There are six schools in Indiana that offer a total of eight master’s in communication programs, seven of which are campus-based and one of which is online. Among these programs, students can choose from a variety of specializations such as organizational communication, communication studies, and interpersonal communication. All schools listed on this page are non-profit educational institutions that have been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA).
Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Indiana
There are schools throughout Indiana that offer master’s in communication programs. Ball State University’s Department of Communication Studies offers a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies with tracks in Communication Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and Organizational and Professional Communication Development (OPCD). Students in this program, regardless of which track they select, complete core classes in quantitative and qualitative research methods for communication, as well as classes in rhetorical criticism. Afterwards, students in the CLAS concentration take classes on rhetorical theory, interpersonal communication, and communication theory, while students of the OPCD concentration complete classes in organizational communication at the macro and micro levels, employee training principles, and communication consulting.
Indiana State University’s Department of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication that gives students the option to tailor their program to their interests through electives. The core curriculum of this program includes classes in communication inquiry, communication research and analysis, and experiential learning. Electives cover such topics as global media, organizational communication, media theory, public campaigns, media criticism, and communication law. Students are also required to work with a faculty member on a scholarly paper, creative project, or professional project that applies their graduate knowledge to a practical issue in communication. Students who do not want to complete a project may elect to take a comprehensive examination instead.
Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) offers a Master of Arts in Professional Communication with specializations in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication Theory, Critical/Cultural Studies, and Media Studies. Students in this program complete a core curriculum featuring classes in communication research, theories of persuasion and interpersonal communication, rhetorical theory, cultural studies, mass communication trends and research, and organizational communication before progressing to their specialization courses. In their specialization coursework, students can learn about topics such as political communication, classroom communication, interpersonal communication (verbal and non-verbal), communication ethics and legal issues, advanced interviewing, public policy in telecommunications, and more. During the latter half of their program, students must begin their synthesis paper, which is a culminating paper that demonstrates students’ understanding of graduate-level communication research, theory, and practice. Students receive the support of an advisory committee during the completion of their paper, and must present to this same committee on the topic of their synthesis paper at the end of their program.
Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) Department of Communication Studies offers a Master of Arts in Applied Communication with optional concentrations in Public Communication, Health Communication, Corporate Communication, and Media Criticism. The program’s objective is to help students understand communication dynamics at the individual, group, community, national, and global levels, and to be able to address complex communication problems through knowledge of communication theory, research, and strategies. Students in this program take classes in advanced communication theory, qualitative and quantitative communication research, medical provider-patient communication and other forms of health communication, organizational communication, conflict mediation, media theory and criticism, and family communication.
IUPUI’s School of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Technology Leadership and Communication also offers a Master of Science in Technology with a focus in Technical Communication (TCM) that trains students in quantitative and qualitative data analysis, technology project management, engineering-focused communication in academic environments, technical and professional communication, and visual technical communication. Students have the ability to customize their plan of study to their interests and professional goals, and work with an advisor to develop a curriculum plan. Classes that students take as part of their degree may cover such concepts as the principles of technical communication, technical and scientific editing, health communication, and document management.
Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication offers a campus-based Master’s in Communication program with five specialization areas in Health Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Media Technology & Society, and Public Relations. Students in this program are able to customize their curriculum based on their academic interests and professional goals, and work with faculty advisors to create a tailored plan of study. Students’ coursework will vary depending on their selected concentration. For example, courses for the Health Communication concentration cover such topics as organizational health communication, interpersonal communication and its impact on health, risk communication, health campaigning, and mass media and health. Students in the Organizational Communication concentration take courses in collaboration and innovation, organizational communication, workplace rhetoric, conflict mediation, social networks, and corporate decision-making. In addition to completing the required course credits for graduation, students must either complete a master’s thesis investigating a research question of interest to them, or take and pass a comprehensive examination.
Purdue University Northwest’s Department of Communication & Creative Arts, located in Hammond, offers a Master of Arts in Communication program that covers essential topics in organizational communication, mass communication, interpersonal communication, political communication, speech communication, performance studies, and rhetoric. Students collaborate with an advisor to develop a graduate plan of study that meets their academic interests and professional goals. This program is geared towards students residing in Northwest Indiana, and is the only master’s in communication program specifically in this region.
Online Master’s in Communication Programs for Residents of Indiana
At present, the only university offering an online master’s in communication program is Purdue University. The Brian Lamb School of Communication offers an online program with a focus in Strategic Communication. This program aims to educate students in the design and evaluation of communication strategies for a global audience, the core ethical and legal questions surrounding strategic communication, public relations and advertising content development, social media engagement and analysis, and more. Students begin the program with core courses that cover the foundations of strategic communication for organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, as well as key topics in social media, communications ethics, and communication research. Students then have a choice to complete electives in such areas as professional writing, strategic communication for fundraising and coalition building, strategic public relations, integrated marketing communication, healthcare communication, and leadership in communication. Unlike Purdue’s campus-based program, this online program does not have a master’s thesis requirement.
In addition to Purdue University’s online program, there are numerous out-of-state online master’s in communication programs that accept applications from Indiana residents. This is especially important for students who live in Southern Indiana and Evansville or in South Bend, Columbus, and Bloomington or for student who would like to pursue a concentration other than the Strategic Communication focus of Purdue’s online program. Prospective applicants to these programs should note that not all programs accept students from all 50 states. Schools providing online programs must obtain approval from state agencies before enrolling online students from within those states. Students interested in a particular program should check with an admissions advisor from the program for the most up-to-date information regarding state authorizations.
While many online programs are 100% online and do not require any campus visits, some programs require students to attend one or more campus visits, also known as campus intensives, during their enrollment. These campus intensives typically involve in-person lectures and discussions, hands-on learning activities, practical examinations, networking events, career development seminars, and other activities that supplement students’ online learning experiences and reinforce important concepts. The frequency and duration of these campus intensives vary by program. While some online programs only require students to meet once at the beginning of their program, other programs may ask that students attend one or two campus intensives per year. Furthermore, while some intensives may span a weekend, others can be as long as a week or more.
Due to these variances, students should research their programs of interest and consider their professional and personal obligations before applying to a program with travel requirements that may interfere with their other responsibilities. In addition, as students are typically responsible for the travel expenses involved in attending these intensives, they should take these costs into consideration when developing an overall budget for their graduate education.
Master’s in Communication Programs in Indiana
Ball State University(Muncie)
Indiana State University(Terre Haute)
Indiana University - Purdue University - Fort Wayne(Fort Wayne)
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis(Indianapolis)
Purdue University(West Lafayette)
- Interview with Bart Collins, Ph.D. - Purdue University
Purdue University Northwest(Hammond)