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There are many decisions and resolutions to be made before registering for a degree program in communications. Some of the choices include choosing between a campus-based communication school or an online communication school, identifying area(s) of specialty and noting the necessary requirements for graduation. All of these may seem too much to take in at once. This manual is designed to explain the processes involved in pursuing a degree in communications and related fields, the structure of the syllabus and options available for students.

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Berkeley Collegelearn-more-button1


Berkeley CollegeLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut aliquam diam semper velit vehicula viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam ultricies, velit eget sodales laoreet, libero mauris facilisis est, finibus luctus quam diam in tortor. Suspendisse egestas quis lectus ac scelerilearn-more-button1

Baker Universitylearn-more-button1


Baker UniversityLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut aliquam diam semper velit vehicula viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam ultricies, velit eget sodales laoreet, libero mauris facilisis est, finibus luctus quam diam in tortor. Suspendisse egestas quis lectus ac scelerilearn-more-button1

Argosy Universitylearn-more-button1


Argosy University2Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut aliquam diam semper velit vehicula viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam ultricies, velit eget sodales laoreet, libero mauris facilisis est, finibus luctus quam diam in tortor. Suspendisse egestas quis lectus ac scelerilearn-more-button1

Abilene Christian Universitylearn-more-button1


Abilene Christian UniversityLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut aliquam diam semper velit vehicula viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam ultricies, velit eget sodales laoreet, libero mauris facilisis est, finibus luctus quam diam in tortor. Suspendisse egestas quis lectus ac scelerilearn-more-button1

Cardinal Stritch University learn-more-button1


Cardinal Stritch UniversityLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut aliquam diam semper velit vehicula viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam ultricies, velit eget sodales laoreet, libero mauris facilisis est, finibus luctus quam diam in tortor. Suspendisse egestas quis lectus ac scelerilearn-more-button1

Ashland Universitylearn-more-button1


Ashland UniversityLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut aliquam diam semper velit vehicula viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam ultricies, velit eget sodales laoreet, libero mauris facilisis est, finibus luctus quam diam in tortor. Suspendisse egestas quis lectus ac scelerilearn-more-button1

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS DEGREE?

An online communication degree is useful beyond the limitations of a career or line of business. In many cases, it provides a strong foundation needed to be able to function effectively in chosen career paths or to switch from one to another quite easily. It builds strengths in areas like critical thinking, public speaking, team work, cooperation, reading, writing, mentoring and leadership. These taught and practiced skills find application in a great variety of careers such as public relations, journalism, advertising, broadcast media and more. Graduates can also build careers in entrepreneurship, business, law and health services management. Some of the many job opportunities available to holders of degrees in communications include:

  • Broadcast News Analysts
  • Media/Communication Workers
  • Public Address System/Other Announcers
  • Public Relations Specialists
  • Radio/Television Announcers
  • Reporters/Correspondents
  • Broadcast News Analysts

Broadcast news analysts state and evaluate reports on ongoing television and radio newscasts..  News analysts obtain information from diverse sources, edit and then organize this material in the required format for broadcasting. Analysts may offer their explanations of current events as on-the-air commentaries or online commentaries. The latest technology now allows news analysts to share updates and opinions through podcasts or the Internet. Directors, reporters and news anchors, are similar positions that see to the day-to-day production of news broadcast.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMMUNICATIONS DEGREE PROGRAM

Communications is quite extensive and covers so many themes from speaking, to teaching, blogging, technical writing to corporate marketing and beyond. For the various fields in communication, the first practical step to be taken is a specialized education in the area(s) of interest. Communications degrees are available at all levels; associate, bachelors, graduate and post-graduate levels. Associate degree programs prepare students in the basic interpersonal communication fundamentals and general subjects like writing, speech and social sciences. At the bachelor’s level, students may begin to specialize, for example, communications concepts targeted at mentoring at the level of organizations. Managerial communication studies address topics like speaking and listening techniques with special electives in conflict resolution, ethics and human relations. Graduate level programs are more concentrated. They offer coursework in similar areas and include current courses such as information technology and Internet privacy. Post-graduate programs usually allow participants to emphasize an area of interest or research.

ONLINE COMMUNICATION DEGREES

Apart from the traditional on-campus options, there are online communications programs for students who need to be part-time to balance learning, work and personal obligations.  There are various opportunities to earn degrees through online communications schools as practically almost all courses can be taught through distance learning. Students make use of electronic media to communicate with the course coordinators, access course materials, interact and submit their work and complete all the program requirements virtually, without having to attend classrooms. Distance learning tools include systems such as streaming audio programs, video programs and online writing tutorial services. Still, there are some special graduate degree programs that may require students to be present for on-campus residency workshops. Students can interact via online forums and social networks.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT: ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS BACHELOR’S DEGREE

Apart from the traditional on-campus options, there are online communications programs for students who need to be part-time to balance learning, work and personal obligations.  There are various opportunities to earn degrees through online communications schools as practically almost all courses can be taught through distance learning. Students make use of electronic media to communicate with the course coordinators, access course materials, interact and submit their work and complete all the programGraduates of online bachelor’s degree programs in communications prepares graduates to o be able to take up career interests in as many areas as possible that require critical thinking, effective interpersonal relations and analytical skills. Students are taught the theory of communication which they can use to build their strengths in their various fields of communication and be better positioned in their professions. Online communications degree programs require an average of 120 credit hours. Classes may be exclusively online, or with few, on-campus visits if deemed necessary by the student. Leveraging email, live chat and other technology, students are able to interact with peers and instructors. Most of the programs have curriculum similar to regular campus-based schools; full-time students can graduate in four to five years. Besides the regular coursework, students can pick elective courses from majors, e.g. advertising, business, media, broadcasting or digital journalism. Students can also indicate an area of specialization, depending on the college.

ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE DEGREES

Associate degree program in communications can be completed within two years of full-time study to. It combines English and mathematics classes with introductory mass media and oral articulation courses. Students are exposed to the basics of writing, marketing, public speaking and group communications. Graduates can take advantage of the openings in the workforce or pursue a bachelor degree in communications. The table below explains some of the regular courses offered in the 2-year online communications degree programs:

COURSE NAME DESCRIPTION
Interpersonal Communication This explores the structures that affect interpersonal interaction and the processes by which ideas are conveyed.
Digital Media Editing It is an introduction to digital media; including single camera documentary production, multi-camera remote production, sports television, television news, digital film-making, editing, studio lighting and audio editing.
Media Writing Introduces the skills required for media writing; feature stories, critical reviews, advertising, press releases and scriptwriting  and rewriting.
Introduction to Advertising Introduction to the methods, procedures, purposes and functions of advertising and its impact in the society. It also includes the development of objectives, strategies and tactics of advertising campaigns.

ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS BACHELOR’S DEGREES

A bachelor’s degree in communications gives a solid foundation on the knowledge of communication theories, research methods, and the practical application of these concepts in everyday experiences and at the workplace. Students also analyze media trends; print, online and broadcast media. Below is an example of a typical course structure in an online communications degree program:

COURSE NAME DESCRIPTION
Introduction to Mass Communication This covers the application of communication principles and theories in public relations, community affairs and crisis scenarios. It covers mass communication including historical context and concepts.
Dynamics of Group Communication This explains classic and cutting edge research on groups and teams. The themes include stages of team development, maintenance functions, crisis communication and group thinking.
Intercultural Communication This course focuses on the correlation between culture and personal identity in communication strategies. Students learn to communicate effectively in a diverse, multi-cultural and global environment.
Writing for the Digital Age This course introduces students to basics in writing such as purpose, context, voice and structure. It Covers implementation through the various writing mediums.
Applied Interpersonal Communication This course examines the cognitive and affective aspects of communication. The themes include acceptance, perception, emotional intelligence, self-presentation, learning styles and models of human information processing
Media and Technology Communication This imparts knowledge on the changing dynamics of effective communications. It examines the various aspects in the current and evolving social media and the implications in business communication.

ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS DEGREE: MASTERS

A Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Communications places emphasis on theory, research, analysis and writing in different perspectives. The online graduate program seeks to provide both practical and applied knowledge even without the traditional classroom settings. Students learn effective communication campaigns, internet publishing and social networking by conducting research and then developing compelling and persuasive messages and visuals. Courses revolve around imparting leadership skills and styles, as well as strategies for dealing with conflict. The programs are made up of a thesis component, research project and/or comprehensive exams. It can be completed in two years by full-time students.  The table below describes some of the core master’s-level courses offered though it may vary slightly based on the each student’s area of interest.

COURSE NAME DESCRIPTION
Web Writing and Content Strategy This examines how Internet content engages and drives the behavior of visitors. It focuses on search engine optimization, social media marketing, content marketing and explores appropriate styles for blogs and websites.
Changing Behavior Through Communication This deals with the theories used to predict behavioral changes. IT includes individual-level, interpersonal-level and community-level models.
The Digital Age Examines empirical research to help professionals excel in the digital age, through social networking and electronic journalism and related disciplines. It examines the interactions  between professionals and how  information  is accessed, understood and processed
Persuasion It examines the powers of persuasiveness in communication; varieties of messages, one-on-one to messages, messages communicated via mass media. It emphasizes the importance of a speaker’s proficiency, reliability and geniality.
Media Effects Focuses on theories and perceptions that explain the influence of the mass media on individuals, organizations and society, and in shaping public opinion
Branding and Advertising Discusses the concept of branding and advertising campaigns, with practical guidelines on how to  write briefs, create timelines, write budgets  and build a creative department.
Understanding Markets and Audiences This provides insight into the factors that enable target audience definition,  the understanding of this audience within its environment towards the development of  effective campaign strategies.
Emergency and Risk Communications Defines the core principles of emergency and risk communications and risk perception. It teaches  the  best practices in emergency and risk communication in working with the media, industry, government, and general public during crises and cases that involve the health and safety of the environment.
Opinion Writing Provides insights of the basics and depths of editorial writing such as writing for opinion sections of newspapers, pitching opinion pieces, packaging ideas and selling to editorial boards

ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS DEGREE: PHD

A PhD degree in Communications is research-based, analyzing the relationships between people and media in different settings; including cultural, political, historical, social, technological and economic. Certain courses have an interdisciplinary approach, whereby students can create curriculum’s in and for other fields. Graduates can proceed to teaching at the college level or take advantage of opportunities in industries that make use of communications-related research,   create and advertise policies and convey information to the public.

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