About Dr. John H. Parmelee, PhD: John Parmelee is the Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of North Florida, where he also serves as a Professor who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in journalism, political advertising, media theory and media research. His research area for more than a decade has been how communication technologies such as Twitter and multimedia content impact political communication and outcomes. His political communication research also contributes to the field of mixed-methods research designs.

Dr. Parmelee’s newest book, Politics and the Twitter Revolution, explores how Twitter is influencing governing and campaigning. Previously, he wrote and published research articles on how videotapes, DVDs, and content on the web is used to both shape and evaluate political information and views. In addition, he is the author of Meet the Candidate Videos. He has published his research articles in Political Communication, New Media & Society, Journalism Studies, Newspaper Research Journal, Electronic News, Communication Studies, Communication Quarterly, Telematics and Informatics, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, and the Journal of Media Practice.

Interview Questions

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of the University of North Florida’s (UNF) Master of Science in Communication Management program, and how it is structured? What topics are covered in the core curriculum, and what are the key learning outcomes students can expect from this program?

[Dr. John Parmelee] The M.S. in Communication Management focuses on management and leadership aspects of the communication industry. Students will learn media management, strategy, metrics, economics and ethical/legal issues related to communication. All students will take the following courses:

MMC 6256 – Foundations of Communication Management
MMC 6006 – Strategic Communication Theory
MMC 6426 – Qualitative Research Methods in Mass Communication
MMC 6421 – Quantitative Research Methods in Mass Communication
MMC 6206 – Ethics in Communication Management

Students will also choose one elective course in the department from a variety of offerings, such as social media, interpersonal communication, or political advertising.

In addition, students will choose from one of five outside concentrations within several departments and colleges at the University. These concentrations include business, public health, leadership, nonprofit, and public management. Students will take four courses in one of the concentrations. This allows students to customize their degree to their needs.

Finally, students will complete a thesis or an applied research project.

[MastersinCommunications.com] Students of UNF’s Master of Science in Communication Management program have a choice between completing a thesis or an applied research project for their final graduation requirement. Could you please elaborate on each of these options? What are the required deliverables for each, and what steps must students take to complete them?

[Dr. John Parmelee] Both options involve creating research questions, gathering data, doing analysis, writing up findings, and presenting to the thesis/project committee. The main difference between an academic communication management-related thesis and a professional communication-related research project is the purpose of the research. The thesis will expand what is known about a communication theory, while the project will attempt to solve a problem facing a communication company. For example, a thesis might examine how communication managers are portrayed in mass media to look for any distortions or stereotypes. A professional project might explore how the advertising agency that a student works for can make their annual evaluation process more constructive. In both examples, the structure and length of the paper would be similar.

In both options, the student is under the supervision of a faculty advisor and committee. Students will take the thesis/applied research project course twice: once early in their time here and again just before graduation. At the end, students present their findings to their committee.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in UNF’s Master of Science in Communication Management program, and how can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems? Additionally, what career development resources and academic services are available to students of this program?

[Dr. John Parmelee] Faculty work closely with students inside and outside the classroom. Students can also participate in the department’s professional mentorship program, which includes communication managers in advertising, public relations, journalism, and production. Students can ask mentors for advice and career guidance. Also, every spring the department holds an internship and job fair focused on the communication industry. Students also connect with the communication industry every fall during Media Week, which is the Department of Communication’s tradition of bringing in professionals from advertising, public relations, journalism and production to interact with students during panel discussions and over lunch.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice do you have for prospective students in terms of submitting a competitive application for the Master of Science in Communication Management program?

[Dr. John Parmelee] The good news is we don’t require GRE score. We are looking for applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all work attempted in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study. If it’s much lower than our usual standard of 3.0, applicants will need to provide additional evidence that they are ready for graduate school. The additional evidence is their choice of one of the following: either a GRE score of at least 153 verbal, 144 quantitative or a GMAT minimum 500 total score.

Applicants should submit the following:

  • Official transcripts from all attended colleges or universities
  • Resume (which includes contact information for at least two references)
  • Letter of intent that speaks to the applicant’s background/goals and specifies which of the 5 concentrations (business, nonprofit management, public management, leadership or public health) he/she wants to select.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes UNF’s Master of Science in Communication Management unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students?

[Dr. John Parmelee] The 36-credit degree is the result of an innovative and collaborative approach among the Department of Communication and other departments and colleges within the University. This allows students to customize the coursework to fit their specific needs.

UNF is currently the only school in the state to offer a master’s degree that has communication management as the primary focus. The degree is also designed for those who work full time. Classes are offered in the evenings and some are offered online.

The M.S. in communication management can help students get management-level jobs at public relations firms, advertising agencies, media outlets and production companies. Graduates can also find employment in leadership positions at government agencies, healthcare companies and corporate communication departments. In addition, the master’s program prepares students for doctoral programs if they want to further their education.

For more information, students can visit the Master of Science in Communication Management website.

Thank you, Dr. Parmelee, for your insight into the University of North Florida’s Master of Science in Communication Management program!