In the face of increasing globalization, leaders in business, politics, health, and other sectors must understand how to navigate complex global information issues, including information security, global marketing, and international relations. Effective global communication is important in the expansion of domestic and international economies, the development of fair and constructive international policies, the education of citizens in multicultural and international issues, and the success of non-profit organizations that seek to help underprivileged communities overseas. Moreover, communication that is sensitive to many different cultures and which leverages discussions of diversity to change people’s thinking and promote positive change has become increasingly important, not just in the social and political spheres, but also in business and marketing.

Master’s in global communication programs typically prepare students to assume advanced professional communication roles in the global arena, and therefore have more applied coursework. However, there are programs that also offer more theoretical courses for students who are interested in pursuing global communication research or who wish to teach in higher education.

Master’s in global communication programs, sometimes known as master’s in international communication and master’s in intercultural communication programs, prepare students to engage in a wide variety of international and multicultural communications, from global marketing initiatives and public relations announcements, to news articles on international affairs. Individuals who complete master’s in global communication programs can enter a wide variety of professions in corporate, government, and non-profit environments. Their work may involve developing international media and marketing campaigns, partnering with global non-profit organizations for philanthropic initiatives, or using new media technologies to spread important messages to an international audience.

Note: Some intercultural communication programs address issues occurring domestically, such as academic and workplace discrimination, diversity in the media, and other prejudices and inequalities that can be addressed through diversity education. Intercultural communication programs that do not contain coursework in global or international communication are categorized under master’s in communication studies, human communication, and interpersonal communication programs.

Curriculum Details for Master’s in Communication Programs with a Specialization in Global and International Communication

Courses that comprise master’s in global communication programs typically include a core curriculum, followed by a set of concentration specific classes. Core courses generally cover topics such as leadership in communication, persuasive rhetoric, communication ethics, and communication and media research. For more information on master’s in communication programs and their core curriculum, please reference our Master’s in Communication Specializations page. Following the completion of their program’s core curriculum, students of global and international communication graduate programs will generally take courses that cover international politics, principles of global communication, strategic communication for international and multicultural audiences, international laws affecting communication, and/or global activism and crises management.

Some master’s in global communication programs focus more on corporate communication, in which case students take more concentration classes in global media and marketing strategies for international audiences, forming partnerships with foreign companies, and leveraging social media and other communication technologies to create effective and culturally sensitive messaging. Other programs may have a more political or social advocacy focus, in which case students will take classes in global and multicultural journalism, international activism, and galvanizing positive social movements through persuasive communication.

Master’s in global communication programs may also offer multiple tracks (e.g. strategic corporate communication, media and marketing, communication for public service and activism, etc.), so that students can tailor their graduate education even further within their international communication concentration. Below are descriptions of sample courses that may be included in a master’s in global communication program. Prospective students should note that program course content and titles may vary, and that for the most complete and accurate information, they should contact the admissions department of the programs that interest them.

  • International Politics: How different countries’ governments interact with one another, the global political landscape and how it has evolved, and the issues affecting developed and developing countries. The role of international communication and news media in forming and maintaining strong relations between countries, their governments, and their citizens.
  • Globalization in Communication: How globalization touches all forms of communication, from interpersonal communication to social media, journalism, and global marketing campaigns that affect cultural understanding and preferences. The role of media in the globalization of ideas and the development of diversity acceptance and new cultural norms. How global communication can mitigate and/or contribute to issues of prejudice and cultural appropriation, and the responsibility of communication professionals to create and deliver messages that are culturally sensitive, and which introduce constructive ideas to diverse audiences.
  • Communication Leadership for a Global Corporate Landscape: Important concepts in corporate communication for global audiences. How private companies can form partnerships with overseas companies and international governments through effective and diplomatic communication. How to create and maintain a corporate brand that is respected internationally through culturally sensitive media and public relations, public service projects, and collaborations with media agencies and other external resources to manage one’s corporate image.
  • Media and Marketing Campaigns for a Global Audience: How media, marketing, and public relations professionals can tailor their content to the needs and desires of global audiences. How to create campaigns that cater to the cultural norms and expectations of international populations, and how to use data analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of these campaigns.
  • International Communication Law: The laws affecting international communication, including censorship laws for news media, social media restrictions, and media and marketing regulations between corporations and consumers, as well as between corporations. How global communication professionals for both for-profit and non-profit companies can navigate these laws when creating media and marketing initiatives for international audiences.
  • Global and Intercultural Communication and Activism: The global humanitarian issues that are of most concern, and how the effective communications of non-profit and for-profit organizations have helped to address these problems. How to create persuasive content that motivates audiences to take action to address pressing environmental, sociocultural, political, and health problems that plague both developing and developed countries.
  • Global Communication for Crises Management: The role of effective communication in managing global crises. How to clearly communicate crisis situations to broad audiences and educate members of affected communities in staying safe and reducing risk. How to develop content that encourages people to contribute to philanthropic institutions that support people suffering from humanitarian and environmental disasters.

In general, master’s in international communication programs require the completion of between 30 and 60 course credits, which students can fulfill in between 12 and 24 months of full-time study, or 24 to 36 months of part-time study. Below are two sample curriculum plans–one for a student who wishes to focus on global corporate communication and one for a student who is more interested in global non-profit work and activism. Please note that the schedules below are examples only, and that course titles, content, and sequencing vary amongst programs. Furthermore, many master’s in communication programs grant students a degree of flexibility in terms of the order in which they complete their concentration coursework.

2-Year Sample Curriculum Plan for a Master’s in Global Corporate Communication

 
Fall Term
Spring Term
Summer Term
Year 1
Core Courses:
  • Leadership in Communication
  • Essential Theories of Communication

Core Courses:
  • Digital Media and Technology in Communication
  • Ethics in Communication
Core Course:
  • Principles of Strategic Communication
Concentration Course:
  • International Politics
Year 2
Concentration Courses:
  • Globalization in Communication
  • International Communication Law
Concentration Courses:
  • Communication Leadership for a Global Corporate Landscape
  • Media and Marketing Campaigns for a Global Audience
Concentration Courses:
  • Global Communication Practicum, Applied Capstone Project, and/or Comprehensive Exams

2-Year Sample Curriculum Plan for a Master’s in Communication with a Specialization in Global Non-Profit and Activism

 
Fall Term
Spring Term
Summer Term
Year 1
Core Courses:
  • Leadership in Communication
  • Essential Theories of Communication

Core Courses:
  • Digital Media and Technology in Communication
  • Ethics in Communication
Core Course:
  • Principles of Strategic Communication
Concentration Course:
  • International Politics
Year 2
Concentration Courses:
  • Globalization in Communication
  • International Communication Law
Concentration Courses:
  • Global and Intercultural Communication and Activism
  • Global Communication and Crises Management
Concentration Courses:
  • Global Communication Practicum, Applied Capstone Project, and/or Comprehensive Exams

While some programs offer specific specializations in global and international communication, other programs may offer electives in these areas. Therefore, it may be possible for students to create a curriculum that covers many of these topics in programs that do not offer a formal concentration. This may be especially important for students who wish to attend an on-campus program, but do not live near a campus that offers a masters in communication program with a specialization in global and international communication.