Skip to main content

Health Communication track, Professional Communication BA

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

The lack of health equity in the U.S. is a pressing social problem. Individuals from underrepresented groups often have worse health outcomes and receive substandard care compared with those from dominant groups. Therefore, professionals who have an expertise in health equity are needed to help improve this problem. Health Communication professionals encompass a wide variety of roles. These include hospital or healthcare communication specialists, grant-writers, advocates and health communicators in nonprofit organizations and government agencies, among others. 

Students will learn the skills needed to communicate about health across a variety of contexts, including in patient-provider encounters, health organization settings, and health campaign planning.

Students complete the foundational courses before the intermediate courses. The advanced courses should be taken during a student's final year. Electives may be taken alongside either the intermediate or advanced courses.

Are you interested in a Professional Communication degree? Sign up to learn more at our information session on October 12 at 5 p.m.

Student outcomes

This unique health communication track offers a focus in health equity.

  • Deliver an effective oral presentation 
  • Write an effective paper; 
  • Demonstrate effective critical thinking;  
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the interactions between communication, health, and social/cultural contexts; and  
  • Develop communication approaches to enhance health equity.

Related minors

Metro State connects you to your future. Receive information from Admissions about taking your first step toward a degree!

Already admitted? Find your advisor.

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Health Communication track, Professional Communication BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Health Communication track, Professional Communication BA

Program eligibility requirements

  • Any student admitted to Metropolitan State University may declare a major in the Health Communication track, Professional Communication BA.

36 credits

Course requirements

Students should complete the Health Communication track course work in the order it is listed below. Electives may be taken concurrently with the Intermediate or Advanced Coursework. Students should register for the Advanced courses during their final year in the program.

Foundational Coursework

Prerequisites

Choose one:

COMM 103 Public Speaking

3 credits

Students learn public speaking principles and techniques well enough to prepare, deliver, and evaluate informative and persuasive speeches. Videotaping and self-assessment are integral components of this class as is writing. Some speeches require students to research and critically analyze information. The six to eight class presentations include topics pertaining to the corporate world, community life, the political arena or human services. Students are expected to write well and will outline each presentation. Overlap: COMM 103P Public Speaking Proficiency Test.

Full course description for Public Speaking

COMM 103P Public Speaking Proficiency Test

3 credits

This assessment is designed for students who wish to have prior learning in public speaking evaluated. Students who participate serve as an audience for other students. Assessment covers the student's knowledge and application of the theories and techniques of preparation, presentation and evaluation of public speeches. This assessment is evaluated satisfactory/nonsatisfactory only. No other letter grade is assigned. Overlap: COMM 103 Public Speaking Proficiency Test.

Full course description for Public Speaking Proficiency Test

Required Foundational Coursework

INFS 315 Searching for Information

4 credits

A student completing this course understands the process of finding, synthesizing, evaluating, and documenting sufficient and reliable information appropriate to a variety of purposes including upper division coursework, senior capstone papers or professional writing, and communication tasks. Students also explore a number of the contemporary issues surrounding information in society, have opportunities to use and/or visit primary resource collections and learn a variety of research techniques. Specific sections of the course will structure assignments around a course theme identified in the class schedule. Prior themes have included Civil Rights, Holocaust and Genocide, Crime and Punishment, Food, Immigration, and Health Care. Both themed and non-themed sections are offered every semester as are online and in-class sections.

Full course description for Searching for Information

COMM 333 Intermediate Intercultural Communication

4 credits

Intercultural Communication has a global perspective and engages students in reflectively thinking about the growing interdependence of nations and peoples. Students develop their ability to apply a comparative perspective to cross-cultural communication episodes in interpersonal interactions. Students research topics of interest that compare two or more cultures in some aspect of their social, economic, or political values and practices. Through field experiences, in class exercises, and readings, students learn the dynamics and skills needed to engage in respectful and sensitive communication with others whose beliefs, values, and attitudes are different than their own.

Full course description for Intermediate Intercultural Communication

COMM 372 Health Communication

4 credits

This course is designed to provide an understanding of the health care industry and the theory and practice of face to face and mediated forms of communication by health care administrators, managers, providers, and patients. Students will analyze both common and best practices in health care campaigns, training, public relations, patient satisfaction, patient advocacy, administration, media covering health issues, and public education. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism, and how social constructions of race and racism affect perspectives and create disparities in health care access, communication, and outcomes experienced by different populations.

Full course description for Health Communication

Intermediate Coursework

COMM 331 Interpersonal Communication for the Helping Professions

4 credits

This course is designed to develop skills in perceiving and responding to others as whole persons. Particular attention is paid to working with individual in health care and human service settings. The course is organized into five major units: 1) Groundwork for helping relationships; 2) Basic skills; 3) Understanding the client¿s current situation and concerns; 4) Assisting the client in identifying and committing to a desired change; and 5) Facilitating the development of action strategies to move forward. The focus within each of the units will be on mastering the communication skills that contribute to the greatest likelihood of success with clients in the helping professions.

Full course description for Interpersonal Communication for the Helping Professions

COMM 352 Organizational Communication

4 credits

This course examines communication patterns and systems functioning in modern organizations in sectors such as government, nonprofit and corporate. Course simulations and topics include analysis of organizational communication models, formal and informal communication networks, external and internal communication channels, the changing shape of future organizations, mentoring, ethics, diversity, technologies, and the purpose of communication research.

Full course description for Organizational Communication

MDST 485 Communicating with New Media

4 credits

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to effectively promote and advocate for events, organizations, or issues using a variety of social media and multi-media. Students will combine online writing (or blogging) with other forms of social networking and media (wikis, YouTube, Facebook, and/or Twitter) to build a comprehensive online initiative promoting a timely and relevant issue or event either of their choosing or provided by the instructor. Students will increase their knowledge of online rhetoric, audience research, planning for media events, script or treatment writing, and evaluation of communication programs.

Full course description for Communicating with New Media

Advanced Coursework

COMM 472 Advanced Health Communication: Campaigns

4 credits

This course focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating communication campaigns designed to impact the beliefs and behaviors of people with the goal of improving health outcomes. In order to prepare Health Communication professions for work on health campaigns, the course will address identifying critical health concerns, exploring the populations and sub-populations affected, determining beliefs and/or behaviors to strategically target, developing persuasive messages, selecting specific media, and evaluating the effectiveness of the health communication campaign. Different persuasion theories and approaches will be explored, and logic models will be developed for campaigns.

Full course description for Advanced Health Communication: Campaigns

COMM 482 Applied Communication Research

4 credits

This course studies the ways research is carried out: its purpose and design, justification and links to preceding work; data identification, collection and analysis; basic statistical concepts; and the interpretation, application and implications of findings. Students will work directly with data, reports, journal articles, and/or community-based research to develop their skills in interpreting, writing, and presenting quantitative and qualitative findings to a variety of audiences they may encounter in their professional careers.

Full course description for Applied Communication Research

Electives

Students select 4 credits from the electives to complete their major. Students interested in completing an internship must apply and register for an internship (COMM 350I) BEFORE registering for WRIT 010. For information on internships please consult with your advisor or the Internship Coordinator at internships@metrostate.edu.

COMM 386 Public Relations Writing

4 credits

This class provides practical experiences in public relations writing. Focusing on written communications in major Public Relation genres. This class will incorporate a workshop approach, with emphasis on weekly assignments that are critiqued and discussed as a class. We will focus on producing clear, concise writing that is accurate, organized and targeted to specific audiences.

Full course description for Public Relations Writing

PSYC 346 Health Psychology

4 credits

This course will provide an introduction to the field of health psychology, which is concerned with the roles of behavioral/lifestyle, psychological, and social/cultural factors on health/wellness, illness and chronic disease. The course will address four general subject areas: 1) attitudes, behavior, and lifestyle factors affecting disease prevention and development; 2) stress and the related psychological and social processes associated with disease development and progression; 3) social and psychological factors involved in the illness experience; and 4) long-term social and psychological implications of chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, cancer).

Full course description for Health Psychology

SOC 311 Community Organizing and Social Action

4 credits

This course examines the theories, current trends and practical dimensions of how people organize to effect change. Topics include the nature of community organizing, cultural and historical models, issue identification, leadership development, approaches to social power, campaign planning and implementation, and the relationship of community organizing to other forms of social action. The class is participatory and includes intense interpersonal and reflective exercises designed to increase students organizing skills. Students will supplement classroom learning with a case study of a Metro area community organization.

Full course description for Community Organizing and Social Action

TCID 377 Writing Proposals and Grants

4 credits

This course offers a rhetorically-based, process-oriented approach to strategic, effective writing of proposals and grants for individuals and organizations. The course is designed primarily for writers, artists and technical communicators who expect to find themselves, as freelancers or as employees, seeking funding for a variety of programs and projects in academic, nonprofit or corporate situations. This course provides a systematic process for analyzing audiences, writing needs statements and finding sponsors all within an electronic context.

Full course description for Writing Proposals and Grants

WRIT 331 Writing in Your Major

4 credits

Primarily for students who have completed their writing requirement, but who seek further writing instruction and practice, this course begins with a brief review of the principles of academic writing. It then engages students in the thinking and writing required in various disciplines throughout the university. Students study and practice summary, explanation, analysis, interpretation and other critical strategies used to write essays, reports, research papers, case studies and other texts. The course also emphasizes understanding how audience, purpose and situation shape writing. Students learn how to use a flexible process of writing and revision to complete assignments, and how to respond constructively to the writing of others.

Full course description for Writing in Your Major