Marketing communications professionals oversee all communications between a business and the public, including advertising campaigns, press releases and special events. Marketing communications is largely a career option for professionals with degrees in corporate or organizational communications. At the master's level, students are typically required to complete a thesis, and applicants must typically have previous work experience in marketing or communication.
Bachelor's and master's degrees are available. Entrance into a master's degree program may require prior work experience in marketing or communications and a bachelor's degree in a related field. Some programs may require a thesis. Students may find online degrees in corporate communications.
Bachelor's Degrees in Corporate Communications
Some institutions offer corporate communications as an individual major, but others offer it as a concentration within general communications bachelor's degree programs. Corporate communications bachelor's degree programs teach students how to effectively communicate strategic marketing information to clients, employees or the public. Both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees are available; corporate communications bachelor's degrees can often be earned online. Some students may pursue bachelor's degrees in organizational communication, which provide a similar skill set and offer many of the same courses as corporate communications programs.
Corporate communications curricula tend to focus more on interaction with the public. Relevant topics covered in both types of degree programs may include:
- Public and media relations
- Communication theory
- Marketing management
- Strategic consumer marketing
- Crisis management
- Writing for the web
Master's Degrees in Corporate Communications
Master's degree programs in corporate and organizational communications focus on the study of communications theory, research and statistics. These areas are emphasized in order to teach students to plan and execute communications that will improve the success of corporations. Exact degree offerings vary from one institution to the next, but both M.A. and M.S. degree programs are available. Students may also pursue MBA's or master's degrees in communications with concentrations in corporate communication. Many master's degree programs require students to write a thesis in a related topic. Work experience in marketing or communications is often required.
Sample coursework can include the following topics:
- Corporate media relations and analysis
- Investor relations
- Communications research
- Organizational image and identity
- Strategic crisis communications
- New marketing technologies
Employment Prospects and Salary Information
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in corporate communications or organizational communication may pursue entry-level positions in marketing communications or many related areas. Many schools offering corporate communications degree programs inform prospective students that earning a degree in this area can lead to employment in public relations, media relations or event planning. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), public relations specialists earned a median salary of $56,770 per year as of May 2015.
Corporate or organizational communications master's degree programs can lead to similar careers as the ones described above in the bachelor's degree employment section; however, master's degree holders often attain supervisory or managerial positions rather than entry-level ones. According to the BLS, the highest-paid 10% of public relations specialists earned $110,080 or more in May 2015.
Corporate communications bachelor's degree-holders interested in obtaining a further education in the discipline can pursue master's degree programs in corporate communications at some institutions. However, a more common path is a graduate degree in a related field such as business, communications or marketing; many such degree programs offer concentrations in corporate communications. Organizational communication master's degrees are also available at many institutions. Students who enter the working world after graduation can take relevant continuing education courses through professional associations like the Public Relations Society of America (www.prsa.org).
Individuals with master's degrees in corporate or organizational communications who would like to pursue further study can earn Ph.D. degrees in marketing, business or communications. Corporate communications executives may advance their base of knowledge in the discipline via membership in professional associations like the International Association of Business Communicators (www.iabc.com), which offers conferences and workshops on issues relevant to business, marketing and communications.
Marketing communications degree programs can prepare students for successful careers in a wide variety of positions in business communications, such as public and media relations, marketing management, and corporate media relations. Advanced degrees in marketing communications can open the door to leadership positions in the corporate world.