Communication is something we should all have some form of a handle on — and yet, mastering the art of collaboration, and communicating clearly, is considered highly valuable in the modern age. After all, even with all the impressive channels and opportunities we have available to connect with one another, problems can arise through simple communication breakdowns — and this is never exclusive to just one industry or role.
Studying for a master’s degree in communication may appeal to those who want to change the world through sharing ideas and concepts. Moreover, this discipline will also likely appeal to people who want to become better leaders — and who want to progress in a competitive field with a clear advantage in communicating complex topics and plans to wide audiences.
Ultimately, a master’s in communication can help you to create and express stories through careful marketing. It is a discipline that allows you to ensure a business’s message reaches the right people and can help you better understand the needs and demands of the audiences you are communicating with. It is all about innovation — and diving deeper into what smarter communication means for the fast-paced world around us.
Table of Contents
What is a master’s degree in communication?
Given that the name of the degree seems to encompass a lot, it is only natural to wonder what exactly a master’s in communication is.
The truth is that a master’s in communication is named as such because it covers many subjects. You will learn transferable skills such as how to develop and produce concepts to communicate to wide audiences, how to connect with said audiences, and how to identify communication breakdowns in the workplace that may be holding brands and their teams back from success.
An Online MA (Master of Arts) in Communication is a postgraduate degree. Students typically cover a wide range of course subject matter that all lead them to develop skills and tools in research, presentation, writing, and persuasion. As mentioned, this specific course revolves largely around marketing and outreach — meaning you will be helping brands and businesses to better communicate and connect with their audiences. Moreover, you will be ensuring that everyday people find resources and brands that they can be confident satisfy their everyday demands.
There is a growing list of roles and industries that may require a master’s in communication — or may even find such a qualification desirable. A little further down, we will break down a few of the roles that may benefit from this discipline.
For now, let us look at what specific skills you will learn in your master’s course in communication.
What skills does a master’s degree in communication provide?
With such a broad course, it would be impossible to walk away without having developed certain skills — and as you would expect, this degree will help you dive deep into how people communicate and how we can improve communication channels for the better.
For example, here are just some of the skills that a master’s degree in communication could provide you with:
While undertaking a master’s in communication, you will learn the importance of self-motivated research, and how to find valuable resources for essential data. A resulting job from a communications MA will typically entail you being able to present concrete facts, so, naturally, you will need to be able to find that information at a moment’s notice and from trusted sources.
This kind of skill can be beneficial and transferable on almost any career path, and will also serve you outside of your work life. In the context of communications, research skills will help you to pull relevant data from disparate sources, ready to analyze and present to varying audiences.
Data interpretation and strategy building
Collecting and analyzing data is one thing, but interpreting it is what the companies you apply for will want most. You will need to be able to draw certain conclusions from the data you find, and that is where an online communications master’s degree will be particularly useful.
This MA will help you to analyze data at a highly creative level, enabling you to create and shape content and outreach communications that are genuinely appealing to key audiences. Crucially, this element of your degree will help remove the need for making assumptions — instead helping you apply critical thinking to what might appear flat data on a page or screen to most people.
This kind of strategic thinking is what will set you apart and make you a vital part of the company you work for. An MA will provide you with the skills to draft and implement strategies that genuinely engage with audiences. Hiring firms will look for experts in turning raw data into an actionable strategy that drives results — an MA in communication will give them the confidence that you have the hands-on experience they can benefit from.
Part of your job could involve presenting your discoveries, ideas, analyses, and more. Presenting your findings in a clear, easy-to-follow, interesting, and professional way is key, especially if you are working with complex data and need to establish clear plans and strategies to tackle deep problems.
An MA in communications will help you hone your presentation building and public speaking skills. Ultimately, to change communication within a company for the better, you will also need to be able to communicate your ideas effectively.
Public speaking and presentation is not always a favorite aspect of many people’s jobs, but it is a crucial element that — within the context of a communications degree — runs core to your graduation.
Adapting your writing and speech to your audience
Whatever career you choose, you will have to learn how to talk to the people you work with and for. While ‘everyone deserves respect’ is a good rule, it will not serve you when writing reports and presenting to large groups. When pitching new marketing content to a new consumer audience, understanding what connects best with your demographic is your ticket to avoiding making assumptions and producing cloying, ingratiating material.
During your master’s course, you will learn how to adapt your presentations to your audience and, simply put, learn how to communicate with your superiors, employees, clients and colleagues about complex ideas and marketing plans.
You will also learn how to communicate across different platforms, adapt your material to public audiences from disparate backgrounds, and use multiple different hardware and software.
Do you like being the leader? It is one thing to be prepared by yourself, but leading an entire team is something entirely apart. Through your master’s in communication, you will learn how to manage multiple projects at once — the deeper you get into marketing for public audiences, the more you will find that self-organization is vital to ongoing success.
Although this may sound a little daunting, project management and balance will be a key part of what makes your eventual job so interesting. No two projects are ever the same — regardless of the industry you head to or the audience you communicate with. A communications MA will show employers that you are a self-starter that is not afraid to balance projects to their natural end points.
Businesses frequently go through highs and lows, and being able to navigate a crisis and handle concerned customers, worried co-workers, and even furious investors, is vital. Thankfully, this is something that you will learn in an MA in communication.
While not a key focus of some degree disciplines, crisis communications may arise as an important module alongside generic advertising outreach. This is simply because in moments of crisis, such as feature or product downtime or bad press, you will need to assure your customers that your brand will get back on its feet. These moments are also about protecting your audience and their interests — you will learn about how to reassure and realign concerns about your company and its current crisis.
Although most of the skills that we have covered thus far would make you a singularly primary candidate in any given communications crisis, it is also important to know how to work as part of a team.
Whether you are leading a team or are a key member, you will need to know how to keep communication running within the team, from delegating duties to staying up to speed on progress and presenting your collective work.
While knowing how to communicate is an asset when working with the public, it is also a key skill when working on strategies with your team behind the scenes. You may work well alone, but adaptability with others and willingness to see the benefit in others’ creative ideas will be highly beneficial when crafting public communications.
As part of any larger brand or service provider, when you begin communicating on their behalf, you are that brand. Even in moments of crisis, or even when your parent company is at clear fault (no matter how serious), integrity is a must.
Learning integrity principles and skills as part of a communications MA will help you learn how to maintain brand image and standards while keeping empathetic to your audience. You will learn skills that allow you to freely express creative communication while staying loyal to your brand and your customers’ needs. This balance is not always easy to strike — making this leg of your MA even more vital to future comms success.
Persuasion is a highly desirable skill that is central to success in creating marketing content. Convincing clients that you have the correct information, that you have reached an educated conclusion, and that they can trust you and your company with their business is vital. Sales revolve around making your idea or product appealing to the right people.
Skills in effective, empathetic persuasion run central to an MA in communication — developing in you the ability to persuade broad consumer audiences and help get your team members on side. You will learn a toolkit of phrases and standards that connect with people from all walks of life.
Believe it or not, communicating is not just talking. Listening is just as vital as presenting, selling and conversing.
During an MA in communication, you will learn how to listen actively — which can entail observing body language, asking the right questions about subjects under discussion, paying attention to your own responses (even behaviorally), asking for clarification, summarizing, and reflecting on what you have learned.
Active listening is a skill that is highly transferable both in the workplace and in wider consumer communications. The reason for this is surprisingly simple — people do not just want to be heard, they want to be listened to. This skill can help you to develop communications plans and marketing strategies that actively connect with people on a deeper level than most.
Interestingly, many of the skills you will learn and develop on a master’s in communication will transfer well into everyday life — this course will help you to learn how to become more confident and persuasive without the need to lose empathy or sight of the other party in your conversation. That applies to both commercial marketing as much as it does to working with other colleagues.
What job opportunities will you have with a master’s in communication?
Given that a master’s in communication is such an open-ended degree, the number of jobs available to you is actually quite extensive. The skills you will develop can be used in marketing roles and advertising departments, for example, to beneficial ends.
A master’s in communication can open many different doors and specialisms, meaning you may be able to alter your career route midway if you decide to look for bigger and better challenges.
Here are just a few roles where an MA in communication will prove highly beneficial — both in your initial application and daily, when working in the position:
- Marketing consultant
- Social media manager
- Market research analyst
- Brand ambassador
- Branding copywriter
- Public relations manager
- Internal communications manager
- Content developer
- Human resources manager
- Speech writer
- Political campaign manager
- Health communication specialist
- Web analytics specialist
- Fundraising manager
- Promotions manager
- News anchor
- Chief of staff
- Customer relationship manager
- Creative director
As extensive as this list may seem, it does not stop here. The number of career doors open to you with a master’s in communication is nearly endless, particularly as all industries rely on strong marketing campaigns and communication inside and out to achieve long-term success.
How do you get into a master’s degree course in communication?
The requirements that you will need to get into a master’s degree course in communication will vary depending on the school or online course that you choose.
Generally, schools will ask for at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and usually a personal essay to show your interest, motivation and current skills. Others may also ask for letters of recommendation and your standard application forms.
While it may seem extensive, do remember that you will be applying for a master’s degree that is highly sought-after — this is a key to multiple doors that will prove highly lucrative for years to come. The rest is down to you. If you are keen to help people through the power of words, this is a degree you will likely put enough time into to work to your advantage.
Always make that personal statement count, too — while this may only be a single page, it is your crucial first impression.
Is it worth getting a master’s degree in communication?
A master’s degree in communication is perfect for individuals who may already have a passion for the written or spoken word. Moreover, it is the perfect discipline for those interested in helping others through carefully crafted copy and strategy. Clear communication is crucial both behind the scenes and in the public eye — which is why many people are already taking strides to train professionally.
As you can see, the skills you will learn with a master’s degree in communication are invaluable. They are highly transferable between different companies, brands and industries. Furthermore, these skills may even help you to achieve success in your personal life — we could all benefit from learning how to communicate a little better!
Whether you consider yourself a prospective team leader, an analytical thinker, a talented copywriter, or all the above, a master’s in communication may be the ticket you are looking for to help you make that next crucial step in your career.
Nowadays, access to such courses is easier than ever, with online modules and degrees available for you to enjoy at your own pace and attend from the comfort of your home. Consider the incredible career paths that could open up to you with this MA — the sky’s the limit!