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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Mass Communications

Majors Overview June 28, 2015

Students in master’s degree programs in mass communications learn about the cultural factors of communication, research techniques, theories, managerial responsibilities, innovations in media, and production methods. They will become familiar with various media forms, but students are allowed to choose one type as a specialization. Graduates may seek doctoral programs to continue their education or look into various jobs within the media or communication fields.

Information on Mass Communications Programs

Schools offer master’s degree programs in mass communications in a variety of forms. Admission criteria require students to hold a bachelor’s degree in communications or a related major. Most programs offer on-campus programs; however, programs are offered wholly or partly through online formats in some schools.

Students usually need about two years of full-time study to complete a master’s degree program in mass communications. A Master of Arts (M.A.) and a Master of Science (M.S.) are otherwise similar programs that have slight differences in the coursework required to be completed by students. In both program types, core coursework covers topic areas such as ethics in the media, the principles of mass communications, and media law.

Schools usually allow several elective course options such as health communications, management in the media industry, and technology for the communications field. Courses in quantitative and qualitative research are in many programs, in addition to research and thesis requirements or execution of a professional project.

Master’s Programs in Mass Communication

Mass communication program graduates may gain a Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.) degree. Coursework is very similar, but more liberal arts education components are in most MA programs while more research and theoretical courses are in MS programs. The program can be completed through passage of comprehensive exams, writing and defending a thesis and/or completion of another major project. Some programs are also available in evening or online classes at some schools.

Numerous forms of media are studied and utilized by students; these include blogs, print journalism, photojournalism, social networks, broadcasting and advertising. They are often allowed to opt for a specialization in one of these types of media. Coursework is devised to teach investigative techniques, including interviewing, surveying and directing focus groups. Over the whole span of the program, practical skills are acquired by students in writing, researching, speaking, critical thinking, presenting and ethical decision-making.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or a similar field. Some relevant work experience may also be a requirement at many schools.

Coursework

Students enrolled in master’s degree programs are often allowed to tailor most of the coursework in accordance with their concentration. Hours in recording studios or laboratories are typically included to facilitate practical training. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Telecommunication Media
•News media
•Public affairs and opinions
•Media ethics and laws
•Research methodologies
•Mass communication theory
•Organizational communication
•Communication and conflict
•International and intercultural communication

Career Choices

Program graduates can choose from popular job titles such as:

•Market research analyst
•Public relations manager
•Broadcast news analyst
•Reporter
•Advertising manager

Continuing Education Choices

A doctoral program in mass communication is a continuing education choice for program graduates. A comprehensive education is typically available in Ph.D. programs, but a topic within mass communication in which they’d wish to become an expert in is required to be chosen by students. Completion of this degree can lead to a career in academia or research.

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In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
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*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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