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Health Communication, B.A.

Why is this major important?

Health communication is one of the fastest growing areas in the communication field and a stated focus of Healthy People 2020, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), and the National Cancer Institute. Students who major in health communication develop the communication competencies needed to inform and influence individual and community decisions for improving health.

What is unique about our approach to this major?

Our health communication degree for undergraduates is one of only a handful nationwide. Most other programs only offer health communication as an area of specialization. We offer a comprehensive approach to health care and promotion.

Students majoring in Health Communication study various topics such as:

  • Provider-patient communication
  • Social marketing and communication campaigns on health-related behavioral change
  • Cultural influences on health meanings and treatment preferences
  • Health citizenry and health literacy
  • Communication within healthcare organizations
  • Risk and crisis management
  • The influence of narrative and interactive media (including e-health and telemedicine) on public understanding and health promotion

What sets this major apart from others in the communication field?

Experiences of health and illness are ubiquitous to everyone, and the health communication major spans all areas of the communication field. Students majoring in health communication study the relationship between communication and health in interpersonal, organizational, and mediated contexts. Students may also take courses in health-related disciplines.

What real-world experiences do we provide?

Our goal is to provide students who major in health communication with the knowledge and skills needed to address specific communication issues and socially relevant problems. Within the classroom, students complete practical projects and interact with diverse members of the community (e.g., providers, patients, advocates, organizational members). Students majoring in health communication also secure internships with health-related organizations in the Texas Medical Center and greater Houston community.

What do our students learn?

The health communication major is designed for students who aspire to become communication specialists in health environments or address societal challenges related to communication and health. Our program prepares students for a variety of careers in healthcare contexts, including hospitals, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and medical settings. Graduates with a degree in health communication may seek jobs as health communication specialists, health educators, curriculum/instructional designers, patient advocates, health directors, public relations practitioners, and health campaign developers, or may pursue graduate study in health communication for careers in teaching and research.

Featured Courses

  • Health Communication
  • Doctor-Patient Interaction
  • Health Campaigns
  • Health Literacy
  • Multicultural Health Communication

Want to learn more about the courses and requirements for this major?

Visit the UH Course Catalog.