Health Communication MA FAQ



What will the program be like?
You will take part in the practicum course and internship in June, and will take courses the following fall and spring and will earn your MA at the end of May.  The practicum and coursework are full-time obligations during this year.

Do I have to do a master’s thesis?
No, instead of a master’s thesis, you will do a Capstone project that will allow you to focus on aspects of health communication relevant to your interests. Students will prepare a final project—a publishable article, a multimedia projection, an original research paper, or other options—aimed at a particular audience.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in Strategic Communication?
The MA program is built on knowledge and skills, such as message strategy and content development, that is specific to the curriculum of the BA in Strategic Communication at the University of Minnesota. As a result, applicants who do not have this degree must have their undergraduate degree and experience reviewed and approved by the graduate studies committee in order to apply to the MA in Health Communication.  

When should I apply?
You should apply by February 1 to being the program the following June. 

Do I have to take the GRE?
To be admitted to the MA in Health Communication, you will need to take the GRE by mid-January of your senior year if your are applying as a University of Minnesota student or by February 1 if applying to begin the program in the same year. You will need to have the scores reported by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) to your Graduate School application. It is expected that students successful in the MA program score 155 or higher on verbal and quantitative reasoning, and a 4.5 on analytical writing. 

To take the GRE, you must create an account on the ETS website to choose a location, date, and time to take the computer-based test. There are typically multiple times a day, but it does fill up, so you should register early. The University of Minnesota Grad School code is 6874. You will need to enter this code at the time of the test to have official scores reported to the grad school. Official scores are available and reported to institutions after 10-15 days, although you can see unofficial scores for verbal and quantitative reasoning on the computer screen at the end of the test. You do not get the analytical writing score until the official scores are available.

Currently, the test costs $205; it takes about four hours to complete. You can get information about the different sections (verbal, quantitative, analytical) and the format of the GRE through ETS. ETS also offers a few practice materials for purchase. There are also a large number of practice books available at the bookstore, and there are professional test preparation services, although these services can be expensive.

What if I don’t get the required GRE scores, but I’ve been provisionally admitted to the program?
If your scores are lower than expected we will have a conversation with you to discuss why your scores were lower than the rest of your application materials had suggested when you were provisionally accepted. If this conversation leads you to not be admitted to the MA program then any courses you took at the graduate level in preparation for the program will become electives for your undergraduate degree.

How soon will I find out if I’m accepted?
Early April.

Are the courses available online?
No, students must take all courses in the classroom.

Can I do this part-time?
No, the MA program is a cohort program where all students start at the same time and take a full course load of credits both fall and spring; the summer internship and internship course are also a full-time commitment.

Who can I speak with to learn more about this program and understand how it might work for me?
Hubbard School advising is ready to meet with you to answer your first questions about the program and can then direct your to a health communication faculty member.

Are you already a Hubbard School undergrad?

If you're a current Hubbard School strategic communication major and are interested in pursuing the master's in Health Communication, please read the following FAQ and then stop in 110 Murphy Hall for advising. 

Undergraduate FAQ

How does this work with my undergraduate degree?
First and foremost, you need to be enrolled as a strategic communication major to apply to the MA program. Learn more about the major and the application process.

As soon as you have identified an interest in the Health Communication MA (either before you have applied to the major, or if you are already in the major), you should meet with a Hubbard School advisor to map out your undergraduate courses for the BA degree, and to plan for taking up to three additional courses your senior year that will count toward the MA program.

You will complete all the requirements for the BA in Strategic Communication, and can complete up to 3 courses (9 credits) during your senior year that will apply to the MA in Health Communication: JOUR 5541 in the fall, JOUR 5542 in the spring, and an elective course. This means that you pay for 9 credits that can apply to a graduate program at the undergraduate tuition rate.  

Why a BA/MA combination—why is an MA needed?
The undergraduate degree in Strategic Communication will provide skills and context courses, as well as supporting coursework, which will provide the foundational knowledge about strategic messaging. The MA program will provide sophisticated academic and practice-based courses, which will provide students with the specialized health communication knowledge that will enable students to fully contribute to their workplace from day one.

What happens if I can’t take the three courses for the MA program while I’m an undergraduate?
You can take these courses in the fifth year, during the MA program. You will, however, pay the increased tuition cost for these credits, and you will have a more demanding course load in your MA program.

What if I’m a senior or have already graduated with a BA in Strategic Communication?
If you have earned a degree with a Strategic Communication major, you can apply to the MA program. However, you will have to complete all 30 graduate credits during the year-long program (which is a manageable course load).

What if I took one or more of the courses for the MA program at the undergraduate level?
You can work with the Program Director to identify a replacement course to be taken at the graduate level.

What will the 5th year be like?
You will take part in the practicum course and internship the June after your senior year, and will take courses in the fall and spring of the year after you earn your BA degree. You will earn your MA in May of your fifth year of study.

For answers to any remaining questions, please see above or visit 110 Murphy Hall.