Online Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing Graduate Certificate

Boston University’s online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing allows students to develop or refresh skills vital for today’s professional health communicator. Using persuasion and media effects theory, communication planning, and other fundamental behavioral and management concepts, students learn to design integrated public relations, media, and marketing plans that help achieve the goals of health-related organizations and clients.

This is particularly vital as healthcare enters a transformative period. Healthcare industries are predicted to be among those growing the fastest through 2029 (The Economics Daily, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2020). Factors affecting the landscape include an increase in chronic lifestyle diseases—diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, cancer, dementia, and other stress-related disorders—which is helping drive expansion of the wellness industry, the value of which is poised to grow by $1,299.8 billion through 2024, according to a report by Technavio. Additionally, United States Census Bureau data shows that one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2034, with aging baby boomers expected to outnumber children for the first time in 2030. Healthcare organizations—and the many health and wellness businesses affiliated with them—will all need professional health communicators who excel at developing effective and responsible communication strategies.

Students learn how to frame points of view and create powerful messages using print, broadcast, social, community, and organizational media in creative ways to influence and educate diverse audiences. With a focus on workplace-ready skills, students develop campaigns, search-optimized content, and materials—while understanding the importance of ethics, privacy, and regulatory considerations. They also gain essential knowledge in brand, reputation, and crisis management.

This certificate prepares students for professional communication roles within consumer- and business-facing corporations, government agencies, healthcare organizations and hospitals, PR and marketing agencies, non-profit organizations, and other employers seeking to advocate for, educate, and influence audiences about health and wellness.

In today’s climate of greater integration among public relations, media, and marketing disciplines, even recently educated communication professionals are challenged by the pace of change in their professions and across the media landscape. With this certificate, students learn the differences, similarities, and tensions among these communication functions within organizations, and how to effectively implement and align contemporary strategies and measurable tactics as part of a unified effort.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing will be able to demonstrate:

  • Create channel-specific health communication plans and search-optimized content designed to support, influence, and engage with diverse stakeholder audiences.
  • Understand and demonstrate socially responsible health communication principles and practices as they apply to public relations, digital marketing, and media relations, including privacy, copyright and regulatory considerations, and knowledge of the Code of Ethics as defined by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
  • Understand the expanding 24/7 role of media relations professionals within healthcare organizations, including dos and don’ts for developing successful relationships with reporters, message framing and delivery methods, and crisis management strategies.
  • Identify the differences, similarities, and tensions among public relations, media, and marketing functions within healthcare organizations, and the importance of unified strategies that align and measure organizational efforts.

Awards & Accreditations

The elective 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 Healthcare Promotion?

  • Students who complete the four-course certificate in Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing learn to frame points of view and create powerful messages to influence and educate diverse audiences around healthcare—opening the doors for professional communication careers in health and wellness.
  • 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 on developing integrated public relations, media, and marketing plans that help achieve the goals of health-related organizations and clients, but don’t want or need to commit to a full master’s degree program.
  • Students in the certificate program may transfer up to 16 credits toward BU’s online Master of Science in Health Communication. In addition, students can pair the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing with the Graduate Certificate in Foundations of Health Communication to earn the master’s in Health Communication with a concentration in Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing.

Career Outlook

Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Managers

6% increase in jobs through 2029

$141,490 median annual pay in 2020

Public Relations Specialists

7% increase in jobs through 2029

$62,810 median annual pay in 2020

Medical and Health Services Managers

32% increase in jobs through 2029

$104,280 median annual pay in 2020

Health Educators and Community Health Workers

13% increase in jobs through 2029

$48,140 median annual pay in 2020

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (last modified April 9, 2021)

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 Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing consists of four required online courses (16 credits).


Justin Joseph

Justin Joseph

Program Director, Health Communication
Associate Professor of the Practice, Public Relations, Boston University College of Communication
MS, Boston University; MA, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; BS, Boston University

Felipe Agudelo Acevedo

Felipe Agudelo Acevedo

Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
PhD, DePaul University; MPH, National School of Public Health, Universidad de Antioquía, Colombia; BEng, Universidad de Antioquía, Colombia

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.