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Areas of Emphasis

In the School of Communication Studies, students can customize their degree program to meet their professional or academic goals. All students in the Master of Arts in Communication Studies program complete foundational coursework and a capstone experience (thesis, research project, internship or coursework-only).
The school offers four areas of emphasis: Global Communication, Mediated and Mass Communication, Health Communication and Interpersonal Communication.

Global Communication

"While globalization is often thought of in economic frames, it truly is a communication phenomenonspurred by the pervasiveness of the Internet and the growth in mobile communication technologies." -Paul Haridakis, Director of the School of Communication Studies

The M.A. in Global Communication features five areas of emphasis, which allow students to examine both traditional and new media systems and organizations, intercultural interactions and message and information flows across the world.

Emphasis Areas:

  • Global Media and Communication          
  • Global Politics and Governmental Relationships
  • Global Health, Risk and Interaction
  • Global Business and Inter-organizational Networks
  • Global Civil Society, NGOs and Social Movements

Students must also fulfill a Global Experience requirement, which can be a study abroad course or an internship with global reach.

Elective courses from other schools in the College of Communication and Information and from disciplines outside the college, including anthropology, business, economics, education, geography, political science and sociology, may complement Communication Studies courses.

Students who are interested in a particular area of the world should combine the global communication M.A. degree with the appropriate preparation in languages and focused research.

Graduates with this emphasis pursue careers in a wide variety of locations and fields such as multicultural management, international health campaigns, multinational corporate negotiations, communication management in diplomatic settings, social movement, media coordination, corporate or governmental documents translation, cross-cultural technical communication and training as well as leadership within any sector confronting current global challenges.

Global Communication Curriculum Checklist PDF

Health Communication

"After studying this field for two years and now being in the health care industry, I definitely realize the importance of competent and effective health care communication. Effective and competent communication between the patient and the provider remains necessary and a highly important factor to patient satisfaction and overall quality of care." - M.A. alumna Maria Fazio

The study of health communication addresses issues that include:

  • How healthcare providers communicate with their patients;
  • How patients can be empowered in interactions with healthcare providers;
  • How media messages can affect understandings of risk, health, illness and disease;
  • How everyday conversations influence health and risk behavior;
  • How traditional and new media are used in health promotion and education;
  • and How to design effective messages to reduce risk, prevent disease and promote health.

Courses in this area of emphasis include Interpersonal Communication and Health, Health Communication and New Media, Health Communication and Media Effects and Health Communication Literacy.

Health Communication Curriculum Checklist PDF

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication majors assess verbal and nonverbal messages, interpret diverse meaning, produce culturally sensitive messages and evaluate intended and unintended effects of messages using new communication technologies.

A focus in this area of emphasis allows students to study family and intergroup communication, communication and cognition and both personal and mediated communication.

After more than 30 years, interpersonal communication is one of the longest-standing areas of emphasis in the School of Communication Studies.

Interpersonal Communication Curriculum Checklist PDF

Mediated and Mass Communication

The study of mediated and mass communication examines a wide range of media uses and effects, including the use of media for mass, interpersonal, organizational and group communication. This emphasis addresses various communication tactics used by individuals, organizations and government to reach and influence the public.

Coursework introduces students to theory and practice related to persuasive communication and the analysis of media processes, uses and effects (e.g., the impact of violence and sex in the media or the impact of the media on the political process).

Communication and information-related occupations have shown significant growth. Graduates may choose careers in media promotions, public relations, political campaigns or lobbying, social media management, advertising, community outreach, media campaign development, media consulting, motivational speaking, market and audience research, public affairs, strategic message design, corporate communication and more.

Mediated and Mass Communication Curriculum Checklist PDF

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