Communication programs explore general communication theories that explain how people listen and understand. Students may develop skills in critical thinking, analysis, business writing and public speaking. Therefore, the curriculum focuses on teaching students how to select and use different forms of communication to influence a group of people. At the end of the program, students must complete a capstone experience that utilizes the techniques and practical skills they've gained in order to graduate.
The prerequisites of a 2-year master's degree in communication are a bachelor's degree, a resume, a writing portfolio and a written goal statement. A communication writing exam is required in select programs. You may specialize in strategic organizational communication, leadership and management, strategic communication, information technologies communication or dispute resolution. Course requirements include internships, thesis development/defense or a professional project.
Master of Science in Communication
Most M.S. in Communication programs combine theoretical and practical work, allowing students to develop management, leadership and communication skills while acquiring foundational knowledge about communication principles. Students often study real-world applications by analyzing issues, developing solutions and creating messages. Throughout coursework, students may develop an understanding of historical, ethical, legal and social concepts. Students may study topics that include:
- Persuasion & Ethics
- Strategy & Leadership
- Global connection
- Business media
Master of Arts in Communication
An M.A. in Communication usually combines 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. Coursework may teach students how to address conflict, analyze and evaluate situations and write for a variety of audiences. Programs may also provide students with the opportunity to connect to real-world issues. Students generally study topics such as:
- Argument & rhetoric
- Human conflict
- Social influence
- Writing speeches & speaking professionally
- Intercultural communication
- Mass media & interviewing
Popular Career Options
A Master of Science in Communication can lead to careers in marketing, public relations and creative services for a variety of industries. Positions that an individual can pursue include:
- Speech writer
- Intercultural communications specialist
Students who obtain an M.A. in Communication tend to further their careers in education and business. This degree may lead to positions as:
- Marketing managers
- Public relations managers
- Public speaking educators
- Sales managers
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Marketing managers could see employment opportunities grow 9% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). In comparison, employment could increase by 7% for public relations managers and 5% for sales managers during that same period.
In May 2015, the BLS reported a median salary of $128,750 for marketing managers. Public relations managers saw $104,140 as their median income, while $113,860 was the median wage for sales managers.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals may choose to continue their education by pursuing a doctorate degree in communication. These degrees lead to advanced careers in theory and research.
A master's degree in communication focuses on honing students' skills in influencing people through effective communication. Depending on the specialization, graduates could choose from a variety of jobs available including becoming a communications specialist, marketing manager or PR manager.