Southern Utah University (SUU) offers an online Master of Arts in Professional Communication through its Department of Communication in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. A 100 percent online degree, the program can be completed without any required in-person visits to campus. SUU uses the digital platform Canvas for online instruction. Through Canvas, students access their class materials, interact with instructors and classmates, submit assignments, participate in class discussion boards, and more.
The Master of Arts in Professional Communication requires 36 credit hours, which typically takes approximately 24 months of study to complete. The program’s curriculum introduces students to advanced concepts in media production, social media strategy and content creation, organizational training, audience analysis, advertising and public relations campaigns, and more.
The 36-credit curriculum is divided between core courses (18 credits) and electives (18 credits). The core curriculum include six classes, including Communication and Professional Development, Applied Communication Theory, Qualitative and Quantitative Communication Research, and Professional Writing and Presentations. Through these courses, students learn about the fundamentals of communication theory, research writing, presenting and professional development, and also become familiar with both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and practices. Moreover, they learn how communication theories apply to varying contexts (e.g. mass media, organizational), while enhancing their ability to produce effective media materials, such as press releases, web content, training manuals, and social media content.
Elective classwork allows students to craft a program of study that meets their professional knowledge and skill development goals. Subjects vary, but examples of elective coursework include Professional Social Media, Pop Culture Messages, Visual Literacy and Application, Advertising and Public Relations Strategies, Mediated Communication in Relationships, and Current Issues in Communication. Through these courses, students build upon the foundational skills and concepts of their core coursework and apply them to popular media, public relations and marketing, social media, interpersonal, and/or sociopolitical contexts.
The program culminates with a capstone learning experience, which can be completed as a Master’s Capstone Thesis or a Masters Capstone Project. The thesis is a structured, scholarly paper discussing original research that explores a specific communication event, phenomenon, pattern, or issue. Students develop a research proposal under the guidance of a faculty committee, and present both their proposal and later their final research results before this committee.
The Masters Capstone Project demonstrates the student’s grasp of advanced communication concepts and applied industry skills. This option results in a product such as a documentary, a public relations campaign, or an ongoing social media action plan that can be applied to a real company in industry. Similarly to the thesis, students are required to present their work to a team of faculty advisors.
Southern Utah University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Online Master of Arts in Professional Communication
Department: Department of Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: General Program with Electives
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses asynchronous instruction - some synchronous sessions maybe scheduled depending on the course
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years - students maybe able to complete the program sooner by taking summer courses or take longer if they take fewer courses per term (part-time)
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone options: thesis, professional project, or internship
Credits Required: 36 credits (12 courses)
Example Courses: Communication & Professional Development; Applied Communication Theory; Qualitative Communication Research; Quantitative Communication Research; Professional Writing and Presentations; Organizational Communication Strategies; Communication & Digital Culture; Professional Social Media; Advertising & Public Relations Strategies
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE required - applicants may submit a GRE waiver request (waiver is not guaranteed) with a GPA greater than 3.7 or with 3+ years of professional communication work experience (if required, minimum combined GRE score 290, analytical writing score 4.0)
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$28,620 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $795 per credit hour (in-state and online-only out-of-state students)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states