Answer: Yes, there are currently four online master’s in political and public communication programs in the United States.
Political communication is defined as the communications that facilitate government operations, legislation, and political campaigns, as well as the communications that enable advocacy, public education, and social change. Online master’s in political communication programs prepare students to develop strategic communication plans, informational content, and other important messaging for government departments, lobbying groups and social activism organizations, political think tanks, newspapers and online news publications, and other political organizations.
Graduates of online master’s in political communication programs can work as campaign strategists, government public relations specialists, lobbyists, journalists, communications directors, and political researchers. In these roles, they inform the public about important sociopolitical issues, advance the agendas of political organizations or parties, research the impact of political communication on social progress, and manage the local, state, and national governments’ relationship with their constituents.
Examples of Online Master’s in Political Communication Programs
Currently, there are four online master’s in political communication programs in the United States. Below are brief descriptions of each of these online programs:
- Johns Hopkins University’s Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences Advanced Academics Programs offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Political Communication. This program has courses in campaign communication, crisis communication, public affairs, speech writing, and strategic political communication, and prepares students for supporting governance, election campaigns, political activism, and social change.
- The University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications offers an Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Political Communication. This program features courses in digital political campaigns, political engagement and organizing, political rapid response and crisis communication, and practical applications of political communication principles.
- Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication has an Online Master of Arts in Communication with a specialization in Public Affairs and Advocacy that prepares students to navigate communication challenges in politics, public policy, and advocacy. Students take classes in communication research and ethics, public affairs and advocacy, legislation, social responsibility in communication, communication leadership, and speechwriting.
- Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Communication, Journalism and Media Department and School of Graduate Studies offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies with an area of emphasis in Public Communication. This program includes courses in communication theory and research, issues and ethics in communication, political communication, communication and social process, persuasion and propaganda, communication technology, rhetorical theory, and mass media criticism.
- Regent University’s School of Communication & The Arts offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Political Communication. This program prepares students to understand the impact of political communication and the media in shaping public opinion, legislation, and social systems. Students take classes in media and social influence, American politics, economic policy, international relations policy, Christian foundations in government, healthcare policy, narrative and popular culture and perspectives, and media research.
Online master’s in political communication programs are generally more flexible than campus-based programs, and often employ a combination of asynchronous and synchronous course elements so that students benefit from interactions with instructors while also having the option of completing some course modules on their own time. However, online programs are just as intensive as campus programs in terms of course content and the effort students must apply to succeed in their studies. In addition to course requirements, most online master’s in political communication programs require students to complete a master’s thesis or a capstone project that either examines or seeks to solve a political communication challenge. Some of these programs may also require students to pass a comprehensive exam or complete a practicum experience.
Example Curriculum and Courses in Online Master’s in Political Communication Programs
Below is a sample curriculum for an online master’s in political communication program. As programs vary in the specific titling, content, and sequencing of their courses, the curriculum provided below should only serve as an example.
|Curriculum Component||Course Titles and Graduation Requirement Descriptions|
(Potential Capstone Options)
For a comprehensive list of campus-based, online, and hybrid master’s in political communication programs, as well as details on the courses and curricular structure of these programs, please reference our Master’s in Political Communication Programs resource page.
Note: MastersinCommunications.com classifies programs based on their curriculum, including both core and elective courses. For a program to be classified as a master’s in political communication program in our directories, it must either have a clear specialization in political communication (or public communication), or offer at least three to four courses that are relevant to the field of political communication. Such courses cover the role of political communications in policy formation, elections, public opinion, and social systems and social change, as well as the skills and knowledge that political communication professionals must have to design strategic communications for various types of political organizations. Finally, in order to be classified as an online program, a program must deliver the majority of its course content online, allow students to complete most or all of their graduation requirements (such as comprehensive examinations or master’s thesis projects) remotely, and require two or fewer campus visits annually.
Online Master's in Political Communication Degree Programs
Johns Hopkins University(District of Columbia)
University of Florida(Florida)