The University of Florida (UF) offers an online Master of Arts in Mass Communication through its College of Journalism and Communications. The degree can be completed entirely online and offers numerous concentration options. The program uses both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. For classes that have synchronous (i.e., live) sessions, students meet online for lectures using Zoom video conferencing software. These sessions are usually held in the evening so that working students can attend. UF uses the Canvas learning management system for their e-Learning platform. Students are able to access all of their course materials through Canvas.
The Master of Arts in Mass Communication is a career-focused program that emphasizes digital proficiency through eight different specializations. The total credit hours vary from 33 to 37 credits, based on academic specialization. Students may select from a specialization in the following areas:
- Audience Analytics
- Digital Strategy
- Global Strategic Communication
- Political Communication
- Public Relations
- Public Interest Communication
- Social Media
- Web Design
Students learn how to use a range of digital tools and platforms to identify marketplace patterns and trends and communicate those findings effectively. Below is an overview of each academic specialization.
Audience Analytics: The Audience Analytics specialization requires 37 credit hours of study. Students learn about consumer behavior habits, conducting media and audience research, and using data analysis to identify usable trends and patterns that can be turned into content or business practices that improve the bottom line. Example courses include Consumer and Audience Analytics, Statistics for Analysts in Communication, Data Storytelling & Visualization, Social Media Metrics and Evaluation, Data Management and Ethics, Audience Research Methods, and Mass Communication Theory.
The capstone asks students to review and analyze a real-world audience or consumer issue from a client, develop a study proposal, execute a strategy based on that study, and then produce a final presentation and report.
Digital Strategy: The Digital Strategy specialization requires 36 credit hours of study. Students learn about the latest in digital marketing, customer engagement, web copy writing, lead generation and conversion optimization, and how to craft, launch and evaluate effective online marketing campaigns. Sample courses include UX Theory and Research, Copywriting for Digital Messaging, Lead Generation and Management, Inbound Strategy, Social Media Advertising, and Search and Display Advertising.
The capstone requires a team project that includes real-world marketing challenges and provides experience planning, implementing, and overseeing digital marketing campaigns, as well as measuring and presenting upon the results of marketing initiatives.
Global Strategic Communication: The Global Strategic Communication specialization requires 37 credit hours. Students explore effective communication practices as starting points for positive global change, including leveraging problem solving using strategic interpersonal communication skills within different cultural contexts. Sample courses include Foundations of Intercultural Communication, Video Storytelling, International Issues and Crisis Communication, Public Affairs Communication, Applied Strategic Communication Research Methods, and Global Activism and Social Change Communication.
The capstone requires students to devise and execute a strategic plan for a real-world organization that needs to implement a global strategic communication project to deal with an issue or problem.
Political Communication: The Political Communication specialization requires 36 credit hours of study. Students develop familiarity using modern campaigning tools, such as digital political organization and advertising platforms, to build experience with increasing political engagement at different levels (e.g. local, state, national). Sample courses include Fundamentals of Political Engagement, Digital Political Campaigning, Mass Communication Theory, Digital Political Organizing, Fundamentals of Political Engagement, and Fundamentals of Digital Political Advertising.
The capstone asks students to use their classroom-based knowledge and apply it to a real-world political scenario, such as creating email fundraising pitches or developing digital political advertisements.
Public Interest Communication: The Public Interest Communication specialization requires 36 credit hours of study. Students learn how to advance human wellness and the public interest through interdisciplinary communication strategies that drive social progress and support non-profit organizations. Example classes include Introduction to Public Interest Communication, The Art and Science of Storytelling, PIC Theory and Strategy, and Measuring Change: Research, Polling, and Evaluation.
The capstone requires students to work in teams to complete a public interest communication plan, utilizing their skills in research, data analysis, strategic communication, and presentation. The communication campaign they create will be applied to a real-world client’s needs.
Public Relations: The Public Relations specialization requires 33 credit hours of study. Students work directly with APCO Worldwide, a public relations agency, to learn how to manage and enhance and organization’s brand, image and relationships. Example courses include Public Relations Theory, Strategic Writing for Public Relations, Measurement and Evaluation, and Strategy and Messaging.
The capstone partners students with APCO Worldwide to collaborate and work on real-world public relations initiatives. Students apply their writing, multimedia, and data analysis skills to create a strategic communication plan that solves a real issue or challenge in public relations.
Social Media: The Social Media specialization requires 36 credit hours of study. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of each social media platform and develop skills in engaging with stakeholders to craft social media messaging and campaigns, create effective content and measure their results. Sample courses include Branding Using Social and Mobile Media, Social Media and Emerging Technology, Introduction to Social Media, Research Methods in Digital Communication, Introduction to Multimedia (Video Storytelling), and Advertising and Social Media.
The capstone requires students to partner with real-world clients to create a social media campaign, including a content calendar, to promote the client’s business and attract customers.
Web Design: The Web Design specialization requires 37 credit hours of study. Students learn about the fundamentals of front-end design practices using Adobe Creative Suite, modern approaches to user experience, and design and coding languages such as PHP, HTML5 and CSS3. Example courses include Digital Imagery in Web Design, Digital Media Layout and Design, Web Design Principles, User Experience Theory and Research, Foundations of Visual Communications Design, and Web Interactivity and Engagement.
The capstone requires students to create and present a client-based communication campaign that integrates all the concepts and skills students learned regarding branding, layouts, strategic communication, coding, web design, and research and data analysis..
In addition to the eight specializations from which students can choose in the Master of Arts in Mass Communication program, the University of Florida also offers graduate certificate programs in Global Strategic Communication, Media Sales, Social Media, and Web Design.
A unique benefit of the University of Florida’s online graduate programs is the opportunity they provide students to continue taking graduate-level courses on the latest communication methods, strategies, and technologies at a special alumni rate. After earning their Master of Arts in Mass Communication, students can return to the University of Florida and observe as many courses as they wish for a $500 annual fee, which is less than the price of one graduate course. Known as the Master Access program, this feature enables graduates of the program to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and technologies.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication
Department: College of Journalism and Communications
Specializations/Concentrations: Specializations in Audience Analytics; Digital Strategy; Global Strategic Communication; Political Communication; Public Interest Communication; Public Relations; Social Media; Web Design
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses synchronous and asynchronous instruction - live lectures are recorded allowing students to watch live or view at their own pace
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in less than 2 years
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone project
Credits Required: 33-37 credits (10-14 courses) (depending on specialization)
Example Courses: Curriculum depends on specialization, sample courses include: Copywriting for Digital Messaging; Social Media Advertising; Foundations of Intercultural Communication; Global Activism & Social Change Communication; Fundamentals of Political Engagement; Public Relations Theory; Digital Research Methods
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree, statement of purpose, resume, three letters of recommendation
Estimated Tuition*: ~$17,441 to ~$34,544 + fees (depending on specialization)
Cost per Credit Hour: $484.48 to $885.75 per credit hour (depending on specialization)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states