delivery systems; and inform, influence, and motivate a diverse community of private and public audiences about health and medical concerns.

More Specialized Than an MPH

Unlike graduate programs in public health, Emerson’s Health Communication program focuses on communication issues in a variety of health-related contexts, not just public health or policy. Students concentrate on the creation, implementation, and evaluation of health messages in a program that is more focused than an MPH and more specialized than a general degree in communication.

With over two dozen of electives from which to choose, students may tailor the curriculum to meet particular needs and interests, focusing on specialty areas such as social marketing, health writing, digital media, or healthcare organizations. 

The Medical Epicenter

The fields of medicine and healthcare make up Boston's second largest industry. Emerson is only blocks away from world-renowned medical centers, research institutions, and biotechnology companies. These extensive connections in the Emerson and Tufts network of Boston's health sciences allow you many opportunities to gain real-world and practical hands-on experience.

Experienced Faculty

Emerson faculty are specialists in public and health communication areas such as social marketing, media campaigns, and the use of new technologies. They have researched health issues such as nutrition, immunization, obesity, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. The Tufts faculty are epidemiologists, physicians, and social scientists who also continue their work in the field of clinical and community health.

Emerson faculty include:

Nancy Allen, MPH

Timothy Edgar, PhD

Christine Skubisz, PhD

Meet the graduate program director »

Two Decades of Excellence

Above: Emerson/Tufts Program Directors and distinguished alums who were celebrated for their contributions to the health communication field during the program's 20th anniversary celebration. L to R: Tim Edgar (Emerson Graduate Program Director), Ami Schmitz (Distinguished Career Award), Dr. Nicole Holland (Emerging Leader Award), Paul S. Rosenthal (Distinguished Service Award), Sue Gallagher (Tufts Graduate Program Director).

The Health Communication program was the first of its kind in the country when it began in 1994, and it has flourished for over two decades. In celebration of the many achievements of our more than 250 alumni, we held a 20th anniversary celebration that more than a third of all of our graduates from the last 20 years attended. The two-day event provided an opportunity for individuals to celebrate the success they have achieved in the field of health communication after receiving a strong foundation in their graduate program.

Our alumni represent the best evidence for the ongoing quality of the program. We had many of our alumni (as well as current students) write to us after the event to talk about their pride in the program and how the celebration inspired them. Below is a selection of quotes from those congratulatory messages:

“After attending the workshops, the luncheon and listening to everyone speak, I found myself beyond inspired and unbelievably proud to be a part of the Health Communication program.” – Kristen McShane, MA (Emerson class of 2014), Boston Children’s Hospital

“…[T]he best part of the day was getting a much needed reminder on why I was drawn to health communication in the first place! I definitely left with a renewed excitement for the field.” – Amy Behrens, MS (Tufts class of 2008), Senior Editor, CommunicateHealth

“I felt and still feel great pride in the association I have with this special program as well as with the wonderful people who are carrying on the mantle and tenets of the program.” – Cheryl Lefman, MA (Emerson class of 1997), Community Health Coordinator, Wellesley Health Department

 “All of the workshops and speeches were incredibly meaningful and compelling. It’s great to know that I’m part of this wonderful program.” – Julie Corwin, MA Health Communication Candidate (Emerson class of 2016)

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