Communication Graduate Schools in the U.S.

Communication is the study of how people relate, share information and learn from one another through various situations and the media. Graduate-level programs in communication may result in a master's degree or doctorate.

How to Select a Communication Graduate School

Graduate programs in communication can be found at 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Degree level
  • Specialization options

Degree Level

Those seeking to enroll in communication graduate schools often consider degree levels and specializations when choosing a program. Prospective students can decide whether they'd like to achieve a master's degree or a doctorate. The former often involves putting together a thesis and lasts approximately two years. The latter requires the completion and defense of a dissertation, and the deadline varies by school but is typically anywhere from 4-9 years. Some schools offer dual degree programs with an M.A. or M.S. in Communication and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Juris Doctor (J.D.).

Specialization Options

There are also several potential areas of specialization within communication, including journalism, public relations, international communication and political communication. Someone interested in pursuing journalism may wish to attend a school with a lauded newspaper, while a broadcast communication student might seek a campus with advanced technological facilities. Internship opportunities and business partnerships between the school and the local community may also help sway a person's enrollment decision.

Communication Graduate Degree Program Overviews

Master's Degree in Communication

The Master of Arts in Communication program requires 16-24 months of study. Students can choose an area of emphasis in areas such as corporate or non-profit communication, public relations, broadcast media, health communication or journalism. Many Master of Science programs feature similar course loads but emphasize analytics and research methodologies. Dual degree programs may incorporate an examination of law, public affairs or public relations. Master's-level courses might include:

  • Persuasion
  • Research methods
  • Strategic writing

Programs often include a practicum or internship. Some programs also include a capstone or research project, and students interested in continuing their studies at the doctoral level may have the option to complete a thesis.

Doctoral Degree in Communication

Doctoral students can specialize in designing information systems, or they can pursue expertise in cultural studies, new media, media literacy, globalization and other subsets of the communication field. Dual or joint degree programs are available at some graduate schools; students learn communication while focusing on a complementary field like law, business or journalism. This program commonly results in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) but may result in a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.). Ph.D. programs require that students complete and defend a dissertation, while D.Sc. programs (which focus more on information systems technology) require a field project. Students in the more commonly available Ph.D. program take classes such as:

  • Research problems in communication
  • Communication theory
  • Political communication

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