The Health Communication program is designed for people looking to advance their health career or enter a health-related field.

Admitted students typically have prior work experience in a wide range of positions in healthcare.

What do I need to apply?

Please make sure to include all relevant health communication or healthcare-related work. Even if you don’t have a career in healthcare yet, highlight any volunteer work or related roles that you have held that you think makes health communication a good fit for you.
From every post-secondary institution you have attended. Applicants must have been awarded a comparable bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A=4.0), or comparable GPA for an international applicant, for the last two years of the undergraduate program is the minimum requirement for admission.
Three letters are required for admission. Recommendation letters can come from either academic or professional sources; recommendations from personal sources (e.g., neighbors, friends, family) will not be considered.
We want to get to know you better. Think about these elements to include in your personal statement:
  • An explanation of your professional background in health care and the qualifications you bring to the Health Communication program (if your experience with health care is not professional in nature, please explain why you are pursuing a degree in health communication).
  • A description of your goals for your degree (why are you applying to Health Communication? what will you do with an MS in health communication?)
  • A brief summary of any relevant personal information or experiences that contribute to your desire to pursue an advanced degree in health communication (e.g., why are you passionate about studying health communication?)
  • An identification (if applicable) of faculty members in the program whose research aligns with your professional interests.
Students whose native language is not English must present their official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination with the required minimum scores: 611 on the paper-based test, 254 on the computer-based test, 103 on the Internet-based test (iBT).
Leanne Knobloch, Ph.D

How much does the Health Communication Online Master of Science program cost?

The tuition rate for the 2023-24 academic year is $740 (USD) per credit hour.*

Because we offer 2 credit and 4 credit classes in HCOM, here’s how much you can expect to spend on each course:

Our 4-credit, 8-week courses are $2,960 (USD).  

Our 2-credit, 4-week courses are $1,480 (USD). 

These rates include both tuition and fees, and are the same for in-state, out-of-state and international students.

*Cost for future courses may be subject to moderate changes in accordance with the actions of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Based upon prior tuition rate trends, you can plan on approximately $23,000-$24,000 for the full M.S. degree (32 credits in total).

Health Communication is a self-supporting program and does not accept the following tuition and fee waivers*:

  • Cooperating teacher waivers
  • Non-academic waivers (including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign employees and employees of other state institutions)
  • Academic waivers from University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, Springfield) employees
  • Related agency waivers
  • Field supervisor waivers
  • Waivers granted through fellowships/assistantships as governed by the Graduate College at the University of Illinois
  • Retiree waivers

To apply for the Master of Science program, complete the online application through the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Is there financial aid?

Financial aid is available for students accepted into the program and enrolled in at least 6 credit hours of coursework in the fall and spring, or 3 credit hours during the summer.

Application Deadlines

**NEW: Rolling Admissions!**

As of Fall 2022, you may complete an application at any time, year-round to be considered for admission to HCOM. After the start of each semester, any submitted applications will be automatically reviewed for the next admission cycle. 

Fall 2023: Apply anytime before August 15, 2023
Spring 2024: Apply anytime before January 1, 2024

The Health Communication program does accept statutory waivers (veterans grants, etc.).

*The waiver policy is subject to moderate changes in accordance with the actions of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Certificate Programs

In addition to our Master of Science in Health Communication, we also offer four non-degree-seeking certificate programs: 1) Patient Care Communication, 2) Communication and Health Management, 3) Communication and Health Promotion, and 4) General Health Communication (visit the Certificates page to learn more). To apply to one of these certificate programs, please email the following to

  • A current resume or CV
  • A brief personal statement explaining your interest in the certificate
  • A scanned copy of your undergraduate transcript (or picture of your diploma) for degree confirmation

Admission decisions are typically made within two weeks, on a rolling basis. Apply anytime!

Non-degree Seeking Students

Depending on available space in classes, students may opt to take a limited number of courses as non-degree seeking students that can later be applied towards the HCOM degree or certificate. Please contact for details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Book fees are not included in tuition and may occasionally apply to some courses. Plan for between $200-300 in book fees throughout the program, but many classes will use online resources. The goal is to keep textbook expenses as low as possible, while supplying you with resources that will be useful for both your educational and professional experiences.

The HCOM program is exclusively online (no face-to-face classes offered) and specializes exclusively in health communication. The face-to-face MA program must be completed on the University of Illinois campus and offers specializations in a variety of communication disciplines. Additionally, the face-to-face MA program prepares students for doctoral work, whereas the HCOM program is tailored specifically to meet the needs of professionals in healthcare.

At this point it is reasonable to expect taking two years to complete this degree, if you participate full time.

Recommendation letters can come from either academic or professional sources; recommendations from personal sources (e.g., neighbors, friends, family) will not be considered.

GRE scores are not required for admission into the HCOM program. We believe we can make sound judgments about your potential for success in this program based upon your academic records, recommendation letters, statement of purpose and resume. TOEFL scores are required for international students, however.

The HCOM program does not offer the teaching or research experience that most doctoral programs require from their applicants. The HCOM program is ideal for professionals interested in advancing their careers in a health-related field, developing expertise in multiple areas across the field of health communication, and/or branching into a new health-related career path.

Each semester, students take two courses: an 8-week course followed by a 4-week course, with a 2-week break in between. There is a core curriculum of 10 classes; depending upon whether you enter the program in the Spring or Fall, the order in which the courses are offered may vary. However, students always end the program with their Capstone course. For more information about specific course schedules, please see the Course Schedules page. If you select the term you plan to enter the program, you can preview the order of all the courses–as well as the dates when they will be offered–for your entire tenure in the program.

Absolutely. Full time participation is required only for financial aid purposes (only full time students are eligible). Most full-time working professionals find the full-time HCOM schedule manageable, but our academic advisor, Dr. Lauren Weiner, will work with each student individually to create a personalized course schedule as needed.

Yes! Absolutely. Each of our certificates are worth 12 credits, and all of these credits can be converted to degree-seeking credit if you decide at any point to switch to the Masters’ program!

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