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Health Communication Programs

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Evening everyone! I'm a potential applicant for  PhD programs next year if things don't work out this year. I'm also planning to pursue a dual-title phd in communication at one of the schools I applied to this year. Any places I can use to look for phd programs that specialize in health comm/intercultural comm/social networks?

Thank you in advance!

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Howdy! I applied to health communication doctoral programs this year, and let me tell you -- it can be challenging to find programs that brand themselves as health comm. Case in point -- I actively started my search nine months before the deadlines, and I still found a new program the night before the application deadline (still wish I could've applied, UT Austin!).

A great starting place is NCA's Doctoral Program Guide. NCA, or the National Communication Association, compiles a doctoral guide which is searchable by research specialty. It's particularly helpful because you can get a pretty good ~vibe~ of where the active research is happening. In fact, I think that this will be the most helpful resource for you because you can search for both intercultural and health communication programs (social networks is a little more niche: I've seen social network research done in health communication, social media, comm & tech, etc.). The NCA guide will also give you admissions requirements, research emphases, # of communication doctorates conferred, names of active professors, etc.

Before you dive too deep into the guide, you need to know what kind of communication you're interested in. Comm is quite broad, and largely falls into two different camps: rhetoric and social behavioral sciences. Sometimes you'll have departments with both contingents, but in my experience, you'll find these programs in separate depts. I don't have much experience in the rhetoric camp, but in social behavioral sciences, you'll also have to ask yourself about methodology -- are you more of a qualitative or quantitative person? Finally, are you interested in interpersonal communication (person-to-person) or in mass communication (advertising, news, media, etc.). If you know what you're interested broadly (e.g. interpersonal communication), then you can first search for interpersonal communication programs, and see if there are any people that work on health stuff. I'm really interested in mass media effects and advertising (in the context of health) so once I realized that the NCA was missing integral programs, I broadened my search to mass comm and was able to find some really interesting programs. Starting broad is integral because in my experience, not many professors consider themselves health comm scholars. If you're sticking to "health comm" google searches, you're going to miss some stuff.

One final caveat: An (unfortunate) number of these programs require a master's. 

Here's a list of schools with health communication research from NCA. I encourage you to check out the website -- it has some good info!

  • Bowling Green State
  • Cornell
  • George Mason
  • Michigan State
  • Ohio State
  • Ohio University
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Rutgers
  • Texas A & M
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Memphis
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • UPenn
  • USC
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Washington State

Other notable programs that you won't find on the NCA website:

  • Minnesota
  • Northwestern: Strong in health communication. Rumor is that they are going to create a health communication PhD program in the next couple of years.
  • UC Santa Barbara: Have more of a focus in interpersonal communication than those that are listed here, but does have a couple of faculty that conduct health communication research.
  • UNC Chapel Hill: Strong in health communication, but is unfortunately only a three-year PhD program.
  • UT Austin: Offers a PhD in "advertising" instead of communication, but it's very strong in health communication. Probably one of the strongest "health comm" programs out of all of those listed; most of the graduate students were studying health (or something closely related, such as risk).
  • Wisconsin-Madison: It doesn't strictly have a *health communication* contingent, but it's a strong, well-funded department and one of the most prolific health communication scholars, Dr. Dhavan Shah.

Feel free to PM me any questions!! I got my B.S. in communication and currently work as a lab manager in a communication department (and ya know, just went through the app process), so I have some knowledge to share!

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@pinoysoc Purdue is VERY Health Comm, especially Organizational Communications in Health fields. They just ended their Rhetoric track too, and are expanding their Health and Org fields. I'm currently in one of their satellite campuses and work as an aide very high in administration, and I would NOT recommend Purdue system unless you are in LOVE with the work of a specific prof and willing to ignore a lot. They have a very conservative Republican political slant (not the profs, most of them hate the administration, but the campus in general, there have been a lot of cases of hate crimes and they have a very high sexual assault rate at the main campus), and very RP and Business focused. I absolutely hate being at Purdue. My ex used to be a Pharm student at the main campus, and I hated visiting that even more.

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On 1/23/2018 at 12:34 PM, surprise_quiche said:

@pinoysoc

Purdue I know has a Health Comms and a Interpersonal Comms PhD program

Thank you!

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On 1/23/2018 at 6:42 PM, well_then said:

Howdy! I applied to health communication doctoral programs this year, and let me tell you -- it can be challenging to find programs that brand themselves as health comm. Case in point -- I actively started my search nine months before the deadlines, and I still found a new program the night before the application deadline (still wish I could've applied, UT Austin!).

A great starting place is NCA's Doctoral Program Guide. NCA, or the National Communication Association, compiles a doctoral guide which is searchable by research specialty. It's particularly helpful because you can get a pretty good ~vibe~ of where the active research is happening. In fact, I think that this will be the most helpful resource for you because you can search for both intercultural and health communication programs (social networks is a little more niche: I've seen social network research done in health communication, social media, comm & tech, etc.). The NCA guide will also give you admissions requirements, research emphases, # of communication doctorates conferred, names of active professors, etc.

Before you dive too deep into the guide, you need to know what kind of communication you're interested in. Comm is quite broad, and largely falls into two different camps: rhetoric and social behavioral sciences. Sometimes you'll have departments with both contingents, but in my experience, you'll find these programs in separate depts. I don't have much experience in the rhetoric camp, but in social behavioral sciences, you'll also have to ask yourself about methodology -- are you more of a qualitative or quantitative person? Finally, are you interested in interpersonal communication (person-to-person) or in mass communication (advertising, news, media, etc.). If you know what you're interested broadly (e.g. interpersonal communication), then you can first search for interpersonal communication programs, and see if there are any people that work on health stuff. I'm really interested in mass media effects and advertising (in the context of health) so once I realized that the NCA was missing integral programs, I broadened my search to mass comm and was able to find some really interesting programs. Starting broad is integral because in my experience, not many professors consider themselves health comm scholars. If you're sticking to "health comm" google searches, you're going to miss some stuff.

One final caveat: An (unfortunate) number of these programs require a master's. 

Here's a list of schools with health communication research from NCA. I encourage you to check out the website -- it has some good info!

  • Bowling Green State
  • Cornell
  • George Mason
  • Michigan State
  • Ohio State
  • Ohio University
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Rutgers
  • Texas A & M
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Memphis
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • UPenn
  • USC
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Washington State

Other notable programs that you won't find on the NCA website:

  • Minnesota
  • Northwestern: Strong in health communication. Rumor is that they are going to create a health communication PhD program in the next couple of years.
  • UC Santa Barbara: Have more of a focus in interpersonal communication than those that are listed here, but does have a couple of faculty that conduct health communication research.
  • UNC Chapel Hill: Strong in health communication, but is unfortunately only a three-year PhD program.
  • UT Austin: Offers a PhD in "advertising" instead of communication, but it's very strong in health communication. Probably one of the strongest "health comm" programs out of all of those listed; most of the graduate students were studying health (or something closely related, such as risk).
  • Wisconsin-Madison: It doesn't strictly have a *health communication* contingent, but it's a strong, well-funded department and one of the most prolific health communication scholars, Dr. Dhavan Shah.

Feel free to PM me any questions!! I got my B.S. in communication and currently work as a lab manager in a communication department (and ya know, just went through the app process), so I have some knowledge to share!

I did find the NCA's website but kinda got overwhelmed. I didn't even know about the difference between rhetoric and social science differences. Is there anyway or anywhere I can read about it?

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On 1/8/2018 at 9:00 PM, pinoysoc said:

Evening everyone! I'm a potential applicant for  PhD programs next year if things don't work out this year. I'm also planning to pursue a dual-title phd in communication at one of the schools I applied to this year. Any places I can use to look for phd programs that specialize in health comm/intercultural comm/social networks?

Thank you in advance!

Hey! I actually just finished applying for Comm PhDs with a focus in Health Comm. Now my list is probably a little different, but I'd suggest looking into 4 programs in particular that have strong Health Comm emphasis: Cornell, Utah, Maryland and Michigan State. But as other folks mentioned above there's a lot of options and the health comm focus may be hidden elsewhere. 

Good luck! 

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They seem to fly under the radar, but the University of Florida's program heavily emphasizes science and health communication. Many interdisciplinary opportunities with affiliated health programs.

Their STEM Translational Comm . Center is doing great things. When I started researching programs I was surprised at how science/health heavy they are for not showing up on NCA. Some current projects listed here: LINK  (Their funding is healthy too.)  

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On 1/24/2018 at 3:42 AM, well_then said:

Howdy! I applied to health communication doctoral programs this year, and let me tell you -- it can be challenging to find programs that brand themselves as health comm. Case in point -- I actively started my search nine months before the deadlines, and I still found a new program the night before the application deadline (still wish I could've applied, UT Austin!).

A great starting place is NCA's Doctoral Program Guide. NCA, or the National Communication Association, compiles a doctoral guide which is searchable by research specialty. It's particularly helpful because you can get a pretty good ~vibe~ of where the active research is happening. In fact, I think that this will be the most helpful resource for you because you can search for both intercultural and health communication programs (social networks is a little more niche: I've seen social network research done in health communication, social media, comm & tech, etc.). The NCA guide will also give you admissions requirements, research emphases, # of communication doctorates conferred, names of active professors, etc.

Before you dive too deep into the guide, you need to know what kind of communication you're interested in. Comm is quite broad, and largely falls into two different camps: rhetoric and social behavioral sciences. Sometimes you'll have departments with both contingents, but in my experience, you'll find these programs in separate depts. I don't have much experience in the rhetoric camp, but in social behavioral sciences, you'll also have to ask yourself about methodology -- are you more of a qualitative or quantitative person? Finally, are you interested in interpersonal communication (person-to-person) or in mass communication (advertising, news, media, etc.). If you know what you're interested broadly (e.g. interpersonal communication), then you can first search for interpersonal communication programs, and see if there are any people that work on health stuff. I'm really interested in mass media effects and advertising (in the context of health) so once I realized that the NCA was missing integral programs, I broadened my search to mass comm and was able to find some really interesting programs. Starting broad is integral because in my experience, not many professors consider themselves health comm scholars. If you're sticking to "health comm" google searches, you're going to miss some stuff.

One final caveat: An (unfortunate) number of these programs require a master's. 

Here's a list of schools with health communication research from NCA. I encourage you to check out the website -- it has some good info!

  • Bowling Green State
  • Cornell
  • George Mason
  • Michigan State
  • Ohio State
  • Ohio University
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Rutgers
  • Texas A & M
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Memphis
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • UPenn
  • USC
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Washington State

Other notable programs that you won't find on the NCA website:

  • Minnesota
  • Northwestern: Strong in health communication. Rumor is that they are going to create a health communication PhD program in the next couple of years.
  • UC Santa Barbara: Have more of a focus in interpersonal communication than those that are listed here, but does have a couple of faculty that conduct health communication research.
  • UNC Chapel Hill: Strong in health communication, but is unfortunately only a three-year PhD program.
  • UT Austin: Offers a PhD in "advertising" instead of communication, but it's very strong in health communication. Probably one of the strongest "health comm" programs out of all of those listed; most of the graduate students were studying health (or something closely related, such as risk).
  • Wisconsin-Madison: It doesn't strictly have a *health communication* contingent, but it's a strong, well-funded department and one of the most prolific health communication scholars, Dr. Dhavan Shah.

Feel free to PM me any questions!! I got my B.S. in communication and currently work as a lab manager in a communication department (and ya know, just went through the app process), so I have some knowledge to share!

Thank you so much! I was also interested in this question.

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