☰ In This Section

Major/Minor Image

The health communication emphasis fosters healthcare-specific relational skills—such as patient outreach, education, and advocacy—giving students who desire to work with patients the opportunity to do so in a nonmedical capacity.

Why should I study health communication?

There is a widening gap in today's healthcare environment between the knowledge obtained by medical professionals and the information understood by patients. The communication studies major with an emphasis in healthcare communication seeks to bridge that gap by introducing students who have a passion for working with people to a niche area.

Students receive a comprehensive introduction to the field of healthcare, explore foundational communication principles, and synthesize these knowledge areas—providing an educational background that will equip them to work in a variety of nonmedical, people-centric healthcare careers. You'll examine the intersection of health and self; how health impacts families; identity and stigma related to medical diagnoses; and the interpersonal communication techniques necessary to become an advocate for patients.

What can I do with this degree?

Students majoring in communication studies with an emphasis in health communication are well suited to employment in:

  • Patient outreach, education, and/or advocacy
  • Doctor-patient communication
  • Healthcare campaigning 
  • Risk and crisis communication
  • Health consulting

You may find work in medical centers, nonprofits, or as part of a ministry or missional organization. A minor in gender studies pairs nicely with this degree.

What skills will I develop?

  • Research methods
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Public speaking
  • Intercultural communication
  • Reconciliation
  • Social outreach and patient advocacy
  • Group communication
  • Communication analysis

You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the R.E.A.L. Experience—a program specifically designed to help you gain the relevant, hands-on experience employers desire—so that when you graduate, you’ll be as impressive in practice as you are on paper.

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Engage in hands-on learning

All students majoring in communication studies with a health communication emphasis complete an internship at an organization within the healthcare industry. Students may partner with Bethel's Center for Healthcare Excellence to find applicable opportunities and build professional connections outside of the communication studies department.

Work in an industry that interests you

Many professionals are unaware of the varied nonmedical opportunities within the healthcare industry that are perfectly suited to their skill sets and interests. By focusing your area of study, you open doors to work in this exciting, growing, influential field. Because your communication studies are paired with knowledge about the healthcare industry specifically, you'll be more qualified to pursue your employment goals within healthcare. 

Experience real-world intercultural communication

The communication studies department strongly encourages study abroad for experiential learning related to intercultural communication. Europe Term—a study abroad opportunity run through the Department of Communication Studies—is one such opportunity. This semester overseas incorporates a variety of communication courses that are directly applicable to the major. You'll spend the semester with a group of your peers learning in exciting European destinations.


students majoring in the department


students presented at regional conferences in the past 7 years

Recent News

Changing Worlds by Fighting Child Hunger

December 17, 2020 | 9 a.m.

Upcoming Events

JUNE 23 2021

Forensics reception celebrating 95 years of Bethel's forensics team

6 p.m. Eastlund Room

Forensics Team/Academic Affairs