Today@Sam Article

SHSU Offers New Graduate Certificate

Nov. 7, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Few topics dominate today's public discourse like healthcare. In a rapidly expanding digital media world, health information can often be immense and overwhelming. Employers in the healthcare field need well-trained communicators who can keep up with an ever-changing industry. 


Identifying health communication as an area with strong job growth potential, Sam Houston State University has collaborated among the departments of Mass Communication, Population Health and Sociology to offer a new Graduate Certificate in Health Communication and Public Relations.

The new certificate program is aimed primarily at post-baccalaureate students interested in developing expertise in health-related communication as it applies in both academic and non-academic settings. The program provides students completing undergraduate degrees in mass communication (especially the public relations/advertising track) or public health the opportunity to build specialized skills.

Other individuals the program aims to serve include communication practitioners who want to update their skills with new techniques and technologies specifically directed toward health communication, as well as national and international students who need the access and flexibility offered by online coursework and a virtual internship.

The certification program requires students to complete five graduate courses, or 15 semester credit hours, including a virtual internship. The certificate can be completed on a part-time basis in one year and can be taken fully online, although some courses are also offered face-to-face. Students can begin the program in the fall or spring semester.

According to Ruth Massingill, associate professor of Mass Communication, health communicators are critical in today’s fast-changing healthcare landscape.

“The outlook for job growth in health communication is very strong, boosted by the aging baby-boomer population’s growing demand for medical services, the evolving healthcare payer landscape, and changing laws,” Massingill said.

The PR Council for public relations firms in the U.S. has identified healthcare as one of PR’s biggest growth areas. The Association of Schools of Public Health also estimates more than 250,000 additional public health professionals will be needed by 2020. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs to increase 21 percent for health educators and 12 percent for PR specialists by 2022.

The application deadline for spring 2018 enrollment is Dec. 1, 2017.

Those interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to go online to or contact Massingill at 936.294.1494 or

- END -

This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office:

Associate Director, Communications: Emily Binetti

Communications Manager: Vacant
Telephone: 936.294.1837

Communications Writer: Campbell Atkins
Telephone: 936.294.2638

Thomason Building: Suite 102

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to