The Master of Science in Media, Medicine, and Health draws on mass media, narratives, and the arts to elevate patient and community voices, improve health education, and analyze and enhance evidence-based interventions. The curriculum provides rigorous training in both theories and methods of storytelling and social medicine from Harvard Medical School faculty. The program culminates in a mentored Capstone Project in which students develop a novel media intervention.
Graduates of this program will acquire a wide range of knowledge, analytical, and practical storytelling and media skills (along with networking opportunities and career advising) necessary to create successful and impactful health programs for the multitude of health crises facing our nation and the world. Guest speakers and lecturers will provide valuable networking opportunities in various industries and storytelling modalities.
The Fall Semester
The fall semester focuses on mastering the fundamentals of storytelling modalities and the social medicine approach to health problems. The first semester is Exploration—homing in on a health topic that will become their second semester Capstone Project. Courses include:
Neal Baer’s course “Fundamentals of Mass Media for Health-Related Social Change”
Arthur Kleinman’s course “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares: Reimagining Global Health”
A course on essay writing and perspectives on health and sickness
A proseminar from senior faculty on social medicine
The January Intersession
The January intersession term allows students to engage with a practitioner on an existing effective health campaign, and closely study its design, implementation, challenges, successes, and implications. Led by Jay Winsten, the designer of the Designated Driver campaign, students will develop and present their own project idea, which will give them a chance to receive feedback from the intersession course director, program leadership, and their student colleagues.
The Spring Semester
The Spring Semester is Curation—students will delve more deeply into their specific capstone topic by: taking electives to strengthen their font of knowledge; doing extensive reading on their topic in the readings module; and working closely with their mentor on one or more of the storytelling modalities that is useful for their Capstone Project. Courses include:
Neal Baer’s course on visual storytelling
Jason Silverstein’s readings course
A course on global health and the arts
The capstone course is the student’s opportunity to craft a public health intervention that represents the culmination of what they have learned in the master’s program. Students will decide on both a storytelling medium (for example, film, creative nonfiction, podcasting, or graphic design) and message (for instance, the opioid epidemic, high rates of HIV infection in Southern cities, racial health disparities and asthma, access to insulin, or preparing for a future pandemic). Students will pitch their mentors on their choice of medium and message and support their choices with reference to the first semester’s lessons on health promotion and using narrative to ignite social change. At the end of the spring semester, students will produce both a written product (that contextualizes their capstone) and a media component (that will be presented or displayed at the end of the program).
Students will complete a total of 36 credits for the master of science degree. Of these 36 credits, students will take 32 credits from core courses, including 4 credits for the Capstone Project and 4 credits of electives.
The minimum time to degree for a full-time student is one academic year. A part-time alternative is possible with students expected to complete the degree within two years.
The maximum time to degree is three years. Enrollment beyond one year will require a formal petition and approval of the program leadership.
Students can find the HMS academic and financial policies in the Student Handbook.