There are six schools in the state of Wisconsin offering a total of 10 master’s degree programs in communication. Of these, eight are traditional campus-based programs, while two is delivered in an online format. The schools with programs in the field include Marquette University and four colleges in the University of Wisconsin (UW) System: UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater. A wide range of degree specializations are available through these universities, including corporate communication, digital communication strategies, public relations, life sciences communication, media studies, organizational/professional communication, and journalism and mass communication. All six of the schools are non-profit institutions regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Wisconsin
Located in Milwaukee, Marquette University offers two master’s in communication degree paths for students to choose from: a Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in Corporate Communication. The MA in Communication, available through the Diederich College of Communication, can be pursued with a specialization in either Communication Professions and Society or Digital Communication Strategies. All students take the same three foundational core courses in Communication Theory in Context, Communication Research in Action, and Communication as Ethical Practice before selecting electives in their area of focus. Marquette offers students the option of completing a thesis or professional project as their graduate requirement. The thesis track for the MA in Communication consists of a total of 30 credit hours, while the professional track requires 36 hours.
The MA in Corporate Communication at Marquette is a joint venture between their Graduate School of Management and the Diederich College of Communication. Students can pursue the degree entirely online (see section below for details) or through a hybrid of campus-based and online study. The program is comprised of 30 credit hours, and features interdisciplinary coursework from both of the participating colleges. Examples of courses include Corporate Social Responsibility, Organizational Communication, Financial Communication and Investor Relations, Economic Foundations for Marketing Decisions, International Management, and Leadership Coaching and Development. Students also have the option of earning three credits through an international internship.
University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a total of three master’s in communication programs through two separate departments. The school’s Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) has a Master of Science in Life Sciences Communication with both a thesis option and professional studies track. Students who select the thesis pathway complete 24 course credits, as well as six credits associated with their thesis. The Professional Studies M.S. option, comprised of 30 course credits, is typically for those looking to jump straight into a career in life sciences communication or a related field, as opposed to pursuing their Ph.D. after graduation. Both degree paths require students to take courses in communication theory, research methods, graduate-level statistics, and a colloquium in life sciences communication.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison also gives students the choice between a research-oriented or professional option for its Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication. Students in the professional path must complete a minimum of 30 credits, along with an internship at a media company related to journalism. As their capstone requirement, students are required to submit a final portfolio highlighting five projects they produced during their studies, internship, or independently while enrolled in the program. The Professional MA can be pursued through one of three specialty tracks: Political and Civic Journalism; Science, Health, and Technology Reporting; or International Reporting. Those who opt for the Research MA degree path also must complete 30 graduate-level course credits to qualify for their master’s. In addition, students will need to develop and submit an original thesis, which must be successfully defended in front of a three-person certification committee at the end of the program.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Department of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication program with a wide range of focus areas to choose from. Students can specialize in organizational/professional communication, intercultural/international communication, interpersonal communication/meditation, rhetoric/public communication, or rhetorical leadership. The curriculum consists of 30 course credits, and students may select to complete either a thesis or MA Portfolio Project (MAPP). Required courses include a proseminar entitled The Discipline of Communication, as well as one of the following methods courses: Quantitative Research in Communication, Critical Analysis of Communication, Qualitative Research in Communication, or Measurement and Evaluation in Speech Communication. The program has a varied list of electives for students to take, including Contemporary Issues in Freedom of Speech, Great American Speakers and Issues, Managerial Communication, Argumentation in Theory and Practice, Gender and Communication, Communication and HIV/AIDS, and more.
There is also a Master of Arts in Communication available from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Offered by their Division of Communication, the degree can be pursued on either a full- or part-time schedule, and offers both a thesis and non-thesis project option. Both pathways entail the completion of 31 credits, with two required courses: Introduction to Communication Graduate Studies and Graduate Research Methods. Students can then choose from electives spanning fields such as interpersonal/organizational communication, public relations, and media studies. UW-Stevens Point also offers full-time students the opportunity to teach discussions sessions for one of the university’s public speaking courses. This instructional assistantship grants students both an annual stipend and out-of-state tuition waiver.
The final school in the UW System with a master’s degree program in communication is the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Their Master of Science in Communication is offered through the Communication Department in the College of Arts and Communication, with available concentrations in Corporate Communication or Mass Communication. The program is 30 credits and designed to be completed in four semesters of full-time study. Master’s-level courses take place in the evenings (with some available online) to provide greater flexibility for working professionals. The UW-Whitewater campus also has an applied learning lab which features a radio station, campus/community television, student newspaper, and other multimedia functions.
Online Master’s in Communication Programs for Residents of Wisconsin
For Wisconsin residents who do not live within commuting distance to any of the five schools described above, there are online programs that provide access to graduate studies in the field of communication. These can be especially helpful for students who live in Northern Wisconsin, or cities like Green Bay, Eau Claire, or La Crosse, as UW-Green Bay, UW-Eau Claire, and UW-La Crosse currently do not offer master’s in communication programs. Online programs are also a good option for those looking for or in need of greater flexibility than an on-campus program can provide, such as students who intend to work full time while pursuing their degree or who have restrictions that make classroom learning difficult. Additionally, online programs offer students the chance to pursue specializations that may not be available at their local campus without the need to relocate.
There is two school in Wisconsin that offers the option of completing a master’s degree in communication online. Marquette University’s Master of Arts in Corporate Communication program can be pursued through entirely online study. As discussed above, the program is comprised of 30 credit hours, and combines coursework from both the university’s Deiderich College of Communication and Graduate School of Management. Through courses in communication theory, public relations, leadership, business, and finance, students develop the unique skillset needed to effectively manage internal and external communications for large corporations. There is also a significant international business component, which covers topics in global marketing and human resources management, and includes the option to study abroad or complete an internship in another country.
Another option for Wisconsin students interested in earning a master’s in communication online is to enroll in a program from an out-of-state school. Many colleges and universities across the country offer online graduate programs in the field that accept Wisconsin residents. However, due to state specific authorizations, not all programs are open to students in every state. It is also important to note that some online master’s in communication programs include certain on-campus requirements, such as orientation events or in-person training sessions. The number and length of these campus visits vary by program, so students should be sure they fully understand any travel requirements before applying. MastersinCommunications.com classifies a program as online only if it entails two or fewer campus visits per year.
To learn more about earning a master’s degree in communication online, and see a comprehensive list of available programs in the United States, check out our Online Master’s in Communication Degree Programs page.
Master’s in Communication Programs in Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Madison(Madison)
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee(Milwaukee)
Master of Arts in Communication (with Study Areas in Organizational/Professional Communication, Intercultural/International Communication, Interpersonal Communication/Mediation, and Rhetoric/Public Communication, and an Optional Concentration in Rhetorical Leadership)
Interview with Erin Ruppel, Ph.D. - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point(Stevens Point)
University of Wisconsin-Stout(Menomonie)
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater(Whitewater)