The Guide to Online Master of Communication Management Programs

Good communication may allow managers to build successful teams, motivate employees and deliver consistent branding to customers or clients.

Clear, effective communication doesn’t come from just anywhere. It may come from those who carefully craft messages and plan ahead: communication managers. If you want to help organizations implement and advance their strategies through thoughtful communication, consider getting an M.A. or M.S. in communication management.

A Master of Communication Management (MCM) may give you the tools to build a successful career as an integral part of any business.

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What is Communication Management?

Clear, thoughtful, and effective communication can help contribute to elements of business strategy – from internal projects to external initiatives, like branding and marketing. You’ll see in communication management job descriptions that this role may oversee internal and external communications.

You might ensure all internal and external communications have a consistent style, tone, and overall message. Or you might identify opportunities for external communications, such as press releases, newsletters, and social media posts. Your goal is to promote the organization’s missions and goals in a variety of ways.

Communication managers can help play a strategic role in marketing, branding and business development initiatives. They get creative in figuring how to communicate with the company’s intended audience, whether internally with employees or externally with potential business partners, clients, or customers.

Business Management vs. Communications Management

Degrees and roles in business management and communications management have similarities and differences.

business degree, such as a Master in Business Administration (MBA), typically provides a wealth of information about running a business successfully. Business management courses can include a wide range of topics, including marketing, economics, finance, accounting, human resources, marketing research, operations, organizational behavior, information systems, and more. MBA and other business management students will also learn about communications.

Communication management degrees can focus on communication and leadership in professional settings. Common topics are market research, communication theories, public relations, corporate communication strategies, and marketing.

Which degree path is right for you depends on your career goals. What type of position do you want? If you aren’t sure, you could research communication and business courses.

Why Earn a Master’s in Communication Management Online?

If you’re interested in completing a Master of Communication Management, you have several options. Paths include full-time and part-time programs, and virtual (live or asynchronous) or in-person classes, or a mix of both.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you can look for a communications degree program that offers more or less flexibility. For example, if you are someone who works better with a set schedule, you might want a program that requires you to attend classes, in person or online, at a certain time. But if you’re busy with a full-time job and family, you may want an online program you can complete in your own time.

A benefit of an online master’s in communication program is that you have as much flexibility as you need. If you need a schedule, you could set one up and find an accountability partner to hold you to it. But you may also find online programs that let you work at odd or inconsistent hours.

You may find an online program takes up less time in your day than a traditional, on-campus program, with no commuting or odd time off between classes. When you’re ready to work, you sit down at your books or laptop and get to it.

Online courses also help you focus on time management. It’s up to you to make sure you tackle the coursework appropriately and meet due dates.

You might worry about whether there’s a stigma against online master’s degrees. However, there are online degrees from accredited institutions. Employers understand that online degree programs allow more professionals to learn new skills and advance in their careers.

How Long is an Online Master of Communication Management Program?

How long it takes to complete a Master of Communication Management depends on the specific program. Some full-time programs may be completed in as few as 16 or 18 months. Before you worry about a full-time course load, though, look at what the institution considers full time for that program — it may only be two courses per semester. Many of these programs are built for working adults, which is why a full-time load isn’t as much as you’d carry in undergrad school.

A part-time program may take up to 24 months, though some institutions offer accelerated programs.

Online M.S. in Communication Management Admissions Requirements

Though applications vary by institution, some common requirements include:

  • An admissions application.
  • Transcripts from previous educational institutions.
  • A minimum GPA.
  • An official GRE score.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • A resume or CV.
  • A personal essay.

Some institutions may require an in-person or online interview, too.

Online Communication Management Degree Programs That Don’t Require the GRE

Try not to panic when you see an official GRE score listed as an admissions requirement. Some online master’s of communication management programs have no GRE requirement or waive it for applicants with a high GPA, certain graduate degrees, or a number of years of work experience.

Online Master’s Degree in Communication Management Curriculum

Communication management courses often include:

  • Communication research.
  • Media research.
  • Communication ethics.
  • Digital media ethics.
  • Digital strategic communications.
  • Strategic communications.
  • Leadership communication.
  • Public relations.
  • Communications in a crisis.
  • Communication, attitudes, values, and behavior.
  • Communication in work settings.
  • Finance and accounting.

Some programs may have a small core curriculum and let you choose from a range of electives. Which electives you pursue may depend on whether you’ve chosen a particular specialization.

Online Master of Communication Management Specializations

Online MCM programs might offer communication specializations related to:

  • Strategic communications: You’ll study different types of organizations, communication technologies, leadership and decision-making, culture and diversity, and other topics you could apply to various careers in a company.
  • Business management: You’ll take courses on fundamental business topics, such as economics, marketing, and information technology, that prepare you to become a business leader.
  • Digital media: You’ll study 21st century media and how to use it effectively, including media law and policy, digital journalism, grassroots reporting, advocacy, storytelling, social media management, and video production.
  • Leadership communications: You’ll learn effective communication strategies in an organizational environment, including one-on-one communication, communication with many, and digital forms of communication. Courses may focus on persuasion, advocacy, decision-making, cultures, diversity, multiculturalism, media, social change, and crisis communications.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Communication Management Degree?

There is no set communication management career path; many career options may be available. Some companies might have have specific positions for communication managers and directors. Other roles may include public relations managers, internal corporate communications managers, digital communications and social media managers, and advertising and marketing communication managers. You may work in a marketing or business development department conducting market research, creating content strategies and overseeing various marketing promotions.

Other career possibilities can include working in:

  • Research and education.
  • Organizational research.
  • Survey/Opinion research.
  • Media.
  • Training and career development.
  • Consumer relations.
  • Sales.
  • Public relations.
  • Human resources.
  • Business management consulting.

Communication Manager Salary and Career Outlook

When considering a communication manager career, something to consider is your salary potential. Take a look at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ salary data for various communication manager jobs:

  • Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers’ median annual salary in 2019 was $135,900, according to the BLS. This median salary is for manager-level positions. Lower-level advertising, marketing, and communication positions that report to the manager will pay less. BLS projects 18,800 more of these positions from 2019 to 2029, a growth rate of 6%.
  • Public relations and fundraising managers’ median annual salary in 2019 was $116,180, while the median salary for public relations specialists was $61,150, according to the BLS. The job growth in PR is good, too, with 9%, or 8,100, new positions by 2029.
  • The median annual pay for market research analysts was $63,790 in 2019. The lower salary might discourage you, but remember, marketing, advertising, and PR departments have many levels of positions with varied salaries. And market research careers are growing significantly. The BLS calculates 18% growth, leading to 130,300 new jobs by 2029.

When researching communication management salaries, be sure to review data for various communications positions, including training and development managers, sales managers, and social media managers. Consider the salary differences between industries and geographic regions, as well.

Last Updated January 2021