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Courses and Concentrations

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MS in Communication Degree Concentrations

Below you will find the different concentrations for the MS in Communications Degree. To get more information on these concentrations, click one below to expand.

Given the growth and specialization of the communications industry, Purdue’s 100% online Master of Science in Communication speaks directly to the topics critical for advancement and provides a deeper focus with concentrations in four areas.

By selecting a concentration or customizing your degree, you’ll graduate with the expertise to take your career to new heights. You’ll complete the degree in just 12-20 months using what you learn to establish yourself—or cement your status—as a communication expert. 

Strategic Communication/Public Relations Concentration
Learn to identify and overcome key issues to successfully manage organizational relationships with stakeholders, develop communication strategies tailored to the unique needs of specific audiences, and facilitate effective responses to organizational crises while understanding global challenges associated with strategic communication initiatives. In the Strategic Communication/Public Relations concentration, you’ll use a new global perspective to master crisis communications in the 21st Century, and learn how to build an integrated strategy that properly identifies, then involves, all key stakeholders. By the end of the program you understand specifically how to:

  • Use your understanding of the key issues in managing organizational relationships with stakeholders to gain buy-in and create messaging faster and more effectively
  • Develop plans tailored to the unique needs of specific publics so they are readily heard and acted upon
  • Create responses to organizational crises in an ethical way
  • Understand and overcome global challenges associated with strategic communication initiatives
Branding and Marketing Communication Concentration
Understand the need—and methods—to engage all stakeholders within an organization to create effective messaging strategies, using persuasion theory to develop strategies and branding initiatives that reflect the integration of marketing, advertising and public relations.

By the end of the program you understand specifically how to:

  • Develop communication strategies that reflect the integration of marketing, public relations and advertising
  • Facilitate the development of communication plans
  • Create advertising, marketing, and branding initiatives
  • Develop messages that increase engagement using persuasion theory and best practices
Digital Media and Communication Technologies Concentration
Discover a range of concepts and skills needed for effective personal and corporate use of digital and social media. this concentration complements other concentrations available through purdue’s online ms in communication program. it is optional for those who want a specific education in digital and communication technologies.
By the end of the program, you understand specifically how to:

  • Learn to articulate the role digital and social communication technologies play in the design of effective communication campaigns.
  • Learn to use communication technologies to implement communication strategies to meet organizational goals.
  • Leverage data from communication, social and digital environments to evaluate the impact of their messaging strategies on relevant stakeholders.
  • Evaluate the role of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and generative language models and emerging collaboration frameworks on their practice as communication professionals.
Management Communication and Leadership Concentration
Identify communication strategies when the stakes are high and learn how you can increase team productivity through communication. You’ll develop data-fueled communication strategies and manage the challenges that occur naturally throughout conflicts, negotiations and change. 

By the end of the program you understand specifically how to:

  • Identify relevant theories and principles of leadership, organizational communication, and data-informed communications planning
  • Understand how communication can increase team productivity
  • Develop comprehensive internal and external communications plans
  • Construct a communications plan to achieve a leadership position in a marketplace
  • Advise peers and colleagues as they work through their own communication challenges
  • Identify communication strategies to communicate with executives when stakes are high and explain the role of leadership and culture in global strategic communication
Health Communication Concentration
Learn how to communicate within the increasingly complex healthcare industry. You’ll improve the communications of internal and external teams, including industry stakeholders, patients, providers, payers and government agencies while learning how to address advocacy issues. 

By the end of the program you understand specifically how to:

  • Identify relevant theories and principles of leadership, organizational communication and data-informed communications planning in a healthcare setting
  • Understand how communication can increase team productivity
  • Develop comprehensive internal and external healthcare communications plans
  • Construct a communications plan to achieve a leadership position in a marketplace
  • Advise peers and colleagues as they work through their own communication challengesIdentify communication strategies to communicate with executives when stakes are high and explain the role of leadership and culture in global strategic communication

Plan of Study 

If you do not select a concentration, the degree plan of study is as below:

PLAN OF STUDY BY AREA

CREDITS

Core 9
Electives 21
Total
30

 

If you select a concentration, the degree plan of study is as below:

 between electives, concentration courses, 

PLAN OF STUDY BY AREA

CREDITS

Core 9
Electives 12
Concentration 9
Total
30

Below is a sample student plan of study.

Sample Plan of Study

AREA

COURSE

COURSE TITLE

CREDITS

Core COM 60111 Seminar in Strategic Communication 3
Core COM 60411 Seminar in Communication Research Methods 3
Core COM 61011 Strategic Communications and Ethics 3
Elective COM 60911 Strategic Public Relations 3
Elective COM 64400 Strategic Personal Branding 3
Elective COM 64600 Strategic Corporate Branding 3
Elective COM 60811 Leadership and Global Strategic Communication 3
Brand and Marketing Communication Concentration COM 64011 Seminar in Advertising 3
Brand and Marketing Communication Concentration COM 64100 Introduction to Brand and Marketing Communication 3
Brand and Marketing Communication Concentration COM 62111 Strategic Communication and Social Media 3

Courses and Curriculum

The selected coursework ensures you achieve a heightened understanding of communication and the tools needed to leverage effective messaging across any medium.

Students who wish to customize a learning track to meet their career goals with the 30 credit hour MS in Communication take three core courses and choose seven elective courses. If you opt to study a concentration, you’ll take three core courses, three concentration courses, and select four elective courses. Courses cannot be counted twice. Up to two concentrations are possible.

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Consider These Points When Selecting a Concentration

  • Your Natural Strengths and Interests. Note where work seems to “fit” you best. Where do you connect easily to information and generate ideas? What projects are you excited to work on? Conversely, what tasks do you find you drag your feet on? Make note of the “buckets” these fit into and look for commonalities that align to a concentration.
  • Social Media/Job Sites. Use LinkedIn and Indeed to further research roles, and find the ones that excite you the most. Look at the qualifications needed, and see how coursework can fulfill those qualifications.