Answer: Yes, there are master’s in digital communication programs, as well as master’s in communication programs in other specializations that include courses in communication technologies and how to engage with and utilize digital communication. Master’s in digital communication programs and many master’s in communication programs with concentrations in information or media technology, digital media management, mass communication, and/or strategic communication provide students with the skills to use a wide variety of communication technologies in the development and management of an organization’s digital communication plans, and to understand the impact of digital communication technologies on society.
Master’s in digital communication programs are defined as programs that teach students about different types of digital media and how to use them to accomplish certain goals, such as the promotion of a company’s product or service, the publication of news for various journalism outlets, the design and delivery of private or public broadcasting, the management of various social media platforms, and the education of communities through targeted digital campaigns. Some master’s in digital communication programs may also allow students to have a more research or pedagogy-oriented focus, where they study mass media technologies and how they have changed the way people receive and interpret information.
Currently, MastersinCommunications.com categorizes digital communication programs under Master’s in Mass Communication programs, as mass communication programs typically include coursework in digital communication and new media, making it difficult to clearly separate the programs into different categories. Master’s in mass communication programs generally prepare students to engage with a wide variety of mass media as journalists, social media specialists, digital content strategists, mass media researchers, and other roles that focus on using digital media to reach broad audiences or to investigate the sociological implications of developments in communication technologies.
Online Master’s in Digital Communication Programs
While there are online master’s in digital communication programs, it is more common for programs that emphasize digital media technologies to fall under the category of mass communication programs, many of which offer specializations in areas such as new and emerging media, digital media, digital communication(s), social media, or digital strategies, to name a few.
These programs tend to have foundational curricula in communication theories and research methods that are then applied to mass communication contexts. For example, students of these programs may learn the theories of human communication and how new media technologies have changed the way people receive, interpret, and send information. After providing this foundation, master’s in mass communication programs may have electives in areas such as digital broadcasting, digital media strategies, media advocacy, user experience, cross-platform storytelling, global communication, media management, multimedia strategy, broadcasting, and data analytics. Other programs may focus more on how mass communication principles and new media technologies can be used in communication strategies for different organizations.
Examples of Online Master’s in Digital Communication Programs
The following schools offer online programs in digital communication. For a more complete list of programs, visit our online Master’s in Mass Communication programs page, which includes programs with specializations in digital communication.
- Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Digital Communication provides students with a strong foundation in the social science of communication, as well as advanced industry skills in and knowledge of digital communication and its use in organizational strategy. Students take core courses in research and writing methods before progressing to classes in such areas as persuasion, the digital age, behavior change through communication, digital political strategy, health literacy, social media management, and public relations in the digital era.
- Gonzaga University’s Master of Arts in Communication with a focus on Digital Media Strategies empowers students with knowledge of different digital communication platforms, as well as creative skills in digital media messaging. Students take classes in digital storytelling, media literacy, and media analytics, along with electives in areas such as organizational communication, global communication, community development, and strategic communication.
- Rutgers University’s Master of Communication and Media with a focus on Digital Media provides journalists and other communication professionals with advanced training in digital media management and its applications in advocacy, news and broadcasting, marketing, and globalization. Students take classes in media law, marketing communications, digital advocacy and persuasion, and media and social change.
- Queens University’s Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Integrated Digital Strategy allows students to develop expertise in creating and implementing digital communication plans, optimizing readers’ digital content experience, and building strategic messaging for national and global audiences. Students take classes in message construction, mindful communication, strategic communication for global audiences, creativity and networks, and organizational identities and branding.
- The University of North Carolina’s Master of Arts in Digital Communication prepares students to assume leadership positions in communication by teaching them the latest developments in media and communication and how to leverage these advancements in a variety of industries. Students learn how to write for digital media, as well as the research methods that are relevant to communication professionals. Students also take classes in data analytics and their use in the formation and evaluation of communication strategies, digital media economics, information visualization, and multimedia design.
- Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares students to plan, implement, and optimize public relations communications and organizational communication for corporations, small businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and international advocacy groups. Through courses in public relations writing, communications research, digital analytics, change management, public affairs campaigns, branding, and project management, this program prepares students to use new media and digital storytelling to effect social, political, and/or organizational change.
- Asbury University’s Master of Arts in Communication: Digital Storytelling is founded on the idea that storytelling is central to all aspects of society, from business and entrepreneurship to journalism, ministry, and social service and advocacy. The curriculum for this program combines courses in narrative persuasion, industry-specific storytelling (ex. sports writing, screenwriting, media in ministry, etc.), digital/television/audio production, and design to teach students how to use compelling storytelling to achieve a variety of organizational, social, and political goals.
As the program descriptions above illustrate, master’s in digital communication programs can vary in terms of course offerings, concentrations, and the types of careers they prepare students for. As a result, students interested in studying digital communication (or mass communication) should research programs thoroughly to ensure that the required and elective courses meet their educational and professional goals.
Example Curriculum and Courses in Online Master’s in Digital Communication Programs
Below is a sample curriculum for an online master’s in digital communication program. Students should note that programs vary in the content, sequencing, and specific titles of their courses. The curriculum provided below should therefore only be used as an example.
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(Potential Capstone Options)
Students interested in online master’s in digital communication programs can visit our online Master’s in Mass Communication programs page for a comprehensive list of programs. In addition, students can find all campus, hybrid and online programs on our Master’s in Mass Communication, and Media and Digital Media Communication programs specialization page. This page also includes information on the common types of master’s in mass communication and digital media concentrations, as well as detailed descriptions of the courses students can expect to take in these programs.
Note: Students may also find that master’s in corporate communication, organizational communication, strategic communication, and marketing or public relations programs offer coursework in digital communication that train students to incorporate digital technology into their communication strategies; however, these programs tend to offer fewer courses in digital communication compared to master’s in mass communication programs.