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Health Communication

Students attending KHC conference with Dr. Weathers

Communication Students: Ashley Elliot, Caroline Sullivan, and Ivania Henry with Dr. Mindy Weathers at the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication

For more than a decade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute have defined health communication as the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual decisions that enhance health. Health Communication professionals all share a common goal: creating social change by changing people's attitudes, and/or modifying or eliminating certain behaviors for the improvement of health and the benefit of society.

As a Health Communication major, students learn and develop skills that will be needed in their careers understanding, applying, and managing the way people see, process, and share health information. Through coursework, research, community engagement projects, and internships, students will explore a variety of issues and contexts that influence health including:
- Patient-Caregiver Interactions
- Diversity in Health Care
- Social Support and Family Influences on Health
- Public Health and Crisis Communication
- Health Promotion
Health Communication majors are also encouraged to expand their knowledge of the various communication tools by taking courses in broadcasting, journalism, human communication and public relations.
All communication majors must declare a minor, second concentration, or second major. Health Communication majors are encouraged to minor in a health-related field, and have the option of using pre-professional coursework required by nursing, nutrition and dietetics, athletic training, environmental health, one of the sciences, or other health-related programs to satisfy the minor requirement.

Requirements for the B.S. Degree in Communication/Health Communication:

Liberal Studies - University Required 42 hours
Communication Core (19 hours)

Required Practical Course:
COMM 240 - Writing for Communication Credits: 3

Required Theory Course:
COMM 350 - Communication Theory and Criticism Credits: 3

Required Professional Courses:
COMM 296 - Introduction to Professional Development Credits: 3
COMM 483 - Internship in Communications Credits: 3, R9
COMM 496 - Seminar in Professional Development Credits: 1

Select two (2) of the following communication courses:
COMM 301 - Interpersonal Communication Credits: 3
COMM 312 - Small Group & Team Communication Credits: 3
COMM 345 - Public and Mediated Speaking Credits: 3
COMM 415 - Intercultural Communication* Credits: 3

*Note: Health Communication majors are strongly encouraged to take COMM 415

Health Communication (21 hours)
COMM 303 - Public Relations Writing Credits: 3
COMM 325 – Health Communication Credits: 3
COMM 365 - Public Relations Case Studies Credits: 3
COMM 400 – Crisis Communication Credits: 3
COMM 403 – Communication Research Methods Credits: 3
COMM 460 - Public Relations Campaigns Credits: 3

Select one (1) communication course from the following:
COMM 204 – Visual Communication Design for the Non-Designer Credits: 3
COMM 215 – Organizational Communication Credits: 3
COMM 307 - Advertising Writing Credits: 3
COMM 313 – Conflict Resolution Credits: 3
COMM 375 – Communication in Families and Close Relationships Credits: 3
COMM 412 - Sex, Sexuality, and Health Communication Credits: 3
COMM 414 - Gender Communication Credits: 3
COMM 493 - Selected Topics in Communication Credits: 3, R9 (with approval of advisor)
COMM 494 - Communication Projects Credits: 1-3, R6 (with approval of advisor)

To complete the program: A total of 40 hours is required, including a minor, second communication concentration, second major, or other approved program and student selected general electives. At least 30 hours taken at WCU must be at the junior-senior level to meet one of the general university degree requirements.
Total hours required for the degree: 120

Note: The above information is not an official listing of the coursework required for the B.S. degree in Communications/Health Communication. For an official listing of the required courses you should consult the official Western Carolina University catalog of courses.

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