|The health communication program at Purdue seeks to fulfill this growing need for trained health communicators by exposing students to the theory, research, and practice of health communication.|
Issues of health have become increasingly critical and complex, generating the need for individuals that can communicate effectively about health. The health communication program at Purdue seeks to fulfill this growing need for trained health communicators by exposing students to the theory, research, and practice of health communication.
We offer the opportunity to creatively interact with our nationally and internationally reputed teacher-scholars in the development, application and testing of innovative health solutions. Housed in one of the leading communication departments in the nation, the health communication program provides a unique blend of theory and application, focusing on health issues in the interpersonal, group, organizational, and mass-mediated contexts.
Faculty interests span a range of health-related topics such as uncertainty and illness, social support, doctor-patient interaction, intimate violence, aging, health organizations, health communication campaigns, cross-cultural issues in health communication, and new media applications of health communication. This fast-growing program is constantly building bridges with private and public health organizations to create new avenues for its students through internships, consultancies, practical training opportunities, workshops, and grants.
For many years, the School of Communication at Purdue offered various classes in health communication through the department's five traditional areas of study: rhetoric, mass communication, public affairs and issue management (PR), interpersonal communication, and organizational communication. There was no official area or "instructional unit" responsible for offering or coordinating these classes. This changed dramatically in fall, 2002, when we officially formed a health communication instructional unit to coordinate, staff, and develop curriculum. Since then, Purdue graduate students have been able to officially designate their major area as "health communication." COM 576, an introductory survey of the field offered each fall, has been approved, and COM 676, a variable topics seminar offered 2-4 times each year, is in the last phases of the university approval process.
Our curriculum has been building over recent years as we have attracted more students and faculty with an interest in the area. Our faculty have served as chair of the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association, we publish regularly in and serve on the editorial boards of nearly every major journal in the field, and publish regularly in and serve on the editorial boards of nearly every major journal in the field.
Questions about the Program
Are there any required courses or is the curriculum completely determined by the student and the advisor?
There is not any officially required curriculum, but faculty in the area have the strong expectation that all health communication students take the introductory survey of health communication theory and research (COM 576). More generally, one of our strong points is that we combine an exceptionally broad and distinguished faculty (several of our department's areas of study are consistently ranked among the best programs in the field). The student and advisor put together the student's tailored plan of study. The Graduate Committee has oversight--it reviews all plans of study--but mostly this step is to make sure that the student is meeting all formal requirements for the degree as stipulated by the university and general guidelines of the department. For details, visit the Degree Requirements page of our department's website. In sum, at Purdue, no two students' plans of study are exactly alike. Every plan reflects the individual's unique education and career goals and needs.
How long does a Master's degree in health communication take to complete at Purdue? How long does a Ph.D. degree take to complete in this area?
The MA typically takes two years, whether you do a thesis or opt for comprehensive exams. The Ph.D. typically takes around four years.
How many students choose the Master's thesis option? How many take the exam?
About 40% of our 24 current MA students are planning on writing comprehensive exams, and 60% plan to write a thesis. These numbers are somewhat variable however, as the MA population changes substantially over time.
Health Communication Faculty
Health Campaigns; Risk Communication
Healthcare delivery and technology; Telemedicine
Communication, Stress and Coping
Organizational Health and Safety, Health Communication Application, Theory and Practice
Communication, Health, and Aging
Health Communication Campaigns
Discourse in Medical Settings
Beverly Davenport Sypher
Evaluation Research in Health Settings
Howard E. Sypher
Health, Communication and Technology
Social Influence and Compliance, Intimate Violence
- Com 576 - Introduction to Health Campaigns
- Com 576 - Introduction to Health Communication
- Com 590B - Branding Health Care
- Com 590M - Proseminar in Health Communication.
- Com 590N - Health Communication and Public Health
- Com 632M - Media, Communication and Public Health.
- Com 676C - Communication and Health Campaigns.
- Com 676G - Communication Technologies in Healthcare Settings.
- Com 676S - Interaction in Healthcare Settings
- Com 676T - Theories of Health Communication
- Com 676U - Culture, Communication and Health
Purdue Health Communication faculty and graduate students:
- Collaborate and consult with public and private health organizations in the development of national and international prevention campaigns. Organizations include CDC, US Department of Homeland Security, Porter Novelli, Press Ganey, Minnesota and Indiana Departments of Health.
- Participate in grant initiatives.
- Participate in and provide leadership to project evaluations.
- Provide leadership in national and international health communication groups.
- Collaborate in multi-institutional collaborative efforts.
- Conduct research in applied areas such as social support and health, uncertainty management, physician-patient interaction, national and international prevention campaigns, message tailoring, Internet health applications, organizational issues in health communication, health and aging.