Answer: Yes, there are currently 46 online master’s in organizational communication programs offered at schools throughout the United States.
Organizational communication is defined as all the communications within an organization–such as a company, a non-profit organization, a government agency, etc.–that further the goals of this organization and enable people to collaborate effectively. Organizational communication encompasses corporate and non-profit leadership rhetoric, internal messaging around an organization’s identity and mission, human resources and employee training communications, media relations, negotiation and conflict management, and methods for facilitating effective communication in intercultural and interpersonal settings. In addition, organizational communication involves studying and understanding how groups organize and how information flows within small, medium, and large organizations.
Online master’s in organizational communication programs prepare students to engage in organizational leadership, managerial communication, human resources communication and employee development, leadership consulting, public and media relations management, and organizational campaign strategies. Students of these programs learn how to use effective written, multimedia, and interpersonal communication to navigate organizational settings and influence colleagues, clients, leaders, and stakeholders. They also learn the theories of human communication in organizational settings, and to understand how rhetoric impacts social organization and change.
After graduating, students of master’s in organizational communication programs may find work as communication consultants, communication directors, department administrators, project managers, and human resources managers, as well as in roles that require an understanding of how people communicate individually, in small groups, and within organizations and larger communities. In addition, graduates may also continue their studies at the doctoral level and conduct research to enhance our understanding of how humans communicate in organizational settings. Some master’s programs are specifically designed to prepare students for Ph.D. programs and careers in academia.
Graduates of online master’s in organizational communication programs can also combine their advanced training in organizational communication with their experience in a different area, such as healthcare or public health, politics, social service, or environmental work, in order to mobilize people, develop communication systems, and promote more effective campaigns and workflows within an organization.
|Featured Online Master's in Organizational and Corporate Communication|
|Johns Hopkins University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Corporate and Non-Profit Communication||Program Website|
|Queens University of Charlotte||Online Master of Arts in Communication with Specializations in Organizational Communication and Strategic Communication||Program Website|
|Syracuse University||Online M.S. in Communications Management||Program Website|
|Georgetown University||Online Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications||Program Website|
|Arizona State University||Online Master of Arts in Communication (Organizational/Workplace Communication)||Program Website|
|West Virginia University||Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications with a Specialization in Management||Program Website|
|Drake University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Track in Communication Leadership||Program Website|
|Concordia University, Saint Paul||Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management||Program Website|
The Study of Organizational Communication: Social Sciences versus Applied Skill Development
Online master’s in organizational communication programs typically emphasize business or corporate communications; however, some programs focus more on the study of how small, medium and large organizations form and function, and how humans interact within these different settings. These social scientific research programs are designed to prepare students for doctoral studies in the field of communication. Students interested in studying the social science aspects of organizational communication should research online programs carefully to see if they provide theoretical coursework in organizational communication and the option to complete a thesis, which can be helpful when applying to Ph.D. programs. Conversely, some online programs are specifically focused on corporate and business communication, and applied skill development.
Corporate communication is a subset of organizational communication, in that it concerns the communication strategies and principles that support business development and productive communications within corporate settings specifically. These programs teach students how to use the theories and methodologies developed by researchers in the fields of organizational, interpersonal, and intercultural communication to inform their communication strategies in a variety of business situations. While these programs may still teach students about theories and research methodologies used in organizational communication, it is usually within the context of how to further promote a business or organization. These programs typically focus on applied skill development and require students to complete a professional project as opposed to a master’s thesis. For more information on corporate communication programs, please see our Online Master’s in Corporate and Business Communication FAQ.
Finally, there are online programs that offer courses that emphasize theory and those that focus on applied skill development, so that students can customize their degree program based on their personal and professional goals. Students of these programs can even choose a path that straddles the line between industry applications and advanced theoretical research. These programs may be ideal for students who are interested in pursuing a master’s in organizational communication, but who have not yet decided between pursuing a Ph.D. or a professional career post-graduation. They are also a good option for students who wish to bring a more research-focused skills set to a career that involves organizational communication, such as a communication consultant or specialist who develops corporate communication best practices.
Examples of Online Master’s in Organizational Communication Programs
There are currently 46 online master’s in organizational communication programs (including corporate communication programs) in the United States. Below are brief descriptions of several of these programs:
- The University of Alabama’s Department of Communication Studies offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership that includes courses in negotiation and conflict management, group leadership, organizational communication theories and principles, gender politics and communication, relational communication, technology and culture in human communication, and qualitative and quantitative research methods.
- Murray State University’s Department of Organizational Communication offers an Online Master’s in Organizational Communication that prepares students for managerial communication, team-building, and organizational leadership through classes in instructional communication, the philosophy of organizational communication, interpersonal communication in workplace settings, conflict resolution, and organizational communication research.
- Sam Houston State University’s Department of Communication Studies offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies with an area of study in Organizational Communication. This program has required classes in statistical methods for communication, communication research, interpersonal and family communication, advanced communication theory, conflict negotiation and resolution, intercultural communication, professional communication development, human communication in virtual organizations, and small group communication.
- Gonzaga University’s Graduate School of Professional Studies offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies with a concentration in Strategic and Organizational Communication. This program includes courses in communication theory, communication leadership and ethics, international and intercultural communication, interpersonal and group communication, strategic corporate communication, communication consulting and employee training, and the social dynamics of communicating with technology.
- West Virginia University’s Department of Communication Studies offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Corporate and Organizational Communication that includes courses in communication within the organization, organizational research and assessment, organizational culture, conflict management in organizational settings, media management, communication campaigns, workplace diversity, leadership, and case studies in organizational communication.
Online master’s in organizational communication programs often employ both asynchronous and synchronous course elements so that students can have flexibility in completing much of their course modules, yet still benefit from interactions with course peers and faculty. In addition to classes, most online master’s in organizational communication programs require students to complete a capstone in the form of a thesis or applied project that investigates a research question in organizational communication, or involves developing a practical solution to an organizational communication challenge. Some of these programs may also include a required internship in an organizational setting, and/or a comprehensive examination.
Example Curriculum and Courses in Online Master’s in Organizational Communication Programs
Below is a sample curriculum for an online master’s in organizational communication program. As programs in this field can vary in the content, course sequencing, and specific titles of their classes, the curriculum below should be used as an example for informational purposes only.
|Curriculum Component||Course Titles and Graduation Requirement Descriptions|
(Potential Capstone Options)
For a comprehensive list of campus-based, online, and hybrid master’s in organizational communication programs, as well as program details, please refer to our Master’s in Organizational Communication Programs page.
Note: MastersinCommunications.com classifies programs based on their actual curriculum, including core and elective courses. For the purposes of our directories, we classify a master’s in organizational communication program as one that has a clear specialization in organizational communication, and/or which offers at least three to four courses that are relevant to the field. Such courses may cover concepts in human resources communication, organizational leadership, public and media relations, strategic communication, interpersonal communication, and workplace issues such as diversity. Finally, in order to be classified as an online program, a program must deliver most or all of its course content online, require two or fewer campus visits annually, and allow students to complete their graduation requirements (such as a master’s thesis project) remotely.
Directory of Online Master’s in Organizational Communication Programs
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Arizona State University(Arizona)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication (Organizational/Workplace Communication)
Learn more about the online MA in Communication program - visit asuonline.asu.edu
Austin Peay State University(Tennessee)
- Online Master of Arts in Business and Professional Communication with Concentrations in Business, Computer Information Systems, Executive Coaching, Human Resource Management, Project Management, and Transnational and Cross-Cultural Communication Interview with Kate Joeckel, Ph.D. - Bellevue University
Central Connecticut State University(Connecticut)
Concordia University, Saint Paul(Minnesota)
Eastern Illinois University(Illinois)
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania(Pennsylvania)
Georgetown University(District of Columbia)
- Online Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications Interview with Cylor Spaulding, Ph.D. - Georgetown University
Learn more about the online Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications program - visit scs.georgetown.edu
Johns Hopkins University(District of Columbia)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Corporate and Non-Profit Communication Interview with Taylor Hahn, Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
Learn more about the online MA in Communication program - visit advanced.jhu.edu
- Online Master’s in Strategic Communication and Leadership (Organizational) Interview with Leilani Carver-Madalon, Ph.D. - Maryville University
Learn more about the online Master's in Strategic Communication and Leadership program - visit online.maryville.edu
Minnesota State University, Mankato(Minnesota)
Missouri State University(Missouri)
Morehead State University(Kentucky)
Murray State University(Kentucky)
New Jersey Institute of Technology(New Jersey)
Queens University of Charlotte(North Carolina)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Specialization in Organizational Communication Interview with John A. McArthur, Ph.D. - Queens University of Charlotte Interview with Zachary White, Ph.D. - Queens University of Charlotte
Learn more about the online MA in Communication program - visit online.queens.edu
Rider University(New Jersey)
Rutgers University(New Jersey)
Southern Utah University(Utah)
State University of New York at Oswego(New York)
Syracuse University(New York)
- Online M.S. in Communications Management
Learn more about the online M.S. in Communications Management program - visit onlinegrad.syracuse.edu