Health Communication
online program

Graduate Certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication

LET’S GET STARTED.

Complete this form to receive more information. It’s easy.

Step 1 of 3

Which is your primary area of interest?

Step 2 of 3

How many years of work experience do you have in health care or communications?

Final Step

Please complete the form below to download the program
brochure (all fields required)

We Value Your Privacy

BECOME A HEALTH COMMUNICATION EXPERT IN THE DIGITAL AGE.

Digital technologies have revolutionized the field of health communication. In fact, according to Business Insider, Goldman Sachs predicts that digital advancements, such as telehealth, may cut health care costs by $305 billion in the near future. That’s why the demand is surging for individuals who can engage audiences through digital and visual content in the health care industry. How can you best compete for the attention of these consumers? Earn your Graduate Certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication fully online from Boston University, a progressive leader in health communication education.

The blend of skills in marketing, digital storytelling, health sciences, policy, PR, and media relations are all needed in today’s consumer-driven, technology-advancing health economy. It’s an exciting time for our profession.

leigh curtin-wilding,msc
director, health communication

Careers

Where can you utilize visual and digital techniques as a health communicator?

  • Government agencies
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Health insurance companies
  • Hospitals and health care systems
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Clinical research organizations
  • Health technology companies
  • Media organizations
  • Marketing, advertising, and public relations agencies

What health communicator roles benefit from visual and digital expertise?

  • Community managers
  • Communications directors
  • Digital content strategists
  • Social media managers
  • Public relations professionals
  • Health and wellness managers
  • Marketing directors
  • Journalists and bloggers
  • Patient education specialists
  • Content creators
  • Content managers
  • Multimedia storytellers

Program Benefits

  • Develop a multidisciplinary blend of knowledge and skill to become a highly prepared health communications professional in the digital age.
  • Study under academic and industry leaders from distinct disciplines that cover the latest skills in visual and digital communication and how to utilize these to clearly communicate health-related topics.
  • Expect academic rigor and hands-on skills in the emerging areas of digital communication to create a quality education, which is one of the keys to staying professionally relevant, especially in fast-evolving industries like communications and health care.
  • Earn your certificate through BU’s Metropolitan College (MET) in partnership with the esteemed College of Communication (COM).

Curriculum

As an online student, you’ll take one course at a time, and you can complete the entire graduate certificate in as few as 28 weeks.

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

Required courses

MET HC 762Visual Communication in the Digital Health Age

Over the past two decades, the power of visuals in learning and retention has been increasingly recognized -- attributing as much as 80% of retention to information that is visually communicated. In a recent study, 85% of working professionals agreed that creative thinking is critical for problem-solving in their career, and 71% say creative thinking should be taught as a course, like math and science. The efficacy of the use of visual symbols has also been recognized for bridging language barriers in health care settings. This course provides health communication professionals the fundamental principles of design and how these relate to effective communication, particularly in health education and delivery applications. Course lectures and resources will guide students from visual design theory, straight through content creation and measuring effectiveness of visual messaging. Students will explore various media and tools used to create digital images and get hands-on practice in the image editing process. Topics include conceptual design, critical thinking in the creation of practical design, how design relates to industry, human perception and the visual process, and the use of symbols for immediacy and to bridge cultural and literacy divides. In addition to exploring popular digital vehicles for visual storytelling, such as infographics, data visualization, video and mobile, the course will also present real- world challenges, such as ethics and regulations in digital communications, as well as business processes. Expenditures for this course include textbooks and a 2-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud applications; cost of resources approx. $200. Specific details about subscription options will be included in the course materials section of Syllabus prior to class start. Course also requires access to a smartphone with camera and video capability or a digital camera/video. [4 credits]

MET HC 763Social Media Strategies and Tactics for Health Communicators

The course examines how healthcare organizations are tapping the power of social media to listen, learn, engage and act. Together, we will examine the impact of the communication technology revolution on the field of health marketing and communication. Through extensive readings, case studies, project assignments, use of social media and provocative weekly discussions, students will explore the extraordinary health communication challenges and opportunities driven by social media. Students will learn how social media is used in health care and why using it effectively and efficiently has become a necessary skill for many health care professionals. The impact of these profound changes will be analyzed from four perspectives: organizational, societal, professional and personal. Readings and case studies will explore the positive impact of social media as well as the new and daunting problems and threats social media present to healthcare organizations. [4 credits]

Elective courses (choose two from the list)

MET HC 750 The American Health Care System for Health Communicators
A vital component of the Health Communication curriculum, this course explores the health care system in terms of 1) communication within organizations, resources, and processes that constitute structure and operations; 2) relationships among stakeholders that shape it; and 3) resulting policies that impact system performance and influence the future of health care. Given the complexity and dynamics of the health care environment, an understanding of related issues at all levels is essential for effective communication and prevention of error within health care organizations. Without it, organizations must react defensively to environmental and political threats, often at the expense of patient safety and well-being; with it, organizations can act strategically to maximize growth opportunities and anticipate those forces that influence policy. The course draws upon multiple perspectives, including health communication in medicine and public health, health management (access, quality, and cost), politics, healthcare ethics, law, and the complexities of cross-cultural and psychosocial considerations within today’s healthcare system.
MET HC 751 Introduction to Epidemiology for Health Communicators
This course is recommended for students who are not Epidemiology concentrators. The purpose of this course is to introduce the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and demonstrate their applicability in the field of public health. A further objective is to provide an introduction to the basic skills needed to critically interpret the epidemiologic literature relevant to public health professionals.
MET HC 752 The Biology of Disease
This course, designed for students who have little or no background in the biological sciences, provides a foundation in the biological mechanisms and principles underlying major health problems. Selected health problems are explored from a biological perspective in order to provide fundamental information about infectious and non-infectious agents of disease, disease transmission, biological defense mechanisms, co-evolution of man and microbes, the effects of nutritional deficiency and excess, effects of respiratory exposures, the biology of cancer, aging, and other topics. Each student completing this course should be able to knowledgeably participate in a discussion of related health problems with a basic understanding of the terminology, and the underlying biological mechanisms.
MET HC 755 Contemporary Health Care Marketing
This course provides an in-depth understanding of the essential concepts of marketing and their application to health care. Students gain a working knowledge of marketing tools (such as pricing, promotion, channels, consumer behavior, brand equity, and segmentation) and how to use them. Students build practical applied skills in analyzing marketing programs and developing marketing programs and strategies, with particular attention to health care and its organizational structures, financing, technologies, market demands, laws, and regulations. Students also expand their understanding of the differences and similarities between marketing in for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations, and they increase their appreciation of the role of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and management in marketing decisions.
MET HC 756 Contemporary Public Relations
Provides an overview of the professional principles and practices in public relations for corporate, governmental, agency and nonprofit organizations. Includes history, organization, and scope of the field; its roots in social science; types of campaigns and programs; and professional ethics. Theories, strategies, and tactics in current practice emphasized and applied to health communication. Explores opportunities and requirements for work in the field. Students will learn to apply the basic public relations campaign planning model and examine public relations specialty practice areas including media relations, community relations, government relations, crisis communication, investor relations and employee communication.
MET HC 757 Interactive Marketing Communications
An overview of the theories, practices, and techniques in the emerging field of interactive marketing communications (IAMC). Students gain an understanding of the strategy and tactics of IAMC and its place in the more comprehensive field of marketing communications. In addition, students review IAMC’s relationship to and its effects on society, culture, and the economic system. The course will explore almost all the ways interactive marketing can be practiced via the Internet: historical introduction, dotcom era, basic principles, database marketing, etail, email, search (SEO & SEM/PPC), display advertising, social networking, gaming, mobile, et al.
MET HC 758 Media Relations for Health Communicators
Students learn publicity techniques used in mass media communication, including working with daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film and online media. The course will examine the principles and practices of working with mass media “gatekeepers” to accomplish campaign objectives as well as strategies and tactics for communicating directly with audiences through new media. Students will develop knowledge and skills related to the production and use of media relations tools with a focus on health communication. Case studies will be employed to understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in working with mass media as well as the special demands and practices associated with crisis communication. The course will also explore the emerging role of interactive and social media.
MET HC 759 Health Communication
Health communication is an emerging field in which professional communicators inform, influence and motivate individual, institutional, and public audiences about important health issues. This course examines theories of interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication relevant to the professional communicator in the health field. Reviews strategies of persuasion, the relationship between attitudes and behavior, and the changing nature of health and health delivery in the United States, and evaluates successful and unsuccessful health information campaigns.
MET HC 760 Research Methods for Health Communicators
Introduces students to the methodology of communication research. Particular attention will be paid to pre- and post-campaign communication research. The course includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Student will learn the nature of scientific logic, computer literature searches, research design, questionnaire construction, sampling, measurement techniques, and data analysis. The course will also explore the use of focus groups, experiments, surveys, and content analysis to inform and evaluate health communication campaigns.
MET HC 761 Advanced Writing for Health Communicators
Clear and persuasive writing is arguably the most fundamental tool in the contemporary health communicator’s toolbox. Essential writing qualities including clarity, cohesion, and concision will be emphasized throughout this course alongside advanced grammar, sentence structure and writing mechanics. The course aims to build advanced writing knowledge and skill upon the foundation each student brings to the classroom. Students will be exposed to a variety of traditional and online writing formats common to the field of health communication. Students will be required to analyze diverse audiences and refine writing strategies, style, vocabulary and levels of formality to accommodate each audience. Requires extensive writing, rewriting and editing assignments.

About BU

BOSTON UNIVERSITY ONLINE LEARNING

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 32,500 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multidisciplinary centers and institutes that are central to the University’s research and teaching mission.

Boston University is the fourth largest private university in the United States and was ranked a top 100 university in the world by Times Higher Education.

In 2012, Boston University joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada, founded in 1900. BU is the fourth university to be invited into the AAU since 2000. In the Boston area, only Harvard, MIT, and Brandeis are also members.

Metropolitan College

Metropolitan College, one of Boston University’s 17 degree-granting schools and colleges, was established in 1965. The College demonstrates excellence in teaching and research, with over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, offered full time and part time in convenient evening, online, and blended formats. There are nearly 30,000 Metropolitan College alumni worldwide.

College of Communication

In 1947, Boston University founded the first academic program in the United States in public relations. Boston University also has the distinct honor of granting the first Master of Science degree in Public Relations. Many of the College of Communication programs are revered as the best in the nation as well as internationally. The school boasts a current enrollment of more than 2,200 students, 165 faculty members, and 21,000 alumni worldwide.

Accreditation

As part of Boston University, Metropolitan College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one of six nationally recognized accrediting agencies.

Rankings, Honors & Membership

  • BU placed 32nd in the U.S. News & World Report 2016 rankings of global universities.
  • Boston University is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.
  • In 2016, the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) presented BU with the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning.
  • BU received the award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education from the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan).
  • BU is recognized as a Top 100 graduate university (QS Quacquarelli Symonds rankings).
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Boston University among the top 75 universities in the world in 2015.

Why choose BU for your digital learning experience?

You will meet many members of the BU community in this program. Some of these people you will meet online, and some you will communicate with by email and phone. Others are busy behind the scenes, including a team of instructional designers, video producers, and support staff who specialize in online education.

Getting Started

Boston University is committed to helping you achieve academic excellence. From the application process through the completion of your graduate certificate, a team of dedicated and passionate people are available to respond to your questions, comments, and concerns. Beyond coursework, students typically have many questions and may experience life challenges on the way to pursuing a higher education. The close collaboration between the Distance Education office, Metropolitan College, and the College of Communication enables you to access unprecedented student support online and by phone to help guide you through each phase of your journey. Communicate and collaborate with fellow students and alumni, discuss what courses best fit your needs, or reach out for technical support—day or night. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, support is always there.

Your Enrollment Advisor, Moumita Chakra, is available to help guide you through the application process. She will provide you with an overview of the Visual & Digital Health Communication graduate certificate program and answer any questions you have pertaining to admission requirements, tuition and funding, curriculum, online learning, and your application. Moumita will work with you through each step of your enrollment journey, answering your questions throughout.

Course Support

Our classes are divided into small groups of no more than 15 students, and are led by an instructional team made up of:

Your Professors
Your professors have primary responsibility for the courses and ensure all learning objectives are met through case studies, hands-on examples, and rigorous examination of the ideas, concepts, and methods that drive innovation. You'll hear periodically from your instructors and they are available to answer questions about the courses as needed. You will see your professors in the videos, animations, and if applicable to your class, in periodic live classroom sessions.
Your Facilitator
Your daily point of contact is your course facilitator, who is carefully selected for subject matter expertise and commitment to helping assigned students be successful. Your facilitator’s role is to guide you and your small group, and to stimulate lively discussions around academics; answer your questions; and grade exercises, discussions, term projects, or exams. If you ask your facilitator a question by email, you should get a response within 24 hours, usually faster. If you need an answer in a hurry, post the question to the discussion board, where the professor, all of the facilitators, and your fellow students will see it.
Your Student Support Administrator
Your student support administrator ensures you have all the information and resources you need to start the program successfully, and will assure you that a little bit of anxiety is normal for anyone beginning graduate studies. Whether you have non-academic questions, or you’d like to talk to someone about how the program works, what to expect, and how to prepare, your student support administrator is available to help.
Your Online Coordinator
Nadine Hyacinthe, the online coordinator for the Visual & Digital Health Communication program, administers the academic aspects of the program, including admissions and registration. You can ask Nadine questions about the program, registration, course offerings, or any other academic program-related topic.
Your Online Academic Advisors
Professors Steve Quigley and Dominic Screnci work together with you to help you reach your educational and career goals.
Your Program Director
Leigh Curtin-Wilding, program director, is a graduate of the Master of Science in Health Communication program. She works closely with other faculty to ensure the same high-caliber learning for which Boston University is well-known throughout the world. To do so, she strives to create a rigorous yet interactive learning experience that maximizes your potential.

Why is Boston University unlike any other university? BU offers an asynchronous learning experience on a fully online, innovative, and interactive platform. This type of flexible and engaging virtual environment allows you to seamlessly integrate your studies into your work and family life, and connect with a nationwide—even global—community of industry professionals. Small student peer groups in each class allow for an intimate and intergenerational learning experience, supported by dedicated staff, technical help, and academic resources available to students 24/7. As a result of this cutting-edge approach to online learning, the United States Distance Learning Association has honored BU with the 2016 U.S. Distance Learning Association Award for 21st Century Best Practices.

About Boston University

BOSTON UNIVERSITY ONLINE LEARNING

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 32,500 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multidisciplinary centers and institutes that are central to the University’s research and teaching mission.

Boston University is the fourth largest private university in the United States and was ranked a top 100 university in the world by Times Higher Education.

In 2012, Boston University joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada, founded in 1900. BU is the fourth university to be invited into the AAU since 2000. In the Boston area, only Harvard, MIT, and Brandeis are also members.

Metropolitan College

Metropolitan College, one of Boston University’s 17 degree-granting schools and colleges, was established in 1965. The College demonstrates excellence in teaching and research, with over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, offered full time and part time in convenient evening, online, and blended formats. There are nearly 30,000 Metropolitan College alumni worldwide.

College of Communication

In 1947, Boston University founded the first academic program in the United States in public relations. Boston University also has the distinct honor of granting the first Master of Science degree in Public Relations. Many of the College of Communication programs are revered as the best in the nation as well as internationally. The school boasts a current enrollment of more than 2,200 students, 165 faculty members, and 21,000 alumni worldwide.

Accreditation & Rankings

Accreditation

As part of Boston University, Metropolitan College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one of six nationally recognized accrediting agencies.

Rankings, Honors & Membership

  • BU placed 32nd in the U.S. News & World Report 2016 rankings of global universities.
  • Boston University is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.
  • In 2016, the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) presented BU with the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning.
  • BU received the award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education from the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan).
  • BU is recognized as a Top 100 graduate university (QS Quacquarelli Symonds rankings).
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Boston University among the top 75 universities in the world in 2015.
Student Support

Why choose BU for your digital learning experience?

You will meet many members of the BU community in this program. Some of these people you will meet online, and some you will communicate with by email and phone. Others are busy behind the scenes, including a team of instructional designers, video producers, and support staff who specialize in online education.

Getting Started

Boston University is committed to helping you achieve academic excellence. From the application process through the completion of your graduate certificate, a team of dedicated and passionate people are available to respond to your questions, comments, and concerns. Beyond coursework, students typically have many questions and may experience life challenges on the way to pursuing a higher education. The close collaboration between the Distance Education office, Metropolitan College, and the College of Communication enables you to access unprecedented student support online and by phone to help guide you through each phase of your journey. Communicate and collaborate with fellow students and alumni, discuss what courses best fit your needs, or reach out for technical support—day or night. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, support is always there.

Your Enrollment Advisor, Moumita Chakra, is available to help guide you through the application process. She will provide you with an overview of the Visual & Digital Health Communication graduate certificate program and answer any questions you have pertaining to admission requirements, tuition and funding, curriculum, online learning, and your application. Moumita will work with you through each step of your enrollment journey, answering your questions throughout.

Course Support

Our classes are divided into small groups of no more than 15 students, and are led by an instructional team made up of:

Your Professors
Your professors have primary responsibility for the courses and ensure all learning objectives are met through case studies, hands-on examples, and rigorous examination of the ideas, concepts, and methods that drive innovation. You'll hear periodically from your instructors and they are available to answer questions about the courses as needed. You will see your professors in the videos, animations, and if applicable to your class, in periodic live classroom sessions.
Your Facilitator
Your daily point of contact is your course facilitator, who is carefully selected for subject matter expertise and commitment to helping assigned students be successful. Your facilitator’s role is to guide you and your small group, and to stimulate lively discussions around academics; answer your questions; and grade exercises, discussions, term projects, or exams. If you ask your facilitator a question by email, you should get a response within 24 hours, usually faster. If you need an answer in a hurry, post the question to the discussion board, where the professor, all of the facilitators, and your fellow students will see it.
Your Student Support Administrator
Your student support administrator ensures you have all the information and resources you need to start the program successfully, and will assure you that a little bit of anxiety is normal for anyone beginning graduate studies. Whether you have non-academic questions, or you’d like to talk to someone about how the program works, what to expect, and how to prepare, your student support administrator is available to help.
Your Online Coordinator
Nadine Hyacinthe, the online coordinator for the Visual & Digital Health Communication program, administers the academic aspects of the program, including admissions and registration. You can ask Nadine questions about the program, registration, course offerings, or any other academic program-related topic.
Your Online Academic Advisors
Professors Steve Quigley and Dominic Screnci work together with you to help you reach your educational and career goals.
Your Program Director
Leigh Curtin-Wilding, program director, is a graduate of the Master of Science in Health Communication program. She works closely with other faculty to ensure the same high-caliber learning for which Boston University is well-known throughout the world. To do so, she strives to create a rigorous yet interactive learning experience that maximizes your potential.
Online Learning at BU

Why is Boston University unlike any other university? BU offers an asynchronous learning experience on a fully online, innovative, and interactive platform. This type of flexible and engaging virtual environment allows you to seamlessly integrate your studies into your work and family life, and connect with a nationwide—even global—community of industry professionals. Small student peer groups in each class allow for an intimate and intergenerational learning experience, supported by dedicated staff, technical help, and academic resources available to students 24/7. As a result of this cutting-edge approach to online learning, the United States Distance Learning Association has honored BU with the 2016 U.S. Distance Learning Association Award for 21st Century Best Practices.

LET’S GET STARTED.

Complete this form to receive more information. It’s easy.

Step 1 of 3

Which is your primary area of interest?

Step 2 of 3

How many years of work experience do you have in health care or communications?

Final Step

Please complete the form below to download the program
brochure (all fields required)

We Value Your Privacy