Communication Master of Science Degree

An innovative communication MS degree that combines the latest research technology with essential communication expertise to prepare you for careers in the communication industry and for pursuing graduate work at the doctoral level.


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Research Areas

Use of Artificial Intelligence in Journalism, Social Media, Visual Communication, Health Communication, Civic Engagement

Overview for Communication MS

Why Pursue a Master of Science in Communication at RIT?

  • Future-Focused Curriculum: Develop expertise in rapidly evolving key areas of communication including use of artificial intelligence, social media, and visual communication.
  • Career Readiness: Attain the skills necessary to secure a rewarding position in the field of communication.
  • Hands-On Experience: Gain real-world career experience that sets you apart from the competition by participating in an optional co-op.

Communication in all its forms is at the center of our personal lives and professional careers. Whether it’s interpersonal or mediated communication, professional communicators need to know how to develop creative and impactful messaging to successfully engage their audiences.

Technology has changed everything about the field of communication. Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are the first places people go to get breaking news. Retargeting ads, geofencing, and native advertising are influencing how to reach and connect with audiences. Add in the proliferation of big data and marketing coordinators, brand managers, and marketing executives now have access to information that impacts real-time decision-making around creative messaging, audience tracking, and the impact of an organization’s marketing investment.

The best master of science in communication will prepare you to leverage the latest in tech in the dynamic and ever-changing field of communication.

RIT's MS in communication hosts an innovative curriculum that is grounded in today’s social sciences and humanities concepts and applications. You’ll engage with our diverse and dynamic faculty of accomplished communication researchers and practitioners, who will teach you how to research a communication challenge, create compelling messages, and analyze media content and audience engagement.

RIT’s Master of Science in Communication

With communication courses spanning artificial intelligence, digital storytelling, digital advertising, social media analytics, and strategic communication, RIT’s communication master’s prepares you to excel in the ever-changing fields of communication, public relations, marketing, and branding. You’ll learn how to leverage technology to reach and engage audiences, craft compelling messages that stand out, analyze media content, and understand how analytics and big data drive smart decision-making. You’ll become an effective content, brand, or marketing manager; social media strategist; or PR/communication officer who can deliver the results an organization is looking for. If pursuing a doctoral degree is a future career aspiration, RIT’s program will help you grow into an accomplished researcher as you develop an in-depth understanding of the communication field.

Why Get Your Master's Degree in Communication from RIT?

RIT is known for creativity and innovation. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked RIT 50th on the list of “Most Innovative Schools” for 2021. What does this mean for you as a communication professional?

It means unprecedented access to vast resources in technology and innovation that can only be found at RIT. Diverse and dynamic faculty, comprised of accomplished communication researchers and practitioners, adds depth and real-world insight to your courses. Access to classes from across the university allows you to differentiate yourself by pairing your communication master’s degree with elective courses in marketing, analytics, information technology, new media, management, design thinking, data analytics, and more. Smart classrooms, makerspaces, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem are designed for you to connect, share, and develop your ideas. All of this is designed for you to have an outstanding academic experience through hands-on learning and real-world application of knowledge. You’ll graduate with a degree and the experience needed to stand out in a competitive job market.

Careers in Communication

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in communication fields are expected to grow by seven percent over the next ten years. Communications professionals with graduate degrees earn an average salary of $86,433.

Types of jobs in communication vary depending on what kind of work interests you most. Graduates of RIT’s master’s degree in communications hold positions as:

  • Marketing Specialist
  • Communication Coordinator
  • Account Coordinator
  • Communication Assistant
  • Digital Marketing and Communication Analyst
  • Social Media Manager
  • Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Customer Sales Director
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Technical Writer

Relevant, Future-Focused Research

The communication MS offers research opportunities in timely, urgent areas affecting today’s communication and marketing professionals, including the use of artificial intelligence in journalism, social media, visual communication, health communication, and civic engagement.


Students are also interested in: Media Arts and Technology MS, Visual Communication Design MFA

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Careers and Experiential Learning

Typical Job Titles

Account Executive (for marketing, communication, or advertising firm) Campaign Manager
Content Producer Communication Manager
Customer Sales Director Digital Marketing and Communication Analyst
Digital Marketing Manager Director of Development
Internal Communication Director Marketing Analyst
Marketing Director Organizational/Internal Communication Manager
Political Communication Strategist Social Media Strategist
Senior Copywriter

Cooperative Education and Internships

What makes an RIT education exceptional? It’s the ability to complete relevant, hands-on career experience. At the graduate level, and paired with an advanced degree, cooperative education and internships give you the unparalleled credentials that truly set you apart. Learn more about graduate co-op and how it provides you with the career experience employers look for in their next top hires.

Co-ops and internships take your knowledge and turn it into know-how. A liberal arts co-op provides hands-on experience that enables you to apply your knowledge in professional settings while you make valuable connections between course work and real-world applications.

Cooperative education is strongly encouraged for graduate students in the communication master’s degree.

Featured Profiles

Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Communication MS

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Communication, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
COMM-702
Communication Theories
Over the course of this term we will cover mass communication theory from its inception as a field of study, to major trends, followed by current applications of previous paradigms, and finally into the development of new theoretical frameworks. While the main focus of this course is the integration of current mass communication theory with an individual and organizational online presence, we will also focus on how digital platforms can inform the future of theoretical research and vice versa. From a practical perspective, students will be able to apply these theories to their integrative approaches in creative digital communication and design. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 3 (Fall).
3
COMM-703
Research Methods in Communication
This course is designed to introduce students to qualitative and quantitative research methods in communication and guide them in choosing the appropriate method for their thesis research project. Topics may include research perspectives, ethics and IRB, variables, sampling methods, reliability and validity, survey, experiments, content analysis, in-depth interview, focus group, observations/ethnography, and mixed methods. (Prerequisites: COMM-702 or equivalent course.) Seminar 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-714
Strategic Communication
This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of strategic communication in advertising, public relations, health communication, crisis/risk communication, and/or political communication. This course will cover problem identification, audience research, message creation, and execution of strategic communication activities. It will also cover ethics and strategic communication through digital media. By the end of the course, students should be able to analyze and execute various components to help solve problems or achieve an organization’s goals and objectives. Seminar 3 (Fall).
3
COMM-720
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. (This course is restricted to COMMTCH-MS Major students.) Seminar 1 (Spring).
0
 
Communication Electives
6
 
Professional Core
9
Choose one of the following:
6
   COMM-800
Communication Thesis/Project (6 SCH)
A guided research project that focuses on designing, conducting, and completing a research project. The project culminates in a public presentation and defense. Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 
   COMM-800
 Communication Thesis/Project (3 SCH), plus an additional elective
A guided research project that focuses on designing, conducting, and completing a research project. The project culminates in a public presentation and defense. Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 
   COMM-801
Comprehensive Exam, plus two additional courses*
 
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

* Courses may be professional core courses, communication electives, or a combination of both.

Professional Core courses are chosen by students based on their professional interests. In consultation with their academic advisor, students will choose from graduate courses offered across the university to round out their coursework.

Communication electives

COMM-605
Social Media Analytics and Research
This course focuses on social media research and ethics of applying various methodological approaches to study public data, users and messages. Students will be introduced to a variety of techniques and concepts used to obtain, monitor and evaluate social media content with a focus on how the analytics could inform communication strategies. During the course, students will also learn how to design and evaluate social media-based research studies. Lec/Lab 3 (Fall or Spring).
COMM-709
Digital Advertising
This course aims to help students understand the strategic use of digital media from both scholarly and professional perspectives, considering both brand and audience viewpoints. This course will cover the types and practices of digital advertising, including search engine optimization, paid search advertising, display advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and reputation management. Seminar 3 (Fall or Spring).
COMM-710
Visual Communication
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. (This course is restricted to COMMTCH-MS Major students.) Seminar (Fall or Spring).
COMM-716
Communication and Identity
This course engages students in an analytical and applied exploration of the connection between self, identity, communication, media, and society. Drawing from classical and contemporary readings, as well as current events, the course will address topics such as identity and discourse, performance, intersectionality, and representation. Communication has been central to the development of ideas about collective and individual identities. Therefore, the course encourages students to critically examine the political implications of identity construction in our social world. Finally, the course examines how popular notions of identity function in media texts, corporate settings, and digital environments. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
COMM-717
Artificial Intelligence and Communication
Communication has been impacted by automation and advances in information technology, and now artificial intelligence is changing how we interact with socio-technical systems. In this course, we will explore historical, ethical, computational, and cultural perspectives to understand the implications of algorithmic processes on communication and society. During the course, students will learn how to analyze various digital products and identify the potential consequences of algorithmic systems on various demographics. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).

Admissions and Financial Aid

This program is available on-campus only.

Offered Admit Term(s) Application Deadline STEM Designated
Full‑time Fall or Spring Fall - February 15 priority deadline, rolling thereafter; Spring - rolling No
Part‑time Fall or Spring Rolling No

Full-time study is 9+ semester credit hours. Part-time study is 1‑8 semester credit hours. International students requiring a visa to study at the RIT Rochester campus must study full‑time.

Application Details

To be considered for admission to the Communication MS program, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

English Language Test Scores

International applicants whose native language is not English must submit one of the following official English language test scores. Some international applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver.

TOEFL IELTS PTE Academic
88 6.5 60

International students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Each program requires balanced sub-scores when determining an applicant’s need for additional English language courses.

How to Apply Start or Manage Your Application

Cost and Financial Aid

An RIT graduate degree is an investment with lifelong returns. Graduate tuition varies by degree, the number of credits taken per semester, and delivery method. View the general cost of attendance or estimate the cost of your graduate degree.

A combination of sources can help fund your graduate degree. Learn how to fund your degree

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