Rutgers University offers an online Master of Communication and Media (MCM) through its School of Communication and Information. While the program offers eight academic specializations on-campus, only the Digital Media, Leadership Communication, and Public Relations specializations can be completed fully online at this time. Students who live near campus also have the option to take on-campus and hybrid courses. Online courses mainly use asynchronous instruction so that students who are working professionals do not need to worry about scheduling conflicts to attend live online lectures. However, the School of Communication and Information uses a dialogue-centered learning approach that focuses on faculty-student and student-student interactions, even for online courses. Faculty actively engage with students through weekly discussion boards in addition to other course materials.
The Master of Communication and Media is a 36-credit hour program that can be completed in approximately 18 to 24 months, depending on whether students enroll in a full-time or part-time course of study. A majority of students take two-to-three courses per semester and can finish the degree in three semesters/terms of full-time study. The program is interdisciplinary in nature, emphasizing advanced concepts in digital journalism, media innovation, marketing and advertising methodologies, and organizational communication leadership, among other areas, and allows students to craft a highly individualized course of study.
The 12-class curriculum for this program is divided between five core classes (12 credits) and eight electives (24 credits). The five core courses include an introductory MCM Graduate Experience course (0 credits), as well as four three-credit courses: Digital Media Innovation, Communication Research, Organizational Communication, and Media Studies: Theory and Practice. These courses introduce students to the fundamentals of organizational communication theory and best practices, communication research methods and how to analyze results to inform media strategy, and the latest digital media advancements and how to apply them innovatively. The curriculum for this program is highly professionally oriented, preparing graduates for advanced career opportunities in media, marketing, public relations and other related industries. Course content emphasizes writing skills and problem solving, along with skills in digital media platforms and technology.
After completing their core classes, students progress to their specialization coursework and electives. The Digital Media Specialization is for media and communication specialists, including journalists, seeking skill development in 21st century media tools and practices, and includes courses in areas such as media studies, digital media innovation, marketing communication evaluation, new media law and policy, digital advocacy and persuasion, and globalization of media for social change. The Leadership Communication specialization focuses on preparing professionals to manage organizations and organizational change through effective leadership communication, and features courses in communication and society, organizational leadership, organizational decision-making, persuasion and advocacy, stakeholder communication, inter-organizational partnership building, and mediated communication. The Public Relations specialization is geared specifically towards individuals who want to implement a data-informed approach to public relations leadership at their organization, and it includes courses in public relations strategy and management, the use of data analytics to enhance PR effectiveness, international PR concepts and strategies, social media, and stakeholder communication/partnership building.
The program culminates with either a capstone project or an e-portfolio course (3 credits). For the capstone, students demonstrate what they have learned during their time in the master’s program in the form of a literature review, case study, or empirical project. This final capstone paper can be either applied or scholarly. The e-portfolio option is a course wherein students build a professional portfolio that contains a range of content, such as a professional resume, a sampling of academic work, social media assets, school activities, writing samples, relevant multimedia material, and a record of professional and volunteer activities relating to communication, among other requirements. Students also learn immediately applicable professional development skills that they can apply to their current job or to their job search post-graduation. Regardless of whether students choose a capstone or an e-portfolio, they receive the support and guidance of a faculty advisor.
Rutgers University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Online Master of Communication and Media
Department: School of Communication and Information
Specializations/Concentrations: Specialization in Digital Media; Leadership Communication; Public Relations
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction wit the Canvas Learning Management System
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 18 to 24 months
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone paper/project or e-portfolio course
Credits Required: 36 credits (12 courses)
Example Courses: Digital Media and Innovation; Media Studies Theory & Practice; New Media Law and Policy; Critiquing Marketing Communications; Digital Journalism; Digital Advocacy and Persuasion; Globalization; Media and Social Change
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE waiver may be submitted if applicant has an undergraduate GPA greater than 3.5, another graduate degree in a related field, or 5+ years of related work experience, otherwise the GRE is required (with combined score of ~150 verbal, ~140 quantitative, and a writing score 4.0 or greater preferred)
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$34,668 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $963 per credit hour (for fully online students)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states