Dec 15, 2015
I am debating between these two degrees. I am also interested in Health Journalism which is a concentration within communications. Can anyone provide some explanations about the differences between these fields? If anyone works in either of those fields, can you explain in detail what your job entails? Adding to my confusion are all the different concentrations within each field. Some schools have a concentration in Health Comm under the MPH degree and other schools have a concentration in Public Health under the Health Comm degree. I don't know which degree would be best for me. Part of my problem is, I don't know exactly what type of career I want and I don't know how to figure this out. I think I would like to work on Health Campaigns and I am interested in Psychology, Sociology, Marketing/Advertising, and Nutrition.

Also, where are the best places to look for volunteer or Internship opportunities?

Thank you!
Jan 25, 2014
Atlanta, GA
Hi @Julie14401,

We seem to have very similar interests. More important than the degree and program is the field experience that you gain through internships, research positions, volunteer opportunities, etc. As long as you take courses that allow you to grasp the foundation of communication theory and practice, you should be fine. Though, it is important to know if you're more interested in behavior change communication -- knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP model) or more advocacy and corporate-style communication, i.e. developing materials for public policy and advocacy activities. For example, I am very interested in both global/domestic health and behavior change communication. When selecting a program, I was most interested in one that allowed me to gain a greater understanding of global public health and international development in developing regions of the world, as well as tailor my coursework to help me create a solid foundation for maternal and child health and sexual/reproductive health.

Based on your interest in psychology, sociology, marketing/advertising, and nutrition, coupled with your interested in health communication, it is my prediction that you're most interested in social and behavior change communication. Programs rooted in social and behavioral theory, such as UNC's Health Behavior program, Columbia's Sociomedical Sciences program...just to name two. Also, I would have to say that Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health probably has the strongest health communication department (behavior change) hands down, due to their Center for Communication Programs (CCP).

I just completed my degree at Tulane (International Health and Development, Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences Department). Most of my coursework was focused on global health issues, program development/planning/designing, program evaluation and monitoring. Although, I was not in the Health Communication program, I did take one health communication course, and all of my internship/volunteer/leadership while in graduate school was heavily positioned around health communication, mainly behavior change communication programs. Prior to graduate school, I did work in communication, marketing and event planning for various health agencies in the states.

As far as volunteer and internship opportunities are concerned, you can look into a variety of organizations and agencies. USAID, CDC, and other government agencies have great internship and fellowship opportunities. If working for the government is not your thing, nonprofit organizations like FHI 360, Population Services International, and John Snow, Inc are great places to intern/work if you're interested in behavior change communication.

I hope this helps!

-- Apologies in advance for typos. Not wasting too much energy spell checking and grammar checking on forums.
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