The online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Global Strategic Communication includes 37 credit hours: 34 hours of coursework plus three final credits in the capstone course. The program curriculum is guided by an advisory council of top industry professionals, and all courses are taught by leading faculty of the University of Florida.
For those not pursuing a MAMC, there is an option to earn a graduate certificate. For more information on the graduate certificate, click here.
Cultural Core Courses – 9 Credits
Foundations of Intercultural Communication (3 credits)
Intercultural communications is a dynamic, ever-changing field. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the field and provides students with foundational knowledge that they will practice applying to strategic communications through a semester-long blog project that will include peer review AND problem-solving discussions on topics in the news. Students will create the blog using various intercultural communications methods related to a specified global problem; the first term will focus on migration and refugees, for example.
As a functional part of the course, students will learn how to tailor their communications to a target audience using best practices and research findings, and apply it to real-time communications methods through the blog. Through discussion posts, students will also learn the value of staying on top of major news events and contemplate how they can contribute to the world dynamic through their understanding of intercultural communications.
Global Activism & Social Change Communication (3 credits)
Strategic methods of communication and community organizing are instrumental as communities across the world engage in practices of autonomy, social justice, and self-affirmation. Effective strategies for creating change arise from a myriad of communicative devices that have shaped twenty-first century community organizing as well as responses (or lack thereof) by media, corporations, and government agencies. Grassroots movements have historically been the roots of cataclysmic change because of their innate ability to galvanize a critical mass of marginalized populations. This online graduate course will delve into activism, social change, and social entrepreneurship from a local and global perspective in order to enhance students’ perspectives of social change as it manifests via popular media and community action. As part of the course, students will critically analyze the political histories around national and global issues in order to better understand the depth of community organizing and breadth of social change communication. This course will also introduce and analyze activist rhetoric, strategies for social entrepreneurship, and methods for community empowerment. Students will leave this course with the tools necessary to engage in strategic communication from a global activist framework.
International Issues Management and Crisis Communication (3 credits)
The challenge of mitigating issues and managing crises are essential skills for leaders in the communications profession and in business. This graduate course will focus on issues and crisis management from the point of view of business managers and consultants. To anticipate issues and manage crises successfully, managers need to combine strategic thinking with awareness for the importance of value-based management in preventing and managing corporate crises.
The course emphasizes real-world application by examining theory and analyzing crisis communications case studies to learn from real examples of strategy and execution. Students will gain an understanding of crisis communications management, including awareness of crisis situations, planning, flexibility and awareness of the needs of key publics.
By the conclusion of the course, participants should have developed a deeper understanding of the range of issues and potential crises facing organizations and an enhanced appreciation of communication strategies and tactics that can be brought to bear in such situations.
Messaging Core Courses – 7 Credits
Video Storytelling (4 credits)
Corporate messaging, branding, news and information, even self-published stories and opinions are more visible, shareable and potentially influential than ever before. Students will review and analyze traditions in storytelling and its evolution from traditional to modern-day structures. Students will examine narrative structures including character, arc, master plots and framing, and apply such elements to communication contexts relevant to our age of rapid communication and ubiquitous information. Students will assess and create video content that forges an emotional connection and tells a story in a memorable way without sacrificing accuracy or message.
Students will examine how organizations and brands are leveraging trans-media storytelling to reach key audiences through compelling video narratives. Students will apply storytelling techniques in authentic communication contexts relevant to today’s professional, digitized world. Building on students’ foundation in video gathering and editing, the course requires students to storyboard, develop characters and critically evaluate elements suitable for video stories. At the end of the course, students will produce a video story using techniques learned throughout the semester.
Public Affairs Communication (3 credits)
This course is designed to familiarize students with key strategies and tools used in Public Affairs campaigns to influence public policy and public opinion. During the first half of the course, students will explore current thinking about “Public Affairs” as work at the intersection of communication strategies, policy processes and behavior change. Subsequent modules focus on concepts surrounding social responsibility, citizen engagement, and the role of digital technologies in triggering advocacy and action. Mid-course modules address the challenge created by political polarization in America, as well as the globalization of public affairs.
During the second half of the course, students will apply this knowledge by suggesting how to organize public affairs, how strategy “really works,” ethics and finally, a “live case” where students will be asked to analyze the issue in real time and propose solutions.
Communication Core Courses – 6 Credits
Mass Communication Theory (3 credits)
Over the course of a semester, students will learn mass communication theory from its inception as a field of study, to major trends, followed by current applications of previous paradigms, and finally into the development of new currents of thought. While the main focus of this course is the integration of current mass communication theory with an individual and organizational online presence, the course will also focus on how digital platforms can inform the future of theoretical research and vice versa. From a practical perspective, students will be able to apply these theories to their integrative approaches in creative digital communication and design.
Applied Strategic Communication Research Methods (3 credits)
Students will learn about quantitative and qualitative research, including content analysis, interviews, case studies, experiments, surveys and focus groups. In addition, students will be introduced to SPSS, a software program used to analyze data.
Students will analyze and discuss the various types of research methods and tools, including their benefits and shortcomings as well as learn to recognize and articulate ethical issues surrounding communication research. Students will design and execute a research project using the methods learned in the class.
Capstone – 3 Credits
Global Strategic Communication Professional Capstone Project (3 credits)
The final course in the program requires students to demonstrate that they can integrate and apply all important facets of what they’ve learned in their courses by creating a communication strategy for a real-world client. Students will work with an organization that requires a global strategic communication project to solve an important problem for that organization. During the semester, students will create a strategic plan using elements from their previous courses. They will then execute a project that helps the organization achieve its strategic communications objectives and present the plan to the client for review.
The Global Strategic Communication master’s specialization allows students to customize their learning experience by completing courses from other specializations such as Audience Analytics, Cross Media Sales, Digital Strategy, Political Communication, Public Relations, Social Media, Storytelling or Web Design. Students will complete 12 to 14 credit hours to fulfill the obligation of their specialization concentration.
Audience Analytics – 12 Credits
Cross Media Sales – 12 Credits
Digital Strategy – 12 Credits
Political Communication – 13 Credits
Public Relations – 12 Credits
Social Media – 12 Credits
Storytelling – 12 Credits
Web Design – 14 Credits
Students in the graduate certificate track complete four courses from the master’s track. Enrolling in the graduate certificate is a popular option for some students, as the application process does not require taking the GRE. Then, while taking these courses, a student can also prepare for and take the GRE. Upon successful completion, students can transfer into the master’s degree track for Audience Analytics, Global Strategic Communication, or Public Relations. Learn more about the graduate certificate. Read more about the certificate here.