MASC Course Descriptions

Required Core Courses (15 total credit hours)

All students are required to complete the following courses with a final letter grade of at least a “B”.

  • COMM 701—Professional Seminar I (1 credit hour): An introduction and orientation to the Master's in Strategic Communications program including exploration of resources supporting the program, instruction in academic research and writing skills, and attendance at specified research project presentations.
  • COMM 702—Professional Seminar II (1 credit hour): Development and oral defense of the capstone project proposal. Presentation of research to students in Professional Seminar I. Individual consultation with adviser to outline program of study for remaining coursework.
  • COMM 703—Professional Seminar III (1 credit hour): Preparation for and completion of written comprehensive exams at the culmination of coursework for the Master's in Strategic Communication program.
  • COMM 710—Applied Research Methods for Professionals (3 credit hours):Students will examine and learn research methods with a focus on application of the techniques in the professional environment. They will gain an understanding of the research terminology as a basis to further explore application of both quantitative and qualitative research methods to solving problems and answering research questions in the working environment. They will develop a skill set that will allow them to develop surveys and use a computer statistical analysis package (SPSS-20) to carry out empirical problem solving using Chi Square, t-tests, ANOVA, MANOVA and basic Regression Analysis. Additionally, they will learn to conduct Focus Groups and do Content Analysis to apply the techniques in solving problems in the workplace setting.
  • COMM 720—Media and Communication Theory for Professionals (3 credit hours): This course examines a wide range of media and communication theories that help professionals understand communication processes and strategies used to develop strategic communication initiatives in the workplace.
  • COMM 790—Capstone Professional Project (1–3 credit hours): The capstone is a required independent study whose purpose is to allow the student to develop substantial expertise in an area related to that student’s career goals. Some students who want to go on for further graduate study may approach their capstone like a master’s scholarly research project. Other students may treat their capstone as an opportunity to cultivate credentials and expertise directly relevant to their job. The capstone may take a variety of forms — for example, an original research paper, a critical case study, or a survey of best practices or in-depth analysis of a topic supported by existing literature. No matter what its form, a capstone always must demonstrate thorough understanding of relevant theories, sources, research methods, and literature. A full-time member of the MASC faculty will supervise the capstone project. Note: Students can take 1–3 credit hours per semester depending on scope of project. A minimum of three credit hours is required with a maximum of six credit hours.
  • COMM 730—Organizational Communication (3 credit hours): A study of theories of organizational communication and their application to the workplace. Students will analyze communication challenges in organizations from various perspectives, including supervisors, subordinates, and peers.
  • COMM 740—Leadership Theory and Practice (3 credit hours): This course is designed to engender understanding of various theoretical approaches and conceptualizations of leadership, as well as promote and develop interpersonal communication strategies for practical application in professional environments.

Public Relations and Marketing Communication Elective Courses

  • COMM 534—International Public Relations (3 credit hours): Students will examine the nature of international public relations and the impact globalization has had on businesses and their communication structures. It will review global corporate communication theories, organizational structures to accommodate the rapidly changing nature of businesses beyond the historical traditional borders, the barriers encountered, the approaches using changing technology to enhance global public relations, projecting future changes, and examining trends that may influence the profession. Additionally, students will examine multiple case studies involving international public relations in an effort to establish knowledge baseline that will enable them to apply tested principles in their own work settings.
  • COMM 599—Introduction to Social Media for Strategic Communication (3 credit hours): This course provides a broad overview of the role social media play in the strategic communication process, examines decisions organization must make when using social media, and introduces students to current social media and social sharing sites.
  • COMM 605—Social Media Management (3 credit hours): This course uses hands-on learning to examine the process of creating, implementing, and evaluating engaging social media programs; to learn current tools for managing social media; and to discuss factors involved in creating social media policies for organizations.
  • COMM 625—Strategic Communication Campaigns (3 credit hours):Examination and application of the principles of strategic communication campaign design. Students plan and design communication campaigns for a real client as a major component of the course. Topics cover the integrated use and design of traditional advertising, public relations, social, and non-traditional media to accomplish communication objectives.
  • COMM 735—Organizational Public Relations and Communication Strategies (3 credit hours): A seminar course that focuses on the study of organizations, bureaucracies, and their functions with the various publics, including the mass media, to accomplish public relations goals. Additionally, this course examines internal and external communications issues for organizations, to include corporate political issues.
  • COMM 745—Crisis Communication (3 credit hours): An introduction to crisis communication providing insights into key concepts, theoretical perspectives, essential critical thinking and planning skills necessary for effective crisis management within organizations. Topics will include issues management, risk management, relationship management, crisis planning and preparation, case studies, and developing crisis communication management plans. In addition to traditional methods, the class will engage in simulations, field trips and individual research to master the content area.

Mass Communication, Media Management, and Media Production Courses

  • COMM 655—Digital Media Production for Corporate Environments (3 credit hours): Advanced production techniques in videography, sound recording, photography, and related media technology, including practical experience in producing, editing and distribution of media content. Students will learn to use digital production tools to produce work for professional purposes in public relations, journalism or broadcast that can be shown to audiences through multiple formats.
  • COMM 750—Media Management (3 credit hours): Examination of key responsibilities and problems faced by management teams in media organizations and related fields. Topics include media ownership, ethics, financial responsibilities, personnel management, audience analysis and content delivery.
  • COMM 760—Media Programming and Analytics (3): Interpreting quantitative audience research such as Neilsen and Arbitron ratings, syndicated program/analyses and SRDS tables. Students utilize this data to successfully program a fictional broadcast station. Station and Network program strategies, tactics and program development are discussed.

Technical Communication Courses

  • COMM 705—Advanced Copywriting and Editing (3 credit hours): Advanced instruction and practice in writing and editing copy for a wide variety of internal and external publics. Through case studies, class discussion and individual exercises, students will learn to outline audience needs; master technical skills in vocabulary, grammar and style; and develop/edit appropriate messages and content for traditional mass media, online/mobile media, and corporate publications.
  • COMM 715—Technical Communication (3 credit hours): This course examines the role of verbal, nonverbal, and written communication within the framework of organizations and corporations.  It applies grounded theory in studying message formation covering areas such as the use of communication audits in identifying information channels between internal and external publics, report writing, message formation, presentations, proposal writing, document preparation, importance of social media tools, and application of applied skills in enhancing the work environment.

Issues in Strategic Communication

  • COMM 671—Independent Study (3 credit hours): In-depth study of advanced communication principles or applied theory chosen by the student and approved by the instructor.
  • COMM 700—Seminar in Strategic Communication: [Topic] (3 credit hours): Intensive treatment of selected topics not found in the regular Strategic Communication curriculum. Course content varies from semester to semester. Course may be repeated for credit in different topics. Topics will vary and will examine topics related to mass media, media design, specialized areas of strategic communication.
  • COMM 765—Persuasive Communication Techniques and Strategies (3 credit hours): This course examines the theories and techniques of persuasion as they apply to strategic communication contexts.
  • COMM 770—Communication and the Global Audience (3 credit hours):Communication and the Global Audience consists of the study of theoretical concepts pertaining to intercultural communication and its application to interpersonal, workplace, public and mediated communication practices.
  • COMM 775—Professional Ethics and Strategic Communication (3 credit hours): This course uses case studies to explore and take a systematic approach to solving real-world ethical dilemmas related to strategic communication. Those case studies will come from actual ethical issues that students will research in the workplace. The course discusses/explores the philosophical foundation of ethics.
  • COMM 780—Media Ecology (3 credit hours): The study of how media technologies shape significant cultural institutions, whether political, social, economic, educational, or religious. In addition to studying the cultural influences of media technologies, students will also consider how media affect their own lives with regard to multiple commitments and communities.
  • COMM 785—Communication Law for Professionals (3 credit hours):Examination of the constitutional underpinnings of freedom of expression and the limitations on such freedoms as enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Students will focus particularly on libel, privacy, intellectual property, source protection, information gathering, obscenity, and government regulation.


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