Last Updated on July 30, 2023
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Excellent communication skills apply to a host of career paths. Graduate school provides an advanced study of communications and allows you to seek out job opportunities as a manager, director, or supervisor in marketing, public relations, and other fields.
Consider 10 of the best online master’s in communications programs below. After the program rankings, keep reading to uncover further details about this degree, including curriculum content, admission requirements, and potential career paths.
Degree In Mass Communication Online
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|Johns Hopkins UniversityBALTIMORE, MD
|Northwestern UniversityEVANSTON, IL
|University of Southern CaliforniaLOS ANGELES, CA
|University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignCHAMPAIGN, IL
|Webster UniversitySAINT LOUIS, MO
|Purdue University-Main CampusWEST LAFAYETTE, IN
|University of Louisiana at MonroeMONROE, LA
|Sam Houston State UniversityHUNTSVILLE, TX
|Marist CollegePOUGHKEEPSIE, NY
|Mississippi CollegeCLINTON, MS
As every business and industry competes for visibility and consumer loyalty, skilled communications professionals are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of public relations and marketing managers will grow by 8% between 2018-2028. Market research analyst jobs are anticipated to grow by a staggering 20%.
Although a bachelor’s degree satisfies minimum requirements for entry-level positions in these fields, earning a master’s can increase your competitiveness in both hiring and promotion decisions.
Online Master’s in Communications Program Overview
Bachelor’s degrees aim to provide students with comprehensive foundational knowledge and skills in their chosen major. Master’s degrees offer a narrower approach to academics, zeroing in on a specific area within a larger discipline — strategic communications, corporate communications, or marketing communications, for example.
The core curriculum content you encounter during your online master’s in communication will vary according to its focus. Students in one program may take an organizational communication course, while others work through a brand management class. Available concentrations, discussed below, provide further opportunity for customization of your degree.
Regardless of focus or concentration, every master’s in communication works toward similar overarching goals. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with the knowledge and abilities required to meet communication challenges, craft and deliver effective messages, and adapt consistently in a changing digital landscape.
Online Master’s in Communications Admission Requirements
Prior to beginning any master’s program, applicants must graduate with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. For an online master’s in communication, students do not typically need a related undergraduate major, although schools may prefer transcripts that show completion of relevant coursework. A few select schools offer dual BA/MA programs.
A majority of master’s degrees either prefer or require applicants to demonstrate a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA on undergraduate coursework. Depending on the school, a minimum requirement may apply to the applicant’s cumulative GPA or only to the grade achieved in the last 60 semester credits (two years) of their bachelor’s.
To better evaluate the abilities of applicants, some schools request or require the submission of standardized test scores. Minimum scores may not be explicitly mentioned in admission guidelines. Depending on the school, you may qualify for an exemption from this requirement based on your undergraduate GPA.
What Students Learn with a Strategic Communications Degree
Businesses need to communicate effectively with people at different levels. Not only do they need to focus on outward communication through marketing channels, but they also need to hone their internal communication between employees, departments, etc. Running any complex project or organization requires an enormous amount of cooperation, and strategic business communications can be applied to improve and refine those kinds of processes.
Students learn to apply research to practice for guiding communication campaigns and messaging, and developing a multiplatform messaging plan. That includes practical skills like data analysis, visualization, and multimedia design. It’s also necessary to learn to adapt communication needs to effectively speak to a diverse audience, to apply persuasive techniques, and to develop a unique brand voice that can be used in broadcast, digital media, print, and others.
With the help of understanding theories of strategic communication, a strategic communications degree can prepare graduates to develop research-based communication messaging strategies, create content that helps meet well-defined objectives, and teach many of the other skills obtained with a less-specialized communications degree.
Some of the courses you might take with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications might include:
- ENG 101 Effective College English II
- COM 103 Public Speaking
- COM 300 Interpersonal Communication
- COM 394 Strategic Writing
- COM 402 Communication Technologies
- COM 442 Communication Campaigns
In taking these types of courses, students learn a variety of specialized communication skills, such as allowing them to better interpret market trends and new technologies. However, a strategic communications degree also allows students to develop highly valuable soft-skills; and that makes it a launching point to enter virtually any organization with a marketing or media department, whether corporate, government, or non-profit.
Strategic Business Communications & Career Paths
What students learn by studying strategic communications prepares them for leadership positions in marketing, advertising, public relations, and corporate communications. These offer the basics of leadership and management skills, which is part of the reason why the most common job titles for a strategic communications major include the word “manager.”
But outside of those fields, and even before you have built up the experience required for a managerial position, graduates of a strategic communication program learn an enormous range of highly employable, highly transferable skills.
That’s because students learn to refine their analytical abilities against complex problem solving. They improve communication skills and creative thinking. Studying strategic communications requires you to be practiced in a variety of research techniques, to improve your social and cultural awareness, and to make you a more effective, persuasive writer.
Some of the most employable soft skills include interpersonal communication, persuasive ability, strong written/verbal communication, leadership ability, and strategic thinking. And these are exactly the kinds of skills you develop while studying strategic communications.
Example Careers for Strategic Communications Degree
PayScale estimates that the average salary for someone with a BA in Strategic Communication is $50,663. Notably, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2019, the average median wage for all communication occupations was $59,230. That’s roughly 32% higher than the median annual for all occupations. But these figures greatly depend on industry and experience.
The most obvious career choices for a strategic communications degree all pertain to advertising, marketing, public relations, and corporate communications. However, with such a flexible skillset, people who learn about strategic communications can enter into a wide variety of fields. For instance:
PR Specialist – Apply your knowledge of strategic thinking and communication to influence public perceptions in a positive way. As of May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that Public Relation Specialists have a median salary of $61,150, with higher than average growth in the industry as the need for organizations to maintain their public image continues to grow.
Social Media Marketing Manager – Strategic communications can uniquely prepare graduates for communicating branded messages across digital media. PayScale estimates social media marketing managers have an annual median salary of $52,808, and these kinds of positions can often provide numerous opportunities for creativity and an excellent work-life balance.
Communications Officer – From press releases to social media posts, communications officers are responsible for communicating with a variety of platforms, technologies, and audiences. Learning about integrated strategic communication prepares students to excel in these kinds of positions. Indeed.com estimates an average salary of $43,194, with many opportunities for career growth.
Effective communication, strategic thinking and an ability to find strategic communication solutions can be valuable to virtually any industry. Other career paths might include:
- Research analyst
- Customer service rep
- Social media community manager
- Communication director
- PR / marketing specialist
- Advertising executive
- Online editor
- Event planner
Strategic Communications at National University
National University is a regionally accredited institution that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications. Our flexible 4-week programs offer students a way to quickly finish their degree while acquiring many of the most in-demand and highly employable skills. Graduates learn to develop campaign messaging strategies, create content that fills strategic objectives, apply research to inform your decision making process while building campaigns and messages, and create/develop multi-platform messages.
If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in the communications field, or want to consider leveling up in a different career path, get in touch with a member of our National University admissions team.
Master in Communication degrees are available under various qualification titles, including MA (Master of Arts) and MSc (Master of Science), as well as the less common MComm. This will already give you an idea of how programs vary – an MA in Communication is likely to be related to artsier side of fields such as media and journalism, while an MSc is typically more focused on the theoretical and research aspects of modern communication.
However, while courses will vary in emphasis, all general Master of Communication degrees are likely to cover key aspects of communication theory, research methodology and practice. Students should receive a comprehensive grounding in the subject, develop their own communication skills, and explore different contexts for communication – such as culture, multimedia and business.
Every course structure will vary, but you are likely to study such topics as communication theory and research methods, cognitive processes, creative expressions, statistics, and media and culture. Courses may last one or two years, depending on the country in which you study, and whether you choose to study full- or part-time.
Your final module in an MA is likely to be either a dissertation or a portfolio, allowing you to combine the skills and knowledge you’ve gained so far and possibly produce work which could help you impress potential employers when applying for careers in communications. In an MSc you may complete a research project or thesis.
While a bachelor’s degree in communication would be beneficial, this is not essential to gain entry to a Masters in Communication course. Lots of universities are happy to consider graduates from any degree discipline, while others might specify that they would prefer you to have previously studied a similar or relevant subject – such as media, journalism, information technology or film studies.
A course is an individual class focused on one topic that delves into the specifics of that subject matter. The class can range in duration from weeks to several months.
What is a course in journalism and mass communication? In this class, students study the specifics of how to write and communicate professionally. While journalism courses focus on local writing, such as in newspapers or magazines, mass communication courses teach how to impart information to a large group of people. Individuals can learn about marketing, seminars, and digital communication. Other courses may include political analysis and how to organize large events.
While taking journalism and mass communication courses, students can often learn self-confidence, organizational skills, and how to capture media attention. They can also learn how to convey ideas succinctly, the effects of language, and how to address an audience.
The cost of a course in journalism and mass communication depends on the chosen institution and the length of the course. To find out costs and requirements, the student typically contacts the university.
Students that take courses in journalism and mass communication can find employment in a large and varied number of fields. Journalism classes can lead to careers in advertising, news reporting, and virtual publishing. These courses can also provide a foundation to take additional classes and earn a degree that focuses on public relations, media branding, and crises events reporting. Mass communications classes can launch careers as entertainment writers, radio personalities, television script authors, and online channel journalists.
Online classes are offered by most universities and can be great for students with limited access to the school they wish to attend. Online classes also offer a very flexible schedule for individuals with busy lives. To find the right school, search for your program below and contact directly the admission office of the school of your choice by filling in the lead form.
CAM Communicating for Influence and Impact
University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)Cambridge, United KingdomDevelop your leadership abilities with communication skills that foster collaboration and influence positive change in any context. Strong communication skills can help you to achieve impact and accelerate change for the benefit of society. As systems become increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, finely tuned communication skills can help foster collaboration, improve problem-solving, and impact decision-making. Whether in social groups or business organisations, leaders across all segments of society and industry need to leverage communication to better meet objectives, influence stakeholders and drive positive change. The Communicating for Influence and Impact online short course from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) provides comprehensive insights and a range of tools to develop impactful communication. You’ll learn how to communicate in a purpose-driven way to overcome barriers to success. You’ll also get the opportunity to assess your personal leadership style and adopt communication techniques to help shape the future you want.
Short Course in Media and Communications
UCAMGuadalupe, Murcia, SpainThe Short Course in Media and Communications’ objectives are to explore the field of Communication from different perspectives in order to get a holistic view; to study Communication Basics from Storytelling to Visual Communication from a classical point of view to a contemporary digital perspective; to analyze Institutional Communication offering a cross-cultural context in order to understand nowadays Corporate Communication; to understand Personnel Communication by learning the basics of leadership and communication skills, together with Public Speaking abilities.