About Basilio G. Monteiro, Ph.D.: Basilio G. Monteiro is the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for the Department of Mass Communication at St. John’s University, where he also serves as the Director for the Master of Science in International Communication program. As the Associate Dean, Dr. Monteiro oversees new curriculum developments and graduate program offerings, supports faculty and their interdisciplinary research, and manages recruitment and admissions. He also teaches courses in Media, Communication and Public Diplomacy, Media Communication and Human Rights, Media Communication and Peacebuilding.
His academic interests have continuously evolved from doing ethnographic studies on the impact of media technology on human communication, to theology of communication, international communication and development, and public policy, public diplomacy. His work in these areas led to the development of the Master of Science in International Communication as an intersection of international relations and political economy of media. His current research interests are in the areas of ethics and Artificial Intelligence, ethics at the intersection of international rule of law, globalized economy and cultural rights.
Dr. Monteiro earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in India before coming to the United States to pursue his Master of Arts in Public Communication from Fordham University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology of Communication from The Union Institute and University.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of St. John’s University’s Master of Science in International Communication program, and how it is structured? What topics are covered in the core curriculum, and how can students tailor their program of study in their electives?
[Dr. Monteiro] The Master of Science in International Communication is designed to highlight the centrality of communication in political economy and international relations; thus, in the core courses, students learn the theory and processes of communication at the micro and macro levels. Students have an opportunity to develop expertise in areas of communication and development, which is closely tied to UN Sustainable Development Goals; they can also specialize in transnational advocacy campaigns, public diplomacy and peacebuilding.
Media as a delivery system and communication as process of constructing meaning are at the heart of human development, which shapes economic, political and material development. Communication for development is a broad cognitive field of enormous international, national and regional interest attracting attention as a special field of study by students and researchers across disciplines. New media and communication convergence are reshaping the ways in which communication can be used in development infusing renewed interest in the field as a subject of serious academics.
Structurally, this program is designed to accommodate full time working students, hence all the classes meet at 7 PM and a couple on-line.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Students of St. John’s University’s Master of Science in International Communication can choose to complete a thesis or an internship. May we have more details on both of these options, and what they entail?
[Dr. Monteiro] Both the thesis and the internship are optional. Most of our students are employed full time. Some of the most recent theses are related to communication and climate change, social media and fabrication of trust through fake intimacy, etc.
Those students who opt to do thesis work with a professor of their choice as their mentor for two consecutive semesters. Internships are closely monitored, and we make sure that internship placements are in international or transnational organizations, which are abound in NY City. We also make sure that the internships assignment is at a higher level, preferably at the executive level, within the organization; as a culmination of the internship experience students submit an evaluative essay. Students find their preferred internship placements, which are approved by the Director of the program, and sometimes faculty help to find the placements. Since internships and thesis are electives, students have a choice; however, those who choose the thesis must do so in consultation with the program Director.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in St. John’s University’s Master of Science in International Communication? How can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems?
[Dr. Monteiro] One of the characteristic features is faculty mentorship of the students. Besides teaching, faculty engage the students in collaborative research and national and international conference presentations. NY City being the capital of international organization, principally the United Nations and all its related organizations, our students accompany the faculty to various workshops/conferences, etc. Semester graduate symposia are very helpful to engage in mentorship. The graduates of this program are connected through social media, and always willing to help their junior colleagues.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes St. John’s University’s Master of Science in International Communication program unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students? How does the program prepare students particularly well for a variety of careers in international communication, global development, political communication, and other fields?
[Dr. Monteiro] As indicated earlier, right from the beginning of the program, in the Orientation session, the students are impressed upon the importance of building a sense of community among themselves for the purposes of collective learning and professional development, because these productive relationships will last a lifetime. Students come to this program from a variety of academic backgrounds such as engineering, architecture, chemistry, government and politics, law, English literature, anthropology, sociology, and the usual communication studies background, which makes the class discussions very rich and vibrant; besides, we have a healthy mix of international students, with diverse and rich intellectual backgrounds.
We encourage our students to participate in international conferences as an investment in their professional development, global networking, and exposure to international professional platforms. Our faculty collaborate with their students in developing scholarly papers for conference presentations. St. John’s University encourages and values these kinds of faculty-student collaborations. Some of our faculty have introduced design thinking, design factory, and case studies in their pedagogical approach in a number of our courses. Our graduates have found professions in all sectors: corporate, federal, state and local governments, national and international organizations; some have gone on to study law and/or embark in doctoral studies.
[MastersinCommunications.com] For students interested in St. John’s University’s Master of Science in International Communication program, what advice do you have in terms of submitting a competitive application?
[Dr. Monteiro] Students interested in applying for the M.S. in International Communication must demonstrate intellectual curiosity and a disposition for an open mind to understand the complex world in which we live. A good record of grades, which demonstrates ability to study complex ideas at a fast pace, is always helpful. Recommendation letters from their respective professors are helpful because they reflect students’ intellectual ability. The personal statement is an opportunity for the prospective students to reflect on their strengths and aspirations, and how they would like to chart their future.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Students of master’s in communication programs often must balance work, internships, coursework, and rigorous research projects. What advice do you have for students in terms of successfully navigating their graduate school experience, and making the most of the opportunities presented to them?
[Dr. Monteiro] Life of a graduate student is hectic. In a playful way, I tell my students that they have to put their life on hold while they do their graduate studies. I try to underscore the point that they must find a way of doing what needs to be done. There is no one-fits-all program; each one must find his/her way of doing what must be done. One of the important advices I give my students at the beginning of the program, is to connect with a professor, not only for the purposes of a particular course, but as a long term mentor, to discuss larger issues of the subject/discipline, how it impacts the world and the personal lives, etc. Professors, in general, enjoy mentoring students. Professors are the best resources.
Thank you, Dr. Monteiro, for your excellent insight into St. John’s University’s Master of Science in International Communication program!