Graduate Catalog 2012 - 2013


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Department of Communication

Professional Communication

Degree: M.A., Professional Communication, Department of Communication, College of the Arts and Communication

Graduate Program Co-Directors: Sharmila Pixy Ferris, Hobart Hall 204, 973-720-3338,; Angie Yoo, Hobart Hall 203, 973-720-2743, – Department of Communication

The M. A. in Professional Communication program is designed to enhance marketability and communication skills with a comprehensive, dual-track curriculum that includes both Corporate and Strategic Communication and New Media and Professional Writing.

Students may personalize their curriculum with an array of dynamic, professional, integrated communication courses such as Integrated Communication, Strategic Public Relations Management and Writing for Digital Media. Seminars and workshops will be presented by senior-level executives in media, government, corporate and non-profit industries in the Professional Seminar.

The M.A. in Professional Communication is designed to provide future industry leaders with the skill set to navigate complex communications dynamics within the global marketplace.

The program is specifically designed for students and working professionals who seek to achieve a compelling and advanced role in a corporate communication or media setting.

Who Should Apply?

Recent graduates looking to develop a unique combination of communication skill sets in order to more successfully enter the workforce

Working professionals seeking advancement in business and communication fields including public relations management, integrated communication, corporate and strategic communication, news media and professional writing

Application for Admission to the M. A. in Professional Degree Program

Before beginning the application process, students will need to have the following:

A bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college.  A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 on a scale of 4.00.  GRE or MAT scores.

International students need to have taken the TOEFL. The minimum score requirements are:

Overall score of at least 550.  Written English score of at least 4.  Pronunciation minimum score of 2.1.  Grammar score of 2.5 or more.  Fluency minimum score of 2.1.

When ready to apply, the prospective student will need to supply the following:

An essay articulating the student's goals and expectations; how the student's academic and professional backgrounds fit the nature and mission of the program (or have prepared them for a successful learning experience in the program); how they may benefit from the program; and how they would contribute to the program and their fellow students.

Two recent letters of recommendation

Completion and submission of online application to the Office of Graduate Admissions

$50 application fee

More information can be obtained at the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Program Highlights

Students in the integrated 30-credit program may specialize in one of the program's two tracks: Corporate and Strategic Communication or New Media and Professional Writing, and will follow a core curriculum of Integrated Communication, Communication Ethics, Survey in Professional Writing and a comprehensive Master Project in which they may research, design, problem-solve and execute a comprehensive strategic marketing communication campaign based on real-world issues or scenarios. The project may include a practicum experience at a New Jersey or New York corporation.

Dynamic program electives include Technology and Integrated Communication, Leadership, Website Creation, The Press and Global Society and the popular Crisis and Reputation Management.

Class times are flexible and adaptable to hectic work schedules. All courses are taught by experienced faculty members who have senior-level experience in global communication industries, major media networks and large, successful marketing and public relations firms. Professional communication faculty are also widely published in a range of business and scholarly journals as well as a variety of integrated media platforms. Faculty utilize their vast network of executive contacts to help place students in meaningful practicum, internship and professional opportunities.

What Students Learn

The curriculum of the M.A. in Professional Communication supports a structured program of study designed to give graduates a unique combination of skill sets for their professional development in the industry.

This is a two-year program that 's well suited for students and working professionals seeking to achieve success in an array of communication fields including public relations management, integrated communication, corporate and strategic communication, new media and professional writing. Students will need to complete 30 credits to graduate from this program. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are 3 credits.

In addition to a core and a set of elective requirements, students are expected to specialize in one of the program's two tracks: Corporate and Strategic Communication or New Media and Professional Writing.

The amount of classes a student takes each semester depends on the student's schedule and availability. Full-time students may take three classes a semester for their first three semesters (one core, one track, and one elective) and spend their last semester working on their master project. Part-time and working students may decide to only take two classes a semester for four semesters and take their remaining two classes during Summer Sessions or the following fall semester. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with their advisors to discuss their class schedules and the subject and form of their master project. The master project demonstrates to instructors an applied competency in effective communication and is the final course a professional communication student must complete in order to graduate.

Core Courses (12 Credits)

Every student enrolled in the M.A. in Professional Communication program is required to take core courses. These four classes provide the bedrock for understanding problem-solving techniques, various forms of professional writing, and the ethics surrounding professional communication as well as a finished product that displays that understanding:

Integrated Communication

Survey in Professional Writing

Communication Ethics

Master Project

Electives in Applied Professional Communication (9 credits)

Students taking either of the above tracks may take courses in the other track to fulfill elective requirements in addition to, or in place of, program electives, which are as follows:

Leadership and TeamworkApplications for Website CreationGlobal CommunicationCrisis and Reputation ManagementThe Press and Global SocietyTechnology and Integrated Communication

By advisement and prior approval from the program director, students may be allowed to take a maximum of no more than six credits outside of the M.A. in Professional Communication program to partially fulfill their electives requirements. Approval is not automatic and requires a formal application and review process.