Master of Health Communication

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

Health communication comprises one of the largest industry workforces in public relations and media, acting as a fundamental bridge between medical bodies, public health authorities and the wider public through the media. The Master of Health Communication delivers core media skills to help you become an effective communicator across health and medicine, public affairs, public relations, community relations and journalism.
Our unique Health Communication program is the most comprehensive and specialised course of its kind in Australia, combining the expertise of the University of Sydney’s Department of Media and Communications with the public health resources of the School of Public Health. With a cross-disciplinary and collaborative approach to both media and health disciplines, our program incorporates media relations, organisational communication, and health communication approaches.

As a Master of Health Communication graduate, you will enter the profession with a solid evidence-based education in international health, community‑oriented health practice, obesity and other disease prevention strategies, and health promotion. Our training also covers such topics as campaign development, media advocacy, humanitarian and emergency health issues, bioethics, and an understanding of health cultures, policy and systems. Featuring a well-regarded internship program, you will have the chance to attain high-level skills from work experience while fostering professional contacts and networks before you complete the course.

The Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate in Media Practice provide shorter avenues to update and extend your professional skills, or to explore new career directions. This master’s degree requires four core units of study.

Course outline

For an up-to-date list of units of study for this degree, please refer to the online postgraduate handbook.

Study plan


(a) a minimum of 24 credit points of core units of study; and
(b) a maximum of 42 credit points from elective units of study. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator a maximum of 12 credit points of elective units can be taken from units of study outside those listed in the Health Communication subject area of the Postgraduate Unit of Study Table, including a maximum of 6 credit points from units of study offered by other faculties.
(c) at least 6 credit points of capstone units of study."

Embedded courses

Further course information

Progression rules

Under normal progression, a student shall undertake and successfully complete all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for their units of study.

Capstone experience

Eligible candidates undertaking the degree of Master of Health Communication have the option of undertaking an internship. The placement host is any company or organisation within the health, healthcare, or health related industry. This includes but is not limited to: media, health departments, hospitals, community centres, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, pharmaceutical companies and public relations companies. The internship is equivalent to 20 days of full time work, and students are required to submit a reflective journal and a research essay.

Eligible candidates undertaking the degree of Master of Health Communication have the alternative option of completing a dissertation on an approved topic over two units of study, normally undertaken over two semesters, with a value of 12 credit points, under the supervision of an academic staff member.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Graduates from our program have gone on to careers in public and corporate health communications, healthcare public affairs, public relations, community relations, healthcare promotion and health journalism. Our program is designed to meet the needs of those already working in the private and public health sectors and non-government and community organisations, or those wishing to enter them. It allows you to update and extend your professional skills or explore new career directions.

Further study

Graduates of the Master of Health Communication who have completed a dissertation with a meritorious grade are eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in their chosen subject area.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to candidature for the Master of Health Communication requires:

(a) a bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit (65 percent) average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification or

(b) completion of the requirements for the embedded Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Health Communication with a minimum credit (65 percent) average, or an equivalent qualification.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, apply through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - click on the 'Apply now' icon on this page to proceed with your application.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply:
(i) directly to the University via the International Office. Further information on applications and English language requirements and support services for international students is available on the International Office website; or

(ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent).

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Annual review for postgraduate student contribution amount

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

This 2015, tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student represents the fee that is payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review for postgraduate domestic tuition fee

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information in this prospectus, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents

Please note that if you are classified by the University as a Research Training Scheme student in accordance with the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2010, you will be exempt from the payment of any SCA or tuition fees for courses undertaken as part of a Research Masters degree and Research Doctoral degree. More information about your eligibility for this Scheme is available here.

International students

International tuition fees for postgraduate students

This 2015, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. The University's Future Students' webpage has further information about these additional incidental fees for postgraduate coursework students and postgraduate research students.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.