There are currently two schools in South Dakota that offer master’s in communication programs. South Dakota State University offers both a campus-based and an online program, while the University of South Dakota offers one campus-based program. Students interested in earning their master’s in communication degree in South Dakota have a variety of specializations to choose from, including journalism, mass communication, interpersonal communication, health communication, and political communication. Both universities on this page are non-profit educational institutions that have received regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.

Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in South Dakota

South Dakota State University’s School of Communication & Journalism in Brookings offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies and Journalism that gives students the option to specialize in either Communication Studies or Journalism. Students of both specializations take the same core classes in instructional methods in communication, communication theory, and speech communication research methods. After completing the core curriculum, students of the Communication Studies concentration can then take electives in areas such as advanced interpersonal communication, instructional communication, rhetorical criticism, and organizational communication. They are also required to complete a master’s thesis as their final graduation requirement. Students of the Journalism concentration take classes in advanced journalism, advertising and public relations principles and methods, and can elect to complete either a master’s thesis or a professional project as their final graduation requirement. Both concentration options allow students to take a several of their courses online (note: the Journalism concentration requires campus-based students to take at least two of their courses online).

In Vermillion, the University of South Dakota’s Department of Communication Studies offers a Master of Arts in Communication that offers a wide variety of specialization options. Students can choose among areas of study in Interpersonal and Relational Communication, Organizational Communication, Health Communication, Political Communication, Intercultural and Interethnic Communication, Media Studies, Mass Communication, Strategic Communication, and Journalism and Media Management. Regardless of their concentration, students take courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods in communication, a foundational class on graduate studies in communication, and either a mass communication ethics course or a rhetorical theory and criticism course. They can then take electives according to their chosen concentration, including classes in persuasion, environmental communication, political communication, communication and gender, intercultural communication, team building and group decision-making, managing cultural diversity, and health communication. For their final graduation requirement, students have the option of completing a master’s thesis that they must defend in front of a committee, or a comprehensive examination that includes an oral defense component.

Online Master’s in Communication Programs for Residents of South Dakota

At present, there is only one school in South Dakota that offers an online option for students seeking a master’s in communication degree. South Dakota State University’s School of Communication & Journalism offers an Online Master of Mass Communication, which is a skills-oriented professional degree that prepares students for careers in journalism, media management, and strategic communication for broad audiences. Classes in this program include courses in professional research, the history of journalism, media management and administration, media law and ethics, the history of journalism, advanced studies in mass communication, and cross-platform storytelling. For their final graduation requirement, students can choose between completing a research paper or applied project, or taking additional coursework and creating a portfolio that features samples from their current professional work or an internship experience. Students work with their advisor to determine which graduation requirement they should select, according to their interests and professional goals.

In addition to the online master’s in mass communication program offered by South Dakota State University, there are also numerous out-of-state online master’s in communication programs that accept students from South Dakota. Choosing an online program may be particularly helpful for students who do not live within commuting distance to Brookings or Vermillion, such as residents of Aberdeen, Rapid City or Sioux Falls, or for students who wish to explore different concentration options than the ones offered by South Dakota State University or the University of South Dakota.

Students interested in out-of-state online master’s in communication programs should note that not all online programs are allowed to enroll students from all 50 states, due to state authorizations. Additionally, some online programs require students to attend one or more campus intensives during their enrollment. Campus intensives are events that are held on-campus (or at satellite locations in some cases), and which typically include in-person lectures, career development workshops, seminar discussions, practical examinations, and other activities aimed at enhancing students’ learning experience. For some students, on-campus sessions are a welcome addition to an online program as they also provide the opportunity to meet classmates and instructors in person. However, for students with personal and/or professional obligations, attending on-campus sessions may not be ideal. In addition, students are generally responsible for the travel costs associated with attending these events, therefore, applicants should thoroughly research their programs of interest to determine any travel requirements prior to applying. There are online master’s in communication programs that do not require any campus visits.

To help students interested in pursuing their graduate degree in communication online, MastersinCommunications.com has created an Online Masters in Communication Programs page that includes a comprehensive directory of all accredited online master’s in communication programs available in the United States. On this page, there is also useful information about the structure of these programs and additional details about geographical restrictions and campus intensives.

Master’s in Communication Programs in South Dakota

Campus programs are defined as programs that have all of their instruction on campus, while Campus/Hybrid programs are defined as programs that blend on-campus and online/distance instruction, but whose courses are mostly campus-based. Online programs are defined as programs that are either 100% online with no campus visits, or those that require 1 to 2 campus visits per year. Online/Hybrid programs are defined as programs that require 3 to ~5 campus visits per year, with the rest of instruction taking place online.