Organizational Communication Degree Program Information

Oct 25, 2019

Organizational communication is an area of study that concentrates on written, oral, interpersonal and electronic communications in the workplace. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees are all offered in the organizational communications field.

Essential Information

The field of organizational communications is a broad area of study. Aspiring students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in organization communication. These programs focus on organizational behavior as it applies to workplace communications. Concentrations are available in areas like public relations, speech communications, marketing, news media and organizational leadership. Master's programs focus more on the concentration areas and offer a thesis or non-thesis track. A doctoral degree program is more research-based and highly competitive. Curricula at each level will highlight such topics as communication theory, social dynamics, dispute resolution and electronic communications.

Bachelor's Degrees in Organizational Communication

A high school diploma is a prerequisite for bachelor's degree programs in Organizational Communication. Curriculum in either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Organizational Communication program promotes the development of interpersonal communication and business management skills to work with groups in a business environment. Organizational communication courses teach business ethics, writing and communications skills. Topics discussed in the B.A. and B.S. programs are:

  • Communication processes
  • Social dynamics
  • Strategic planning
  • Advertising
  • Negotiation

Master of Arts in Organizational Communication

Prior to applying to a master's degree program, individuals need to complete a bachelor's degree, prepare a statement of goals, gather strong letters of recommendation from supervisors and teachers, and take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A Master of Arts in Organizational Communication is generally a two-year program that teaches communication technologies, methods of organizational decision making and problem solving techniques. Thesis and non-thesis programs conclude in either a capstone project or comprehensive examinations. Graduate courses prepare effective communicators and organization managers. Coursework might include a discussion of:

  • Multimedia presentations
  • Electronic communications
  • Information technology
  • Information management
  • Communication theories

Doctoral (Ph.D.) Degrees Related to Organizational Communication

Doctoral degree programs in communication offer a concentration in organizational communication. Admission to these competitive programs requires the completion of a bachelor's degree, a statement of purpose essay, resume, scholarly writing sample, letters of recommendation, and satisfactory scores on the GRE. This research-oriented program is comprised of traditional coursework, doctoral seminars, teaching assistantships and research studies. Areas of study include global communications, organizational collaboration and politics. The program culminates in a doctoral dissertation. As a Ph.D. candidate, courses on communication theories, group and team behavior, and politics, among others, are offered. Graduate courses include topics such as:

  • Knowledge networks
  • Strategic information
  • Organizational intranets
  • Dispute resolution
  • Organizational ecology

Popular Career Options

After graduating with a bachelor's or master's degree, job opportunities with for-profit and non-profit organizations, advertising agencies and other types of companies and agencies are available. Popular job titles pursued by graduates are:

  • Human resources manager
  • Public relations associate
  • Recruiter

Doctoral degree holders can find careers in education, advanced research or publishing. Career paths can include:

  • Professor
  • Non-profit organization director
  • Director of communications

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of $60,000 and were employed in about 270,000 positions in the U.S. That same year, the BLS also reported that jobs for human resources specialists were expected to grow 5% between 2018 and 2028, which is about average. Comparatively, human resources managers held 152,100 positions and earned a median annual salary of $113,300 in 2018.

Certification Information

Five years of professional experience in public relations allows individuals to take the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). Passing the exam results in the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation and accreditation is good for life.

Pursuing the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation, offered by examination through the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), is also an option. To apply for accreditation, five years of professional experience and a professional portfolio are required.

Graduates pursuing careers in human resources with two years of work experience can sit for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources certification exam offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This certification cycle is three years in duration and certificate holders are required to complete 60 continuing education credits to recertify.

Degree programs in organizational communication are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels for those interested in studying strategic planning and information technology, as a means of securing employment as a HR manager or PR specialist. At the doctoral level, communications programs have an emphasis in organizational communication, but this degree program is more research-based, competitive and requires the completion of a dissertation. Continuing education through certifications is available to individuals at all degree levels, provided they have the necessary professional experience.

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