Master’s in Media Communications Program Guide

A media communications degree leads to opportunities in public relations, marketing, and communications. Learn more about master's programs in media communications.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published on October 28, 2020 · Updated on March 8, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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Master’s in Media Communications Program Guide

A master's degree in media communications provides graduate-level training in strategic communications, digital media, and public relations. Master's students strengthen their public speaking, writing, research, and analytical skills during a media communications program.

This degree leads to career opportunities in a variety of fields. With a master's in media communications, graduates pursue careers in public relations, communications, marketing, and the media sector.

High-paying career paths include public relations manager and marketing manager. Both of these professions report median annual salaries exceeding $110,000. The earning potential with a media communications degree varies among industries.

Our guide walks through topics covered in a media communications program, career prospects and earning potential for graduates, and how to choose the right program.

Should I Get a Master's in Media Communications?

A communications degree leads to opportunities in public relations, marketing, content creation, and journalism. With a master's degree, professionals can enter these fields or advance their careers. Many employers prefer candidates with master's degrees for supervisory roles like public relations manager or director of communications.

A master's degree also helps professionals specialize their skills. During a master's program, learners can concentrate in internal business communications, technical communications, or public health communications.

A media communications focus serves those working in nonprofit and public sector roles that interact with the media. Speechwriters, policy communications managers, and digital communications coordinators all benefit from the training of a master's degree.

Earning a master's degree in media communications usually takes two years. During that time, graduate students complete 30-36 credits of coursework. Some programs incorporate internship opportunities and research projects. Degree-seekers may be able to earn a master's in media communications degree online.

Before deciding to go to graduate school, prospective applicants must consider their career prospects and earning potential with a master's degree. Applicants should weigh these benefits against the cost of a master's degree, including lost earnings while in school. Our guide helps applicants make informed choices about grad school.

What Will I Learn in a Media Communications Master's Program?

Media communications programs provide an interdisciplinary approach to strategic communication, journalism, and digital media.

In a master's degree in media communications, graduate students explore multicultural communication, public relations, business communication, and multimedia technology. The curriculum may also cover online storytelling, media relations, and public affairs.

The coursework builds analytical and leadership skills. Learners complete projects and develop communication strategies with real-world applications.

The degree also strengthens research skills. Many master's programs incorporate a thesis or project at the conclusion of the degree. Graduate students conduct research in their focus area, work closely with faculty, and develop a thesis project.

Master's students focus their studies by choosing a concentration or specialization. Programs may offer concentrations in strategic communication, technical communication, public relations, or social media communication. After completing a master's degree, communications graduates work in a variety of roles.

Concentrations

Public Relations

A public relations concentration emphasizes communication and strategic outreach. Master's students examine advanced public relations techniques, social media strategic, and digital media communications. The concentration builds career skills for public relations leaders.

Strategic Communication

Strategic communication brings together several fields, including public affairs, marketing communication, and public relations. Learners examine communication strategies for various settings. Topics may include strategic messaging, campaign planning, and brand management. Graduates work in corporate and nonprofit settings.

Journalism

Media communications programs offer journalism concentrations for learners interested in media reporting and journalism careers. The degree emphasizes story planning, digital media, and research. Graduates can pursue careers as managing editors.

Multicultural Communication

Master's students examine communication strategies across cultures. The program may focus on multicultural communication in global corporations or organizations that serve people from many cultural traditions. Topics may include cultural representations in media, multicultural business communications, and nonverbal communication.

Social Media

A social media concentration emphasizes communications in digital spaces, particularly social media. In this branch of applied communications, master's students learn to conduct social media research, design social media campaigns, and evaluate content impact.

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What Can I Do With a Master's in Media Communications?

After earning a master's degree in media communications, professionals can work in several industries. Common fields include communications, public relations, and marketing. A master's degree often qualifies professionals for supervisory responsibilities. For example, graduates may work as marketing managers or public relations managers.

In addition, this degree leads to opportunities in journalism, writing, and human relations. In particular, a degree in media communications can kickstart careers as a training and development specialist.

Other common career paths include internal communications, fundraising, health communications, and technical communications. Master's students can prepare for specific career paths through electives, a concentration, or an internship.

Popular Career Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Media Communications?

A master's in media communications prepares graduates for advanced media and communications careers. Graduates can become public relations managers, who earned a median annual salary of $118,500 as of May 2020. Other career paths include advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, who make a median annual salary of $141,500.

Earning potential varies depending on the field. Professionals in journalism, technical writing, and content creation may earn lower salaries than those in managerial roles.

How Do I Choose a Master's in Media Communications Program?

When researching master's in media communications programs, many applicants start by looking at the cost, location, and program length. These factors can help applicants eliminate programs that do not fit their needs. Applicants should also go beyond these factors to learn about online programs and other delivery formats.

Graduate students qualify for financial aid. Some programs offer stronger aid packages. Learners should consider each school's student services offerings and full-time vs. part-time schedules. Start by checking out the best colleges in each state to find local options.

Students should always choose accredited universities. Accredited schools meet high standards for academic excellence.

Find the best online master's in media communications programs.

How Do I Get Into a Master's in Media Communications Program?

Master's programs each set their own admissions requirements and process. However, graduate admissions almost always requires a bachelor's degree. Applicants do not need an undergraduate major in communications to gain admission.

Many programs also require GRE scores. Some even set minimum scores to gain admission. Prospective students should set aside time to prep for the GRE. They should make sure to schedule the test several months before the admission deadline.

Graduate applications often require grad school essays and letters of recommendation. Many programs ask for statements of purpose, which summarize the applicants' qualifications for graduate study and their goals for a master's degree.

When it comes to letters of recommendation, applicants should ask their professors or supervisors to write recommendations. Give your letter writers at least three weeks' notice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Media Communications Programs

What is media communications? true

Media communications is an academic discipline that examines communications in a media context. The subject covers communication through the media, such as journalism, content creation, and storytelling. It also includes communication with the media, such as public relations and public policy communications.

In a media communications program, students examine different forms and subfields of media communications. They may take courses in strategic communications, brand management, public policy outreach, and media management. A media communications degree can lead to careers in fields like journalism, public relations, marketing, and digital media.

How much does it cost to get a master's in media communications? true

On average, a master's degree costs $19,792 per year. Cost varies dramatically between public and private colleges. Out-of-state public schools tend to cost more as well.

Cost-conscious students can seek out affordable programs, research financial aid opportunities, and consider the total cost of different programs. Graduate students at accredited universities qualify for federal financial aid programs. They also qualify for institutional aid and private scholarships. Finally, some graduate students work while in school to maintain an income source.

What can I do with a master's in media and communications? true

A master's degree in media and communications trains graduate students in strategic communications, media outreach, and content creation. The degree can lead to opportunities in public relations, communications, and marketing. Graduates also pursue careers in the nonprofit and public sector.

Media and communications training benefits those working on political campaigns or in government outreach roles. A concentration in technical communications, public health communications, or business communications helps degree-seekers prepare for specific career paths after graduation. A master's degree also meets the requirements for many supervisory and managerial roles.

Is it worth getting a master's degree in communications?

A master's degree in communications can help professionals advance their careers to the next level. For example, communications and public relations specialists can move into decision-making roles like communications manager or public relations manager.

 A master's degree prepares professionals to design, implement, and evaluate communications strategies. Students also learn how to roll out campaigns, conduct research, and lead teams. As a result, a master's in communications can pay off. However, before applying to graduate schools, applicants must consider the total cost of the degree and weigh that against their career opportunities and earning potential.

Is media and communications a good degree?

Yes. Media and communications applies in a variety of fields. Businesses care about their communications strategies and media outreach. So do nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Industries like marketing, public policy, and journalism rely on media and communications knowledge.

As a result, a media and communications degree can help professionals launch careers in just about any industry. The degree emphasizes public speaking, writing, and interpersonal communications. These in-demand skills benefit professionals in many career paths.

Feature Image: Somyot Techapuwapat / Moment / Getty Images

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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