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Frequently Asked Questions

Why study health communication?

Health communication combines the study of patient-provider communication, public health campaigns for disease prevention and health promotion, media agenda-setting on specific health issues, advocacy on health care policy, and improvement of the quality of life and health for individuals and communication. Over the past 10 years health communication has seen remarkable growth, both as a college major and in terms of job growth for graduates (Freimuth, 2012).  Here in St. Louis, the health care industry is the largest employer (MERIC, 2019) and is growing at a considerable rate.


What types of jobs might the certificate help me prepare for?

The certificate program will prepare students for careers in health communication. Some of the job titles that a student might have in health communication include Communication Consultant, Communication Director, Social Media Officer, Research Associate, Program Coordinator, Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing, Healthcare Human Resource Manager, Patient and Family Advocate, Patient Educator, Public Health Campaign Designer, and Healthcare Training Specialist.


Who is eligible to enroll in the certificate program?

Although the major and/or minor in communication works well with the certificate program, any undergraduate student at UMSL who meets the admission requirements may earn the health communication certificate regardless of their major/minor and anyone outside of the UMSL student body can pursue the certificate as a non-degree seeking student.


Are classes offered fully online or is there an option to take on-campus classes as part of the certificate program?

All required courses for the Certificate in Health Communication are offered fully online. However, some of the required courses are also offered on campus allowing you to have the option to enroll in a mix of online and on-campus courses. Note that the program does require an onsite internship experience to be completed outside of the classroom. View our list of course offerings by semester.


How does the internship requirement work? What if I already work full time?

There are two options for our students who are working full time. First, if a student has relevant work experience they can waive the internship requirement. Students who have significant relevant experience in a health organization may request that the internship requirement be waived. To request a waiver, students must submit a written request outlining the student's professional experience and how it relates to the overall health communication program with appropriate documentation. The program coordinators must approve any request for a waiver from the internship requirement. Students who receive a waiver must take an additional 3 hours of electives in lieu of the internship.

Second, if a student is working full-time and is not working at a health organization they would still need to complete an internship to earn the certificate. Contact the certificate coordinators for sites with flexible hours and projects.

All students completing the internship will be required to work at their internship site for 100 hours over the course of a semester. Online coursework will represent the additional 50 hours for a 3-credit hour internship.


What if I am already completing health courses outside of the department? Do they count toward the certificate?

We understand that this certificate program can be paired not only with a Communication major, but also with a major in Nursing, Social Work, Psychology, or another field.  With that in mind a student may make a request to apply a course outside of the Communication & Media department as one of their electives.


How do I register for the program?

Students should complete our online form to declare their intention to complete the Health Communication Certificate program. Filling out this form will ensure that we have accurate information to reach you to share important program updates and information. We'll also make sure that you have access to advising and faculty support throughout the program.


What are the program costs?

Program Costs

1st Semester (9 credit hours)
Tuition: $3,604.50*
Supplemental Fees: $684.90**
Total: $4,289.40

2nd Semester (9 credit hours)
Tuition: $3,604.50*
Supplemental Fees: $684.90**
Total: $4,289.40

Total Certificate Cost: $8,578.80***

* Based on current tuition for Missouri and Illinois Residents as of 6/8/21.
** Includes $11.10 advising fee for College of Arts & Sciences per credit hour, and $65.00 fee per credit hour for 100% Online Courses
*** Total cost can change depending on semester tuition rates.


What are the Financial Aid options for degree-seeking students?

Current degree-seeking students are encouraged to apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid Office. Additionally, Communication majors are also encouraged to check out the available Department of Communication and Media Scholarships.


What are the Financial Aid options for non-degree seeking students?

While non-degree seeking students are not eligible for institutional financial aid, many employers offer tuition assistance programs that may cover part or all of the tuition costs. Please check with your employer to see what types of tuition assistance may be available to you.   


Who should I contact if I have questions?

General questions about the Health Communication Certificate program may be directed to the program directors. Questions about the admissions process or course registration may be directed to our department's academic advisor.