What Can I Do With a Master's Degree in Communications?
Communications is the study of how human beings exchange information, as well as the study of the media that make this exchange possible. Earning a master’s degree in communication will enhance your eligibility for a wide range of professional opportunities in public relations, journalism, mass media, and more. A master’s degree in communication is an excellent way to improve your opportunities for career advancement and high earning potential in an array of highly competitive fields.
Earning an advanced communication degree can also differentiate you from your colleagues by pairing your communication skills with training in management and organizational leadership. These skills could qualify you for leadership roles in a variety of organizational settings from public relations firms and publishing houses to public health campaigns and news outlets. The master’s in communication is also an important credential if you plan to channel your communications studies into a career as a librarian, post-secondary educator, or the editor in chief for a noteworthy news agency. Students interested in becoming authors, editors, broadcasters, journalists, producers and more should be aware that opportunities in these fields are highly sought after.
Just getting started in the field? Check out our look at the communications major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in communications.
If you’re ready to earn your graduate degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Communications.
Or read on to find out what you can expect as a communications master.
Why Get a Master’s Degree in Communications?
The answer to this question may depend on your intended career path. For instance, many universites house library studies within their schools of communication. In order to become a librarian, you must earn a master’s degree. Therefore, many aspiring librarians will earn a master’s degree in communications with a concentration in library studies.
In other cases, the most compelling reason to earn a master’s degree in communications is because it can improve your ability to compete in a highly competitive job market. The master’s degree in communications can significantly improve your appeal to prospective employers. This is important as you compete from within a pool of other talented journalists, on-air reporters, radio producers, book editors, public relations agents, and more. These are areas in which many worthy candidates will vie for a limited number of desirable jobs. A master’s degree can help you stand out from the crowd.
Today, top influencers in communication are working on research in areas such as the political economy of Communication, community media ecologies and impacts on civic and public life, citizen journalism, and much more.
Learn more about these and other top influencers in the communications field today!
How Can I Qualify To Get a Master’s Degree in Communications?
There is no specific entrance exam for gaining admission into a communications master’s program, though some programs may require you to complete a Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If the GRE is needed, your program may either require a general exam, or a GRE specific to the subject of communications. Some programs may require you to meet a certain scoring threshold while others may merely require that you complete the exam. These requirements will vary from one communications master’s program to the next.
If no GRE is required, the primary requirement for gaining eligibility into a communications master’s program is completion of a bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited undergraduate school. While programmatic accreditation is not specifically required in this field, most regionally-accredited graduate schools will require that your bachelor’s degree be granted by a regionally-accredited college or university.
Some colleges may offer bundled bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, where you could earn your advanced degree in one continuous five-year program. This option could save you time and money if you already know that you’ll be pursuing your advanced degree. However, the accelerated pace of such a program may make this a challenging way to earn both degrees. Find out if your school offers this bundling option and ask about eligibility requirements. But be sure you’re up to the added challenge!
For any additional questions about eligibility, refer to your intended program and learn more about application requirements and any additional requirements such as work experience, academic performance thresholds, and referrals.
If you’re still working on building your qualifications, check out our look at the communications major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in communications.
What Kinds of Advanced Communications Degrees Are There?
Communications degrees are offered at every level of education. An advanced degree may not be required but can dramatically raise your employment and earning prospects.
- Master of Communication: Because many industries are accessible with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in communication is reserved for those who wish to delve into a particular sub-discipline with greater depth, or to gain essential organizational leadership skills. It can also help to improve your qualifications for highly competitive fields like editing, publishing, or on-air reporting.
- PhD in Communication: A doctoral degree will qualify you to teach as a professor or work as a researcher for a university, think tank, or government agency.
What are Some Popular Communications Specializations?
Your specialization will depend largely on your intended career path. Most schools of communication offer specific learning tracks for a variety of media formats, as well as specialized instruction around communication in specific industries such as healthcare or marketing. The following are among the most popular communications specializations:
- Mass Communication and Media Studies
- Broadcast Journalism
- Radio and Televisions
- Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia
- Organizational Communication
- Health Communication
- International and Intercultural Communication
What Courses Will I Take as a Communications Master?
Your specialization will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a communications master. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as communication theory and communication research methodologies.
Common communications courses include:
- Media and Culture
- Communication and Cognitive Processes
- Information Technology
- Healthcare Communication
- Technology and Communication
- Technical Writing
- Psychology of Public Relations
- News, Journalism and Social Media
Is a Master’s Degree in Communications Worth It?
If you plan to become a librarian, a master’s degree in communications with a concentration in library studies is both required and worth it. Library professionals with a master’s degree enjoy a wage premium of about 30% greater than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees.
Other occupations enjoy similarly robust wage premiums after earning a master’s degree including public relations specialists and editors, the latter of whom earn an annual median of $50,000 with a bachelor’s degree versus $63,000 with a master’s degree. This underscores the value of the communications master’s degree, which improves your chances of scaling to leadership roles and other well-paying opportunities in the field.
What Are The Top Jobs With a Master’s In Communications Degree?
Mastering in communications can provide inroads to a wide range of careers in mass media, journalism, writing, public relations, publishing, and much more. Your communication skills and personal interests could take you down a wide range of professional paths, including these top jobs:
- Interpreters and Translators
- Librarians and Media Collection Specialists
- Public Relations Specialists
- Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts
- Technical Writers
- Writers and Authors
Curious how far you could go with a master’s degree in communications? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!***
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