Political Communication Graduate Programs

Feb 14, 2018

A graduate program in political communications can be found in universities across the country, either as a standalone program or as an area of concentration in the general field of communications.

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Political communication involves studying how various media channels can influence the ways a political message is communicated. Graduate programs in this area can be found at schools throughout the nation.

Graduate Programs in Political Communication

Graduate programs in political communications can result in either a master's or doctoral degree. Depending on the type of degree you're seeking, you can anticipate spending anywhere from between 2 to 6 years in school. These are a few of the courses you can expect to find in your program.

Public Writing

As a member of any communications team, you will often need to craft written pieces for public consumption. Courses in writing ask students to develop their writing skills so they can write effectively in political campaigns, political journalism, or even in areas like news reporting. Students will get the opportunity to go in-depth with the tools used to research a written work and discover ways of effectively writing a persuasive political or news piece.

Introduction to Political Communication

Students will typically need to attend a core course in political communications. This core course provides students with the opportunity to learn about how communication can influence politics and public policy making. It's also expected that students will learn how various forms of media can impact the communication of a political message.

Communication Theory

At the core of political communication is its origin in the larger field of communication. As such, students will typically need to learn about communications theory, including how communication occurs between individuals and is transmitted from organizations. The course is also designed to introduce students to research methods that are applicable to the communications field.

Research Methods

Graduate students of all backgrounds are expected to be well versed in research methods. Students of political communication are no different, and they are expected to learn both quantitative and qualitative research approaches. These approaches are then applied in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public relations programs.


Courses in ethics are an important part of a graduate program in political communications. Political messages, how they are created, and who can send them are all governed by laws and expectations. This course teaches students about issues that arise in communication, such as considering the ethics of privacy, obscenity, and freedom of the press.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions into a political communications graduate program will typically require that you meet certain requirements. Students will always have to send their transcripts with their application and typically need to have maintained a GPA of between a 3.0 and 4.0 during their bachelor's program. In some cases, a university may ask that you submit your resume as well. For graduate schools, it's commonly required that you send in your GRE scores as part of the process. Schools don't typically list a minimum GRE score for you to achieve but may list the average GRE scores of their applicants.

Coursework in political communications is broad and can cover topics ranging from ethics to effective communication crafting. Admission requirements can also vary, so check with the school you're interested in to learn about its admissions and graduation requirements.

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