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Explore our Online MS in Communication

From social media to digital storytelling, the communication field is evolving at an exponential pace.

Step up to new career challenges—now and in the future—with a master’s degree in communication from Walden. One of the first of its kind, this online program can give you a professional edge in an industry that’s ever-changing.

Featuring coursework grounded in the latest communication practices and theories, the online MS in Communication program prepares you to craft compelling messages for local, national, and global audiences and translate that messaging into different media. Real-world scenarios and projects enable you to learn how to effectively develop, execute, and measure integrated communication strategies using both traditional and innovative channels.

Whether you’re looking to advance in your current role or explore exciting new career opportunities in marketing, public relations, digital media, social media, or corporate communication, earning your master’s degree in communication from Walden can help you get there.

Earn a Professional Credential Prior to Getting Your Degree

Walden’s online master’s degree in communication program offers an embedded Graduate Certificate in Communication, which you are eligible for after the first four courses.

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost or a 10% tuition reduction for the life of the program if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 2, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Curriculum

Completion Requirements

  • 100–106 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (80 cr.) 
    • Specialization courses (10 cr.)
    • Field experience (9–15 cr.: Practicum: 100 hours; Internship: 600 hours)
  • Professional Development Plan, Licensure Plan 
  • 2 Pre-Practicum Labs (6 weeks online with 4 days of face-to-face experience)
  • Group Lab (9 weeks online with 14 hours of live synchronous group)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits

CORE COURSES

COMM 6100

Communication Theory in Practice: Here and Now

It has been said that all communication is persuasive in nature. Whether this assertion is true or not, it is likely that individuals frequently attempt to persuade others on a daily basis. In this course, students explore the theories and approaches needed to enhance persuasive messages, make communication more effective, and generate a desired effect. Students examine how to craft oral, written, and visual messages that integrate persuasive theory for a selected audience. Topics include the psychology of messaging, communicating a consistent message across various media, rhetorical theory, persuasion, negotiation, and cognitive dissonance. 

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6110

Media Effects: Mass Media in Modern Society

Today's mass media is constantly evolving. Technological advances have shifted the concept of mass media from analog waves to digital bytes. Both content creators and consumers alike interact with their media in new ways. Through this course students prepare for today's global audience. In this course, students examine the history and evolution of the mass media landscape. They explore the theories, concepts, and trends that support informed digital consumers and content creators. Also, students explore the effects of media on consumer actions and the ethical boundaries that arise in creating mass media. Ultimately, their study will reveal the impact of social media, the effects of media on society, and the nature of the global mass media audience. 

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6130

Communicating Using Social and Digital Media

While some companies may still be asking, "Why should we care about social media?" most are now asking, "How can we leverage the power of social media?" In this course, students examine how social media has changed the way consumers interact with brands and apply elements of storytelling to develop a social media strategy for an organizational scenario. In addition, students explore issues of ethics, privacy, and media law that are heightened by social media and digital communication distribution. Topics include types of social media, audience appropriateness, reputation management, social media strategy, evaluation methods, and the communications regulatory environment, including media law and privacy.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6150

Interpersonal Communication

The ability to communicate with others influences success in both professional and personal settings. As communities and places of work become increasingly diverse, the intersections of interpersonal and intercultural communication also increase, and communicators need to be aware that the cultural diversity of their audiences should affect the way they convey information. Students in this course examine interpersonal and intercultural intersections and study the influence of cultural diversity on interpersonal communication. By examining theory, students develop an approach to practice and hone individual strategies for communicating successfully in diverse interpersonal situations. Topics include interpersonal communication theory, intercultural communication theory, individual communication competence, nonverbal channels, person perception, conflict resolution, and listening and communication barriers.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6160

Creative Strategy and Execution: From Brief to Presentation

Students in this course leverage a wide range of knowledge and skills to conceive and execute a global communication campaign that uses traditional and digital media. Grounded in concepts of integrated marketing communication, this course provides students with the opportunity to develop and review a creative or innovative brief. Students generate solutions for that brief across the phases of the creative process, present and defend solutions, and evaluate solutions using metrics. Topics include the creative process, integrated marketing communication, selecting appropriate channels, pitching and selling ideas, and evaluation metrics.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6170

Public Relations Concepts and Strategy

To successfully build and manage the relationship between an organization and the public in today's increasingly global community, a strategic communications plan requires the use of both traditional and new technology. Students in this course explore, from a global perspective, the needs of various public relations stakeholders, including the customer, the press, and the investor. Topics include how to change behaviors, advocate for causes, design messages for specific audiences, select appropriate communication channels, and evaluate results of public relations campaigns. Students also consider the potential legal and ethical aspects of the practice of public relations.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6190

Marketing Communications, Storytelling, and Persuasion

Whether one is addressing a customer, an audience, or a jury, the aim is to use the tools of persuasion to influence individuals to take action. Especially in social media, it is critically important to establish an appropriate tone, voice, and personality. Tying these strategies to the overall brand positioning is even more important. It has been found that storytelling is one of the most effective tools of persuasion. Rather than simply stating the facts, the story puts facts into a meaningful context, so that the consumer can understand and empathize with the characters in the story and, therefore, identify with the brand's social media personality. In this course, students explore the elements of the story and the approaches used to develop content. Understanding the impact of individual channels on a strategy for integrated marketing communications and positioning allows the marketer to allocate budgets more effectively and efficiently.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6180

Crisis Communication

Protecting an individual, company, or organization from the potential negative results of a crisis requires the development of a crisis management plan to anticipate and mitigate risk. Students in this course explore the use of media relations and public-opinion research techniques to minimize unwanted impacts from crises. Students review real-world controversies and crisis management plans to develop original communication plans that address risks and provide value to the stakeholders. Other topics include the impact of criminal or government investigations, media inquiries, lawsuits, and other scenarios involving ethical disputes.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6900

Communication Capstone

Students in this course incorporate theory in practice to synthesize knowledge gained throughout the program. Through the creation of a communication research project, students examine how a communication professional can influence others to enhance positive social change in both organizations and communities. In addition, students reflect on their own communication strengths and opportunities, and develop a communication action plan. Through the completion of the research project and action plan, students have the opportunity to create portfolio pieces.

(3 sem. cr.)

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose One)

COMM 6501

Brand and Product Management

Key differences exist between brand and product management, and, yet, both are crucial to the success of a product or service. In this course, students will explore the many elements of brand management, including brand architecture, the development and sustainability of the brand, brand positioning, and the perceived value of the brand. Students analyze competitive information, and they learn to apply that knowledge in areas such as product differentiation. Throughout the course, students also will examine the critical business skills, tools, and techniques necessary for effective product management. The focus of this course is on the stages of a product's lifecycle, consumer demand and pricing, multichannel product management, and the fundamentals of profit and loss management.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6502

Practices in Project Management

Students in this course are introduced to the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques needed to successfully manage projects throughout the life of a project, known as the project life cycle. By learning about the project management Knowledge Areas and Process Groups as well as the distinguishing characteristics of each, students gain an appreciation for how these two dimensions of project management interact in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing a project.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6503

Stakeholder Management and Organizational Behavior

One role of the project manager is to lead teams in complex and diverse organizational settings while concurrently communicating with all stakeholders. In this course, students analyze this dual role and examine how individual and group behavior impacts organizational effectiveness. They discover how using influence, rather than organizational power, leads to more successful project management. Students learn ways to design projects to support organizational goals and how to build and engage organizational capital (intellectual, human, physical, financial, and structural). They also apply stakeholder management practices to engage in and manage relationships with the community of project stakeholders.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6504

Managing People and Promoting Collaboration

Contemporary business environments are increasingly competitive, global, fast paced, and knowledge intensive. In these environments, effective use of human capital is vital to an enterprise's success and survival. In this course, students explore practical issues related to developing individuals and managing collaboration and examine the skills and strategies necessary to address them effectively. Students examine ethical and legal implications of managing a diverse workforce including issues that arise from cross-cultural differences and virtual work settings. The importance of communication as a tool to manage internal and external relationships is emphasized as it relates to the effectiveness of managing people to achieve organizational goals. Topics include planning and executing staffing strategies, developing individuals, fostering positive work environments, creating and sustaining teams, maintaining influence in the organization, managing a global workforce, managing programs for productivity improvement, and planning and managing the human side of organizational change.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6505

Fostering a Culture of Innovation

In today's complex and uncertain environment, innovation is important to achieving business success. In this course, students examine how to be effective creative leaders who can readily apply imagination to resolve complex problems. Additionally, students explore methods to establish a work environment conducive to creative thinking. Students gain a set of proven methods, skills, and strategies that enable innovative breakthroughs to occur in a much more deliberate and predictable manner.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6506

Personal Leadership: Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring requires an understanding and integration of many theories, including leadership, interaction, and communication, that support the development of effective leaders. Students in this course are helped to understand and apply skills of effective mentoring, such as active listening, learning, empowering, and enabling change. Students engage in practical exercises, such as using feedback to create interactive dialogue and asking questions to acquire a deeper understanding of mentoring and coaching processes. In consideration of modern and virtual environments, students explore the challenges of mentoring or coaching individuals in a virtual or team setting.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6507

Analysis and Communication for the Financial Professional

An essential skill for nearly all financial professionals is the ability to effectively communicate with the organization to manage internal and external relationships. The emphasis of this course is on the importance of communication in finance. The aim of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to practice using the tools required for effectual and efficient presentation of information while gaining critical-thinking, reading, and scholarly-writing skills. Students explore various written and presentational forms of communication that financial professionals use within organizational and managerial settings. Students examine techniques for developing and presenting white papers, memoranda used to communicate issues and recommendations to management, and financial and nonfinancial information. They study concepts in balanced communication coverage and how to adapt to constantly changing modes of communication, including social networking, blogging, and using professional organizations and training programs to their advantage. Through these activities, students gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the financial professional as well as the ethical methodologies required to maintain a professional obligation to the community and their clients.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6508

Information Technology in the Organization

Through a review of modern computer systems and the social and economic issues related to their use, students in this course are introduced to the conceptual foundations for designing, developing, and deploying large-scale management information systems. They investigate the role of information technology in an organization—particularly the collection, storage, and distribution of information for operations, planning, and decision making.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6509

Training and Development

The ability to manage and deliver training is an essential skill for human resource and performance improvement professionals. In this course, educators explore models, techniques, and best practices for managing and delivering training systems and modules. They focus on a range of topics, including managing the learning environment, selecting appropriate materials and assessments, and tracking learner performance and completion. Educators also explore technologies that support the planning, presenting, and managing of instructor-led and self-directed courses and training systems in face-to-face and virtual environments.

(3 sem. cr.)
COMM 6510

Managing a Sustainable Small Business

Small businesses make up a large majority of all businesses in the United States. Students in this course are presented with the fundamentals of successfully establishing a sustainable small business enterprise. They address small business organization, operation, management, and sustainability. Business topics in the areas of planning, accounting, finance, and marketing are analyzed through the lens of the small business organization. Students analyze the unique relationships between government and small businesses. Topics include how to identify what determines the status of being a small business with local, state, and federal government agencies as well as how small businesses apply sustainable practices to be profitable. Students investigate the crucial role that technology plays in managing small business operations and evaluate popular software applications for efficiently managing those functions.

(3 sem. cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition 30 total semester credit hours $820 per semester hour $24,600
Technology Fee Per semester $210 $1,050


TOTAL $25,650


Transfer up to 15 credits $12,720


Total with Maximum Transfer Credits† $12,930

The tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 to $1,400.

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time.

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost or a 10% tuition reduction for the life of the program if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 2, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admissions Requirements

Program Requirements: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the master’s in communication program will be able to:

  • Critically analyze media from producer and consumer perspectives
  • Apply communication theories and principles effectively
  • Use appropriate traditional and digital media to attain desired results
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how the regulatory environment impacts the communication field
  • Evaluate communication plans and activities
  • Implement communication plans and activities that will result in achievement of organizational goals
  • Practice ethically in the field of communication
  • Communicate professionally with stakeholders
  • Use the creative process to solve organizational issues

Career Impact

Skills That Are in Demand

In an increasingly digital, social, and mobile marketplace, professionals with high-level communication skills are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following areas will experience above-average growth in the decade ending in 2020:1

  • Public relations (+23%)
  • Advertising, promotions, and marketing management (+14%)
  • Technical writing (+17%)

A Versatile and Relevant Degree

Earning an MS in Communication from Walden can prepare you to advance your career in a variety of challenging and rewarding fields, including:

  • Corporate communications
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Media management
  • Nonprofit communication management
  • Employee relations
  • Copywriting
  • Editing/reporting
  • Social media
  • Training development
  • Lobbying
  • Speechwriting
  • Organizational development

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.


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