Academic Catalog 2024-2025

Slippery Rock University

Strategic Communication and Media, Bachelor of Science (BS) - Concentration in Health Communication

Health is a top concern for local, national, and global populations and the healthcare industry is growing. Slippery Rock University’s Health Communication degree gives students the opportunity to place themselves at the forefront of health communication. Earning a Bachelor’s in Health Communication demonstrates not only that graduates understand the nature and complexity of the healthcare industry, but also that they possess the hands-on skills necessary to communicate effectively within this industry.

WHY CHOOSE HEALTH COMMUNICATION?

One of the few Health Communication programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Region, students graduate not only with a firm understanding of the ever-growing healthcare industry, but also the skills and training necessary to prepare, craft, and deliver effective messages within the healthcare context. Career options include digital and social media content generation, public relations and integrated marketing, advertising, and more.

While majoring in Health Communication, you will have the opportunity to participate in a host of relevant student organizations and complete internships. Upon graduation, students have a portfolio of work that demonstrates a wide range of skills that are relevant to the healthcare industry, including but not limited to: social and digital media content creation, publication production, and research and analytics.

WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?

Working with professors with experience in their fields, the Health Communication Degree provides you with coursework centered on the health industry, as well as applied coursework in public relations, marketing, and advertising. When you choose to major in Health Communication, you benefit from a cutting-edge and modern interdisciplinary program with provides you with the skills and abilities necessary for a fruitful career as a communication professional in the healthcare industry.

CAREERS IN HEALTH COMMUNICATION

It is expected that the healthcare industry will continue to grow. As such, a major benefit of majoring in Health Communication is the plethora of opportunities available to you after graduating. The program’s internship opportunities, in combination with the Department of Strategic Communication and Media’s vast alumni network make the Health Communication program at SRU a great choice for students as they consider their future careers.

CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS

Rock PRSSA

Lambda Pi Eta

PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA - HEALTH COMMUNICATION, BS

  • Writing: Produce written health communication tactics to communicate with various publics. (SRU SLO 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10)
  • Tailored Strategy: Employ social media, multimedia, and graphic design technologies to communicate health-focused content to designated audiences. (SRU SLO 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10) 
  • Campaign Development: Demonstrate the ability to develop a data-driven strategic health communication plan tailored to a specific target public. (SRU SLO 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10)

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA DEPARTMENT, OVERALL

  • Writing competency: Students will demonstrate the ability to write and present messages clearly and effectively. (SRU SLO 1)
  • Ethics and legal issues: Students will understand ethical and legal issues facing communicators in the 21st century. (SRU SLO 8)
  • Research and analysis: Students will demonstrate the ability to design and implement research studies and critically analyze research data. (SRU SLO 2)

RELATED LINKS

Strategic Communication and Media: Health Communication, BS Program Page

Professional Licensure/Certification Page

CURRICULUM GUIDE

GPA REQUIREMENT

Major GPA: 2.0 or higher
Overall GPA: 2.0 or higher

SUMMARY*

Rock Studies 2 Requirements42
Other Basic Requirements0-3
Major/Concentration Requirements51
Electives27

* All undergraduate degree programs require a minimum of 120 credits.  Some courses meet multiple requirements, but are only counted once toward the 120 credit total required to graduate.

ROCK STUDIES 2 REQUIREMENTS

The Rock
SUBJ 139Foundations of Academic Discovery 13
ENGL 102Critical Writing3
ENGL 104Critical Reading3
MATH 117Quantitative Reasoning3
Select one of the following:3
Civil Discourse: Theory & Practice
Ethics and Civil Discourse
Civil Discourse and Democracy
Subtotal15
Integrated Inquiry
Creative and Aesthetic Inquiry
Select 3 Credits3
Humanities Inquiry
Select 3 Credits3
Social Science Inquiry
Select 3 Credits3
Natural Sciences Inquiry
SCI 101Science of Life3
Physical Sciences Inquiry
SCI 102Understanding the Physical World3
Subtotal15
Thematic Thread
Select 12 Credits 212
Total Hours42
1

Course offered in multiple subjects; cannot take course in first major subject.

2

One course from each category; six credits must be 300-level or above; no more than 4 credits from one subject area; specific courses required in first major, regardless of prefix of course, cannot be used to satisfy thread requirements; any course with same prefix as first major cannot be used to satisfy thread requirements, even if it is not a course in the first major.

Basic Math Requirement

Check with your adviser or a current degree audit report to see if you have been exempted from this course. The credit earned in this course will not be counted toward the 120 credit hour minimum needed to earn a degree.

Complete one of the following:0-3
Meet required minimum SAT or ACT math score OR
Beginning Algebra
Total Hours0-3

DIVERSITY,  EQUITY,  AND INCLUSION REQUIREMENT

Students must take and pass a course with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) designation prior to graduation.  Students can meet this requirement by taking any DEI - designated course in any program at any time during their undergraduate career. 

MAJOR/CONCENTRATION REQUIREMENTS 

  • 26 major credits must be taken at SRU or PASSHE
  • 26 major credits must be taken at the 300 level or above
Core Requirements
COMM 110Communication Concepts 1,23
COMM 242Media Writing3
COMM 310Communication Research Methods 1,23
COMM 410Communication Law 1,23
COMM 497Senior Capstone Seminar 13
Subtotal15
Health Communication Requirements
COMM 231Principles of Integrated Marketing Communication & Public Relations 13
COMM 242Media Writing 13
or COMM 256 Message Preparation
COMM 270Strategic Health Communication 13
COMM 303Communication and Media Ethics 13
or HCAM 375 Ethics & Legal Fundamentals for the Health Professions
or PHIL 325 Medical/Health Care Ethics
COMM 333Writing for Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communication 13
COMM 370Health Communication Cases and Strategies 13
COMM 431PR and IMC Campaigns Capstone 13
COMM 450Internship 13
HCAM 230US Healthcare Systems 13
HCAM 300Healthcare Systems: Global Perspectives and Analysis 13
Subtotal30
Electives
Select 6 credits from the following (at lease one upper-division course is required):6
Principles of Creative Advertising 1
Introduction to Digital Design 1
Interactive Multimedia 1 1
Mass Media and Society 1
Social Media 1
Organizational Communication 1
Media Relations and Crisis Communication 1
Strategic Brand Communication 1
Social Media Network Analytics 1
Persuasion 1
Healthcare Writing 1
Current Topics in Health Care 1
International Health 1
Principles of Marketing 1
Subtotal6
Total Hours51
1

Course counts for 50% of Major requirements and Major GPA

2

A grade of 'C' or higher must be earned in these courses

*

Some courses may require pre-requisites. Please see course descriptions to determine if there are any pre-requisites for that specific course.

Important Curriculum Guide Notes

This Curriculum Guide is provided to help SRU students and prospective students better understand their intended major curriculum. Enrolled SRU students should note that the My Rock Audit may place already-earned and/or in progress courses in different, yet valid, curriculum categories. Enrolled SRU students should use the My Rock Audit Report and materials and information provided by their faculty advisers to ensure accurate progress towards degree completion. The information on this guide is current as of the date listed. Students are responsible for curriculum requirements at the time of enrollment at the University.

PASSHE - Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Institutions

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION & MEDIA- BS (2119)
Concentration in Health Communication (HECO)
This program is effective as of Summer 2024
Revised 05.16.2024
UCC 04.16.2024

RECOMMENDED FOUR-YEAR PLAN

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallHours
COMM 110 Communication Concepts 3
COMM 263 Mass Media and Society 3
ENGL 102 Critical Writing 3
ESAP 101 FYRST Seminar * 1
SUBJ 139Foundations of Academic Discovery 1 3
Creative & Aesthetic Inquiry 3
 Hours16
Spring
COMM 200 Civil Discourse: Theory & Practice 3
ENGL 104 Critical Reading 3
MATH 117 Quantitative Reasoning 3
COMM 231 Principles of Integrated Marketing Communication & Public Relations 3
Humanities Inquiry 3
 Hours15
Second Year
Fall
COMM 242
Media Writing
or Message Preparation
3
HCAM 230 US Healthcare Systems 3
SCI 101 Science of Life 3
Elective 3
Social Science Inquiry 3
Declare a Thematic Thread 2
 Hours15
Spring
COMM 270 Strategic Health Communication 3
SCI 102 Understanding the Physical World 3
Health Communication Elective 3
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Elective 3
 Hours15
Third Year
Fall
COMM 310 Communication Research Methods 3
HCAM 300 Healthcare Systems: Global Perspectives and Analysis 3
Health Communication Elective 3
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Elective 3
 Hours15
Spring
COMM 333 Writing for Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communication 3
COMM 303
Communication and Media Ethics
or Ethics & Legal Fundamentals for the Health Professions
3
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Electives 6
 Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall
COMM 370 Health Communication Cases and Strategies 3
COMM 410 Communication Law 3
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Electives 6
 Hours15
Spring
COMM 431 PR and IMC Campaigns Capstone 3
COMM 450 Internship 3
COMM 497 Senior Capstone Seminar 3
Elective 6
 Hours15
 Total Hours**121
1

Course offered in multiple subjects; cannot take course in first major subject.

2

Work with your Academic Adviser to declare a Thematic Thread by the end of your fall semester in your second year.

*

Students are encouraged to take ESAP 101 as a Free Elective.

** This document is meant to serve as a guide. Some planners may show more than 120 credits because faculty have created flexibility in choosing courses.  However, only 120 credits are required to obtain a degree. Please consult with your academic adviser and refer to your curriculum guide prior to registering for courses. This plan should be reviewed, and verified, by you and your academic adviser at least once each academic year. 

Major Code: 2119
Concentration Code: HECO
Revised: 05.10.2023