Producing critically informed and creative graduates who will be competitive contributors to a challenging global workplace.

The MA in Communication is offered on the Florham Campus.

The MA in Communication offers continuing students and returning professionals a theory-based curriculum that incorporates communication principles and practices into applied learning in cultural, interpersonal, and public contexts. The program emphasizes the development of skills in critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, ethics, interpersonal relations, and cultural intelligence, as well as enhancing students’ professional writing and presentation skills.

The MA in Communication program is designed to give students an opportunity to build communication expertise that is most relevant to and needed across professions in seven required courses focused on problem-solving, teamwork, writing and editing, research and analysis, oral and written presentation, and project management. Three elective or “context” classes show students how this expertise relates directly to specific areas of communication practice, including communication in public relations, international relations, human resources, internal communications, public service, and health care professions.

By balancing the study of theory and practice, the MA in Communication program is excellent preparation for students looking to enhance their careers with knowledge that will apply directly to their working lives or those interested in pursuing advanced degrees in communication or communication-related disciplines.

Who Should Apply?

The MA Communication is of interest to anyone with a professional or academic interest in the role of communication in cultural, interpersonal, and public contexts. For corporate communication professionals in areas such as public relations, marketing, human resources, investor relations, and media relations, the program will enhance strategic communication skills and have direct applicability to their working lives. For other students, the program is an end in itself; an opportunity to stretch the mind and gain a qualification which will enhance their current or future careers, or serve as preparation for advanced study at the doctoral level. The MA program welcomes applications from accomplished professionals and recent undergraduates who demonstrate excellent:

  • critical thinking
  • professional work experience
  • writing and presentation skills
  • intellectual curiosity
  • record of academic achievement
  • self-motivation

Applicants with experience in the corporate communication professions and/or significant educational training in communication, management, psychology, business, or other social sciences are given preference.

How to Apply

Applications to the program are reviewed by committee once an application is completed through Graduate Admissions. Please see online application process and submission information.

Applicants will be asked to complete the online application including undergraduate transcripts; two current letters of recommendation; an essay articulating the prospective student’s goals and expectations and the relationship of those goals and expectations to the program.

Application materials will be reviewed, and further information may be requested such as:

  • Professional Resume
  • Writing Samples
  • Interview with the Director of the MA in Communication program.

Please see additional information regarding the Graduate Admissions process.

Admission Requirements

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A cumulative undergraduate grade point ratio (CGPR) of at least 3.00 on a scale of 4.00.
  3. An essay articulating the prospective student’s goals and expectations and the relationship of those goals and expectations to the program.
  4. Two recent letters of recommendation.

Students may be admitted on a non-matriculated or probationary status with full matriculation upon maintaining a minimum CGPR of 3.00 and no grade below B in the first 9 credits.

Admission to the five-year BA-MA program requires an undergraduate CGPR of 3.00 or higher.

Requirements for the Master of Arts degree

  1. The completion of a minimum of 30 credits.
  2. The completion of the six required courses with a minimum grade of B in all six.
  3. Students must complete three context courses, one each in the cultural, interpersonal and public contexts.
  4. A minimum GPA of 3.00.
  5. The successful completion of the capstone experience.

Required courses, 18 credits

  • MCOM 6001 Principles and Practices of Communication
  • MCOM 6002  Professional Writing and Editing
  • MCOM 6003 Presentation Methods
  • MCOM 6004 Executive Lectures
  • MCOM 6005 Group Communication and Leadership
  • MCOM 6006 Research Methods and Materials

Context  courses 9 credits

The following courses will provide students with experience applying principles they learn to communication practices in cultural, interpersonal and public contexts. Students must take one course in each context.

Cultural

  • MCOM 7001 Communication, Culture and Change
  • MCOM 7002 International Communication and Culture (at Wroxton College)
  • MCOM 7003 Communication and Globalization

Interpersonal

  • MCOM 7101 Communication and Technology
  • MCOM 7102 Narrative Communication
  • MCOM 7103 Language and Communication

Public

  • MCOM 7201 PR in the Modern Organization
  • MCOM 7202 Crisis Communication
  • MCOM 7203 Strategic Communication

The Global Experience

The MA program offers a unique, intensive, 12-day seminar in international communication and culture, held at Wroxton College, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s campus in Oxfordshire, England (MCOM7002 International Communication and Culture). The seminar includes panel discussion and lectures conducted by recognized international experts from business, academia, politics, and the media and offers a unique insight into professional communication experiences in other parts of the world.

Capstone Experience

MCOM 6099 The Capstone Experience: Principles into Practice

The capstone experience seeks to blend knowledge and theory with application and action. Students will be expected to apply concepts learned during the course of the program toward the completion (i.e. action) of a communication-based project of suitable scope within their own workplace or within another appropriate organizational site. In addition to integrating knowledge gained from coursework, the project students elect to undertake must also demonstrate the oral and written communication skills expected of those nearing the completion of a Master of Arts degree in Communication.

The capstone experience is taught as a blended, 3-credit course, and students will complete their projects under the supervision of the course instructor. All graduate faculty will be involved in the review of project proposals and final assessment.

Students will spend the first four to five weeks of the semester developing a project proposal and reviewing the relevant literature. Pending approval of the proposal by the graduate faculty, students will spend the next six to eight weeks of the semester executing the project outlined in their proposal. The final two to three weeks of the term will be spent on presentation and assessment of the project.

Potential projects can include:

  • Development and implementation of a training session, workshop, or webinar
  • Development and implementation of a communication plan or campaign
  • Development and production of a training video
  • Development and delivery of a multi-modal presentation
  • Completion of a communication audit

Students may enroll in MCOM 6099 only after 18 credits of coursework have been completed and the student has a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Students unable to complete their project within a single semester must have the approval of the course instructor and the graduate program director to be given an Incomplete. In the case that a student receives a grade of Incomplete, the student is expected to complete all outstanding work within the first four weeks of the subsequent semester.

Graduate Assistantships

The MA in Communication program offers competitive-based graduate assistantships to full-time graduate students. The assistantship pays a stipend and tuition for 9 graduate-level credits each semester. Graduate assistants work in the program director’s office under the supervision of the program director.

Scholarships

Several competitive scholarships are available for students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the fields of corporate communications, public relations, and/or advertising. Applications for the annual Alison Storipan Scholarship are accepted each Fall and funds are applied the following Spring semester. Applications for the Louis Tripodi Memorial Scholarship are accepted each Spring and dispersed during the subsequent Fall semester.

Course Descriptions

  • MCOM6001 This course provides an introduction to graduate study in Communication, the major area of research and practice in discipline, key publications in the field, and the specializations of the Department of Communication Studies faculty. Students will be given an overview of the history and foundational theories of the discipline, as well as paradigms and methodologies of communication research and practice, and learn how to apply them in discussions and analyses of contemporary communication problems.

  • MCOM6002 This course will introduce students to writing techniques used by communication professionals and enhance their professional writing and editing skills through analysis of and practice in various modes of written communication, including research reports, newsletters, blogs, press releases, memos, letters and brochures, among others.

  • MCOM6003 Techniques of oral communication in professional, corporate and institutional contexts. Workshop sessions devoted to listening skills, electronic media presentations and impromptu responses to hostile questions. Term-long focus on individually selected target audience, actual or hypothetical. Professional and peer critiques.

  • MCOM6004 Emphasis of these executive lectures is on the forces influencing corporate communications. Analysis of advertising, marketing and related corporate communications. Topics include politics and infomercials, brands in crisis, integrated marketing, licensing, public image engineering, corporate citizenship, green marketing, cause marketing, gambling, public TV and other sponsorships, new communication technology, minority marketing, international issues, creative issues and other topics. Guest speakers and panel formats. Research interview and term project required. Taught by Schering-Plough Distinguished Visiting Professor of Corporate Communications. Can be taken more than once since the topics vary.

  • MCOM6005 The main purpose of this course is to help students become better communicators in the context of a small group. The objective is to provide both (a) a broad understanding of group communication processes, and (b) practical advice to help students be more effective small group participants and leaders. The course will primarily deal with task-oriented small groups-groups with a specific objective to achieve information to share a problem to solve or a decision to make.

  • MCOM6006 This course introduces students to a range of research principles and methods for examining contemporary communication practices and problems across contexts. In addition, the course offers students the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to research, including both qualitative and quantitative, in which to ground their own individual research projects for the MA Capstone Experience.

  • MCOM6099 The Capstone Experience: Principles into Practice The capstone experience seeks to blend KNOWLEDGE/THEORY and APPLICATION/ACTION. Students will be expected to APPLY concepts learned during the course of the program toward the completion (i.e. ACTION) of a communication-based project of suitable scope within their own workplace or within another appropriate organizational site. In addition to integrating knowledge gained from coursework, the project students elect to undertake must also demonstrate the oral and written communication skills expected of those nearing the completion of a Master of Arts degree in Corporate & Organizational Communication.

  • MCOM7001 This course analyzes the relationship among communication, change management and organizational culture. Discussions and lectures include: definitions and types of organizational culture, methods for the study of corporate cultures, the essence and functions of organizational culture, diagnosis of corporate culture, managing and auditing communication and culture, perpetuating or reshaping cultures. In addition, the connection between effecting organizational change by transforming the culture is a dominant theme throughout the course.

  • MCOM7002 Intensive two weeks of lectures, discussions and field experiences at FDU's Wroxton campus in England. Focus on legal, social, political and cultural factors influencing business and communications abroad. Lecturers include leading British and continental corporate executives, journalists and political leaders. Students complete an individual project upon return from the program. Course fee includes tuition, room and board and excursion costs. Airfare is additional.

  • MCOM7003 This course examines communication in the intercultural setting, both domestic and international. The course focuses upon (a) how culture influences the communication process and the development of relationships, and (b) the dynamics of intercultural encounters. Special emphasis will be given to how the tenets of globalization and intercultural communication are applied in the workplace.

  • MCOM7101 This course examines communication in the intercultural setting, both domestic and international. The course focuses upon (a) how culture influences the communication process and the development of relationships, and (b) the dynamics of intercultural encounters. Special emphasis will be given to how the tenets of globalization and intercultural communication are applied in the workplace.

  • MCOM7102 This course examines a variety of forms narrative communication takes in professional contexts, including myths, legends, cautionary tales, and jokes, and considers the multiple functions they may serve for individuals and institutions. Students are guided by a selection of theory, research, literature, and case studies, through which they will learn methods of recognizing and analyzing recurrent patterns and themes in various modes and media of narrative communication.

  • MCOM7103 The course provides a brief history of the study of language and introduces students to a selection of the most influential theories and research on language and communication, including semiotics, semantics, pragmatics, interaction analysis, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and multimodal discourse analysis. Students will work with applications of these approaches to a range of communication contexts, from informal talk and text among friends and colleagues, to formal interactions between professionals and lay persons, to mediate discourse (e.g. advertising, TV, film social media). Class sessions will be highly interactive and collaborative.

  • MCOM7201 This course will focus on theories, strategies, and techniques for organizational public relations. This course specifically examines the dynamic practice of public relations on the organizational level, with particular focus on the publics that organizations serve. Organizations must be proactive and reactive in their public relations practices. We'll cover a variety of topics throughout the course. Each week we'll engage in scholarly readings that deal with a specific topic in public relations.

  • MCOM7202 This course specifically examines the dynamic practice of crisis communication on the organizational level. It seems that we live in a culture of crisis - organizations must be proactive and reactive in their public relations practices. Topics discussed will include image repair strategies, options available to organizations facing crisis, crisis management teams, crisis management as a form of public relations, and examinations of case studies. Using the most recent scholarship, students will learn about this timely topic in an interactive and engaging environment.

  • MCOM7203 This course will focus on what the communication professional needs to do address and gain recognition form various markets and constituencies. Students will examine strategies employed in case studies and will develop strategies for dealing with real-world challenges in contemporary communication contexts.