The Master of Arts in Mass Communications degree requires 39 credit hours, including at least 30 hours of class work, and successful completion of an integrated comprehensive examination as a prerequisite to the final academic project. The master's degree can be earned through one of three tracks of study: media studies, multimedia journalism or strategic communication management.
The media studies track uses a broad approach to study mass media, and classes are as diverse as mass communication theory, public opinion, research methods, sports and media, women and media and visual communication. This track provides students with the widest range of course selections. Students write a thesis as their final academic requirement. An outside cognate allows students to incorporate topics from an area of interest in another discipline to their media studies track. This is the ideal track for students who already have an undergraduate degree in an area of mass communications and wish to explore how media shape the world and, in turn, the way the world shapes the media.
The multimedia journalism track prepares students to take leadership positions in journalism through their knowledge of the field of mass communications, management in the media environment and the ability to combine storytelling skills in the areas of print, broadcast and electronic communication. This track makes use of the media rich environment of the Tampa Bay area, where media institutions are national leaders in multimedia journalism. Students have a choice to complete a thesis or an applied research project as their final academic requirement.
Strategic Communication Management
The strategic communication management track focuses on communication as a management function in an organization. This perspective integrates public relations, advertising and marketing communication into a single focus. To ensure that students have a basic understanding of the field, all students in this track are required to take an introductory course before moving on to the more advanced courses. Students have a choice to complete a thesis or an applied research project as their final academic requirement. Although theoretical in nature the focus is on theory application to real-world situations. Students have several opportunities to do case study research in real organizations and work with a real-life client in their campaigns course.
This program is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools and the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).