Online Communication Studies Graduate Programs in California
At the graduate level, Communications Studies Online Programs are available as certificates, masters, and doctoral degrees. Students who pursue an online communications degree might develop their ability to communicate effectively and professionally while they maintain a busy lifestyle. In today’s digital, social, and mobile world, a communications graduate degree may provide graduates with an edge in fields such as public relations, advertising, new media, and corporate communications.i
Students in communications online programs may explore multiple theories and practices due to the interdisciplinary quality of their major. Some programs focus on rhetoric, crisis management, and persuasion. Others may draw elements from leadership and organizational communication to address corporate decisions that involve strategy and management. There are also programs that focus on the study of family systems and healthcare or explore interactive media, brand messages, and other dynamics.
When surveyed, 21% of Communications Specialists reported they had earned a masters degree.ii
While students in traditional programs attend class on site, students who pursue their graduate degree in communications studies online often benefit from a self-paced, completely virtual classroom. While course names vary, some of the core topics might draw from this generalized sample.
Students who pursue their communications degree online may not be required to log on at set times. In fact, they might log on multiple times a week at their convenience. When students do log on, they might watch, read, or listen to a lecture. And, they could engage in discussions with classmates and the instructor through email, chat, or video conferences. Students usually submit papers, assignments, projects, presentations, and exams through the course management system as well.
Online communications students might take the knowledge they gain in the classroom and immediately apply it to the challenges faced in their professional careers. For instance, to align a marketing strategy to reflect current best practices to reach key audiences. Or, solve problems and conflicts with new found capability based on research and tested theory.
Some universities with online communications programs might offer rolling acceptance. Also, they might have short sessions (e.g. 8 weeks) with multiple start dates. So this means that students can start when they want and finish when they can. Plus, they may build a professional portfolio along the way.
Whether you hope to climb the corporate ladder, switch careers, or cultivate your expertise, a communications studies online program may prepare you to pursue various opportunities. These might range from market research, public relations, and brand management, to business development, among others.ii
Some online communications studies graduate programs provide a way for students to tailor their degree to an interest through an area of emphasis.
We asked Maleeka T. Hollaway about how earning an Online Master's in Communication Studies degree helps you:
"My advice to anyone studying in a Communications field is to know how you want to use your degree and be open to the endless possibilities your degree can bring you."
~ Maleeka Hollaway, Communications Professional Click to Tweet
To apply into an Online Masters in Communications program, students are usually required to have earned a bachelors degree from an accredited school. They may also have to show strong written skills, a minimum GPA, and a history of relevant experience or coursework. While course content varies, most programs attempt to fulfill several goals, which might draw from the ones below.
Students who want to potentially boost a current career, but who do not want the commitment of a full degree might do so with a certificate. An online graduate certificate in communication studies might explore one topic in around 15 credits (a variable). For example, an online certificate in IMC might expand on brand equity, market research, audience insight, emerging media, and strategy. Then, later, the credits earned might be transferable to the school’s masters degree in the same field. Meanwhile, with minimal disruption to a busy work life, new credentials can be added to a current resume.
Online PhD in Communication programs offer the highest degree in the field and are research-focused. Applicants generally need either an accredited bachelors or masters degree. Most programs may accept applicants from a variety of backgrounds, from humanities to the natural sciences, however this depends on each school. Usually, multi-faceted programs, students often take advanced level courses that are tailored to their thematic area of emphasis. Also, they are likely to develop their ability to write and research. These skills are used in the dissertation which is an example of their original thought. Students may work closely with a faculty mentor through video conference.
Most universities with communications studies online programs are regionally accredited. Also, some individual programs may be approved by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC).
Easily compare online communications degrees. Choose your degree level – Masters, Certificate, or PhD, then scroll through programs. From there, use the on-page form to contact the online communications schools on your list. The next start date might be just around the corner, so don’t delay!
[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1161.00
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