Masters in Media Studies and Communication programs take different forms depending on your specific interests in journalism, marketing, and social media. Here are five questions to ask yourself to choose the right program for you. As with any graduate program, be sure to prioritize your professional interests over any perceived rankings.
As a candidate, what do you bring to the table? Highly selective programs are attractive to college graduates with liberal arts degrees. They may require demanding essays and they usually ask for writing samples. It also helps to have experience (even if unpaid) in advertising, creative writing, journalism, marketing, or public relations. While neither specific courses in communications or marketing nor test scores are usually prerequisites for admission, it certainly helps to demonstrate strong writing skills and a basic understanding of demographics and statistics.
What technology do you want to use to become a better journalist, writer or publisher? Programs may specialize or favor particular technologies that you will need to become familiar with and, throughout the program, become an expert. Make sure the technology and courses match your interests. For example, if you are interested in video, you might want to consider a Masters in Journalism program that will teach you how to use video and web tools to become a better journalist.
Do you want to become a social media director? Then you might want to consider a master’s program in areas such as integrated marketing communications or strategic communications. These programs teach you how to design websites, choose social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, develop campaigns to drive customers to your site and platforms, and use analytics to measure effectiveness and return. on investment of your social media mix.
Do you want to use the tools of social media to be a successful marketing manager, but also be able to focus on other aspects of marketing such as advertising or brand management? Then you need a program that teaches you advertising practices and strategies, market research, consumer behavior, product management, and communications strategies for print, radio, and television as well as social media. You also need to know how to determine the effectiveness and ROI of your overall marketing strategy.
What support does your program offer after graduation? The course is a springboard to your career. Ideally, the program you choose should also offer continuing education through live and virtual classes and events after you graduate. There should also be a strong and well-connected alumni network who will be interested in helping you grow. While these will come in handy after you graduate, remember that your mastery is also about building your own network. The contacts you make in your program and through continuing education will help you build a network that will support you for life.
(Article by Elizabeth LaScala, PhD and Stuart Nachbar)
Higher education is increasingly necessary to advance careers, increase incomes and take advantage of employer-sponsored health and retirement coverage, and successfully apply for a graduate degree or businesses requires careful planning. Elizabeth LaScala PhD, Founder of Doing College and Beyond provides personalized guidance throughout the graduate and professional degree admissions process, whether you are currently studying at the undergraduate level or already working in your career. Call (925) 385-0562 or visit Elizabeth at her home website to learn more.
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