In our modern world, misinformation spreads rapidly. You can change that. Your guidance can help communities and families access critical health information worldwide. Learn to develop your strategy and leadership skills to address the gaps in health literacy and education. Your degree does more than make you a valuable asset. It makes you a healthcare advocate.
When you earn your online Master of Arts in Health Communication (MAHC) degree from Rider University, you develop the skills to bring public health awareness to diverse populations. You can graduate prepared to analyze different health contexts, study the impact of media technologies and build sustainable solutions for engaging communication.
Learn the discipline of health literacy on your schedule. Rider’s MAHC degree is designed for working professionals who seek advanced credentials. This program can teach you to do more than shape the healthcare conversation — you’ll be on the front lines creating it. When you study with Rider, you develop the written, verbal and visual tools for strategic communication and help reach a broader audience.
Prepare for success as a career changer
Rider welcomes students from all backgrounds into the online MAHC program. Your enrollment advisor can help set you up for success by providing you with information and answers along the way. Make a smooth transition into the program — and your new career path.
Learn on your schedule
Rider’s online Master of Arts in Health Communication gives you the flexibility to grow your supervisory skills around your life. You can choose from six start dates and join the online MAHC program in the fall, spring or summer. With Rider, you can tailor your degree to fit with your commitments.
Rider’s online curriculum can prepare you to make a meaningful contribution to healthcare and public health policy. Learn to develop your strategy and leadership skills to help address the gaps in health literacy and education.
Your online health communication courses are taught by a distinguished faculty and industry practitioners who can bring a practical and multidisciplinary approach to your studies. Rider’s professors are available for you and are committed to your academic success.
COMM 500 – Communication Processes in Health (3 credits)
Interpersonal and nonverbal communication are the two areas of general communication studies that health communication draws from most heavily. These concepts affect relationships in health care, the ability to understand and process medical information, the efficacy of messages in relation to nonverbal indicators and how bad news, another major concept in health communication, is received. This class will provide a comprehensive understanding of these concepts, how they are utilized in the field of health communication, and the ways in which the two areas intersect, all in the broader context of understanding health communication as a discipline.
COMM 501 – Medical Concepts and Health Writing (3 credits)
Improving the way that health is communicated requires the ability to understand health information at the initial – and often complex – level. In particular, health communication aims to provide information to underserved populations, who may suffer from lack of education and poor health literacy. This class will provide you with a basic understanding of medical terminology and the ability to comprehend and explain scientific literature. You can develop the skills needed to translate medical information for a wide range of audiences. You will also be required to apply these concepts through the creation of multiple types of health writing assignments.
COMM 505 – Health Communication Theory (3 credits)
Health communication is driven by a set of principles that guide the conceptualization, design and implementation of new health guidelines and interventions. The ultimate goal of health communication is to increase health and satisfaction by encouraging healthier behaviors, medical compliance and more efficient communication of medical information. This class is designed to give an overview of the major fields of study in health communication through examination of the major theoretical perspectives therein. Topics include the different areas of study in which health communication theories are based, how theory is used to support the initial design of research studies and interventions, and the situations in which the use of more than one theoretical approach is warranted.
COMM 507 – Business Presentation Strategies (3 credits)
This course can provide you with the tools to develop purposeful presentations with targeted messages relating to audience needs. You can gain competency in a number of areas including messaging, writing for the visual media, using current visual presentation tools, delivering an impactful presentation and taking advantage of social media channels. Learn to develop the knowledge and skills to influence and inspire internal and external constituencies, a key part of communication practitioners’ jobs, especially those in managerial/senior staff roles.
COMM 525 – Visual Communication (3 credits)
Understanding the importance of visuals and using different ways to communicate effectively with visuals are integral parts of any advanced communication and journalism curriculum. The goal of the course is to provide you with the practical knowledge and critical skills necessary to effectively use visuals as an important and inevitable component in the communication process. The course will cover visual communication theories, perception of psychology, design and layout principles, typography, imagery in mass media and visuals in interactive media.
COMM 531 – Legal and Ethical Issues for Professional Communicators (3 credits)
This course can provide you with the knowledge to understand and apply ethical guidelines and current laws and regulations relative to workplace communication, as well as the legal limits impacting professional communications. This knowledge is particularly important for those in or aspiring to managerial/senior staff roles.
COMM 545 – Information Gathering and Analysis (3 Credits)
This course can provide you with the knowledge and skills to use various research methods and analysis techniques to provide critical information for, and assist with, business decisions. It will cover developing research tools, gathering and verifying information, analyzing and reporting results. These skills are particularly important for those in or aspiring to managerial/senior staff roles.
COMM 551 – Cultural Conceptions of Health and Illness (3 credits)
Culture affects every relationship dynamic, the way nonverbal communication is interpreted, how audiences are selected for health campaigns, the ability and willingness to use technology, and the way bad news is broken to individuals and families. In health communication, culture comprises both the general conceptions of what culture is — the characteristics of a particular social, ethnic or age group — as well as other factors. This class will examine the specific variables of culture in this setting, how the variables are both unique and interconnected, and the wide-reaching impact culture has in health. The first half of the course explores the variables that culture includes. The latter part of the course takes these variables and demonstrates the roles they play in real-world health communication settings.
COMM 558 – Health Communication Campaigns (3 credits)
Campaigns are the primary tool used in health communication to disseminate messages and effect change. Campaigns can provide information on a specific issue or to a specific community, encourage preventive health behaviors, demonstrate behaviors (such as performing self-skin exams for skin cancer or the proper way to follow medication instructions), put forward suggestions for a healthy lifestyle, raise awareness or offer support. At times, multiple messages may be present in one campaign. This class will examine the different types of health campaigns and the impact a health communication campaign can have. You can learn how to analyze a health campaign through its full cycle. The class will also serve as a foundation for the capstone class of the master’s in health communication program.
COMM 559 – Communicating Crises in Health (3 credits)
In the health setting, multiple events can be considered a crisis: the outbreak of a disease, contamination of food, a natural disaster and more. The response to a crisis can have a significant, long-lasting impact on the organization’s reputation. The development of a crisis plan, which sets forth guidelines for an organization’s response to a crisis and involves multiple steps, can be completed before any events occur and can significantly affect the way an organization handles a crisis. This class explores the types of crises that occur in health communication, the factors involved, the development of a crisis plan and the effects of a crisis on an organization.
COMM 600 – Capstone: Implementing a Health Communication Campaign (3 credits)
The ability to implement, evaluate, revise and successfully launch a campaign is a critical skill for all individuals who work in health communication. Campaigns are the primary tool used by health communicators to initiate change in a community, although their implementation will not always be a fluid, one-step process. This class will require students to select a local health campaign and evaluate the campaign from start to finish. Students will complete the master’s program in health communication with a complete proposal for a health communication campaign and the skills needed to analyze an existing campaign from beginning to end.
Rider’s online master’s degree in health communication provides you with the opportunity to build your industry expertise and enhance your career options. That’s why Rider does its best to make it accessible.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Application for graduate admission
Statement of aims and objectives (approx. 500-1,500 words) that indicates your reasons for pursuing graduate study in health communication
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
Official transcripts from all schools attended
Two professional and/or academic letters of recommendation
Evidence of English language proficiency for international students
TOEFL iBT: 79 (scores that fall between 75 and 78 will require further review)
TOEFL PBT: 540
An interview may be required. The Office of Graduate Admissions will be in touch to schedule this.
Tuition and fees
Tuition for the online Master of Arts in Health Communication is $970 per credit hour. In addition, there is a technology fee of $50 per course and a distance learning fee of $35 per course.
These figures reflect tuition rates and fees for 2021 and are subject to change.
About Rider University
Since its inception more than 150 years ago, Rider University has taken a students-first approach to higher education. Founded in 1865 as Trenton Business College, the school helped to provide Civil War veterans with the education to embark on new careers.
Over the next century and a half, Rider continued to evolve to meet the growing needs of its students and help them adapt to changing times. In 1927 Rider College began offering its first graduate degrees in Master of Accounts and Master of Commercial Science, and in 1959 the School of Education became Rider’s inaugural graduate program leading to a Master of Arts. The school was granted full university status in 1994, and changed its name from Rider College to Rider University.
Today, Rider is home to five academic units that include the Norm Brodsky College of Business, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, Westminster College of the Arts and the College of Continuing Studies.
While it has grown into a university with more than 5,000 students and over 50,000 alumni worldwide, it has still remained intimate, with a 10:1 student-faculty ratio.
Accreditation and ranking
Rider University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Regional accreditation, which is typically reserved for nonprofit, degree-granting colleges or universities with an academic focus, is the most widely accepted standard of quality education
Rider is ranked the #38 Best College (out of 179) in U.S. News & World Report’s Regional Universities North category for 2020. Additional rankings in the North Region include:
Most Innovative Schools (#21)
Best Value Schools (#28)
Top Performers on Social Mobility (#96)
Ranked in the top 400 nationally, and top 10 in New Jersey, on The Wall Street Journal’s 2020 list of the top U.S. colleges
The Princeton Review ranks Rider as among the "Best 380 Colleges" for 2020
At Rider, your instructors are there to help you succeed. That’s why Rider keeps classes small (with a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio) and offers courses taught by a distinguished faculty with advanced credentials in their areas of expertise. In fact, 99% of full-time faculty hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their field.