Online Master of Science in Health Communication

Healthcare issues affect people worldwide and can range from health system reform to environmental crises, to public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publication The Economics Daily noted that healthcare industries will be among those projected to grow the fastest through 2029. United States Census Bureau data shows that one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2034, while a report by Technavio shows that the value of the global health and wellness market is poised to grow by $1,299.8 billion through 2024. The impact of digital technology in healthcare will continue to reverberate, with venture funding for health tech innovators at $14 billion in 2020 and expected to increase, according to Deloitte. 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.

Success in this endeavor requires an understanding of biosystems and disease, the social and cultural determinants of public health, the American healthcare system, and epidemiology—and the critical ability to communicate information in a way both the media and the public can understand.

To prepare students for emerging roles in healthcare marketing, public and media relations, digital and integrated health communication, education, promotion, and advocacy, Boston University’s College of Communication and Metropolitan College collaborate to offer the Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC)—the first degree of its type to be offered online. The multidisciplinary program focuses on the intersection of healthcare, marketing, health literacy, public relations, and digital media in order to prepare students for the breadth of issues they will encounter as health communicators—from medical breakthroughs and the development of new products to government policies and public health challenges, and many others.

The online master’s program in Health Communication now offers optional concentrations in:

Students who complete the master’s degree in Health Communication will be able to:

  • Employ communication strategy, methods, and technology to communicate information, influence audiences, or affect change on health-related topics and issues.
  • Evaluate the value and significance of traditional, social, and digital media practice in the health communication field.
  • Demonstrate competence in communicating about healthcare, including how to develop purpose-driven, audience-specific materials.
  • Understand and apply ethical and socially responsible health communication practices and strategies that consider privacy, regulatory, and legal issues specific to the healthcare industry.
  • Interpret and apply basic communication research fundamentals to the field of health communication.
  • Analyze, synthesize, interpret, and present health and scientific information using clear and concise messaging for public, media, and/or stakeholder consumption.

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.

Silver Award for Distance Learning Programming, U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA), 2010

Why Choose BU’s Master of Science in Health Communication?

  • Courses are taught by experienced health professionals and faculty experts from across Boston University, including the College of Communication, School of Public Health, and Metropolitan College.
  • BU’s program is unique, offered 100% online with asynchronous learning, while integrating communication and health care content in each course.
  • Enjoy an exceptional 15:1 student-to-instructor ratio, ensuring close interaction with faculty and access to support.
  • The Health Communication master’s program provides a global community of experts and peers, as well as unparalleled academic resources available to students 24/7.
  • The following online graduate certificate programs can be applied to the master’s degree: Foundations of Health Communication; Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing; and Visual & Digital Health Communication.
  • All applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships, and admitted students are nominated based on eligibility.

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

Career Outlook

Medical and Health Services Managers

28% increase in jobs through 2032

$104,830 median annual pay in 2022

Health Education Specialists

7% increase in jobs through 2032

$59,990 median annual pay in 2022

Public Relations Specialists

6% increase in jobs through 2032

$67,440 median annual pay in 2022

Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Managers

6% increase in jobs through 2032

$138,730 median annual pay in 2022

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (last modified September 26, 2023)

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 online Master of Science in Health Communication consists of eight required online courses (32 credits) and can be completed in as few as 16 months of part-time study.


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.