Health Communication and Promotion.

As part of Boston University’s on-campus Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, you will choose at least one Functional Certificate as your area of concentration, building upon your interests, strengths and career goals.

Health Communication and Promotion (HCP) Functional Certificate

This 16-credit certificate provides multidisciplinary knowledge and practical skills for developing and implementing communications-based strategies to motivate healthy behaviors, change social norms, and promote public health programs and policies. Students will gain knowledge and skills, including intervention and campaign development, qualitative and quantitative evaluation, risk communication, health advocacy, and the use of social media, websites, print and broadcast media, and other communications channels to advance public health.

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  • Design a strategic plan for an intervention and communications strategy that is theory-driven, science-based, audience-centered, practicable, and evaluable.
  • Apply a range of appropriate communication venues to support public health goals based on analysis and evaluation of alternative venues.
  • Create effective materials and messages using strategies and tools tailored to diverse audiences, including those with lower health literacy.
  • Develop an evaluation plan for a communication strategy.
  • Demonstrate professional oral presentation skills to inform and persuade diverse audiences.

Sample Course Titles

  • Mass Communication and Public Health
  • Designing Strategic Interventions and Communications to Advance Public Health
  • Strategies for Public Health Advocacy
  • Implementing Community Initiatives: A Field-Based Course in Leadership and Consultation

View the BU Bulletin for Course Requirements

Sample Health Communications and Promotion Practicum

  • 2020 Onsite Optometry (Boston, MA)—Student helped strengthen the partnership with Boston Public Schools (BPS), created consent forms, increased accessibility of the 2020 Onsite website, led the “buy one, give one” campaign, coordinated tabling/marketing for school wellness events, and created a press release for BPS to publicize partnership with 2020 Onsite Optometry.
  • Brookline Department of Public Health (Boston, MA)—Student developed health communication strategies, including multimedia video, social media posts, flyers, and partnerships with local community organizations, to increase community involvement in department-sponsored events.

View Career Data

Integrative Learning Experience

The Health Communication and Promotion (HCP) Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) assignment is structured to allow MPH students to apply skills and competencies to a real-world setting including collaboration with a public health agency in need of communication strategies. Each student will design a health communication strategy for a specific approach that addresses a communication objective, which will be supported by a communication strategy narrative, media executions, and an oral presentation.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of participating as a collaborating agency as part of the HCP ILE, please contact HCP Certificate Director Dr. Ziming Xuan at zxuan@bu.edu. Examples of previous HCP ILE projects include: Increasing Abortion Access in West Virginia and Connecting Boston Immigrants and Refugees to Health Services.

Certificate Director

“Our work in public health to encourage healthy behaviors, change social norms, and promote evidence-based programs and policies depends on our ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences. Students who complete the certificate will have a marketable credential that will qualify them to work in a variety of organizations and agencies that communicate public health information, implement communications-based programs, market health-related services and products, and advocate for public health policy.”

Fall 2023/Spring 2024 Health Communication and Promotion Certificate Roadmap

Fall 2022/Spring 2023 Health Communication and Promotion Certificate Roadmap

*Please note that all roadmaps are subject to change

HCP ILE Handbook Spring 2023

Contact the Department of  Community Health Sciences, the home of the MHSU Context Certificate, for any questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about MPH degree requirements and admissions, request information to learn more.