MS in Health Communication for Social Change

ONLINE PROGRAM

The online master of science degree in Health Communication for Social Change prepares students to achieve meaningful public health outcomes through communication, social marketing, and other behavior-change strategies. Students gain core public health competencies and receive training in health literacy, strategic marketing, social media strategy, multimedia production, and health entrepreneurship along with other critical communications domains.

This is the only fully online health communications program offered by a CEPH-accredited school of public health.

Public health in the coming decade requires partnership-building between government, business, and the nonprofit sectors to solve the most pressing local, national, and international issues. This program is unique in its approach, preparing students to apply entrepreneurial and other innovative solutions to the most complex health challenges.

Students will have opportunities to take advantage of the deep and wide CUNY SPH networks, which include NYC public agencies, communications firms, multinational corporations, and international NGOs.

Because this program emphasizes building technical skills, graduates will have access to a wide variety of employment opportunities at city, county, and state health departments; advertising and marketing agencies; non-governmental organizations; philanthropic organizations, and more through our engaged faculty. Students will also have opportunities to apply for research and project positions at CUNY SPH centers and institutes, which work throughout New York City and around the world.

While we cannot issue I-20 forms for a fully online degree program, our online offerings provide a chance for international students to earn an affordable, quality degree from the City University of New York while residing in their home country.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed SOPHAS application
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited university with GPA (overall and major) of at least 3.0.
  • Personal statement/statement of purpose (recommended length is 500 words)
  • Resume
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL scores are required if language of instruction for prior degrees was not English
    • Paper-based test: 550
    • Computer administered test: 233
    • Internet-based test: 60 (reading score, writing score, and listening score)
  • Transcript evaluation from WES or ECE for foreign transcripts.

Deadline to Apply

  • Spring 2023: December 1, 2022
  • Fall 2023: March 1, 2023

This degree program is fully online.

Foundational Knowledge (0 credits) PUBH 601 Foundations of Public Health Knowledge*
Core Coursework (15 credits) PUBH 610 Public Health Leadership & Management
PUBH 611 Health Equity, Communication, and Advocacy
PUBH 612 Designing and Evaluating Public Health Interventions
PUBH 613 Designs, Concepts, and Methods in Public Health Research
PUBH 614 Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis Methods in Public Health Research
Required Coursework (15 credits) CHSS 626 Health and Media Literacy for Public Health Advancement
CHSS 627 Social Marketing and Health Communication Theory and Practice
CHSS 628 Multisectoral Engagement for Sustainable Health: Local to Global Development, Implementation and Measurement
CHSS 629 Strategic Multimedia Production and Innovative Health Communication: Design and Delivery
CHSS 630 Case Studies in Social Marketing, Health Communication, and Strategic Diplomacy for Public Health
Elective Coursework (3 credits) One (1) elective chosen in consultation with faculty advisor
Culminating Experience (3 credits) PUBH 698 Capstone Project
Total Credits Required 36

*Students who have a CEPH-accredited undergraduate or graduate degree in public health are waived from this requirement.

Core Competencies:

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

  • Apply epidemiological methods to settings and situations in public health practice
  • Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming, and software, as appropriate
  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy, or practice


Public Health & Health Care Systems

  • Compare the organization, structure, and function of health care, public health, and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  • Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities, and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and systemic levels


Planning & Management to Promote Health

  • Assess population needs, assets, and capacities that affect communities’ health
  • Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design, implementation, or critique of public health policies or programs
  • Design a population-based policy, program, project, or intervention
  • Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management (“Resource management” refers to stewardship (planning, monitoring, etc.) of resources throughout a project, not simply preparing a budget statement that projects what resources will be required.)
  • Select methods to evaluate public health programs


Policy in Public Health

  • Discuss the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence (This competency refers to technical aspects of how public policies are created and adopted, including legislative and/or regulatory roles and processes, ethics in public policy making, and the role of evidence in creating policy.)
  • Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes
  • Advocate for political, social, or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations (This competency refers to the ability to influence policy and/or decision making, such as through stakeholder mobilization, educating policy makers, etc. Ability to argue in support of (or in opposition to) a position, as in a standard debate, is not sufficient. Students must produce a product that would be part of an advocacy campaign or effort (e.g., legislative testimony, fact sheets, advocacy strategy outline, etc.).)
  • Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity


Leadership

  • Apply leadership and/or management principles to address a relevant issue (Such principles may include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration, and guiding decision making.)
  • Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges (“Negotiation and mediation,” in this competency, refers to the set of skills needed when a common solution is required among parties with conflicting interests and/or different desired outcomes. Such skills extend beyond the level of negotiation required in a successful intra-group process; effective communication within a work group or team is more closely related to competency)


Communication

  • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
  • Communicate audience-appropriate (i.e., non-academic, non-peer audience) public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
  • Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content


Interprofessional and/or Intersectoral Practice

  • Integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health (This competency requires direct engagement (in-person or online) between the student and an individual or individuals in a profession or sector other than public health; students must combine the external sector/profession’s perspective and/or knowledge with their own public health training to complete a task, solve a problem, etc.. Role-playing, in which public health students assume the identity of an individual from another profession or sector to which they do not already belong, is not an acceptable substitute for actual engagement with an individual or individuals from a profession or sector outside of public health.)
  • Apply a systems thinking tool to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than standard narrative (Systems thinking tools depict or map complex relationships, demonstrating, for example, how component parts of a system interact with and influence one another. Examples include causal loop diagrams, systems archetypes, network analyses, and concept maps. Logic models and evidence tables are not sufficient to address this competency.)


Systems Thinking

  • Apply a systems thinking tool to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than standard narrative (Systems thinking tools depict or map complex relationships, demonstrating, for example, how component parts of a system interact with and influence one another. Examples include causal loop diagrams, systems archetypes, network analyses, and concept maps. Logic models and evidence tables are not sufficient to address this competency.)


Environmental Sciences

  • Apply concepts from relevant scientific disciplines, such as toxicology and physiology, to anticipate effects of environmental, occupational and nutritional exposures on both human health and overall planetary health
Concentration Competencies:
  • Create strategic and theory-based communication and social marketing plans that address health inequalities and incorporate human-centered user experience principles
  • Produce effective communication and media relations products using a variety of tools and technologies
  • Apply entrepreneurial methods to develop innovative communication solutions to complex public health challenges
  • Apply theories, models, and methods from a range of disciplines to health communication programs
  • Demonstrate interprofessional collaboration and problem-solving skills in the creation of effective health communication programs

These sequences are recommended for full-time students. Part-time students are encouraged to meet with a staff advisor to map out an appropriate plan of study.

For students beginning their program during the fall semester:
Semester Course Credits
Year 1 Fall PUBH 601: Foundations of Public Health Knowledge* 0
PUBH 613: Designs, Concepts, and Methods in Public Health Research 3
PUBH 610: Public Health Leadership and Management 3
PUBH 611: Health Equity, Communication, and Advocacy 3
CHSS 626: Health and Media Literacy for Public Health Advancement 3
Year 1 Spring PUBH 614: Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis Methods in Public Health Research 3
CHSS 627: Social Marketing and Health Communication Theory and Practice 3
CHSS 628: Multisectoral Engagement for Sustainable Health: Local to Global Development, Implementation, and Measurement 3
PUBH 612: Designing and Evaluating Public Health Interventions 3
Year 2 Fall CHSS 629: Strategic Multimedia Production and Innovative Health Communication: Design and Delivery 3
CHSS 630: Case Studies in Social Marketing, Health Communication, and Strategic Diplomacy for Public Health 3
Elective 3
PUBH 698: Capstone Project 3

 

For students beginning their program during the spring semester:
Semester Course Credits
Year 1 Spring PUBH 601: Foundations of Public Health Knowledge* 0
PUBH 613: Designs, Concepts, and Methods in Public Health Research 3
PUBH 610: Public Health Leadership and Management 3
PUBH 611: Health Equity, Communication, and Advocacy 3
CHSS 628: Multisectoral Engagement for Sustainable Health: Local to Global Development, Implementation, and Measurement 3
Year 1 Fall PUBH 614: Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis Methods in Public Health Research 3
CHSS 626: Health and Media Literacy for Public Health Advancement 3
CHSS 629: Strategic Multimedia Production and Innovative Health Communication: Design and Delivery 3
CHSS 630: Case Studies in Social Marketing, Health Communication, and Strategic Diplomacy for Public Health 3
Year 2 Spring PUBH 612: Designing and Evaluating Public Health Interventions 3
CHSS 627: Social Marketing and Health Communication Theory and Practice 3
Elective 3
PUBH 698: Capstone Project 3

*PUBH 601 should be completed during a student’s first semester. Students who have a CEPH-accredited undergraduate or graduate degree in public health are waived from this requirement.

Check out the profiles of some of the students in our program!

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