The expansive field of communications offers a broad range of potential careers. An education in communications incorporates public relations, writing, technology, and marketing skills to qualify students for employment in a variety of media and communications-related outlets. The ideal candidate for a communications degree is interested in developing their communication skills as well as their natural networking and/or interpersonal abilities, and expects to pursue an exciting career involving public relations (PR), marketing, new media, or broadcast journalism, among the many possibilities. Students may pursue a communications master’s degree program if they are looking to advance their current position in the field of communications or seeking top positions in journalism, technical writing, or public relations. In competing for top jobs in communications-related fields, students with a master’s degree may hold an advantage over other candidates because of their advanced professional skills.
Why a Master’s Degree?
While an undergraduate education may be acceptable for many jobs in communications, an online master’s communications degree provides not only the advanced qualifications of a polished communications expert, but also the flexibility of an online program. Students looking to pursue a high-level career in management, writing, or public relations will benefit from the training obtained from a master’s degree in this field. At the master’s level, many programs offer concentrations or specialty subjects, such as leadership, corporate communication, or technical communication. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some employers require high-level public relations managers and specialists to hold a master’s degree, and also encourage focused skills in a specialty area.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
The subject of communications can be broad in scope, but the admissions process is typically designed to provide moderate accessibility for a variety of master’s candidates. Requirements are typically minimal, though they may vary by school:
- Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution (varies by school)
- Minimum GPA (varies by school)
- Application including statement of intent and/or application fees (as applicable, according to school)
Inside a Master’s Degree Program
The typical online master’s degree in communications can take two years or less to complete. Master’s level students complete course credit hours in basic journalism, PR, and communications skills, receive relevant career training, and gain practical experience. Master’s candidates are encouraged to hone their skills in a focus area, such as PR or technical communication, and should have the opportunity to build a professional portfolio based on their course work and experience during the program. For those who may lack extensive work experience in communications, internships are required to round out their practical qualifications. At the master’s level, students also complete a varied collection of electives courses to gain perspective, as well as complete a thesis project to finish the program.
A communications master’s degree online may be a way to optimize your options for a higher education in this field. Many online communications professors are the same educators that teach communications-related subject in classrooms on campus. Students use a fully integrated e-learning platform to retrieve assignments, conduct research, and communicate with teachers and other students. And, considering the many innovations in technology currently being used in the professional world of communications, graduates of an online program may have the advantage of understanding how to use technology to enhance their career prospects and/or their professional standing.
What’s Next for Communications Master’s Degree Holders?
While many jobs in the field of communications may require only a bachelor’s degree, those holding a master’s degree may have increased opportunities for advancement in a PR, marketing, or advertising career. Master’s program graduates may be eligible to become corporate communications executives, marketing professionals, advertising reps, or media managers, among many other positions. A candidate with a master’s degree may have an advantage over a bachelor’s degree-holder, especially for executive-level or senior positions in communications. According to the BLS, public relations managers and specialists may officially require only a bachelor’s degree, but many employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree and/or years of experience.