The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) offers an online Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications through its College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The program offers two tracks: Integrated Media Communications (IMC) and Professional Journalism, and can be completed online or through a combination of online and on-campus courses. UNL uses Canvas, a learning management system designed to facilitated online instruction. Through the platform, students can access their course materials, communication with their classmates, submit assignments, participate in discussion forums, and contact their instructors. The program can generally be completed in approximately 24 months of study.
Integrated Media Communications Specialization
The Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications–Integrated Media Communications specialization is designed for professionals in advertising, marketing and public relations who want to sharpen their comprehensive marketing and multimedia development skills. This specialization requires 36 credit hours divided between required coursework (12 credits), major coursework (9 credits), and electives (15 credits). Instead of a thesis or professional project, the IMC specialization requires students to complete a capstone course during their final semester.
Required IMC coursework introduces students to the fundamental concepts and practices within the field, including advertising, public relations, branding and research. Specific core courses include: Advertising Issues & Strategies, Brands and Branding, and Advertising and PR Research. The final required course is the Integrated Media Communications Capstone, wherein students apply IMC concepts and theories to write and present a paper regarding real-world applications.
For major requirements, students may complete nine credits in either marketing or communications, allowing them to create a program of study that aligns with their professional development goals. Sample marketing courses include: E-Marketing, International Marketing, Strategic Product Management, and Consumer Behavior. Example communication courses include: Diffusion of Innovations, Leadership Communication, Intercultural Communication, Theories of Organizational Communication, and Rhetorical Theory. Finally, students complete 15 credits of electives, choosing from any graduate-level courses offered through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications that are in the following areas: Advertising and Public Relations, Journalism, Broadcasting, Sports Media and Communication, and/or Journalism and Mass Communication.
Students’ last course, the Integrated Media Communications Capstone, enables students to apply all of the skills, concepts, and principles that they have learned to a deliverable that solves an integrated media communication issue in a real-life context. Students also complete a final paper and present their project to faculty advisors and peers.
Professional Journalism Specialization
The Professional Journalism track is designed for media and journalism professionals who want to gain the advanced training needed to work in a rapidly changing media environment. This track teaches students how to research, analyze and produce news across multiple media platforms. The specialization requires 36 credits divided between required courses (15 credits) and electives (21 credits).
The four required courses cover major areas within journalism, including Ethics and Issues in Mass Communication, Multi-Platform Journalism, and Entrepreneurial Journalism. The final required course is a six-credit Professional Project that is completed during the final two semesters of the program. This project requires students to analyze and translate political, social or economic affairs into print and electronic media formats.
For electives, students coordinate with their faculty advisor to select courses that best meet their academic and skill development needs. Students may select any graduate-level electives in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications from the following categories: Broadcasting, Sports Media and Communication, Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations, and Journalism and Mass Communication.
In the final Professional Project course, students work to translate a social, political, economic, environmental, or similarly significant news topic into a print and/or electronic media deliverable for mass audiences. Students receive guidance from faculty advisors during their work, and must present their final project to peers and faculty at the end of the program.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Online Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications
Department: College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Specializations/Concentrations: Specializations in Integrated Media Communications (Advertising and Public Relations); Professional Journalism
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses synchronous and asynchronous instruction, students can take live classes and interact with campus-based students if they choose, but the IMC specialization can also be completed through entirely asynchronous instruction if needed
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 24 months or less
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone project (Professional Journalism specialization); capstone course (Integrated Media Communications specialization)
Credits Required: 36 credits (10-12 courses)
Example Courses: Advertising Issues & Strategies; Brands and Branding; International Marketing; Strategic Product Management; Leadership Communication; Theories of Organizational Communication; Intercultural Communication; Rhetorical Theory
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.5
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$12,456 + fees (In-state); ~$21,924 + fees (Out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $346 per credit hour (in-state); $609 per credit hour (out-of-state)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states