Fitchburg State University’s Department of Graduate and Continuing Education offers an online Master of Science in Applied Communication. This program has an online-specific concentration in Social Media, and requires no campus visits, enabling students to complete their degree entirely online. The M.S. in Applied Communication features courses on social media theory and practice, the effective design of social media content for various types of organizations, the elements of an effective social media campaign, and the qualitative and quantitative research methods that can be used to empower social media professionals to better reach their target audiences.

The Master of Science in Applied Communication is composed of 36 semester course credits, which students typically complete over the course of two years (though students can also pursue a part-time course of study and spread their courses out over up to six years of enrollment). Classes span seven weeks, and students often take two to three courses per semester, for a total of 12 courses. This program prepares students for advanced roles in social media management, marketing direction, media relations management, public relations leadership, and brand innovation and management.

Students of this program take five core courses (for a total of 15 core course credits): Communication Ethics, Visual Communication and Design, Qualitative Research Methods, Quantitative Research Methods, and Intercultural Communication Competence. Following this sequence, students embark on their concentration courses, which include Social Media Theory, New and Emerging Media, Social Media Marketing, Data and Analytics, Social Mobilities, and Integrated Social Media. Through these courses, students gain a comprehensive view of the role that social media plays in marketing, public relations, organizational leadership, and the defining and refinement of an organization’s public brand, mission statement, and identity.

The program culminates in a final Capstone course wherein students synthesize all that they have learned in their classes to create a project that seeks to solve a communication issue within an organization, community, or network of communities. The primary criterion for this project is that it is experiential and highly applied in nature. Students discuss their capstone project with instructors and peers in the online seminar environment of the course.

Fitchburg State University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Online Master of Science in Applied Communication

Department: Graduate and Continuing Education
Specializations/Concentrations: Concentration in Social Media
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years, but students have up to 6 years to finish the program
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission (rolling admission)

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone applied project
Credits Required: 36 credits (12 courses)
Example Courses: Visual Communication and Design; lntercultural Communication Competence; Social Media Theories; New and Emerging Media; Social Mobilities; Integrated Social Media; Social Media Marketing; Data and Analytics

Application Requirements
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree; professional resume; three letters of recommendation

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$13,572 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $377 per credit

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It does not include fees or other expenses.