Washington, D.C. is the epicenter of work in health communication, with more health communication companies based in D.C. than in any other place in the U.S. The mission of the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Public Health Communication and Marketing program is to train the next generation of public health professionals to make use of cutting edge communication and marketing tools to advance both global and domestic public health objectives.
Public Health Communication and Marketing graduates will be able to:
- Develop, implement, and evaluate communication programs that help people make sound decisions to effectively manage their health behaviors and promote the adoption of policies – in the public and private sector – which enhance health.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate marketing programs that improve the health capacity of communities by enhancing the competitiveness of the healthful (versus unhealthful) products and services offered to the community.
- Learn to create campaigns that strategically make use of digital tools such as social media, mobile and mass media and involve story-telling, game play and app design.
To help students fit graduate school into their daily life, Milken Institute SPH provides flexible course offerings, which allows Public Health Communication and Marketing students to take up to 15 credits online. This means that all your first semester classes can be taken online, allowing you additional time to move to the DC area if needed.
There are no specific prerequisites for entering the Public Health Communication and Marketing master’s program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. This program is a good fit for anyone with an interest in improving human health. Students who are especially interested in working with diverse populations and those who wish to study broad categories of health concerns are great candidates for this MPH in Public Health Communication and Marketing.
MPH Core Requirements
PUBH 6000 | MPH Applied Practice Experience (0 credits)
PUBH 6002 | Biostatistical Applications for Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Principles of Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
PUBH 6012 | Fundamentals of Health Policy: Public Health and Healthcare (2 credits)
PUBH 6021 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 1: Leading Self and Teams in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6022 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 2: Managing Organizations & Influencing Systems in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6023 | Interprofessional Education Experience (IPE) (0 credits)
CORE TOTAL: 15 CREDITS
PUBH 6015 | Culminating Experience (2 credits)
CE TOTAL: 2 CREDITS
Public Health Communication and Marketing Requirements
Required Department Courses
PUBH 6500 | Planning and Administration of Health Promotion / Disease Prevention Programs (3 credits)
PUBH 6501 | Evaluation of Health Promotion / Disease Prevention Programs (3 credits)
Required Program-Specific Courses
PUBH 6503 | Introduction to Public Health Communication and Marketing (3 credits)
PUBH 6570 | Advanced Public Health Communication: Theory and Practice (3 credits)
PUBH 6571 | Social Marketing: Theory and Practice (3 credits)
PUBH 6504 | Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods (3 credits)
PROGRAM-SPECIFIC TOTAL: 18 CREDITS
Public Health Communication and Marketing Electives
For the most up to date list of approved electives, please reference the program guide. Alternatives may be discussed with your advisor.
PROGRAM-SPECIFIC ELECTIVES TOTAL: 10 CREDITS
- Professional Enhancement
Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia related to your field of study.
Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training
All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research prior to beginning the practicum. This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.
- Academic Integrity Quiz
All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity. This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.
Past Program Guides
Program Guides from prior Academic Years
Students in the MPH in PH Communication and Marketing program should refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current program guide, click the "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of the page.
To view sample schedules and learn about the core competencies developed within the program, see the degree program guide.
GW MPH graduates of Public Health Communication and Marketing (PHCM) are in high demand as the need for health communication experts is quickly growing at the local, national, and global levels. Strong evidence exists that deem a master’s degree an essential requirement for a career in the field of health communication.
GW PHCM graduates consistently have obtained employment in a variety of sectors. The top organizations to hire GW PHCM graduates represent: the federal government, non-profit advocacy or volunteer organizations, a variety of for-profit consulting agencies, and educational institutions.
Graduates express high success rates in securing jobs upon graduation in addition to financial success.
Jobs Our Alumni Have Held
Depending on years of experience before starting your degree, position levels will vary. Below are examples of jobs, by sector, for which our graduates have been offered and you can expect to be prepared for with 0-2 years of experience after earning your MPH PHCM.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – Public Health Specialist
- Environmental Protection Agency – Science Communication Outreach Associate
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Public Health Analyst
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Program Specialist
- National Cancer Institute (NCI) - Health Communication Fellow
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Writer/Editor
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) – Health Communication Specialist
- Truth Initiative – Managing Director of Product
- American Lung Association – National Specialist of Cessation Policy
- Population Services International (PSI) – Communications and Knowledge Manager
- FHI 360 (formerly AED) - Program Associate, Marketing Research
- Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute – Communications Manager
- Epilepsy Foundation – Manager of Communications
- American Institutes for Research – Digital Communications Associate
Consulting Groups & Other Private Agencies
- Porter Novelli – Account Supervisor
- Weber Shandwick – Client Experience Manager
- Ketchum – Account Executive
- Edelman – Senior Account Supervisor
- Hager Sharp – Vice President
- Spectrum Communications – Account Executive
- GW Milken Institute of Public Health - Research Associate
- National Children’s Hospital – Clinical Research Coordinator
Profiles of PHCM Alumni
Below are examples of career paths of some PHCM alumni:
- Kaiulani Kamau, MPH ‘21 – Communications Associate
After graduating from the program in May of 2021, Kaiulani will begin working as a Communications Associate for ICF Next as a part of their health team. She looks forward to using marketing and behavior change strategies to better public health. As a native Hawaiian, her interest in health communications grew out of several post-undergraduate internship experiences where she worked on numerous public health challenges facing local Hawaiians, including diabetes, vaping, and physical inactivity. One of her most valuable experiences included interning with the Hawaii Department of Public Health where she assisted in outreach efforts to educate and communicate health information to residents about safe health behaviors during a Dengue fever outbreak. During this experience, she observed a disconnect between the wealth of health information and a lack of understanding among Hawaiian residents and desired to change this, which led her to pursue her MPH in Public Health Communication and Marketing at GW. Kaiulani completed her practicum with Children’s National Hospital, where she collaborated with health care providers to create engaging health content for new parents to increase fruit and vegetable intake among children and assisted with the creation of physician-led nutrition education videos. Her culminating experience (CE) utilized data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine the relationship between Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and diabetes, with a focus on the lack of trust between Native Hawaiians and medical professionals.
- Megan Jacobs, MPH '10 – Product development, project management and research
Like many graduates, Megan began her post-degree work with a fellowship. At the National Vaccine Program Office as a Communications Fellow, she assisted with development and organizing stakeholder input for a consumer-focused vaccine website. She moved on to work for the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Truth Initiative (then Legacy) as Project Manager, creating web content and products, overseeing social media strategy, and managing online recruitment for large clinical trials. Megan is currently Lead, Integrated Product Design at Truth Initiative Innovations, where she oversees product development and management of digital smoking cessation interventions.
More PHCM alumni information - See these links below:
Practicum / CE
Students in the GW MPH programs gain practical skills and knowledge through their practice experiences. It is important for MPH Public Health Communication and Marketing graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Students in the Public Health Communication and Marketing MPH program complete both an Applied Practice Experience (practicum and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.
In the Department of Prevention and Community Health, the Applied Practice Experience is a course designed to engage students in a Practice Activity—a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The Practice Activity can be related to either primary research or public health practice. It might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, designing ad campaigns, or collecting and analyzing data.
The Practice Activity for the MPH Public Health Communication and Marketing degree may not be directly related to the student's day-to-day work. This is to ensure that students learn and apply new skills in the context of public health. If the student does conduct the Practice Activity at his/her place of employment, it must be work for which the student is not remunerated.
Examples of Practicum Sites:
- Guidehouse – Summer Associate
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Public Affairs – Strategic Communications Officer
- Park View Market – Public Health Communications Intern
- Hager Sharp
- Children’s National Hospital
The Culminating Experience (CE) integrates the knowledge and skills students acquire through their academic work and the Practice Activity. The CE requires students to identify and define a specific public health issue and formulate hypotheses to address that issue. Students work with data obtained through either primary research or from an existing dataset. The process of proposal development, data analysis, interpretation, and extrapolation of the results culminates in a written report or manuscript and an oral presentation.
Examples of Recent CEs:
- Conceptual Framework and Analysis of Healthy You: Surviving a Pandemic Podcast
- Innovating PrEP Promotion Messaging: A Thematic Analysis of "PrEP Your Step"
- Native Hawaiians and Diabetes
- Addressing Health Literacy for Better Health Outcomes for College-Educated Women
- Social Media Engagement and Body Image
- Taking a HINT: Measuring Media's Influence on HPV Knowledge and Awareness in Millennials through the NCI HINTS Survey
- Content Analysis of E-Cigarettes Brands Operating in Washington DC
- Gone Viral? Exploring the Link Between Virality Metrics, Message Framing and Sharing Influenza Vaccine-Related Messaging on Facebook
- A Secondary Data Analysis Investigating Normative Perceptions and Intentions to Use PrEP for HIV Prevention Among Black Women in Washington, D.C.
Mothers’ Attitudes and Beliefs Towards Early Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Formative Research Study to Inform a Communications Plan
The Impact of Virtual Reality and Mobile Health on Stress and Anxiety Management in Graduate Students
Extreme Communication: Information Design for Climate Change Weather Hazards
A Text Messaging Program to Improve Oral Contraceptive Pill Adherence
Impact of virtual reality 360 film on helping behaviors after a natural disaster
Students pursuing an MPH in Public Health Communication and Marketing have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in research, governmental, clinical, and communication settings. The many areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Public Health Communication and Marketing Master of Public Health program include behavior science, program planning, new media, and ad and strategy development.
Full Time Faculty
Khadidiatou Ndiaye (Program Director)