The University of Southern California (USC) offers a Master of Communication Management program through its Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This graduate program can be completed entirely online and requires 32 credit hours of study. Students use an online learning management system (LMS) that supports asynchronous instruction, although some courses may have live webinars. The online LMS also contains tools to connect with peers and instructors, submit assignments, and review course materials.

The Master in Communication Management degree can be completed in 16 to 24 months of study, with a curriculum consisting of approximately eight classes. The program curriculum is grounded in evidence-based thinking and research, teaching students how to approach complex communication issues and construct data-driven solutions to address and solve those issues. The required coursework explores modern communication management concepts and practices, introducing students to organizational communication theory, communication research and its applications in business settings, and the principles of strategic corporate communication.

After completing their three core courses, students complete four courses that are specific to their chosen focus area. Students can choose from one of four areas of focus:

  • Marketing Communication: Students in this area of focus take courses in global marketing communication, integrated communication and marketing strategies, and storytelling in multicultural and experiential communication.
  • Strategic and Organizational Communication: This area of focus requires students to take classes in communication strategy, organizational change, crisis communication and risk mitigation, and workplace communication.
  • Market Research Analytics: This focus area features classes in big data and its relevance to communication strategy, principles and technologies for audience analysis, and online marketing communication development, assessment, and improvement.
  • Communication Management Generalist: Students who choose this option explore key methods and strategies in the following areas: marketing, public relations, organizational communication, and market research.

Overall, the coursework is geared towards helping students develop a real-world toolbox of applicable skills in communication management. Through their coursework, students develop skills in communication and organizational management, learn how to design communication models, and work toward becoming leaders in today’s digitally oriented communication industry. Students also examine current trends in communication and emerging media, studying how data and analytics are reshaping the communication industry. Coursework in communication development and analysis helps inform students about today’s shifting attitudes towards media consumption, and how new media technologies and social media have altered consumers’ behaviors (both online and off). By combining textbook learning with applied research assignments, students have the opportunity to develop skills in designing, creating, implementing, and measuring integrated marketing communications plans across both traditional and digital media platforms.

After completing their seven-course sequence, all students choose a Capstone option, which is either the class Communication, Attitudes, Values, and Behavior or a Communication Research Practicum. The Communication, Attitudes, Values, and Behavior course allows students to synthesize the concepts from their core and specialization classes in discussions about developing effective campaigns for diverse audiences, and assignments that require them to design and improve such campaigns. In the Communication Research Practicum class, students design and implement an original research project that is relevant to their interests in strategic business communication. Through their research project, students have the opportunity to examine a communication issue or problem in their professional industry and work under the guidance of a faculty advisor to devise strategic solutions to address that issue or problem. The final product or deliverable for the research practicum course is determined by each student’s specific project.

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Online Master of Communication Management

Department: Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Specializations/Concentrations: Areas of Focus in Marketing Communication; Strategic and Organizational Communication; Market Research and Analytics; Communication Management Generalist

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses asynchronous instruction with some live webinars in each course
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 16 to 24 months
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 32 credits (~8 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Practicum and project
Example Courses:

  • Core Courses: Managing Communication, Uses of Communication Research, Strategic Corporate Communication
  • Marketing Communication: Integrated Communication Strategies, Global Marketing Communication, Storytelling, Culture and Experiential Communication
  • Strategic and Organizational Communication: Communication in Work Settings, Communicating Strategy and Change, Communicating in Crisis: Strategies for Risk Mitigation
  • Market Research and Analytics: Methodological Fundamentals of Big Data in Communication, Online Marketing Communication Development and Analysis, Audience Analysis

Admission Requirements
Application Requirements: Bachelor's degree; resume; personal statement; writing sample
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE not required

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$71,808 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $2,244 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It does not include fees or other expenses.