Strong communication is important for the success of companies of all sizes, and across all industries. Corporate and organizational communication includes all forms of communication that occur within a company or other organizational setting. Organizational communication includes internal communication within a company (e.g. human resources and employee training, corporate management and leadership), and communication between a company and the public (e.g. public relations (PR) and marketing). Professionals who complete a master’s degree in corporate or organizational communication are prepared to engage with some or all of the aforementioned forms of communication.
Organizational communication professionals are experts in understanding how strong communication can facilitate team building, project progress, and a positive relationship between a company and the public, investors, and other stakeholders external to the company. Communication professionals who specialize in organizational communication may find work as corporate consultants, PR or marketing specialists, and human resources professionals. They may also assume a leadership or managerial role that is not specifically in communication, but which employs the communication skills they learn during their graduate program, such as a project or program manager position.
MastersinCommunications.com classifies masters in communication programs into ten different specializations according to a program’s curriculum. Therefore, programs on this page include, but are not limited to: master’s in organizational communication, master’s in corporate communication, master’s in business communication, master’s in communication studies, and master’s in communication management, depending on their curricular focus.
Curriculum Details for Master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communication
Students of master’s in corporate communication programs typically complete a set of core courses before progressing to specialization courses that focus on organizational and business communication. Core courses in master’s in communication programs cover topics such as leadership in communication, persuasive rhetoric, communication ethics, and research in communication. Classes specific to this concentration often cover concepts such as business skills for communication professionals, employee training and development, corporate media management, public relations, marketing, and corporate crisis communication management. The goal of these programs is to train professionals to understand how communication facilitates all of the business operations in a company, from budget determinations to project design and implementation. Examples of courses that may be included in a master’s in organizational communication program include but are not limited to:
- Organizational Communication Management: How different types of organizational communication, including media relations, financial communication, human resources and employee relations, crisis management communication, public relations, and marketing all work in concert to help a company succeed. How to optimize communications at multiple levels and in multiple departments within an organization in order to facilitate employee motivation and professional development and further the mission of said organization.
- Business Skills for Corporate Communication: How a company operates, generates revenue, manages its employees, and handles its budget, and the role that communication plays in each of these areas. In this course, students learn economic principles, market analysis methods, business strategy, financing, and marketing and public relations principles, with the aim of describing these concepts clearly in their communications with employees, investors, and the public.
- Principles of Employee Communication: Strategic organizational communication and its role in supporting the performance, morale, and professional development of employees at multiple levels within a company. How to engage employees in a company’s mission statement, foster a culture that promotes employee growth, and inform employees about structural changes within an organization.
- Managing Corporate Media: The relationship between corporations and mass media, including newspapers, social media, and online publications. The role and nature of business news, and how business journalists, public relations professionals, and company leaders can speak intelligently to the public about a company or organization’s products, services, mission statement, and/or financial performance. How to design, implement, assess, and adjust corporate media relations programs.
- Public Relations and Corporate Identity Management: The key factors in building a strong brand and corporate identity, and how to maintain this identity through strategic public relations efforts. How to craft press releases, manage public outreach, and consult with company leaders to develop an ongoing public relations strategy.
- Corporate Crisis Management: Different types of crisis situations in corporate settings, and the role of communication in mitigating these crises, managing public opinion, and informing employees and stakeholders about the situation. How corporate communication specialists and public relations specialists can handle media relations in times of crisis and advise leadership in making public statements as necessary.
Below is a sample curriculum plan for a student of a master’s in communication program with a specialization in corporate and organizational communication. This curriculum is based on a 24-month course of study. Prospective students should note that the plan below is only an example, and that programs vary in their course content and sequencing. In general, master’s programs in corporate or organizational communication are composed of between 30 and 60 course credits, which students typically complete within 12 to 24 months of full time study, or 24 to 36 months of part-time study.
2-Year Sample Curriculum Plan in Corporate or Organizational Communication
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In addition to master’s in corporate, organizational, or business communication, there are other types of master’s in communication programs, such as master’s in strategic communication programs or master’s in PR and marketing communication programs, that include classes in corporate or organizational communication as either required courses or as electives. For example, for some programs, there is considerable overlap between a master’s in organizational communication and a master’s in strategic communication. Therefore, students who are interested in organizational communication as well as other types of communication may wish to explore master’s degrees that are not specifically in corporate or organizational communication, but which have course offerings in these areas.
Potential Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Organizational and Business Communication Programs
Graduates of master’s programs in corporate or organizational communication can work at companies in both the private and the public sectors, facilitating and improving channels of communication between different departments, between managers and their employees, between company leadership and the public, and between leaders of different companies in the formation of partnerships. Organizational communication professionals may specialize in one area of corporate communication, or oversee communications across multiple departments within a company. Examples of roles that graduates of master’s programs in corporate and organizational communication may pursue after they graduate include:
- Corporate Communication Consultants: Corporate communication consultants work for companies that help other corporations improve their internal and/or external communication. For example, they may design and implement initiatives aimed at improving employee engagement, team-building, or leadership training. Or they may work with the marketing department of a company to revamp the company’s brand messaging. They may even work closely with company leadership to help them clarify or revise their organization’s mission statement, and to change internal and customer-facing communications accordingly.
- Marketing Directors: Marketing directors oversee the design and creation of advertisements and marketing content that promote a company’s products or services. They typically manage a team of marketing specialists, and supervise the progress of multiple marketing initiatives simultaneously. Marketing directors combine an expert understanding of their company’s industry (e.g. tech products, education, clothes and fashion, etc.) with their training in effective customer-facing communication to create engaging content that builds their company’s customer base and brand identity.
- Public Relations Directors: Public relations directors manage a company’s public image, and its relationship with all parties external to the company, including consumers, investors, and other companies. They typically supervise a team of public relations specialists, who craft external-facing communications such as press releases, informational content both online and in print, social media posts, and speeches, all of which aim to maintain the positive reputation of a company and its leadership. PR directors and their staff also collaborate with other departments to organize speaking engagements and business events and facilitate partnerships with other companies.
- Project Managers: Project managers, while not strictly communication professionals, employ strong interpersonal and organizational communication skills in order to push a particular project forward. They coordinate teams from different departments across their company (e.g. the finance department, the engineering or product design department, the marketing department, the legal department, etc.) in order to ensure that their project is adequately funded, is designed with the consumer in mind, passes legal considerations, and is launched at a time that aligns with when the marketing department can promote it. All of these tasks require that project managers possess a strong understanding of their company’s organizational structure, as well as the kinds of communication to employ when working with people from different departments.