What Is an M.A. in Professional Communication?

The ways in which organizations communicate internally and externally are becoming more varied than ever before. Internally, today’s businesses are more collaborative, with group projects and inter-departmental work becoming commonplace. Externally, companies have more interactions — and more complex interactions — with the media, customers, vendors, government officials and the public.

Digital communication adds another layer to the complexities of modern business communications as a whole. Professionals must understand the dynamics of communicating through a broad array of spoken and written channels, from podcasts and webinars to emails and social posts. What are the purposes, rules and etiquette for each platform? What are the optimum platforms to use for a given objective? These questions are hard to answer without the right education and experience, and many organizations are lacking individuals with these critical communication competencies.

The Program

Corporations and other organizations across the country and around the world have been collaborating with leading higher education institutions to develop programs to teach the skills required in contemporary communication scenarios. These include advertising campaigns, social media content creation, internal organizational analysis, media production and more. Employers need postgraduate programs that prepare individuals to help organizations brand themselves effectively to outside parties.

Learning and Career Outcomes

The online Master of Arts in Professional Communication General from Southern Utah University (SUU) was developed to meet these needs. In the program, students

  • Explore the ways in which technology affects the communication process
  • Learn how mass communication — from social media to TV — transforms personal identity and collective understanding
  • Create a social media marketing strategy
  • Learn how to respond to various public relations scenarios
  • Study qualitative and rhetorical research methods and write reports including each step in the process
  • Complete a thesis or capstone project that encompasses what was learned throughout the program

The program prepares students for many types of careers including the following:

  • Public Relations Manager
  • Speech Writer
  • Internal Communications Manager
  • Sales Account Executive
  • Marketing Consultant
  • Technical Communication Specialist
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Marketing Communications Manager
  • Social Media Content Creator

There are many related positions available in the fields of marketing, advertising, public relations, politics, human resources, and teaching and training. Because the skills are applicable to any industry, they are also ideal for entrepreneurs.

The Curriculum

Southern Utah University’s online M.A. in Professional Communication General program consists of core courses, capstone courses and elective courses.

The core courses include Communication and Professional Development, Applied Communication Theory, Qualitative Communication Research, Quantitative Communication Research and Professional Writing and Presentations.

The elective courses are Mediated Communication in Relationships, Pop Culture Messages, Visual Literacy and Application, Advertising and Public Relations Strategies, Professional Social Media and Current Issues in Communication.

The master’s capstone thesis option demonstrates the student’s ability to complete a professional thesis in consultation with a graduate committee. Students conceive of, research and produce a thesis in a relevant area of communication. In the alternative master’s capstone project, students complete a professional-level project, similar to what they might expect in their desired position upon graduation.

Effective communication in business provides purpose, builds a positive culture, creates accountability and helps avoid confusion. When you consider that effective communication is critical not only to the cohesion and collaboration of employees within a business, but also to every relationship that businesses have with outside constituents, the importance of improving communication skills becomes evident. The opportunities to apply this knowledge are as limitless as one’s imagination.

Learn more about Southern Utah University’s online Master of Arts in Professional Communication General program.


HR Technologist: Effective Communication in the Workplace: How and Why?

MastersinCommunications.com: What Can I Do with a Master’s Degree in Communication?

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