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The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication Murrow Online Programs

Online MA Health Communication and Promotion

All COM courses are available now. COMHLTH specialized courses will launch in Fall 2019.  Students can enroll in the program as early as spring 2019.

Washington State University’s online master’s degree in Health Communication and Promotion is designed for those who work in communication fields and health sciences and are seeking to refresh and update their skills or specialize in health communication and promotion. The program is also tailored for individuals who want to enter the profession of health communication and promotion or enhance their credentials to meet Murrow College standards for ethics, integrity, and leadership within the field of health communication.

Whether you have no training in health communication or are a seasoned professional, the degree will advance and energize your career. Our multidisciplinary approach:

  • Offers expertise in new and traditional media
  • Teaches students how to gather and analyze information and use those findings in creating health and public awareness campaigns
  • Furthers skills in analyzing information and designing health communication strategies, programs, and initiatives
  • Advances student knowledge in communication monitoring, metrics and reporting effectiveness of outreach efforts
  • Trains students, in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow, to create messages that are both strategic and responsible
  • Includes weekly online instructor office hours, frequent student self-assessment tools, ongoing interaction with other students, and a cohort structure in which students go through the program with the same group
Focused curriculum

The Online MA in Health Communication and Promotion provides a solid core curriculum, consisting of classes in multimedia content creation, crisis communication, professional ethics, and research methods. In specialized courses in health communication students will learn health behavior change theories relevant for prevention messaging, message creation and design for effective information distribution, and techniques for effectively communicating health information with specialized populations.

Tuition and financial aid

For the latest tuition information, see Global Campus Graduate Tuition. Loans and scholarships are offered through the Office of Student Financial Services.

Program of Study

The degree requires 30 credits. All courses are available online.

Professional Core Courses – 12 credits

  • COM 561: Professional Multimedia Content Creation
  • COM 562: Crisis Communication in Global Contexts
  • COM 563: Ethics for Professionals
  • COM 564: Research Methods for Professionals

Health Communication and Promotion Core Courses – 15 credits

  • COMHLTH 570: Health Communication and Behavior Change
  • COMHLTH 571: Communicating Health in Practice
  • COMHLTH 572: Communicating Health to Specialized Populations
  • COMHLTH 573: Communicating Health in a Digital Landscape
  • COMHLTH 574: Health Message Design and Effectiveness

Capstone Course – 3 credits

  • COMSTRAT 701: Master’s Independent Capstone Project and /or Examination

Interested? Learn more.



Christy Curtis, Senior Instructor and Graduate Coordinator  /  (509) 335-5608  /

Rebecca Cooney, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Murrow Online Programs  /  (509) 335-3911  /

Related Sites



Program Objectives

There are two primary objectives for the Online MA Health Communication and Promotion program.

These include:

1) producing quality students who possess the theoretical foundation and practical knowledge to succeed in their chosen fields and; 

2) training individuals who will perform at the highest level of both professional and ethical standards.

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, “a health communication background is a necessity and advantage to one’s career within the continually evolving field of public health.” Health communication professionals possess the following core competencies (Harvard School of Public Health, n.d.)

Independent research and scholarly contribution in the advancement of health communication science

Design of effective behavior change communication strategies

Public health communication with service to state and federal agencies through the design, delivery and measurement of public health campaigns

Risk communication expertise

Crisis communication expertise

Professional communication for nonprofit health agencies

Skills in advertising, digital communications, community relations, and health marketing

Media relations with emphasis in public health matters




Student Learning Outcomes

(1) Demonstrate knowledge of health communication and promotion theories and practices that will guide program development, message design, and education to communicate health to diverse audiences.

(2) Ability to gather and assess health-related information using analyses and research.

(3) Evidence of professional skills to develop health communication and promotion campaign materials and implementation of campaigns through administration and management, planning, leadership, teamwork, and patient/population relations.

(4) Demonstrate the ability to ethically communicate health information to diverse audiences




Application Info


  • Applications deadlines are Aug 1, Dec 1 and April 15 for fall, spring and summer enrollment
  • To apply, complete a general application with WSU Graduate School
  • There is a $75 application fee (non-refundable)


  • This program does not require any undergraduate prerequisites but applicants must have bachelor’s degree with GPA over 3
  • No GRE required

Get started

Applicants will be evaluated by the Murrow graduate selection committee, which will require official copies of undergraduate transcripts, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a written statement of purpose. GRE scores are NOT required.

Apply by April 15 to start in the summer, Aug. 1 to start fall semester, and Dec. 1 to start spring semester.

Application Materials

  1. Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate institutions
  2. International students submit TOEFL
  3. Current professional resume that includes at least three professional references name and contact information
  4. Statement of Purpose articulating your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and talents

Statement of Purpose

To gain a better understanding of your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and diverse talents, we ask that each applicant prepare a comprehensives statement of purpose.  Admission decisions for the online MA Health Communication and Promotion program are based on a full assessment of the applicant’s academic profile, mix of experience they bring to the program and overall readiness for graduate-level work. Please address your experience in each category keeping in mind how you could contribute to the future community of excellence at WSU.Your statement of purpose should not exceed one page and should address the following:

  • Why the online MA Health Communication and Promotion program at WSU interests you – what attracted you to the program
  • What led you to the desire of earning an advanced degree
  • Where do you think your MA will lead you personally and/or professionally
  • How the degree program fits into your current personal or professional path
  • What are your goals in furthering your education? What do you hope to achieve through the curriculum?
  • Other anecdotes or background information that will aid in evaluating whether or not you would thrive and be successful in the program



The program is designed for individuals who are at least three years outside their undergraduate program and/or have at least three applied work experience. The coursework is bench-marked at a level best suited to those with solid work and life experience. Student engagement is built into each course and with it students benefit greatly from knowledge share and mutual exchange. We find that those with limited applied work experience are not fully equipped to contribute to those discussions in a meaningful way – nor are they as successful in completing the more complex course work. The decision to admit involves a full assessment of the applicant’s academic profile, the mix of experience they bring to the program and overall readiness for graduate-level work – not just undergraduate GPA or quality of their statement of purpose.


  • Online students pay the in-state tuition rate
  • The tuition is estimated at $587 per credit
  • The estimated cost of program is $18,000
  • Graduate students must be enrolled in at least half-time SIX CREDITS to be eligible for financial aid.
  • Veterans’ benefits. For questions, contact Blaine Golden (509) 335-1234 or

Terminal professional master’s degree

The Online MA Health Communication and Promotion program is a terminal professional degree program. It is structured to provide opportunities for those interested in career transition or advancement in professional communication positions. The program is non-thesis, involves limited theory, does not include a classroom teaching component or active research assignment, and therefore should not be considered a preparatory stepping stone to most PhD programs or teaching at a collegiate level.

Student Pathways

  • All courses are 100% online and include weekly online instructor office hours, frequent student self-assessment tools & ongoing interaction with other students.
  • Most students take 2-3 classes each semester across the 10-course curriculum.
  • Students work closely with both industry professionals and PhD faculty scholars
  • Students select one, two or three-year tracks but it is recommended they take no less than five semesters to complete the program in order to achieve the best work-home-school balance