Program Requirements

  • 40 credits, including 24 credits of required courses at Emerson and Tufts
  • 16 credits of electives (a maximum of 8 credits of elective courses may be taken at Tufts)

Emerson College-Tufts University School of Medicine Core

HC 601 Applications of Theory for Health Communication
HC 602 Media Strategies for the Health Professional
HC TU1 Introduction to Medicine
HC TU2 Epidemiology and Biostatistics: How to Read the Medical Literature
HC 603 Research Methods
(HCTU courses are offered through Tufts University School of Medicine. Students will register for them through Emerson College.)

Capstone Requirement

HC 610 Applied Learning Experience

The Applied Learning Experience (HC 610) is the capstone course of the program, providing students with an opportunity to practice and display the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their studies in the completion of a real-world health communication project. In lieu of a traditional master’s thesis, the ALE provides hands-on practical experience and a portfolio piece


Students may choose elective courses in order to specialize in areas that fit their career goals. The content areas and course options listed below are not exhaustive. A student should consult with the graduate program director to choose electives that are consistent with the student's career goals.

HC 605 Persuasion in Health Communication
HC 605 Risk Communication in Public Health Practice
HC 604 Social Marketing
HC 690 Internship in Health Communication
MK 617 Consumer Behavior
MK 618 Marketing Communication Integration Strategies
MK 620 Public Relations Management
MK 621 Writing for Marketing Communication
MK 627 Interactive and e-Communication
MK 630 Advertising, Sales Promotion, and Publicity Management
MK 636 Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
MK 639 Strategic Brand Management
MK 648 Media Management Strategies
MK 649 Measuring and Communicating Investments in Marketing
MK 653 Web Page Development and Management
MK 695 The Big Idea Workshop
CC 604 Strategic Planning and the Managerial Process
CC 608 Public Affairs
CC 626 Crisis Communication
CC 628 Entrepreneurship and Creative Problem Solving
CC 643 Global Communication
CC 647 Organizational Communication
CC 652 Emerging Communication Technologies
CC 695 Seminar: Public Diplomacy & Grass Roots
CC 695 Seminar: Policy Brief
CC 695 Seminar: Professional Oral Communication
GM 612 Global Public Relations
GM 614 Global Advertising
GM 630 Interactive and eCommunication in a Global Environment

Tufts University Electives

The following Health Communication courses are offered through Tufts University. This is an abridged list. Not all courses are offered each year, and for some courses there is limited enrollment. A maximum of 8 elective credits may be taken at Tufts.

HCTU Patient-Provider Interaction  (4 credits)
HCTU Social Media and Health (4 credits)
HCTU Ethical Issues in Public Health (2 credits)
HCTU Online Consumer Health (2 credits)
HCTU Health Behavior and Health Communication (4 credits)
HCTU Writing About Health and Medicine (2 credits)
HCTU Writing for Public Health Professionals (2 credits)
HCTU Digital Strategies for Health Communication (4 credits)
HCTU Technology and Health Communication (2 credits)
HCTU Changing Health Behaviors: Healthy People and Communities (4 credits)
HCTU Public Health and Health Care: Politics, Policies, and Programs (4 credits)
HCTU Health Care Organization: Budgeting & Management (4 credits)
HCTU Mobile Health Design (4 credits)
HCTU Health Literacy Curriculum Development (4 credits)
HCTU Professional Communication (2 credits)
HCTU Public Relations: Framing the Dialogue for Public Health (2 credits)
HCTU Occupational and Environmental Health (4 credits)
HCTU Seminar in Health Literacy (2 credits)
HCTU Health, Culture and Communication (2 credits)
HCTU Qualitative Tools for Research and Methods (2 credits)
HCTU Global Health Priorities & Approaches (4 credits)
HCTU Introduction to Global Health & Development (4 credits)
HCTU Snort, Swallow, Smoke: Drugs and Behavior (4 credits)
HCTU Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (2 credits)
HCTU Maternal & Child Health: Policy in the US (2 credits)
HCTU Maternal & Child Health: A Global Perspective (2 credits)
HCTU Adult Learning Theory

Course Descriptions

HC601 - Applications of Theory for Health Communication (4 Credits)

Explores the role of theory, research, and practice in health communication. Investigates provider-patient interaction, social support networks, medical ethics, mass media, and health promotion and disease prevention. Covers the role of communication in health, including the role it plays in individuals' social and cultural expectations and beliefs about health, how such information influences people to think about health and effect behavioral change, and how communication may be used to redefine and change public health policy. Includes readings, projects, exams, and class interaction.

Instructor: Tim Edgar

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HC602 - Media Strategies for the Health Professional (4 Credits)

Students develop an understanding of the strategic use of the media by health communicators in message development and communication strategy execution. Students also explore the ethical concerns of healthcare professionals who utilize the media. Students learn how to develop effective health communication campaigns that bring about behavioral change among target audiences and influence health policy issues at the local, state, national, and international level. In addition, students learn how to develop evaluation techniques for health communication strategies.

Instructor: Nancy J. Allen

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HC603 - Research Methods (4 Credits)

This course is organized around the research process in which students learn how to formulate a research question and define a research problem, decide upon a research design, assess data collection methods, define a sampling frame, determine types of data analyses, interpret data appropriately, and prepare a research report. Topics in both qualitative and quantitative research methods are included. Further, students gain an understanding of the importance of research in the development of health communication strategies.

Instructor: Christine Skubisz

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HC605 – Persuasion in Health Communication (4 Credits)

The question of how people exercise influence using communication has challenged those working in the field for decades. There are plethora of persuasive messages that can be used in an attempt to change a person’s attitude or behavior.  This course will provide insight regarding when messages work, at what time, with what audience. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the process of persuasion and social influence in the context of health.  We will cover classic and contemporary theory and research related to social influence at the conceptual, theoretical, and applied levels.  Students will gain a firm understanding of how people influence the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of others. 

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HC605 – Risk Communication in Public Health Practice (4 Credits)

Whether responding to an unexpected crisis that is at the forefront of the news cycle or trying to draw attention to a rarely talked about health issue, public health practitioners need to simply and effectively communicate about health risk and potential impact. This class covers the psychology of risk, risk assessment, crisis communication, risk reduction and mitigation, and community mobilization. Crisis communication strategies used by the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control will be reviewed. Care communication strategies will be presented within the framework of the Harm Reduction Model. In addition to a risk communication plan, students will gain practical experience developing media talking points and practicing public speaking during simulated media interviews. The final exam includes staffing a Twitter exam during a mock public health crisis.

Instructor: Nancy J. Allen

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HC610 - Applied Learning Experience (4 Credits)

A capstone experience for students completing the Health Communication program. Students conduct research and develop and implement a communication plan to address the needs of a health-related organization in the Boston area. Projects may include the creation of training modules for health professionals, patient education, health information dissemination, policy advocacy, and the like. Students produce a final report.

Instructors: Christine Skubisz, Tim Edgar

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