Courses & Curriculum

This bachelor's/master's (BA/MA) combined degree allows students to obtain an undergraduate degree in journalism (strategic health communication track) and a graduate degree in health communication in five years.

The program has three components:

  • A four-year undergraduate track in strategic communication with a focus on strategic health communication
  • A summer practicum immediately after the completion of your BA in strategic health communication
  • One year of course and capstone work at the graduate level

Program Curriculum

The focus on strategic health communication is achieved by following a specialized program plan within the strategic communication track.

Undergraduate Component

Core Courses (12 credits)

  • JOUR 1001 (or 1001H): Introduction to Mass Communication (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3004W (or 3004V): Information for Mass Communication (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3201: Principles of Strategic Communication (3 cr)
  • JOUR 4263:  Strategic Communication Campaigns [Health theme] (3 cr)

Context Courses (9 credits minimum, one of which must be at the 4xxx or 5xxx level)

  • JOUR 3005: Mass Media Effects (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3552: Internet and Global Society (3 cr) [fall]
  • JOUR 3741: Diversity and Mass Communication  [fall]
  • JOUR 3771: Mass Media Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Case Studies (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3775: Administrative Law and Regulation for Strategic Communication (3 cr) [spring]
  • JOUR 4272: Interactive Advertising (3 cr) [spring]
  • JOUR 4721: Mass Media and U.S. Society (3 cr) [spring]
  • JOUR 4801: Global Communication (3 cr) [spring]
  • JOUR 4251: Psychology of Advertising (3 cr)
  • JOUR 5501: Communication and Public Opinion (3 cr)*  [fall]
  • JOUR 5552: Law of Internet Communications (3 cr) [spring]
  • JOUR 5725: Management of Media Organizations (3 cr) [fall]
    *This course is also offered at the graduate level.  Students can either take the course at the undergraduate level for their B.A. degree, or at the graduate level, for the M.A. program.

Professional courses (15 credit minimum to include JOUR 4242, JOUR 4259, OR JOUR 4262, and a minimum of 6 credits from Execution Skills and minimum of 6 credits from Planning Skills courses): 

Execution Skills Electives (6 cr minimum)

  • JOUR 3241: Advertising Strategy and Creative Development (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3279W: Professional Writing for Strategic Communication (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3321: Media Design (3 cr)
  • JOUR 4242: Advertising Portfolio Development (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3102: Convergence Journalism (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3103: Introduction to Interactive Data Journalism (3c cr) [fall]
  • JOUR 3173W: Magazine Writing (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3451: Electronic News Writing and Reporting (3 cr)

Planning Skills Electives (6 cr minimum)

  • JOUR 3261: Media Planning (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3253: Account Planning (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3251: Evaluative Research in Strategic Communication (3 cr)
  • JOUR 3275: Digital Strategy in Strategic Communication (3 cr) (JOUR 3275 counts as an execution course for students admitted into to the major prior to fall 2015)
  • JOUR 4259: Strategic Communication Case Analysis [Health Theme] (3 cr)
  • JOUR 4262: Management for Strategic Communication (3 cr)

The senior project requirement is fulfilled by taking JOUR 4263 and (4242 or 4259 or 4262).

Supporting Courses

All SJMC majors are required to develop an area of expertise outside the major through a series of supporting courses that concentrate on a single subject area. The Supporting Coursework Requirement for the Strategic Communication track can be fulfilled by:

  • completing an approved minor or second major
  • developing a series of courses in different departments but with a common theme, approved by faculty advisor.

Students interested in the BA/MA program should work closely with a faculty adviser to select health-focused supporting courses.

Graduate Component

The Strategic Health Communication MA is a 30-credit, non-thesis degree option completing a five-year BA/MA program of study (up to 9 of these credits can be completed senior year of the undergraduate program).


During the summer immediately following your undergraduate degree completion, you’ll take JOUR 8194: Health & Media Practicum. This course will place you within health and media organizations represented by our community partners. You’ll work on partner organization projects, work directly with working professionals and complete webinars relevant to your interests.  

Core Courses (12 credits)

  • JOUR 5541: Mass Communication and Public Health (3 cr)**
  • JOUR 5542: Theory-based Health Message Design (3 cr)**
  • JOUR 5543: Public Health Campaign Evaluation (3 cr)
  • PUBH 6320: Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3 cr)
    **JOUR 5541 and JOUR 5542 should be completed during students’ senior year alongside their coursework for their BA in Journalism.  

Electives Requirement (12 credits minimum from below list)

  • JOUR 5501: Communication and Public Opinion (3 cr)  [fall]
  • JOUR 8650: The Psychology of Media Effects (3 cr)
  • JOUR 8720: Mass Media and Health (3 cr)
  • PUBH 6025: e-Public Health: Online Intervention Design (3 cr) [fall]
  • PUBH 6055: Social Inequalities in Health (2 cr) [fall]
  • PUBH 6085: Combating the Global Pandemic: Tobacco and Alcohol (2 cr) [spring]
  • PUBH 7214: Principles of Risk Communication (1 cr) [summer]
  • PUBH 7226: Media Relations Practicum (1 cr)  [summer]
  • PSY 5205: Applied Social Psychology (3 cr) *** [spring, even]
  • PSY 5206: Social Psychology and Health Behavior (3 cr) *** [spring, periodically]
  • WRIT 4501 Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication (3 cr) *** [spring]
  • WRIT 5112: Information Design (3 cr) [spring, periodically]
  • WRIT 8520: Seminar in Scientific and Technical Communication (3 cr) [periodically]
  • WRIT 8550: Seminar in Technology, Culture, and Communication (3 cr) [periodically]
  • WRIT 5561: Editing and Style for Technical Communicators (3 cr) [spring, summer]

Students complete one of these courses during their senior year alongside their coursework for their BA in Journalism.


JOUR 8193, Health Communication Capstone, allows you to focus on different aspects of health communication relevant to your interests. Students will prepare a final project—a publishable article, a multimedia projection, an original research paper or other options—aimed at a particular audience. This project is completed during the second semester of the MA program.