Answer: Global or international communication is the development and sharing of information, through verbal and non-verbal messages, in international settings and contexts. It is a broad field that incorporates multiple disciplines of communication, including intercultural, political, health, media, crisis, social advocacy, and integrated marketing communications, to name just a few. Individuals with a degree in global communication might find employment in advertising and marketing, public relations, international journalism, foreign service, politics and lobbying, publishing, online media, entertainment, or any other industry with an international focus.
The study of global communication examines how information is exchanged across geographical and social divides, as well as how communication both impacts and is influenced by culture, politics, media, economies, health, and relationships in the age of globalization. Its strategies and practices allow marketers and creative directors, public relations specialists, political consultants, market researchers, journalists, non-profit leaders, and other professionals in foreign or international industries to develop and share messages that reach audiences across borders, whether to resonate politically, help sell a product, or expose illegal labor practices. Global communication can take various forms, including global advertisements, political speeches, journalistic news stories, social media posts, press releases, books and traditional print publications, and more.
Additionally, global communication is a broad area of research within academia. Scholars in the field consider the dynamic relationship between globalization and rhetoric, studying how information flows via cultural exchange, and how culture, society, economies, and politics are being influenced by an emerging global media (e.g. digital technology, social media). For example, global communication scholars might explore how transnational academic partnerships impact learning outcomes in African countries, study patterns of feminism in international advertising in the 1960s and 1970s, or examine how strategic communication practices via social media platforms are reshaping environmental activism in Asia. Researchers might also conduct a discourse analysis of communication practices in a global public health crisis.
Master’s in Global and International Communication Programs
Master’s degree programs in global communication introduce students to the foundational principles and theories behind international communication, as well as how cultural differences impact the creation and dissemination of global messaging across various media. These graduate programs provide students with an understanding of globalization and emerging media, offering insights into how global media systems, processes, and platforms function. Students can expect to develop familiarity with communications theory, along with professional competencies in research methods (e.g. qualitative and quantitative), communication methods (e.g. audience-based writing, visual design), data analysis and visualization, international advertising techniques, online and social media practices, and content creation (e.g. video, press releases).
The curriculum in a global communication master’s program generally covers subjects throughout international, intercultural, and global communication, such as telecommunications policy, media and foreign policy, international communication systems, globalization and the media, cultural studies, intercultural communication, global market management, crisis communication, international advertising, international negotiation, public diplomacy, and more. Some programs emphasize professional skill development and international communication practices, while others focus more on theoretical- and research-based instruction in global communication, preparing students to further their studies at the doctoral level. In these programs, graduate students might, for example, examine how online political activism is reshaping political processes in China, explore gender and communication networks among migrant women in Mexico, study the role of internal communications within multinational corporations, or consider how race influences marketing practices in foreign countries.
For additional information about master’s in global and international communication programs, including sample class plans and degree requirements, please refer to our Master’s in Global Communication Programs page.
Skills for Graduates with a Master’s in Global Communication
Below is a list of skills students can expect to strengthen or build while pursuing a master’s degree in global communication:
|Cross-cultural communication||Critical and creative thinking|
|Research and data analysis||Adaptation and innovation|
|Collaboration and teamwork||Public relations|
|Group and interpersonal communication||Public speaking and listening|
|Constructive writing and presentation|
Careers in Global Communication
A degree in global communication can help prepare graduates to pursue careers throughout international settings, in fields such as brand management and advertising, public relations, journalism, politics, government, trade and commerce, education, financial services, and more. Individuals with a graduate degree in the field might pursue careers with political lobbying firms, brokerage houses or banks, non-profits or government agencies, social advocacy organizations, newspapers or publishers, universities, public relations groups, or other employers that have transnational interests. Those who choose to continue their studies at the doctoral level might become scholars or researchers within academia and further study in the field, helping generate new knowledge of communication theory and international communication practices.
Below are several examples of potential career paths available to graduates with a master’s degree in global or international communication:
- Professor: Tenure-track professors work at four-year institutions of higher learning, conducting original research on issues in global communication. They also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the field, mentor students, participate in service leadership on campus, attend conferences, and write scholarly articles for publication in industry journals.
- Communication Director: Communication directors manage international communications, foreign relations, and media contacts for corporations, and may also oversee marketing campaigns. Their duties typically include monitoring and maintaining a company’s global image, developing partnerships with other transnational corporations, fostering positive relationships, and supervising junior public relations and communications teams.
- Marketing Specialist: Marketing specialists who are experts in global communication work at corporations that wish to increase their consumer base beyond U.S. audiences. These professionals leverage an understanding of international cultural behaviors and contexts to develop targeted media and marketing campaigns that engage consumers, enhance a company’s brand, and sell products or services. To achieve these goals, they use consumer and industry data to analyze marketing patterns to isolate effective marketing approaches.
- Non-Profit Public Relations Specialist: Public relations specialists who work for non-profit organizations engage in a variety of media initiatives that spread awareness of global or intercultural issues, assist marginalized populations, and/or raise support for public service programs. They also work to maintain their organization’s brand or identity through web content, educational brochures, public outreach events, and other measures. Depending on their non-profit’s mission, typical responsibilities for these professionals may include community outreach and education on issues of diversity, fundraising campaigns for humanitarian efforts overseas, or social media plans that tap into existing online communities to expand their organization’s member base.
- Journalist: Journalists who specialize in international affairs investigate, research, and create content on localized issues in foreign countries, as well as transnational issues that affect or involve multiple countries. In many cases, they work to spread awareness of problems such as racial discrimination, educational inequality, political oppression, humanitarian aid, or global environmental issues.