Point Park University offers an online Master of Arts in Communication Technology through its School of Communication. The program, which is also offered on-campus, can be completed fully online. The university uses the Schoology learning management system (Point Park transitioned away from Blackboard in the Fall of 2018), for both its online and on-campus/hybrid courses. Through Schoology, students can access announcements, assignments, discussion boards, exams, and other course materials, and they can interact with fellow students and instructors. Finally, the platform is designed to work on multiple devices, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
The Master of Arts in Communication Technology requires 36 credits and can be completed in two- to three-years of study across 8-week course sessions. The program emphasizes advanced professional communication skills in multimedia and graphic design, integrated marketing tactics, and search engine optimization. Instructors in the program are experienced media professionals with years of expertise in how the latest communication technologies connect to classic communication theory as well as contemporary media principles and consumer needs.. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for roles such as public relations and marketing managers, media specialists, technical writers, journalists, and scholars of mass communication and communication technology. Students may select from two academic concentrations: Applied Practices and Social Media.
- Applied Practices explores the relationship between technology and society, with an emphasis on technology’s impact on visual communication, global communication and web publishing. While this concentration has career-training coursework, it is also designed for individuals that want to continue their studies at the doctorate level after finishing their master’s.
- Social Media examines how social media platforms and technology have evolved and shifted how individuals, groups, and larger communities communicate. With that lens, students in this concentration pursue in-depth training in strategic communication via social media and learn about campaign planning, management and execution.
The 36-credit curriculum is divided between core classes (12 credits), academic concentration classes (12 credits), electives (6 credits), and a thesis or professional project (6 credits). Core coursework is a four-class series that covers fundamental concepts of communication ethics, theory, practice and research. The Core Courses include: Communication Theory, Communication Law and Regulations, Media Ethics and Responsibilities, and Applied Mass Communication Research Methods. Through these courses, students obtain a foundational knowledge of classic and contemporary theories of communication; legal and ethical issues in media development, dissemination, and free speech; and how to apply social scientific research methods to investigate mass communication challenges and opportunities.
Academic concentration courses vary by track. Applied Practices students take courses in Visual Communication, Social Media, Technology Mediated Communication, and either Global Communication or Communication, Technology and Culture. Students also select two courses from Digital Photo Editing, Multimedia Production, Graphic Design II, and Web Publishing and Editing. Social Media students take four classes, including Social Media, Social Media Campaigns, Social Media Analytics and SEO, and Social Media Crisis and Strategic Communications.
In addition to concentration courses, students also take two elective courses. Students select from a set list of class options, with subjects covering a large selection of professional practice and theoretical areas of study. Sample courses include Print graphics, Advertising and PR Graphics, Freelance Communications and Consulting, Global Communication, Writing and Editing in the Journalistic Style, Professional Video Techniques, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Sports Media and Marketing.
The program culminates with a thesis or professional project. The thesis track includes two courses (Thesis I and Thesis II). The thesis requires students to apply the communication research methodologies they have learned in their classes to a five-chapter academic paper that investigates and analyzes an issue or question in communication technology. Students receive guidance from a faculty advisor and two other faculty members who comprise their committee.
The professional project includes two classes, Directed Readings and Publication Project. Directed Readings requires students to select, read and critique six approved books in subject areas from the program (or mass communication) and then synthesize them into a paper that compares and contrasts them. The Publication Project requires off-campus investigative research work that results in a concrete deliverable, such as an advertising campaign, print report or media script.
Point Park University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Online Master of Arts in Communication Technology
Department: School of Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: Concentrations in Social Media; Applied Practices
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction - students must turn in assignments by set due dates
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2-3 years
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or professional track requirement (project)
Credits Required: 36 credits (12 courses)
Example Courses: Communication Theory; Communication Law and Regulation; Media Ethics and Responsibilities; Applied Mass Communication Research Methods; Social Media; Social Media Crisis and Strategic Communications; Social Media Campaigns; Integrated Marketing Communications
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree, resume, letters of recommendation, 500-word essay
GPA Requirements: No minimum GPA required
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Start Dates: Three start dates per year (Fall 1, Spring 1, Summer 1)
Estimated Tuition*: ~$24,300 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $675 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states