Western New England University (WNE) offers an online Master of Arts in Communication through its College of Arts and Sciences. The degree program is delivered entirely online, and does not require students to visit campus at any point during their studies. The university uses Kodiak, an online learning management system, to allow students to watch lectures, complete and submit their assignments, communicate with peers and professors, and participate in discussions with other students online.
The Master of Arts in Communication requires 30 credits, and can be completed in as few as 15 months when students take two courses per 11-week term, including the summer. Students who only enroll in one course each term can expect complete their degree requirements in around 30 months. The program includes a concentration in Public Relations. Through a PR-focused curriculum, students learn how to build an organization’s brand and image, develop creative and effective messaging to targeted audiences, develop media relationships, and handle communication crises.
The 10-course curriculum is divided between required courses (18 credits) and electives (12 credits), including a final thesis or independent study project in public relations. Coursework introduces students to the core concepts of public relations, and helps them develop advanced skills in the digital tools used by modern PR professionals. Required courses include Communication Research Methods, Ethics in Public Communication, Writing for Communication Professionals, and Crisis Management and Public Relations.
Through their choice of electives, students can expand their knowledge in specific areas of public relations practice. These courses allow students to learn about how new media technologies are impacting the practice of public relations, to gain practical skills in launching and evaluating public relations campaigns (both traditional and digital), and to develop a working knowledge of internal and external public relations for clients. Electives vary by semester, but may include courses such as Strategic Approaches to Public Relations, Public Relations for Nonprofits, and Strategies for Social and Digital Media.
The program culminates with either a thesis or large-scale independent study project. The thesis requires students to conduct original research in public relations practices, and integrate theoretical knowledge into a long-form research paper. The independent study project is aligned to the student’s professional field within public relations. The specifics and scope of the project are determined through a proposal by the student, which requires approval from the program director.
Western New England University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Specializations/Concentrations: Concentration in Public Relations
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction using WNE's Kodiak online learning management system
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Full-time: program can be completed in 15 months (two courses per term); Part-time: program can be completed in 30 months (one course per term)
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or independent study project
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Principles & Practices of Public Relations; Writing for Communication Professionals; Communication Research Methods; Ethics in Public Communication; Crisis Management and Public Relations; Manufacturing and Managing Public Opinion
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 (applicants with a GPA between 2.5 to 3.0 may be accepted with a conditional admittance)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Start Dates: Fall, Winter and Spring admission
Estimated Tuition: ~$23,760 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $792 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states