Do more than shape the health care conversation.
Create a new one.
You can empower your community and your career. The ability to disseminate health information to a variety of audiences can contribute to better health outcomes for communities worldwide. When you learn how to develop the insights and skills needed to share industry knowledge on a global level, you can make a meaningful contribution to the field.
Rider’s online Master of Arts in Health Communication (MAHC) is designed for working professionals who seek advanced credentials. Learn about the environmental, social and psychological influences that directly impact health outcomes, and help develop sustainable solutions for circulating health information.
Rider University Online Master of Arts in Health Communication Curriculum
Rider’s online curriculum can prepare you to make a meaningful contribution to health care and public health policy. Learn to develop your strategy and leadership skills to help address the gaps in health literacy and education.
Your online health communication courses are taught by a distinguished faculty and industry practitioners who can bring a practical and multidisciplinary approach to your studies. Our professors are available for you and are committed to your academic success.
Required Courses (33 Credit Hours):
|COMM 500||Communication Processes in Health||3 Credits|
Interpersonal and nonverbal communication are the two areas of general communication studies that health communication draws from most heavily. These concepts affect relationships in healthcare, the ability to understand and process medical information, the efficacy of messages in relation to nonverbal indicators and how bad news, another major concept in health communication, is received. This class will provide a comprehensive understanding of these concepts, how they are utilized in the field of health communication, and the ways in which the two areas intersect, all in the broader context of understanding health communication as a discipline.
|COMM 501||Medical Concepts and Health Writing||3 Credits|
Improving the way that health is communicated requires the ability to understand health information at the initial – and often complex – level. In particular, health communication aims to provide information to underserved populations, who may suffer from lack of education and poor health literacy. This class will provide you with a basic understanding of medical terminology and the ability to comprehend and explain scientific literature. You can develop the skills needed to translate medical information for a wide range of audiences. You will also be required to apply these concepts through the creation of multiple types of health writing assignments.
|COMM 505||Health Communication Theory||3 Credits|
Health communication is driven by a set of principles that guide the conceptualization, design and implementation of new health guidelines and interventions. The ultimate goal of health communication is to increase health and satisfaction by encouraging healthier behaviors, medical compliance and more efficient communication of medical information. This class is designed to give an overview of the major fields of study in health communication through examination of the major theoretical perspectives therein. Topics include the different areas of study in which health communication theories are based, how theory is used to support the initial design of research studies and interventions, and the situations in which the use of more than one theoretical approach is warranted.
|COMM 507||Business Presentation Strategies||3 Credits|
This course can provide you with the tools to develop purposeful presentations with targeted messages relating to audience needs. You can gain competency in a number of areas including: messaging, writing for the visual media, using current visual presentation tools, delivering an impactful presentation and taking advantage of social media channels. Learn to develop the knowledge and skills to influence and inspire internal and external constituencies, a key part of communication practitioners’ jobs, especially those in managerial/senior staff roles.
|COMM 525||Visual Communication||3 Credits|
Understanding the importance of visuals and using different ways to communicate effectively with visuals are integral parts of any advanced communication and journalism curriculum. The goal of the course is to provide you with the practical knowledge and critical skills necessary to effectively use visuals as an important and inevitable component in the communication process. The course will cover visual communication theories, perception of psychology, design and layout principles, typography, imagery in mass media and visuals in interactive media.
|COMM 531||Legal and Ethical Issues for Professional Communicators||3 Credits|
This course can provide you with the knowledge to understand and apply ethical guidelines and current laws and regulations relative to workplace communication, as well as the legal limits impacting professional communications. This knowledge is particularly important for those in or aspiring to managerial/senior staff roles.
|COMM 545||Information Gathering and Analysis||3 Credits|
This course can provide you with the knowledge and skills to use various research methods and analysis techniques to provide critical information for, and assist with, business decisions. It will cover developing research tools, gathering and verifying information, analyzing, and reporting results. These skills are particularly important for those in or aspiring to managerial/senior staff roles.
|COMM 551||Cultural Conceptions of Health and Illness||3 Credits|
Culture affects every relationship dynamic, the way nonverbal communication is interpreted, how audiences are selected for health campaigns, the ability and willingness to use technology, and the way bad news is broken to individuals and families. In health communication, culture comprises both the general conceptions of what culture is – the characteristics of a particular social, ethnic, or age group – as well as other factors. This class will examine the specific variables of culture in this setting, how the variables are both unique and interconnected, and the wide-reaching impact culture has in health. The first half of the course explores the variables that culture includes. The latter part of the course takes these variables and demonstrates the roles they play in real-world health communication settings.
|COMM 558||Health Communication Campaigns||3 Credits|
Campaigns are the primary tool used in health communication to disseminate messages and effect change. Campaigns can provide information on a specific issue or to a specific community, encourage preventative health behaviors, demonstrate behaviors (such as performing self-skin exams for skin cancer or the proper way to follow medication instructions), put forward suggestions for a healthy lifestyle, raise awareness, or offer support. At times, multiple messages may be present in one campaign. This class will examine the different types of health campaigns and the impact a health communication campaign can have. You can learn how to analyze a health campaign through its full cycle. The class will also serve as a foundation for the capstone class of the Master’s in Health Communication program.
|COMM 559||Communicating Crises in Health||3 Credits|
In the health setting, multiple events can be considered a crisis: the outbreak of a disease, contamination of food, a natural disaster and more. The response to a crisis can have a significant, long-lasting impact on the organization’s reputation. The development of a crisis plan, which sets forth guidelines for an organization’s response to a crisis and involves multiple steps, can be completed before any events occur and can significantly affect the way an organization handles a crisis. This class explores the types of crises that occur in health communication, the factors involved in a crisis, the development of a crisis plan and the effects of a crisis on an organization.
|COMM 600||Capstone: Implementing a Health Communication Campaign||3 Credits|
The ability to implement, evaluate, revise and successfully launch a campaign is a critical skill for all individuals who work in health communication. Campaigns are the primary tool used by health communicators to initiate change in a community, although their implementation will not always be a fluid, one-step process. This class will require students to select a local health campaign and evaluate the campaign from start to finish. Students will complete the Master’s program in Health Communication with a complete proposal for a health communication campaign and the skills needed to analyze an existing campaign from beginning to end.
Considering a Career Change to the Health Communication Field?
Rider welcomes students from all backgrounds into the online master’s in health communication program. Your enrollment advisor can help set you up for success by guiding you through the process. Make a smooth transition into the program — and your new career path.
Benefits of Your Online MAHC Degree
You’re ready to pursue your goals. We’re here to help you do it. At Rider, we’re committed to your growth, transformation and leadership. We connect you with rigorous academic, artistic and professional programs of study through a flexible online platform.
Prepare to thrive professionally and become a lifelong independent learner. Our people, programs and opportunities focus on helping you build a successful career and rewarding life where you can truly make a difference. That’s the promise of a Rider education.
The Value of Your Online Master of Arts in Health Communication
When you graduate with your Master of Arts in Health Communication degree from Rider University, you gain the chance to prove your value as a health literacy advocate. Graduates of a master’s program can also earn a 24% higher average annual salary than their undergraduate counterparts*, making the MAHC degree a valuable tool for increasing your earning potential.
Health messages shape our thoughts every day. Your expertise in health communication can help you understand audience needs and educate diverse populations. By learning to leverage your strengths in written, verbal and visual communication, you can transform health outcomes and contribute to positive health behaviors.
*According to a Georgetown University Study