Masters in Communication & Public Relations Programs
Masters in Communication Programs typically encompass journalism, writing, editing, publishing, and public relations topics. Unlike targeted programs such as Advertising, Communication Studies is multi-faceted. This may lead to a broad range of career directions as well as enhanced knowledge of several fields and disciplines. Graduates with a Master’s degree in communication develop command of general communications strategies and skills—written, oral, and computer-mediated.
What Are Potential Benefits of a Masters in Communication Program?
We asked Founder of Premier Public Relations Erica Yakobzon how she applies her Masters in Communication in her field:
"I'd have to say that I applied all the theories and principles I've learned within Communications, as well as management skills, group work, and writing skills, in the "real world." The Masters in Communication program exposed me to different newsletters, organizations, and other resources that were available to help me succeed. The lessons and assignments were based on real and relevant events. Having professors who actually worked in the field made the lectures more interesting and engaging, and helped us narrow down some areas we were interested in post graduation."
~Erica Yakobzon, Founder of Premier Public RelationsClick to Tweet
Many Communication Masters Programs focus on theoretical and practical learning, including real-world topics such as business, leadership, research, and analysis of social issues. With the growth of social media marketing, and the evolution of digital platforms, earning a graduate degree may set you up for success when you enter the competitive workforce, offer a boost to your existing talents, or support doctoral-level studies.
Masters in Communication Graduate Programs: Overview
The two main types of Masters in Communication programs are the
Master of Arts and Master of Science in Communication. In general, Communication Masters Programs explore general communication theories that address how people listen and understand information. Students may cultivate skills in critical thinking, analysis, business writing, and public speaking. General Masters in Communication programs often have a curriculum that focuses on teaching students how to select and use different forms of communication in order to influence a group of people.
FUN FACT: With Internet-based advertising becoming more important, advertising managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best prospects[i].
In terms of prerequisites, Master of Communication programs typically require applicants to have a Bachelor’s degree, a resume, a writing portfolio, a written statement of their goals and in some cases, communication writing exam. The average length of Communication Masters Programs is two years. Students are often expected to participate in internships, thesis development and defense or a professional project. At the end of the program, students must complete a capstone experience that incorporates the techniques and practical skills they've gained in order to graduate.
On-Campus or Online Masters in Communication Graduate Program?
Deciding on a Masters degree in communication, students may expect to face a number of choices before narrowing it down to a specific one. Surely, it helps if you know whether you want to specialize in strategic organizational communication, leadership and management, strategic communication, information technologies communication, dispute resolution, or earn a masters in Public Relations or journalism.
Perhaps just as important though, is what learning format fits into your lifestyle. Just as some people enjoy cream in their coffee and others don’t, you may find that either you gravitate to searching for graduate schools with awesome campus-based Masters in Communication programs or you feel that an online Communication Masters program suits your lifestyle better. The great thing about using the GradSchools.com site is that you have different search options.
To find graduate schools, a great way to review some options is to filter a search by location – a city, state or country. Then, all you do is scroll through the directory, with the opportunity to request information or visit the school’s website. If you prefer a distance-learning program for the convenience, or you live too far geographically from a university, search through the ‘online’ programs.
What Types of Masters in Communications Programs are there?
In general, a Masters in communications program helps students establish an understanding of modern-day communication and publishing practices and learn how to apply them in the professional world. Depending on the program, students are likely to undertake coursework and projects designed to cultivate and develop advanced skills in editing, designing, marketing, communicating, public relations, and the production process.
If you scroll through the GradSchools.com directory, you will see numerous and diverse listings such as Master of Arts in New Media Journalism, Master of Arts Strategic Communication, Master of Science in Communication: Public Relations, Master of Arts in Communication Studies, Master of Communication Management or Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications (MSIMC). You will want to choose a graduate program that aligns with your goals. Here are a few of the major types of Masters degrees in Communications for you to compare.
Master of Science in Communication
Master of Science in Communication programs integrate theoretical and practical coursework. This allows students to develop management, leadership and communication skills while acquiring foundational knowledge about communication principles. Students may study topics that include:
- Persuasion & Ethics
- Strategy & Leadership
- Global connection
- Business media
Master of Arts in Communication
Master of Arts in Communication programs typically combine areas of communication, business and instruction. Most programs are designed to guide students in leadership practices, business technologies and project management while developing skills in research, writing and editing. Students may study topics that include:
- Argument & rhetoric
- Human conflict
- Social influence
- Writing speeches & speaking professionally
- Intercultural communication
- Mass media & interviewing
What is Strategic Communications?
Strategic Communication is thought of as developing subfield within the broader field of communication. The term also commonly includes the activities and disciplines of public relations, management communication, and advertising. Strategic Communication also refers to policy-making and guidance for consistent information transmission within an organization and between organizations. Masters in Strategic Communications programs teach students how to merge communication of a message with a master plan for delivery of the message, including utilizing the right channels, as well as an organization’s goals. Equivalent business management terms are: integrated (marketing) communication, organizational communication, corporate communication, or institutional communication[ii]
Masters in Public Relations
Masters in Public Relations programs focus on contemporary public relations, the nature of human communication, and the role of media. These programs often help students to master the ability to write clearly and concisely in contemporary media formats, and to be able to address different audiences. Public relations masters programs also help students to develop professional management skills, or specialize in nonprofit, corporate, or international public relations.
FUN FACT: As online social media increases the speed at which news travels, public relations managers will be needed to address good and bad news for their organization or client.[iii]
Masters in Journalism
Earning a Masters degree in Journalism may be an exciting academic fit for the student who is interested in storytelling across a variety of communication channels. Typically, students develop excellent written and verbal communication skills, research skills, and need to be able to handle the pressures of meeting deadlines, and staying in-touch with current technological developments in communications & media.
Potential Careers For Masters in Communication Graduates
General communication strategies and proficiencies are applicable to many professional roles in a range of settings. Earning a Masters in Communication may prepare you for any career that requires excellent communication and writing skills, including management positions in organizations such as nonprofit groups, government agencies, public relations and media companies, as well as other commercial, educational or industrial settings. Some of the potential career paths might include:
- Public Relations Managers
- Public Relations Specialist
- Fundraising Managers
- Advertising, Promotions, Marketing Managers
- Reporters, Correspondents, News Analyst
- Sales Manager
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is projected to grow 9 % from 2014 to 2024; the median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers was $96,720 in May 2014.[iv]
Ready to Pursue a Masters Degree in Communication & Public Relations
Professionals in the broad and diverse field of communications often enjoy dynamic work environments that demand a unique combination of creativity, logic, strategy, project management and initiative. As competition for jobs rise, earning a graduate degree may set you apart and in better standing for success; why not review listings to find the masters program in communication and public relations that aligns with your career goals and specific interests!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm | [ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_communication | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm | bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-correspondents-and-broadcast-news-analysts.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
- Quebec, QCQuebec, QC
- Leeds, United KingdomLeeds, United Kingdom
University of Leeds
- Moncton, NBMoncton, NB
Université de Moncton
We are the largest Francophone (french) University outside of the province of Qu#eacute;bec in Canada.
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
Pace University graduate programs combine theory learned in the classroom with the opportunities for practical professional education. The members of our faculty blend strong academic credentials with real-world experience in their fields. This pragmati...
- Montreal, QCMontreal, QC
- University Park, PAUniversity Park, PA
Pennsylvania State University
The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. The academic programs are developed by the individual students in consultation with their graduate faculty committees. Although academic work in most areas of...
- Flushing, NYFlushing, NY
Queens College - City University Of New York
- Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
Loyola Marymount University
- Pittsburg, KSPittsburg, KS
Pittsburg State University
Students who earn a MA in communication will gain skills in problem-solving, analysis, research methods and scholarly writing.
The Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership starts with the premise that communication is the essence of effective...
Royal Roads University
At Royal Roads University you can pursue a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, or a full Masters of Arts degree focused on developing competencies of people responsible for designing and presenting environmental information to various audiences.
- Victoria, BC
- Shipai, ChinaShipai, China
- Oxford, United KingdomOxford, United Kingdom
Oxford International Study Centre
- Kalmar, SwedenKalmar, Sweden
- Milwaukee, WIMilwaukee, WI
Communication offers a variety of opportunities for students to advance toward personal and professional excellence as they prepare to meet the challenges and demands of the twenty-first century and work to enrich society as well.
- Milwaukee, WI
- Ames, IAAmes, IA
Iowa State University
Nationally recognized for its research, the Greenlee School offers work for the master of science degree with a major in journalism and mass communica...
- Manchester, United KingdomManchester, United Kingdom
Manchester Metropolitan University
- Russellville, ARRussellville, AR
Arkansas Tech University
This program is designed to prepare students for careers in media that are being transformed by developing new technologies.
- High Point, NCHigh Point, NC
High Point University
Strategic communication encompasses the practices of public relations and health communication.
- Lulea, SwedenLulea, Sweden
Lulea University of Technology