Online Visual & Digital Health Communication Graduate Certificate

Boston University’s online Graduate Certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication is 16-credit course of study that examines the impact of the communication technology revolution on the field of health marketing and outreach, and prepares graduates for careers in this rapidly changing and growing industry through the development of visual and digital storytelling tools vital to modern messaging. It can be completed in less than a year.

In today’s health care landscape, savvy communicators, marketers, and coverage providers recognize the importance of effective storytelling and strategic social media practices in capturing the engagement and participation of patients, consumers, or desired target audiences. How those audiences and consumers experience initiatives through social media, websites, mobile apps, videos, and branded content can make or break the success of an otherwise well-defined health campaign or project.

In the Visual & Digital Health Communication certificate program’s required courses, students will learn the fundamental principles of design and how to apply them to the creation of powerful health education and delivery application tools, such as infographics, data visualization graphics, videos, websites, mobile apps, and branded content. Students will also examine how social media is used in health care and why using it effectively has become a necessary skill for many health care professionals.

Additionally, students in the certificate program may petition to have the credits they earn transferred toward BU’s online Master of Science in Health Communication. Students must successfully complete 40 credits to receive the degree. To receive both the degree and the certificate, students must complete a total of 48 credits. Master’s applicants who have previously earned the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) are eligible upon admission to waive one of the program’s required courses—the equivalent of 4 credit hours. For more information, see the Health Communication page.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication will be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the value and significance of traditional, social, and emerging digital media practice in the health communication field.
  • The ability to design communication strategies and methods that employ digital and visual information to influence audiences or affect change on health-related topics and issues.
  • Expertise in the role that communication—including digital and visual content—plays in the health care industry.
  • The capacity to analyze, synthesize, interpret, and present health and scientific information for public consumption using clear and concise messaging.
  • Proficiency in creating digital images and visual tools—including infographics, branded content, video, data visualization graphics, webpage, and mobile page design—that purposely and ethically help bridge digital divides in health education and comprehension.

Awards & Accreditations

The course Visual Communication in the Digital Health Age (MET HC 762) received the 2017 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching & Learning—a global honor recognizing excellence in delivering students a flexible, innovative online learning experience.

Why Choose BU’s Graduate Certificate in Health Communication?

      • Four-course certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication examines the impact of the communication technology revolution on the field of health marketing and communication and prepares graduates for a career in this rapidly changing field.
      • BU’s program is unique, offered 100% online with asynchronous learning, while integrating communication and health care content in each course.
      • The certificate is ideal for those who wish to focus more on the continuing trends in visual communication and the strategic use of social media in health communication, but don’t want or need to commit to a full master’s degree program.

Meet Stephen Quigley, one of the faculty members you’ll work with in the Health Communication program.

Career Outlook

The digital health care market could see as much as $32.4 billion in near-term revenues.
Business Insider
“Goldman Sachs says a digital healthcare revolution is coming—and it could save America $300 billion”

Mobile health app adoption has doubled from 16% in 2013 to 32% in 2015.
72% of 18–44-year olds surveyed would use tele-health for mental health services.
Price Waterhouse Coopers Health Research Institute
Top health industry issues of 2016: Thriving in the New Health Economy

Tuition & Financial Assistance

Money Matters

Boston University Metropolitan College (MET) offers competitive tuition rates that meet the needs of part-time students seeking an affordable education. These rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education. To learn more about current tuition rates, visit the MET website.

Financial Assistance

Comprehensive financial assistance services are available at MET, including scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans. There is no cost to apply for financial assistance, and you may qualify for a student loan regardless of your income. Learn more.


Boston University’s Graduate Certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication consists of four required online courses (16 credits).


Megan Healey

Megan Healey

Clinical Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; MPH, Harvard School of Public Health; BA, Clark University

Stephen Quigley

Stephen Quigley

Academic Advisor; Associate Professor of Public Relations, Boston University College of Communication
MEd, Boston University; BA, University of Massachusetts

Sandra Grasso

SandraJean M. Grasso

Assistant Director, Graduate Program for Neuroscience (GPN), Boston University
EdD, Boston University; MS, Northeastern University; BA, Merrimack College

Getting Started

To learn more or to contact an enrollment advisor before you get started, request information using the button below and tell us a little about yourself. Someone will be in touch to answer any questions you may have about the program and detail the next steps in earning your degree. You can also start your application or register for a course at Metropolitan College.