The publishing and communications industry is rapidly changing, and in both fields many graduate programs are adjusting to meet the demands of an increasingly international and digital field. Many programs are shifting the focus of their curricula to one that provides coursework that focuses on developing the students understanding of the most current information and technologies that they might they need to navigate and contribute to industries in transition.
In communications and publishing graduate programs, students are provided with an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the publishing process and how entities use various genres of texts to communicate. To facilitate their learning, students in most programs complete core and elective work and submit a capstone project at the end of their programs. Many students also complete internships as a required component of their programs, and some write theses or dissertations in lieu of a capstone project. Students could complete most graduate programs one to two years of part- or full-time study. Depending on students’ prior studies and experience, some programs might wave foundational course requirements.
The ultimate goal of most communications and publishing graduate programs is to prepare professionals for a field that requires innovative, critical, and leading-edge thinking, and to help students develop the technical, creative, and social skills necessary to contribute to and enhance their careers. They do this by delivering curricula that helps students:
- Establish an understanding of modern-day communication and publishing practices, techniques, and technologies and apply them in practice.
- Gain advanced skills in editing, designing, marketing, communicating, and the production process.
- Acquire advanced skills in communicating, thinking critically, and applying new technologies.
- Comprehend the ever-changing needs of a digital society and meeting them innovatively and successfully.
- Develop the skills to successfully communicate in contexts formed by various audiences.
- Test and apply their knowledge and skills through final projects and internships.
To help prepare students for the communications and publishing industry, most graduate programs include courses in the following subjects:
- Contemporary publishing
- Structural and technical editing
- Editorial English
- Print production and design
- Digital production and design
- Writing and editing for digital medias
- Print markets (structures and strategies)
- Technical, academic, and/or creative writing (depending on the program)
- Changes in journalism
- General editing
- Public relations and communications
- Publishing and communications
- Media writing
- Rhetoric (sometimes tied to media writing)
- Book publishing
Some more-specialized programs might also include courses in subjects such as:
- Editing for academia
- Peer-review and publishing
- Editing in disciplines
- Blogging and social media
- Public and self-publishing on the web
These are just some of the many subjects communications and publishing graduate students study. Ultimately, students are likely to participate in coursework that is aimed at helping them develop a breadth of skills and depth of knowledge necessary to successfully navigate the field.