Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

School of Communication

Graduate Degrees

Degree Programs

The School of Communication offers programs of study leading to a professional Master of Communication Management, a M.A./M.Sc. in Global Communication in collaboration with the London School of Economics, a Master of Public Diplomacy and research-oriented Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Communication. The Master of Public Diplomacy combines the resources of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ School of International Relations. In addition, special programs enable students to earn dual degrees in communication management and law (USC Gould School of Law) and in communication management and Jewish nonprofit management (Hebrew Union College).

The degree programs are designed to ensure that students are educated in substantive studies that constitute the discipline of communication and provide a basis for competing effectively in the job market.

All students seeking the degrees in communication management and global communication will take a range of courses that prepare them for successful professional management careers in communication-related businesses, organizations and fields.

All students pursuing the research-oriented degrees (M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication) are required to take two theory courses that introduce them to inquiry in human communication and two research methods courses that acquaint them with the historical/critical and social scientific techniques available to conduct scholarly research. These requirements strengthen the student’s appreciation of the intellectual bases of human communication study and further the concept of a community of scholars and practitioners in the profession. Students specialize in one of five available tracks: rhetoric and political communication; media, culture and community; interpersonal and health communication; organizational communication; or information and society. In addition, students are encouraged to sample courses in the remaining tracks, thus obtaining an education of unparalleled breadth and depth.

Admission Requirements

Master of Communication Management, Master of Arts in Global Communication, Master of Public Diplomacy and Master of Public Diplomacy (Practitioner and Mid-Career Professional)

The school accepts students from a broad range of academic backgrounds in social sciences, humanities, physical sciences or professional schools. Some are employed or have work experience in communication-related fields. Others apply immediately after completing baccalaureate degrees.

Criteria: The faculty admission committees consider many criteria in the admission selection process: not only the academic record, but professional and work-related accomplishments are taken into account. The minimum criteria are the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA for all undergraduate and graduate work completed. For admission to communication management and public diplomacy, scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations are required. (Applicants to the communication management degree program may submit Graduate Management Admissions Test scores in lieu of the GRE.) Scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required for applicants whose native language is not English. Letters of recommendations from those persons familiar with the applicant’s work – preferably academically – are required also. In addition, applicants must submit a statement of purpose, transcripts of all previous college and university work attempted, resume and writing samples.

Applicants to the global communication degree program must apply to USC and the London School of Economics. Participation in this degree program requires that students simultaneously gain admission to LSE and USC. GRE or GMAT scores are not required for admission. All students will begin their studies in London at the LSE.

Procedure: Admission is granted for fall for all graduate degree programs. In addition, communication management also offers admission for spring. Refer to the Annenberg Website for application guidelines, deadlines and filing periods.

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Students may enter from a variety of academic fields and majors. Applicants whose undergraduate work was in fields other than communication may be admitted on the condition that adequate preparation in directly relevant areas is evident. Completion of a master’s degree in communication is not required for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy.

Criteria: All applicants must submit the online USC Graduate Admission Application and Annenberg Supplemental Form with three letters of recommendation from faculty qualified to comment on their capacities for a rigorous program of study. Completion of a basic descriptive statistics course is recommended. In addition, a personal statement, transcripts from all colleges/universities attended, resume, and sample of scholarly writing are required. The M.A. in Communication is earned as part of the Ph.D. program.

Procedure: Admission is granted for the fall semester only; the application deadline is December 1. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take the Graduate Record Examinations prior to November 1. Refer to the Annenberg Website for application guidelines.

Degree Requirements

The Global Communication, Master of Arts in Communication and Doctor of Philosophy in Communication are awarded under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation and the Graduate School for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Master of Communication Management

Each student chooses a track and follows the course of study for that track. A faculty academic adviser assists the student to build on earlier academic and work experience in order to achieve desired professional goals.

Residence

Students may pursue the Master of Communication Management on either a full- or part-time basis. Full time, the degree can be finished in one calendar year; part time, all degree work can be finished in one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years. With permission from a School of Communication committee, a maximum of 4 graduate units may be transferred from another accredited institution.

Foreign Language Requirement

There are no foreign language requirements for this degree.

Research Tool Requirement

Students take one 4-unit research course as a prerequisite for CMGT 597 Communication Research Practicum. The list of approved research methods courses is available from the faculty adviser and graduate studies director.

Course Requirements

Thirty-two units (usually eight courses) in approved graduate-level course work are required. Students will take 4 units of a track core course. They will take 12 units from an elective list for their chosen track. They will take the research tool prior to the capstone Communication Research Practicum (CMGT 597). Of the remaining elective units, up to 8 may be taken at USC outside the School of Communication; these courses must be approved by the director of the Master of Communication Management program and may be selected from a variety of disciplines, depending upon student needs and career interests. All remaining course work must be chosen from Annenberg School offerings, either from the CMGT course list or from approved electives.

Graduate Certificate in Entertainment Communication Management

This certificate program is for students who have already earned master’s degrees and who wish to pursue or expand careers in the entertainment industry. Students will study the latest areas of entertainment-related research, theory and application. They will have a strong grounding in the theory, roles, issues and effects of entertainment as well as the impact of entertainment and new entertainment technologies on society, behavior and the entertainment industry.

Students take 16 units of graduate course work that may not be used or have been used for any other degree or certificate program, of which 4 units may be cognate courses. A partial list of courses includes:

COMM 575 Advocacy and Social Change in Entertainment and the Media 4
CMGT 542 Business Strategies of Communication and Entertainment Firms 4
CMGT 543 Managing Communication in the Entertainment Industry 4
CMGT 547 Distribution of Recordings: Media, Retail and Online Channels 4
CMGT 548 Issues in Children’s Media 4
CMGT 558 The International Entertainment Marketplace 4
CMGT 581 Media in Social Services: Design and Evaluation of Campaigns 4
CMGT 583 Social Marketing and Entertainment Education 4
CMGT 586 Entertainment Media: Content, Theory and Industry Practices 4

Graduate Certificate in Health Communication Management

This certificate program is for students holding master’s degrees who wish to pursue or expand careers in health communication. Students will study the most recent theoretical and practical developments in the area of health communication and how this information can be used to improve public health as well as individual behavior.

Students take 16 units of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, of which 4 units may be cognate courses. One course must be from preventive medicine, public health, pharmacology or other health science program which focuses on “what is communicated” in health communication. A partial list of courses includes:

COMM 575 Advocacy and Social Change in Entertainment and the Media 4
CMGT 510 Communication, Values, Attitudes, and Behavior 4
CMGT 520 Social Roles of Communication Media 4
CMGT 541 Integrated Communication Strategies 4
CMGT 548 Issues in Children’s Media 4
CMGT 581 Media in Social Services: Design and Evaluation of Campaigns 4
CMGT 583 Social Marketing and Entertainment Education 4
CMGT 599 Special Topics 2-4, max 8

Graduate Certificate in International and Global Communication Management

This certificate program is for students holding master’s degrees who wish to pursue or expand careers in international and global communication management. Students will study the latest developments in information and communication technologies, regulations and policies, and industry practices within a global context.

Students take 16 units of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, of which 4 units may be cognate courses. A partial list of courses includes:

COMM 553 Political Economy of Global Telecommunications and Information 4
COMM 559 Globalization, Communication and Society 4
CMGT 531 Communication and the International Economy 4
CMGT 557 Communication Policy in the Global Marketplace 4
CMGT 545 Communication and Global Competition 4
CMGT 558 The International Entertainment Marketplace 4
CMGT 582 Communication for International Development 4
CMGT 583 Social Marketing and Entertainment Education 4

Graduate Certificate in Marketing Communication Management

This certificate program is for students holding master’s degrees who wish to pursue or expand careers in marketing communication. Students will study the latest developments in marketing communication research and theory and the application to marketing communication issues.

Students take 16 units of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, of which 4 units may be cognate courses. A partial list of courses includes:

CMGT 502 Strategic Corporate Communication 4
CMGT 510 Communication, Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors 4
CMGT 541 Integrated Communication Strategies 4
CMGT 548 Issues in Children’s Media 4
CMGT 581 Media in Social Service: Design and Evaluation of Campaigns 4
CMGT 584 Communication and the Multicultural Marketplace 4
CMGT 587 Audience Analysis 4
CMGT 599 Special Topics 2-4, max 8

Graduate Certificate in New Communication Technologies

This certificate program is for students holding master’s degrees who wish to pursue or expand careers in communication technologies. Students will study the latest developments in new communication and media technologies and their application in a variety of organizational and social contexts.

Students take 16 units of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, of which 4 units may be cognate courses. A partial list of courses includes:

COMM 534 The Culture of New Technologies 4
COMM 544 The Arts and New Media 4
CMGT 528 Web Design for Organizations 4
CMGT 530 Social Dynamics of Communication Technologies 4
CMGT 533 Emerging Communication Technologies 4
CMGT 535 Online Communities for Organizations 4
CMGT 547 Distribution of Recordings: Media, Retail and Online Channels 4
CMGT 566 Communication Law and New Technologies 4
CMGT 571 Communications Technologies 4
CMGT 574 Tele-Media: A Strategic and Critical Analysis 4
CMGT 599 Special Topics 2-4, max 8

Graduate Certificate in Strategic Corporate and Organizational Communication Management

This certificate program is for students holding master’s degrees who wish to pursue or expand careers in corporate communication and communication consulting. Students will study the latest developments in organizational communication research and theory and the application to business communication issues.

Students take 16 units of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, of which 4 units may be cognate courses. A partial list of courses includes:

CMGT 500 Managing Communication 4
CMGT 502 Strategic Corporate Communication 4
CMGT 505 Communication in Work Settings 4
CMGT 510 Communication, Values, Attitudes, and Behavior 4
CMGT 535 Online Communities for Organizations 4
CMGT 573 Evaluating Communication Needs 4
CMGT 576 Communication Strategies for Conflict Management 4
CMGT 599 Special Topics 2-4, max 8

Master of Arts in Global Communication

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism collaborates with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) to provide the course work necessary for students to become fully engaged with the phenomenon of global communication through this dual master’s degree program. Upon satisfaction of all program requirements, students will be awarded a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Global Communication by USC as well as a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Global Media and Communications, by the LSE.

Residence

This is a two-year program during which students spend their first year at the LSE and their second year at USC.

Foreign Language/Research Tool Requirements

There are no foreign language requirements. Students take a one-term research methods course as part of their course work at the LSE.

Course Requirements

The Master of Arts in Global Communication requires 42 units; the equivalent of 18 units earned at LSE and 24 units earned at USC.

Year at LSE: The LSE academic year has three terms. Students will complete classes approved by faculty at the LSE. Students must earn at least 3 units at LSE, which articulates as 18 units at USC.

Year at USC: Students must complete COMM 598 as well as 20 elective units (5 courses) from the School of Communication graduate curriculum, excluding COMM 525, COMM 526, COMM 550 and COMM 552. Students may choose one of their elective courses from a department outside Annenberg with the approval of their advisers.

Students will produce a final research project on global communication that will be the product of work done both at the LSE and Annenberg. Students complete a research project during the summer after their year at the LSE for which grades are awarded by LSE faculty. A passing grade is required. They will continue to develop this project during the year at Annenberg in COMM 598 and must earn a grade of B minus or higher.

Master of Arts in Communication

Individuals seeking the Master of Arts in Communication are expected to acquire and demonstrate a general knowledge of human communication, including humanistic and social scientific approaches.

The program, arranged in consultation with the school’s coordinator of doctoral studies, provides two options: degree with comprehensive examination requires a total of 32 units (normally eight courses), including core courses COMM 525, COMM 526, COMM 550 and COMM 552 and four electives; or degree with thesis requires successful completion of core courses, three electives and 4 units of COMM 594ab Master’s Thesis.

Not more than two approved 400-level courses may be applied to a student’s program and a maximum of 4 semester units with grades of B or better may be accepted by transfer from another institution of higher learning. The minimum acceptable GPA for successful completion of this program is 3.0.

The majority of students choose the comprehensive examination option. The examination consists of six hours of writing, taken on two different days. Permission to take an M.A. degree with thesis can be obtained only by application to the school screening committee.

Master of Public Diplomacy

The Master of Public Diplomacy combines the resources of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ School of International Relations. This program is designed for students who already have a substantial undergraduate background in social sciences or relevant professional experience in subjects such as communications, film and media studies, journalism, political science, public relations and international relations. Students in the program may decide to emphasize public diplomacy training most appropriate for a career in public service, the corporate world or in a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in the ever-expanding global civil society.

Requirements for the completion of this degree program are 49 units, including the required substantive paper or alternative project. The course requirements are as follows:

Public Diplomacy Requirements (12 units) UNITS
PUBD 502 Historical and Comparative Approaches to Public Diplomacy 4
PUBD 504 Global Issues and Public Diplomacy 4
PUBD 596 Practicum in Public Diplomacy Research 4
Public Diplomacy Toolbox Courses (12 units) UNITS
Any three approved PUBD courses
Internship (1 unit) UNITS
IR 591 Field Study 1
Communication and International Relations Electives (16 units) UNITS
Any two approved IR courses 8
Any two approved COMM or CMGT courses 8
OTHER ELECTIVES (COGNATE, COMM, CMGT, IR) (8 units) UNITS
These units may be taken from the School of Communication, School of International Relations or any graduate program at USC. Courses must be approved by the Public Diplomacy program director.

Master of Public Diplomacy (Practitioner and Mid-Career Professional)

This program is designed for students who already have at least five years experience working in public diplomacy (engaged in international advocacy, international publicity/public relations, international broadcasting, cultural and/or exchange work or other work which the admissions committee deems to fall within their definition of public diplomacy). The program is taught over a single calendar year beginning with a summer course introducing the advanced study of public diplomacy and ending with the submission of a piece of research work in the middle of the following summer. Students interested in this program are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Requirements for the completion of this degree program are 32 units including a substantive paper or alternative project. Core courses are taught in the School of Communication and the School of International Relations, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. With approval of the program director, students may select electives from the entire USC graduate curriculum.

Public diplomacy CORE requirements (8 units) UNITS
PUBD 500 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Public Diplomacy 4
PUBD 596 Practicum in Public Diplomacy Research 4
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY TOOLBOX COURSES (8 UNITS) UNITS
Select two approved PUBD courses
ELECTIVES (8 units from Communication or International Relations) UNITS
Approved IR courses
Approved COMM or CMGT courses
OTHER ELECTIVES (COGNATE, COMM, CMGT, IR) (8 UNITS) UNITS
These units may be taken from the School of Communication, School of International Relations or any graduate program at USC.

Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

Students in the doctoral program learn theories that guide research into communication processes and effects and into institutions and technologies that lend pattern to communication. Applicants for the Ph.D. are expected to acquire and demonstrate humanistic and behavioral knowledge of communication while acquiring skills requisite to scholarly research in the discipline.

Screening Procedures

Student progress is carefully monitored by the School of Communication faculty. Students are normally screened at the end of their first year of graduate study. At that time they must have completed no fewer than 16 and no more than 24 units, including COMM 525, COMM 526, COMM 550 and COMM 552. Students are evaluated on subject matter competence, teaching potential and their ability to conduct independent research. Upon successful passage of the screening procedure, the student has 30 days in which to form a guidance committee.

Course Requirements

The student is required to take a minimum of 76 units and write an approved dissertation. Four core courses — COMM 525, COMM 526, COMM 550 and COMM 552 — and COMM 794ab Doctoral Dissertation are required for all students.

Students specialize in one of five tracks by completing a minimum of three courses (12 units) in one of the following:

(1) Rhetoric and Political Communication: COMM 509, COMM 511, COMM 512, COMM 513, COMM 514, COMM 515, COMM 517, COMM 518, COMM 521, COMM 522, COMM 580, COMM 599, COMM 610;

(2) Media, Culture and Community: CMGT 587, COMM 516, COMM 519, COMM 534, COMM 544, COMM 575, COMM 580, COMM 584, COMM 599, COMM 605, COMM 618, COMM 620, COMM 629, COMM 653, COMM 654, COMM 660, COMM 662;

(3) Interpersonal and Health Communication: CMGT 587, COMM 504, COMM 524, COMM 562, COMM 599, COMM 602, COMM 615, COMM 620, COMM 625, COMM 650;

(4) Organizational Communication: COMM 508, COMM 524, COMM 585, COMM 599, COMM 620, COMM 635, COMM 636, COMM 637, COMM 638, COMM 640, COMM 641, COMM 645, COMM 648, COMM 652;

(5) Information and Society: COMM 546, COMM 553, COMM 570, COMM 582, COMM 599, COMM 605, COMM 620, COMM 630, COMM 631, COMM 635, COMM 645, COMM 647, COMM 660, COMM 662.

In addition, students must take at least two courses in one other track outside their specialization (8 units total). Students also pursue an approved cognate elective program of study in which at least two courses (normally 8 units) are taken in a related field outside the Annenberg School. Students entering the School of Communication with a master’s degree may, with permission, apply part of their previous graduate course work to the cognate requirement. Students in the organizational communication track are required to take at least two methods classes in addition to the core courses, COMM 550 and COMM 552. If taken in a department or unit other than the School of Communication, these courses cannot also be counted toward the student’s cognate requirement.

Research Tool Requirement

Doctoral students are expected to demonstrate methodological competence in an area of specialization prior to taking the qualifying examination. Such competence is usually demonstrated through course work (the successful completion, with grade B or better, of selected course work in addition to their content courses that is approved by the Ph.D. guidance committee taken in the school and/or related departments), and by completion of a preliminary research project. Under special circumstances, students with an exceptional prior background in research methods may demonstrate their competence by successfully passing a research tool examination designed and administered by the Ph.D. guidance committee.

Guidance Committee

This committee is composed of five USC faculty members, at least three of whom are from the School of Communication. Students are expected to work closely with the members of their guidance committee, especially their committee chair, in selecting advanced course work and shaping areas of interest and research. In addition to helping the student plan a program, the committee administers the oral portion of the qualifying examination and approves the dissertation committee.

Qualifying Examination

Qualifying examinations for the Ph.D. usually are taken in the third year of study following completion of all required courses and a preliminary research paper. The examination includes both written and oral portions. The written portion is composed by committees of faculty in the relevant areas of study; the oral portion is administered by the student’s guidance committee. Students must pass both portions to be advanced to candidacy. Students must confer with their guidance committee chair, not later than the second week of the semester during which the examinations are to be taken, regarding distribution of written examination hours among subject matter areas.

Doctoral Dissertation

The dissertation is an original research project contributing to knowledge about human communication and should demonstrate a high level of competence in methodologies of scholarly inquiry.

Defense of Dissertation

Dissertations are defended in a formal meeting with the three-member dissertation committee. The school prefers that the defense oral be taken prior to final typing so that recommended changes can be made in the final manuscript.

Dual Degree in Law (J.D.) and Master of Communication Management

Academic training in law and in communication management provides a powerful background for careers in business, entertainment or government life. The USC Gould School of Law and the School of Communication collaborate in a program that enables these educational opportunities. Students complete both the J.D. and the Master of Communication Management in three years, the time normally required for the law degree alone.

Students must complete 20 units (five courses) of communication courses at the School of Communication: one core class from the student’s preferred track; one method course; CMGT 597; and the remaining two courses may be from either core or elective offerings.

To earn the J.D., all students (including dual degree students) must complete 35 numerically graded law units at USC after the first year. The associate dean of the USC Gould School of Law may make exceptions to this rule for students enrolled in law school honors programs.

First Year: Required law school courses.

Second and Third Years: 20 units of communication courses; 38 units of law courses, of which 8 units must be approved as appropriate for acceptance by the School of Communication toward its degree.

All students take CMGT 597 in the third year.

Application to pursue the dual degree should be made before completion of 15 units of work in law or 8 units toward the Master of Communication Management degree. Admission by the law school to its J.D. degree will be evaluated as a substitute for GRE scores.

Dual Degree in Master of Communication Management/Jewish Nonprofit Management

The dual degree program, Communication Management/Jewish Nonprofit Management, offers students the opportunity for advanced study of sophisticated communication processes and technologies in the context of the nonprofit arena. The program has been developed by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly the HUC-JIR School of Jewish Communal Service) to combine the study of communication theory, processes and technologies with postgraduate education in Jewish nonprofit management and leadership. The goal of this program is for graduates to perform more effectively in the nonprofit sector, having received specific training in areas such as organizational communication, media impacts and policy.

Students of this program are admitted separately to each school. Four of the 52 required credits of graduate course work at Hebrew Union College are used to fulfill the School of Communication’s cognate option. In addition, the student will complete 24 credits of the school’s course work including CMGT 597, as well as the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management’s thesis requirements.

Those interested in this program should contact the Office of Admissions, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90007-3796 for comprehensive information about the application process.