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The explosion of social media and other interactive communication technologies is dramatically changing the ways in which consumers obtain and make sense of health related information. For example, peer to peer communication (e.g., within Facebook support group) about a medical condition is as important to understanding and coping as communication with providers. Providers and other health care professionals must be fully aware of and appreciate all the different sources of information that are key to sensemaking and understanding. Creating messages that are clear, easy to understand, and address the emotional and logical processing of health information is crucial and lead to positive health outcomes. The messages also must address cultural differences and health disparities in terms of behavior and care that are present in a diverse society.
The health communication program will produce graduates who are skilled, effective and literate communicators. They will be able to facilitate the sensemaking and decision making processes related to health information and be well equipped to communicate across many contexts and rapidly changing media platforms. Students completing this program will be prepared for a wide array of emerging health communication careers in industry, the non-profit sector and government.
Depending on students’ areas of interest, they are encouraged to select a minor that will complement this major and strengthen their skill set. For example, if a student has an interest in video production related to health communication, a minor in Electronic Media and Broadcasting would be appropriate.
Students majoring in health communication must complete 51 credit hours of study as outlined below, earn a C- or better in each course for the major and satisfy the University’s graduation requirements, and take CMST 101 Public Speaking - OC (3 credits) or CMST 110 Introduction to Communication Studies - OC (3 credits) for the general education oral communication requirement, JOU 110 Introduction to Mass Communication - SB (3 credits) or INF 128 Principles of Informatics - SB (3 credits) to fulfill the general education individual and society requirement, and SWK 105 Social Work and the Community - SB (3 credits) to fulfill the general education cultural pluralism requirement. It is recommended students take PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology - SB (3 credits) to fulfill the general education individual and society requirement and STA 205 Introduction to Statistical Methods - QR (3 credits) to fulfill the mathematics general education requirement.