IUP Adds Master of Science Degree in Strategic Communication

Posted on 1/25/2018 3:39:06 PM

Today, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors approved Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science degree in Strategic Communication.

The program, housed in the Department of Communications Media in the College of Education and Communications, will admit students starting in June 2018.

The Master of Science in Strategic Communication is a 36-credit program designed to serve current and aspiring communication professionals. The program prepares students to effectively communicate goal-driven messages through writing, research, production, and oral presentation.

Graduates will be ready to pursue advanced graduate education or embark on a variety of careers in professional communication, including crisis communication, communication management, political communication, health communication, and strategic online messaging.

“There is a significant need for strong and well-educated communicators,” said IUP President Michael Driscoll. “This program draws on our excellent communications media program and its credentialed faculty members, most of whom have extensive work experiences outside the classroom and who are committed to excellence in teaching.”

Mark Piwnisky, professor of communications media, will direct the program. The first cohort of students will begin study in the summer.

“We’ve had incredible support from the university administration, and we are excited to have the approval of the Board of Governors,” said B. Gail Wilson, chair of the department. “This program focuses on strategic communication and is designed for the working professional.”

Classes are held in the evenings and on some Saturdays. Full-time students can complete the program in one calendar year with summer- and winter-term courses. Almost all of the classes are traditional face-to-face, with online classes offered during the winter term.

“This program can add to an undergraduate degree in many different disciplines: communications media, journalism, English, business, political science, safety science, and many others,” Wilson said.

Wilson noted that communications and telecommunications is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania, and that industry leaders have expressed a need for professionals with the strategic communications skill set, especially in light of the popularity and use of social media.

“Marketing communications is becoming ever more strategic, integrated, metric driven, and outcome-focused,” said Daniel Sprumont, senior digital strategist at Highmark Health. Sprumont is a 2010 IUP communications media major with a 2011 master’s degree in adult and communications technology degree, also from IUP.

“A Master of Science in Strategic Communication will enable graduates to systematically overcome business challenges to meet their organizations’ objectives. IUP’s Communications Media Department instills a work ethic and way of thinking that are necessary to succeed in today’s strategic communications roles. The faculty, peers, and opportunities that I experienced through the Communications Media Department have positioned my career for long-term positive outcomes.”

Students in the program will gather and analyze information, conduct qualitative and quantitative research, and develop goal-driven communication campaigns. Students may elect the Applied Track, with advanced production and writing requirements and an internship, or the Research Track, with an advanced research course and a thesis.

Students who complete the Research Track have admission advantages for IUP’s PhD in Communications Media and Instructional Technology. Students may be eligible to receive tuition benefits with a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistants work with specific faculty members on research, scholarship, production activities, or other departmental projects.

The Department of Communications Media also offers scholarship assistance for students through the Piwinsky Family Graduate Fellowship.

More information about the program and admissions guidelines are available at the MS in Strategic Communication website.

IUP offers more than 140 undergraduate programs, 55 master’s programs, and 14 doctoral programs.