In Pennsylvania, there are currently 15 schools offering a total of 25 master’s in communication programs. Of these 25 programs, 18 are campus-based programs, while seven are online. Among these programs are a wide variety of specializations for students to choose from, including health communication, strategic communication, technical communication, and communication studies. All of the schools listed on this page are non-profit institutions of higher education that have received regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Pennsylvania
In Pittsburgh, Chatham University’s School of Arts, Science & Business offers a Master of Communication with specializations in Health Communication, Environmental Communication, and Strategic Communication. Students take core classes in communications theory and research, crisis and risk communication, communication campaigns, and communications law and ethics. Electives include courses in sustainable behavior change, sustainable community development, health communications, health policy and advocacy, healthcare informatics, and science and environmental writing. All students must complete a communications capstone project that allows them to apply the concepts they learn to a practical project in their area of study.
Drexel University’s Department of Communication in Philadelphia offers a Master of Science in Communication, as well as a Master of Science in Communication, Culture, & Media. The MS in Communication offers concentrations in Public Communication, Technical Communication, and Science and Health Communication. This program features courses that cover concepts in communication theory, persuasion, communication management, the creation of professional identities, and critical reading. Electives include technical writing and editing, digital publishing, science and health writing, health communication, and non-profit communication. Students also complete six months of professional work in a setting relevant to their interests as part of the program. The MS in Communication, Culture & Media features classes in contemporary social theory, persuasion and media effects, culture and media, communication data analysis, and discourse and semiotics. Students are required to complete a qualifying examination and a major critical paper.
|Online Master's in Communication Programs that Accept Students from Pennsylvania|
|Johns Hopkins University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with Concentrations in Public and Media Relations, Political Communication, Health Communication, Digital Communication, and Corporate and Non-Profit Communication||Program Website|
|American University||Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication with Optional Concentrations in Advocacy and Social Impact, and Digital Communication Strategies & Analytics||Program Website|
|Pace University||Online Master of Arts in Communications and Digital Media with Optional Concentrations in Digital Filmmaking and Media Production, and Social Media and Public Relations||Program Website|
|Syracuse University||Online Master of Science in Communications with Specializations in Strategic Communications, Journalism Innovation, and Media Management||Program Website|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with Optional Concentrations in New Media & Marketing, and Public Relations||Program Website|
|University of Delaware||Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication with Optional Concentrations in Public Relations or Digital and Social Media||Program Website|
Duquesne University’s Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies in Pittsburgh offers a Master of Arts in Communication, a Master of Arts in Corporate Communication, and a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Philosophy. The MA in Communication has emphasis areas in Communication Studies and the Rhetoric and Philosophy of Technology. Students of the Communication Studies track can explore areas such as intercultural communication, political communication, visual communication, communication and gender, communication management, and integrated marketing communication. Students of the Rhetoric and Philosophy of Technology track take courses in the philosophy of communication, the rhetoric of digital communication, rhetorical theory, and the rhetoric and philosophy of technology.
The MA in Corporate Communication has specializations in Crisis and Risk Communication, Management Communication, Nonprofit Communication, and Integrated Marketing Communication, and features classes in professional communication, persuasion in the marketplace, corporate communication, organizational and leadership communication, crisis management, and non-profit development and philanthropy. The MA in Rhetoric and Philosophy of Communication includes classes in persuasive rhetoric, communication research, communication ethics, organizational and leadership communication, integrated marketing communication, rhetorical criticism, rhetoric and religion, multinational communication, and environmental communication.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Communication, Journalism, and Media Department and the School of Graduate Studies offer a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with areas of emphasis in Managerial and Leadership Communication and Integrated Marketing Communication. Students take core classes in communication theory, language and human conduct, communication and social process, communication research, rhetorical theory, and communication ethics and issues. Electives in the program include communication strategies in advertising, crisis management, managerial communication, organizational communication, public relations management, interpersonal communication, communication technology, and managing conflict.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Communications Media offers a Master of Science in Strategic Communication with Applied and Research tracks. This program offers courses in the theories and principles of strategic communication, multimedia development, research elements, and writing for strategic communication. Electives in the program cover concepts in persuasion, strategic online campaigns, political communication, health communication, and crisis communication. For their final graduation requirement, students can either complete a master’s thesis or an internship in an approved professional setting.
La Salle University’s School of Arts and Sciences in Philadelphia offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication that features courses in communication theory, professional communication practices and ethics, professional writing, communication research methods, intercultural communication, organizational communication, public relations approaches, strategic communications, communication training, and conflict management. Students also have the option of completing a graduate internship in a relevant communication setting for course credit.
Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Humanities in Middletown offers a Master of Arts in Communications, which is a generalist program with electives. Courses in this program include communication and cultural theory, research methods in communications, advanced writing, media production, media discourse analysis, global culture and communications, communications technology, media management, creative advertising strategies, media criticism and theory, media law and ethics, and the cultural effects of interactive and online media. Students of this program are also encouraged to take classes outside of Communications but in related areas, such as community psychology and social change, American studies, health education, and business administration.
In University Park, Pennsylvania State University’s (Penn State) Department of Communication Arts & Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Communication Arts and Sciences with specializations in Communication Theory/Sciences, and Rhetoric. Classes in this program cover concepts in rhetorical criticism, issues in rhetorical theory, rhetoric and the media, health campaigns, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and race and culture in modern rhetoric. Students in this program are required to complete a master’s thesis as well as an oral defense.
Point Park University’s School of Communication in Pittsburgh offers a Master of Arts in Communication Technology with concentrations in Social Media and Applied Practices, and a Master of Arts in Media Communication with specializations in Journalism and Documentary. For the MA in Communication Technology, students take core courses covering communication theory, law, and regulations, media ethics and responsibility, and applied mass communication research methods. They then take classes according to their concentration, including visual communication technology, global communication, communication technology and culture, and social media crisis and strategic communication. For their final graduation requirement, students complete an investigative documentary report that illustrates actual political, social, or cultural issues or events.
The MA in Media Communication trains students for careers in documentary media and journalism. The Journalism track includes classes in environmental studies, education, criminal justice, and business reporting, while the Documentary track features courses in documentary cinema, multimedia production, investigative reporting, and broadcast copywriting. While students of the Journalism track develop a portfolio and can submit their work to a partner news organization, students of the Documentary track complete a documentary project under the guidance of a professional expert in the space.
Note: Point Park University also offers a Master of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising featuring courses in strategic communication, social media, crisis communication management, and more. Formerly a specialization within the MA in Media Communication program, it is now a standalone master’s program.
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Communication/Journalism offers a Master of Science in Strategic Communication that prepares students to engage in internal and external-facing strategic communication and multimedia storytelling for diverse organizations. All students take the same sequence of ten courses that cover essential topics in strategic communication, such as strategic communication research, social media analytics, crisis communication, social media law and ethics, global strategic communication, media management, and professional writing and editing. Students’ culminating experience in the program is a professional project of their own design that contributes to knowledge in the field of media, communication, and/or journalism. Students also have the option of completing an internship or independent study for course credit, pending advisor approval.
Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia offers a Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication with areas of specialization in Conflict, Peace and Human Rights; Community Development; Media Development and Advocacy; Public Health; Policy, Planning and Governance; and Sustainability and the Environment. This program focuses on the global forms and systems of communication that are necessary for the establishment of human rights, food security, social equality, conflict resolution, public health, and environmental sustainability in developed and developing countries. Students learn about global development initiatives for local communities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations through classes in development communication, information in society, organizational communication, and public information campaigns.
At the University of Pittsburgh, students can pursue a Master of Arts in Communication in one of four emphases: History, Theory, and Criticism of Rhetoric; Media and Culture; Public Address and Argument; or Rhetoric of Science. The program, offered through the Department of Communication in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Science, is more theoretical in nature, designed for students interested in becoming researchers or educators in the field. Each degree track requires the completion of approximately 10 courses. While there is some overlap in coursework, the curriculum varies significantly by emphasis. For example, students in the Public Address and Argument track can expect to take courses in Argumentation, Audience and Reception History, Public Discourse on the Internet, and Rhetoric and Human Rights. The Media and Culture track, on the other hand, covers topics such as American Media Theory; Media Ecology; Food, Media, and Culture; and Visualizing Race, Class, and Gender.
Villanova University’s Department of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication with core classes in the foundations of graduate study, perspectives in communication, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. Elective courses include leadership communication, communication and advocacy, strategic public relations, new media, public communication campaigns, heath promotion messaging, intercultural communication, media literacy, and mass media industries.
Finally, the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies that is heavily rooted in theory and research skills. The program aims to prepare graduates in a number of key areas, including information literacy, critical thinking ability, ethical decision-making, and effective speaking and writing skills. Students are required to take core courses in both Theoretical Perspectives on Human Communication and Communication Research Methods. They can then choose from a wide range of elective courses offered by the Department of Communication Studies or other departments at West Chester. Examples of communication studies electives include Communication and Persuasive Influence, Rhetoric and Leadership, Understanding Close Relationships, Political Communication, Advanced in Nonverbal Communication, and Culture, Media, and Representation.
Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Pennsylvania
In addition to the numerous campus-based master’s in communication programs in Pennsylvania, there are several options for students to complete their graduate program online. Many of the universities offering campus programs also have online and hybrid versions of these programs, allowing students to complete their course of study either fully or partially online. Online programs may be a good option for students who do not live within commuting distance to a campus-based programs or who do not want to relocate for graduate school. Online programs are also a good option for students who cannot commute to campus on a weekly basis for classes due to personal or professional obligations or due to a disability.
Drexel University’s Department of Communication offers an Online Master of Science in Communication that is equivalent in course content and specialization options to its campus-based program. Similarly, Duquesne University offers online versions of its Master of Arts in Communication and its Master of Arts in Corporate Communication programs. Other programs that have campus-based, online, and hybrid options for students include Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Arts in Communication Studies and Point Park University’s Online Master of Arts in Communication Technology.
There are also two schools that offer unique online master’s in communication programs. Penn State World Campus in conjunction with the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University offers an Online Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications featuring classes in research methods for strategic communications, multimedia content creation and delivery, digital media analytics, social media communications, and leadership in strategic communications. Students of this program must complete a capstone project that involves developing a practical campaign for an organizational, political, or social cause.
In addition to its campus-based Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication, Temple University offers an online Master of Science in Communication Management with optional certificates in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution; Public Relations; and Strategic Communication and Cross-Cultural Leadership. Classes in this program cover concepts in crisis communication and management, government relations, international communication, image and reputation management, and audience diversity. Students are required to complete a master’s thesis or capstone project through which they investigate a professional issue at their place of employment or in a different setting relevant to their interests or career goals.
In addition to in-state online master’s in communication programs, there are many out-of-state schools that also offer programs that accept online students from Pennsylvania. To learn more about online programs, please refer to our Online Master’s in Communication Programs page.
Directory of Master’s in Communication Programs in Pennsylvania
All Master’s in Communication Programs in Pennsylvania
- Interview with Susan Stein, Ph.D. - Drexel University
- Interview with Chrissy Vanella - Drexel University
- Interview with Susan Stein, Ph.D. - Drexel University
- Interview with Janie Harden Fritz, Ph.D. - Duquesne University
- Interview with Janie Harden Fritz, Ph.D. - Duquesne University
- Interview with Janie Harden Fritz, Ph.D. - Duquesne University
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania(Edinboro)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania(Indiana)
La Salle University(Philadelphia)
Penn State Harrisburg(Middletown)
Penn State World Campus(University Park)
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)(University Park)
Point Park University(Pittsburgh)
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania(Shippensburg)
Master of Science in Communication for Development and Social Change (with Areas of Specialization in Conflict, Peace and Human Rights; Community Development; Media Development & Advocacy; Public Health; Policy, Planning and Governance; and Sustainability & the Environment)Interview with Patrick D. Murphy, Ph.D. - Temple University
Online Master of Science in Communication Management (with Optional Certficates in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution; Public Relations; and Strategic Communication and Cross-Cultural Leadership)Interview with Patrick D. Murphy, Ph.D. - Temple University