Communication and the technologies for message creation and dissemination are at the center of dramatic economic, social, and cultural changes occurring as a result of technological development and global connectedness. The master of science degree in communication and media technologies is an advanced interdisciplinary program combining liberal arts courses in communication with course work in an applied or professional program. Students will become adept at the analysis of communication problems, the development of solutions, and the creation of messages as a result of their combined training in the social sciences, humanities, and applied technologies.
Communication courses rooted in the humanities and social sciences provide students with the opportunity to gain a broad, historical understanding of issues in communication, including the ethical, legal, and social dimensions. Additional courses give students advanced guidance in the creation of written and visual message content. Courses in applied technologies or professional programs provide opportunities for implementation and application. The required thesis combines knowledge, practice, original research, and application under the guidance of a graduate advisement committee.
Students are prepared to pursue careers as communication experts in commerce, industry, education, entertainment, and government, as well as for graduate work toward a doctoral degree.
Plan of study
The degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours of graduate course work. The program consists of five required courses, three communication electives, three applied professional or technical courses, and either a thesis, project, or a comprehensive exam.
Full-time students create a graduate advisement committee by the end of their first semester of study. The committee is comprised of at least one faculty member from the department of communication and one faculty member from outside the department. The outside member should have a terminal degree. The committee advises and guides the student's elective course selection and course sequencing. With the guidance and approval of the graduate advising committee, students design and conduct a thesis or project appropriate to their course of study and their career goals.
A thesis or project is an option for all students in the program. The topic should complement the student's academic graduate interests and scholarly training. Topic selection and methods for implementing the thesis/project occur in consultation with the student's graduate advisement committee.
Comprehensive examinations may be taken in lieu of a thesis or project. Students are eligible to take these examinations after all course work has been completed. The graduate committee chooses the exam committee members from two areas: theory and methods. The student selects a specialty area within the communication elective courses with the consent of the faculty member who taught the course, and that faculty member will administer and grade the exam question(s). Specialization areas include the following: electronic, visual, international, strategic, and education. Exams take place at two times: intersession and in June. If students fail any portion of the exam, they receive one opportunity for a rewrite.
Internet and Software
Food and Beverage
Transportation and Logistics
Typical Job Titles
Digital Marketing Specialist
Customer Sales Director
Digital Marketing and Communications Analyst
outcome rate of graduates
median first-year salary of graduates
Communication and media technologies, MS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Survey of Media Technologies
This course focuses on significant media innovations from historical, societal, political, and cultural perspectives. Innovations such as print, radio, film, television, and digital technologies will be discussed. Milestone research and theory will drive the examination of each perspective on the media. The course concludes with the development of research questions for studying contemporary lines or research investigating media.
This course focuses on theories of communication as they relate to mass media and other forms of human interaction. Theories based in both the humanities and in the social sciences that explain or predict the effects of interaction and communication technology on audiences will be examined.
Research Methods in Communication
An introduction to and overview of the methods and ethics of scientific, scholarly communication research including quantitative and qualitative approaches. The course focuses on methods of locating, critically analyzing, and conducting communication research, and leads to the development of a research proposal suitable for a thesis or project.
Media Law and Ethics
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior.
Thesis Preparation Seminar
An introduction to graduate study and research in communication including the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological parameters of communication and its sub-disciplines. Participants will interact with the faculty teaching required and elective communication courses. Attention will be drawn to scholarly writing and research design. When possible, the course is organized in conjunction with the department’s colloquium series.
Choose one of the following:
A guided research project that focuses on designing, conducting, and completing a research project. The project culminates in a public presentation and defense.
Comprehensive Exam, plus two additional courses*
Total Semester Credit Hours
Students select three of the following communication electives:
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
An inquiry into interactive media and how they exert a powerful influence on communicative practices and society. Positioned at the intersection of technology, identity, and culture, interactive media are altering the ways in which people communicate in a wide range of contexts, including education, marketing, civic discourse, politics and popular culture. Applying theories about the relationship between communication technology and culture, this course will explore the current and potential future impact of interactive electronic communication and the social changes that are occurring.
Crafting the Message
This course will focus on the creation of written and visual messages appropriate to a targeted audience and specific medium including print, broadcast, interactive, digital, and online technologies. Case studies of both effective and unsuccessful messages from, for example, advertising, public service, education, and entertainment will be examined. Students will create and execute a variety of messages using different writing styles with images that are directed toward specific target audiences.
Evaluation of media technology use in the international setting and in various countries and regions of the world. Major theories about media, current trends in media, journalism practices, and governmental challenges and restrictions are considered. Special attention is paid to the uses and effects of media technologies within various countries, focusing on global implications of the internet and digital technologies on international cooperation, trade, and culture.
An analysis of and practicum in teaching communication in higher education. Students explore teaching and learning styles, the role of technology in higher education, and teaching assessment methods. Students create teaching resources and gain teaching experience in a college classroom.
A review of the theory and practice of interactive advertising. Topics include digital interactive media used for advertising purposes, interactive advertising theories and models, and the strategies and tactics for developing effective ad campaigns using interactive media, including the internet, virtual communities, video games, and mobile phones.
This course explores visual communication, the process through which individuals -- in relationships, organizations, and societies -- create and interpret visual messages. A variety of theories from the disciplines of art history, psychology, communication theory, and graphic design will be discussed to develop methods for analyzing mediated messages. Students analyze visual messages from the following media: print photography, video, film, and the internet.
Persuasion in a Digital Age
Digital communication technologies blur the lines of distinction between mass persuaders, various publics, personal networks, and individuals. This course combines traditional theories and research in media, rhetoric, and persuasion within the context of new and dynamic channels of communication. This course will investigate the prevalence of persuasive communication in various facets of our society with particular attention to the impact of digital communication channels on the persuasion process.
Required of students without an undergraduate degree in communication. To introduce students to a broad range of important texts. Students will gain an understanding of how theory and research developed in the study of mass media and communication. The course is historical but focuses on the literature and media of the 20th century. Key research studies and media productions are analyzed. Students learn to write in American Psychological Association style and conduct secondary research.
Special Topics in Communication
Applied professional or technical courses
Students select three of the following applied professional or technical courses:
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Cross Media Workflow I
This course is designed to expose students to all elements needed to master a cross media publishing project. Concepts and tools necessary for the implementation of a cross media workflow will be discussed and reinforced through hands-on exercises. Content management and industry standards and practices will be studied and applied through the context of cross media publishing.
Digital Printing and Publishing
Printing Industry Trends and Issues
Perspectives on Contemporary Publishing
This course examines publishing’s evolution in response to changes in technology and social habits. Students will gain an understanding of various publishing structures and publication types through the analysis of audience and content. The course will consider various forms of the book and periodical and their role historically and in contemporary culture. Topics will include trend recognition, promotion and marketing, materials, processes, typography, copyright issues, and innovations in publishing.
Organizational Behavior and Leadership
This course examines why people behave as they do in organizations and what managers can do to improve organizational performance by influencing people's behavior. Students will learn a number of frameworks for diagnosing and dealing with managerial challenges dynamics at the individual, group and organizational level. Topics include leadership, motivation, team building, conflict, organizational change, cultures, decision making, and ethical leadership.
Managing Organizational Change
This course addresses the importance of organizational change in maintaining a flexible, dynamic, and responsive organization, by examining various theories and approaches currently used to assist organizations in achieving planned change. The role of the leader in achieving organizational change is emphasized. The features of successful change in organizations will be discussed, including the structural, motivational, interpersonal, and social aspects of organizational change.
Introduction to Technology Management
An introduction to contemporary principles and practices of marketing. The course is structured around the process of marketing planning leading to the development of successful marketing strategies, including the commercialization of products and services in domestic and international environments. Focus is on environmental scanning techniques, setting and evaluating measurable objectives, innovating and controlling the interrelated components of product/service offering, planning and executing the marketing mix (channels of distribution, price, and promotion), and enhancing customer relationships through the delivery of customer value.
Marketing in Global Business
Advertising and Marketing Communications
An in-depth view of tools of advertising, sales promotion, public relations, personal selling, direct marketing, and internet Marketing. Basic concepts of advertising using print, broadcast, Internet and outdoor media are studied. Planning, budgeting and the roles of advertising agencies are also covered. Students develop a comprehensive promotion plan beginning with the marketing strategy and ending with implementation and evaluation. The project, in which the student plans and prepares a promotion/advertising campaign for a product or service in consultation with the instructor is an integral part of the course.
Marketing on the Internet
This course examines the impact that the internet has on traditional and contemporary business-to-consumer marketing activities. It explores these implications in both strategic and tactical terms to enhance organizations' levels of competitiveness. The course identifies the use of the internet in enhancing value for consumers and considers the leverage of the latest technologies, trends, e-culture and innovation through the medium of the internet.
Commercializing and Marketing of New Products
This course emphasizes the marketing and product strategy-related activities required to create, develop, and launch successful new products. Topics covered include identifying the market opportunity for new products, defining the product strategy, understanding customer requirements, developing and updating the product business plan, marketing's role in the firm's product development process, developing the marketing plan for launching new products, and managing the product life cycle. The course emphasizes best practices in marketing-related activities required for successful new product commercialization.
Health Systems Administration
Research Methods and Data Analysis
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/ methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of social research in service-related contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
Health Governance and Economics
This course provides an examination of the roles and responsibilities of policy makers on the health care system. Students will compare and contrast the regulatory functions of varying levels of government, the political process and economic impacts as they relate to health care systems. Students will then examine control issues and regulatory dynamics, the legislative process, economic functions and regulatory trends in the United States as well as an assessment of health systems’ strategies and responses to the regulatory oversight. The course also provides an overview of legislation as it applies to health facilities and administrative law using case studies.
This course will provide students with an ethical framework consisting of knowledge of the principle theories and moral philosophers and their methods to approach decision making. Ethics will be further explored giving consideration of cultural norms and how this influences societal ethical decision making; a review of the ethics of the professions of health care; information about gaining access to the organizations ethical principles and an understanding of personal ethics. Using these as a foundation personal and professional ethics will be explored, developed and a decision making rationale developed through a sequence of exercises requiring ethical decision making related to finance, human resources, clinical issues and personal morality.
Health Systems Planning
Marketing Within Health Care
This course is designed to build innovative, customer-centered, thinking within the future leaders of the health care industry. This is accomplished with an introduction to the role of strategic decision making through the core principles of marketing (the 4’Ps). Students will also experience basic data base management, conducting an internal and external environmental analysis, primary and secondary data gathering and interpretation and the creation of a marketing plan to meet an unsatisfied market need or build volume for a health care product or service. Finally, the role of corporate communication will be interwoven throughout the course as it supports marketing success.
Breakthrough Thinking, Creativity, and Innovation
This is an introductory-level survey course on the dynamics of innovation. The course focuses on individual, team and organization-human and systems dynamics that impact organizational innovation. Students gain awareness in, understanding of and important skills in fostering multi-level organizational human ecologies conducive to the creation of innovation. Issues and challenges important to leaders at all levels in an organization, entrepreneurs and talent management practitioners will be examined and explored. There is a required fee for the class to pay for the administration of the ISPI and Meyers Briggs evaluation instruments. Students will develop in their understanding of innovation, their own personal innovation capabilities, preferences, and the human dynamics unique to innovation applied in an organizational context. This background is becoming increasingly critical to developing innovation capabilities in and across organizations in our increasingly competitive and complex world. This course will build awareness and improve competency in the application of overall course content and design principles particular to developing innovation-competent individuals, teams, and organizations.
Readings in Public Policy
An in-depth inquiry into key contemporary public policy issues. Students will be exposed to a wide range of important public policy texts, and will learn how to write a literature review in a policy area of their choosing.
Technological Innovation and Public Policy
Technological innovation, the incremental and revolutionary improvements in technology, has been a major driver in economic, social, military, and political change. This course will introduce generic models of innovation that span multiple sectors including: energy, environment, health, and bio- and information-technologies. The course will then analyze how governments choose policies, such as patents, to spur and shape innovation and its impacts on the economy and society. Students will be introduced to a global perspective on innovation policy including economic competitiveness, technology transfer and appropriate technology.
Public Administration and Management
This course provides an in-depth look at the evolution of public administration theory and practice. Starting with the basic structure of the U.S. Constitution, the course examines how the key tensions facing local, state, and federal public administrators changed over time with both changes in social science and changes in public administration practice. Topics include public organization theory, public budgeting, citizen engagement, e-government, public-private partnerships, and recent innovations in management practice.
Information and Communication Policy
This course examines how federal and international policies are developed to influence innovation in, and regulation of, information, computer and telecommunications technologies. In particular the course will examine such topics as privacy, freedom of speech, cybersecurity, intellectual property rights, access to information technology, and regulation of the Internet.
Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university,
Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
Have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0,
Submit three letters of reference from academic advisers, major professors, and/or supervisors or managers,
Submit a writing portfolio consisting of at least three writing samples, such as academic papers written for class, work-related brochures and pamphlets, or newspaper or magazine articles, and
Complete a graduate application.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum scores of 570 (paper-based) or 88-89 (Internet-based) are required on the TOEFL. A minimum score of 6.5 is required on the IELTS. This requirement may be waived for students who submit undergraduate transcripts from American colleges and universities.