Communication Master of science degree

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Overview

A communication master's degree that combines humanities and social sciences with marketing, information technology, and digital publishing to help you excel the evolving communication landscape.


Communication is at the center of our lives and careers, whether it is interpersonal or mediated communication. Professional communicators need to know how to develop creative and impactful messaging and to engage audiences successfully. A communication masters degree from RIT provides you with innovative course work grounded in strong social sciences and humanities concepts, preparing you to stand out in a competitive profession.

The master’s program in communication prepares you to become a content, brand, or marketing manager, social media strategist, and/or communication officer in a variety of business sectors, industries, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. You will also become competent as a media analyst skilled in researching media content or prepared to pursue a doctoral degree.

You will learn from a diverse and dynamic faculty, comprised 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. Our core course offerings include classes in advertising, social media, research, and strategic communication.

Scholarships and Research Assistantships

Scholarships of up to 30 percent of tuition are awarded to qualified applicants. The program also offers several research assistantships each year as well.

Industries


  • Advertising, PR, and Marketing

  • Higher Education

  • Internet and Software

  • Journalism, Media, and Publishing

  • Non-Profit

  • Other Education

Typical Job Titles

Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager
Communications Coordinator Digital Marketing Specialist
Account Coordinator Customer Sales Director
Communication Assistant Marketing Analyst
Digital Marketing and Communications Analyst Technical Writer

Featured Profiles

Curriculum for Communication MS

Communication, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
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
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.

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 (Spring).
COMM-606
Digital Storytelling
This course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of digital storytelling through an analysis of current trends as well as by utilizing hands-on workshop experiences. Students will develop skills such as content strategy, digital storytelling best practices, content production, and audience analysis. Students in the course will develop critical skills to conceptualize, develop and execute an effective digital storytelling project. Lec/Lab 3 (Fall).
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 (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).
COMM-715
Communication Design Principles
An introduction to design theory, history, and design for communication. In a practical, project-oriented setting, students will learn design theory and practice image analysis. Students will apply research, theory, and methodology to create visual communication artifacts using graphic design software. Lec/Lab 3 (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 (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 (Spring).

Admission Requirements

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

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) 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 a personal statement describing the applicant’s goals for the program, focusing on their professional interests.
  • Submit at least two 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.
  • 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.
  • Students are encouraged to submit scores from the GRE.

Scholarships of up to 30 percent of tuition are awarded to qualified applicants. The program also offers several research assistantships each year as well.

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid