What You Should Know About This Degree
Media communications is an umbrella term that includes journalism, and some people make the mistake of using the two interchangeably, but there is a broad difference between pursuing a master’s degree in Media Communications and a master’s degree in journalism.
While a master’s degree in mass communication will provide expertise in human communication at the local, national and international level within the realm of mass media, the master’s degree in journalism will focus more narrowly on the practice of theory of delivering news as it relates to current affairs. Journalism is one of several aspects of media communications, which also includes public relations, advertising, film, the internet and social media platforms, and many other areas.
Any college or university offering a master’s degree program in Media Communications should be accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies that ensure high-quality graduate education throughout the United States. Beyond this broad validation of the school as a whole, many communications departments have sought additional recognition from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. This organization ensures excellence and high standards in professional education in these areas and only endorses programs that have incorporated technological advances, changing professional and economic practice, and public interests and demands.
Though there are no certifications or licensure either available or required for those who have earned a master’s degree in media communications, you can expand your professional credentials and establish yourself within the communications industry by joining any of several promotional organizations associated with the industry that offer mentorship and access to employment opportunities.
These organizations include the Public Relations Society of America; the American Society of News Editors; the American Communication Association; the American Marketing Association; and others.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Media Communications programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Being admitted to a master’s degree program in media communications requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, in any area of study. There is no need to have experience in the field, though being able to point to demonstrated interest may make you more attractive to those considering your application. Most programs will require that you take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) exam, though some have eliminated this requirement, and many schools will require a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0. You will need to have your original transcript sent by your undergraduate school, and may need to provide letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
- Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? In recognition of the needs of working adults, many of the programs on our list of Best Master’s in Media Communications Programs offer their curriculum online and asynchronously, allowing students the flexibility to complete their studies at their convenience. In person programs and programs that are offered on a hybrid basis that combines the two are more likely to require attendance synchronously.
Applying to graduate school requires careful attention to detail. Though online programs may have open enrollment that allows you to apply and sign up whenever you want, in-person and hybrid programs have strict deadlines by which all information must be submitted. Make sure that you are fully aware of when you need to have all of your paperwork and supporting material in to ensure that your application is considered.
Master of Media Communications degrees are increasingly popular, and that may be reflected in the tuition that schools charge. Fortunately, applicants are able to take advantage of the many scholarships and grant programs that are available, as well as tuition reimbursement programs from their employers. It is also a good idea to apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.