Online Masters of Communications & Public Relations Programs in Pennsylvania
Online Masters in Communication Graduate Programs may be a great way for busy working professionals to balance advanced study with other components of their schedule. If you are drawn to emerging social media platforms, editing, marketing, communicating, and the production process, you may find that earning an Online Masters Degree in Communication is a great preparation for a variety of potential careers. Communications is actually a very broad and multi-faceted academic field, so there is ample choice whether you prefer storytelling and journalism, research and analysis, or communication and leadership. Enrolling in an Online Masters in Communication may help you develop clear and effective communication methods, a deeper understanding of today’s technology-driven marketing world, and potentially facilitate upward career mobility for those in entry-level roles.
We asked Senior Account Executive Sofia Kathryn Coon how earning a Masters in PR has supported her career goals:
“With a solid understanding of management styles, comm theories, and PR writing, I believe my masters degree in public relations helped show potential employers my passion and commitment to the field. As I have continued to advance, I've been able to recall a number of important theories and tactics discussed in my PR masters program to suggest or implement as a part of campaigns.”
~Sofia Kathryn Coon-Senior Account Executive at Scratch Marketing + MediaClick to Tweet
Prospective candidates for online Masters in Communication Program need a Bachelor’s degree. Many programs also want to see a writing portfolio, your resume, and may ask you to take some writing exams or define your goals. Depending on the type of online masters degree in communication, you may need to take part in an internship, and develop a capstone project or thesis.
For the student who is already working in advertising, marketing, promotions, sales or public relations in an entry-level position, earning an Online Masters in Communication Graduate degree may be a more convenient learning format than commuting to class. Online programs tend to be either asynchronous, where students log into their courses when they are able, or synchronous, where you need to be online at a specific time. In either case, the virtual classroom and virtual libraries give you the flexibility to study wherever you have your computer and reliable Internet access. Many graduate schools actually have both a campus and online format of their programs so you are not sacrificing quality. While you do need to be able to work well independently, there is usually tech support, as well as online interaction with classmates and professors via digital technology such as web cams, emails, online group discussion boards and possibly even the good old-fashioned telephone!
Sound right for you? Review Online Masters in Communication Programs on GradSchools.com. It’s so easy. Scroll through listings such as Online Master of Arts in New Media Journalism, Online Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication Public Relations, Online Master of Science in Communication, Online Master of Communication Management. It is always wise to request information from the school so you can see whether the curriculum matches your career goals. It is not uncommon that the undergraduate years involve a more general understanding, while a graduate degree invites delving deeper into an area that really interests you.
If you just scrolled through the directory you are able to see how that there are a variety of specializations within the vast field of Communication. From editing and writing, to storytelling and journalism, emerging media, marketing, public relations, and strategic communications, students are often able to learn some specialized and career specific skills that might be used in industry, business, nonprofit and fundraising or sales and marketing. The two main types of Online Masters of Communications programs are the Master of Arts in Communication, and Master of Science in Communication. Students might also explore a Masters in Public Relations Degree, Master in Strategic Communication or Journalism Masters Programs.
FUN FACT: Because many writers today prepare material directly for the Internet, knowing graphic design, page layout, and multimedia software can be advantageous.[i]
Online Master of Arts (MA) in Communication programs often blend traditional theory and research. These graduate programs are often designed for students who aspire to pursue communication-related careers, including advertising, journalism, marketing, public relations and social media. Some of the coursework students in an online MA in Communication may expect to learn might include:
Online Master of Science (MS) in Communication programs often blend theory and analysis with practical, real-world applications. These graduate programs are often designed for students who aspire to blend their skills in communication with strategic project management, leadership, and marketing. Some of the coursework students an online MS in Communication may expect to learn might include:
Some Online Masters in Communications Programs are more career-focused. A few general examples are:
Online Masters in Public Relations Programs teach students how to work as Public Relations Specialists who create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. Students would learn how to design and implement successful PR strategies. Public Relations Specialists are also referred to as communications specialists, press secretaries and media specialists.[ii]
Online Journalism Masters Programs prepare students to work as salaried writers, copywriters, authors and journalists. If you are interested in becoming an editor, earning a Masters Degree in Journalism may be a good idea. Aside from learning good grammar and other writing skills, students learn how to develop content for a variety of media including advertisements, books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, blogs, or other platforms[iii].
Online Masters in Strategic Communication programs blend the activities of the marketing and communications fields with strategic and purposeful planning of how and what messages to deliver to an audience. Often called ‘integrated marketing’, students learn how to use a variety of platforms, management and leadership skills and policy-making.
Whether you are interested in learning brand strategy, how to write for websites, or how to excel in public relations, communications is an umbrella field for many potentially exciting career paths. Take some time to inform yourself about the different programs offered, think about your desired career outcome, then use our directory to help you find an appropriately matched online Masters in Communication program!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
In the 21st century, an advanced degree is a prerequisite for the best jobs in the communications marketplace.