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Department of Communication Studies

Mission Statement

The Department of Communication Studies is dedicated to its students by providing innovative and diverse leadership, intellectual rigor, and collaboration in a culture of scholarship.


Mission Statement

The MAHRC will prepare students with theory, data, and skills that will be applicable to a wide range of cultures and people.  An understanding of the role of communication within national and global healthcare, the role of communicating risk to affected publics, and the ability to effectively relay information during crises will make students better able to formulate message strategies and campaigns that effectively reach their intended publics in efforts to contain the crisis and relay appropriate risk information. This program will provide you with the skills and knowledge to understand, analyze, and respond to some of the most impactful events at local, national, and international levels.

Job Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (placing health and risk communication under the larger heading of public relations) estimates that there will be a 24% growth in employment of health and risk communication professionals by 2018 (www.bls.gov.)

100% online - Classes begin Spring 2014!

Master of Arts in Health & Risk Communication


One of the Most Innovative Programs Nationally!

Health and risk communication has become one of the fastest growing areas in Communication Studies due to high demand for skilled communication professionals.

The need for competent communication skills by safety, health, and environmental professionals has never been more in demand in light of greater corporate responsibility and the growing focus on public safety and preparedness.

Why Choose Ashland University to Earn Your MA in Health & Risk Communication?

  • 100% online degree program
  • 15 months, 30 credit hours
  • Dynamic balance of communication theory and research with the application in health and safety sectors
  • Communication-intense skills that are adaptable to the ever-changing health and safety landscape
  • Gain skills that provide you with a sense of equity and justice in the realm of healthcare and safety regarding those who are most vulnerable and susceptible to danger or crisis
  • Prepare for a wide range of careers within health and safety organizations¬†
  • Opportunities to engage and contribute to the ethically-based discourse of communication-related issues regarding healthcare and risk that are being deliberated at local, national, and international levels
  • Founded in 1878, Ashland University continues to have a rich tradition as a private, liberal arts and sciences institution preparing students for exciting professions and careers
  • Ashland University is ranked in the Top 200 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report

Apply Your Health & Risk Communication Skills

  • A background in health and risk communication provides you with the skills applicable to a variety of careers including:
  • Public health communicators at state and federal agencies who design, execute, and evaluate public health and safety communication campaigns
  • Practitioners who design effective behavioral-change communication strategies
  • Public health communicators at state and federal agencies who provide risk communication in times of public health and safety crises
  • Strategic communication managers who work in nonprofit agencies
  • Communication professionals who work in public relations as well as health and safety messaging
  • Consultants for the advancement of health communication science
  • Scholars
  • Independent researchers who run risk analysis in an effort to make informed decisions

*According to the Harvard School of Public Health

Professional Positions Available for Graduates

  • Risk Manager
  • Safety Training and Development Officer
  • Health Communication Training and Development Officer
  • Health Communication Specialist
  • Director of Communication and Public Affairs
  • Communication Project Specialist
  • Director of External Affairs
  • Security Specialist