There are currently five schools in Iowa that offer a total of eight master’s in communication programs. Of these eight programs, six are campus-based and two are online. Across these five schools’ offerings, students can select graduate specializations ranging from corporate communication to mass communication and health communication. All the schools listed on this page are non-profit educational institutions that have been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Iowa
Located in Ames, Iowa State University’s Department of English has a Master of Arts in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication that prepares students to create effective and engaging professional and technical communications and develop communication strategies for different organizations. Students take classes in composition theory and professional communication, and learn how to engage in content management, rhetoric and rhetorical analysis, and qualitative and quantitative research in communication.
Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication also has a Master of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication, with tracks in Communication Theory and Research, as well as Professional and Strategic Communication. Students of this program take core classes in communication research, communication strategies, and mass communication theory and its application. After completing the core curriculum, students can choose from electives in areas such as media management, strategic communication, risk communication and perception, and world communication systems.
The University of Dubuque’s Graduate Program Office has a Master of Arts in Communication with concentrations in Leadership and Management Communication, Strategic and Corporate Communication, and Information Technologies Communication. Students of this program first complete a core curriculum that covers managerial communication and organizational communication before progressing to specialization classes. They must also complete a research seminar and either a practicum experience or work on a master’s thesis for course credit. After the core courses, students complete coursework in such areas as global public relations, crisis management and communication problem solving, organizational leadership, and integrated marketing communications.
In Iowa City, The University of Iowa’s (UI) School of Journalism and Mass Communication has a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication, which is an academically focused degree that prepares students for careers in academia as communication instructors and/or researchers. Students take classes on the fundamentals of media communication, as well as courses in communication methods and theory before progressing to electives that delve more deeply into graduate level research and issues in communication. Students must also complete a scholarly master’s thesis that they work on with the support of an academic advisor and committee.
UI’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication also offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication. While the program is primarily online (see section below), some courses are available onsite at the Des Moines campus, meaning students in the area may be able to pursue the degree in a hybrid format. A total of 30 credit hours are required to earn the degree, including 15 core course hours and 15 elective course hours. Online courses in the program have scheduled meeting times once a week in the evening. Some may also require students to visit the Iowa City or Des Moines campus for classroom sessions.
The University of Northern Iowa’s Department of Communication Studies, located in Cedar Falls, offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with six emphasis areas in General Communication, Communication Education, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication and Human Resources, Public Relations, and Performance Studies. Students in this program first complete core classes in language and communication, graduate research concepts and strategies, concepts in communication research, and communication theory. Depending on their concentration, students may take classes in areas such as critical and cultural studies, rhetoric and civic culture, conflict mediation, mass communication, performance studies, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, digital culture and communication, and gender issues in communication. Students are also required to complete a comprehensive examination and either a master’s thesis or a non-thesis research paper.
Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Iowa
There are two schools in Iowa that offer online master’s in communication programs. For students in Davenport who do not want to commute to The University of Iowa or for students who live in Sioux City, where there is not a local college that offers a program (Briar Cliff University does not currently offer a Masters in Communication), an online program provides access to graduate education. This is also true for students who live in Northern or Southern Iowa.
Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Des Moines has an online Master of Arts in Communication with three specialized tracks in Communication Leadership, Brand Communication, and Public Policy and Advocacy. After completing core classes in communication theory and strategies, students select a track and work with their advisor to develop a customized curriculum. Elective courses cover advanced concepts in business, legal, marketing, multimedia, public relations, public relations, and health/science communication.
As mentioned above, The University of Iowa offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication that can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format for students who live near campus. The program provides students with the necessary skills to work as organizational communication professionals in government, non-profit, and research or collegial settings. Courses in this program cover strategic communication, crisis communication, public affairs communication, health communication, media management, political communication, and campaign development.
In addition to online programs offered by schools in Iowa, several out-of-state schools offer online master’s in communication programs that accept applications from students residing in Iowa. These programs provide additional online options in addition to the programs offered by Drake University and The University of Iowa.
Master’s in Communication Programs in Iowa
Drake University(Des Moines)
Iowa State University(Ames)
The University of Iowa(Iowa City)
University of Dubuque(Dubuque)
University of Northern Iowa(Cedar Falls)
Master of Arts in Communication Studies (with Areas of Emphasis in Communication Education, General Communication, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Organizational Communication and Human Resources, Performance Studies, and Public Relations)Interview with Charles Kyle Rudick, Ph.D. - University of Northern Iowa