Master of Science in Communication
Drexel's MS in Communication prepares students for careers in a wide variety of professions. Students can choose from the following concentrations:
- Communication, Culture & Media for careers in mass media, mediated communication or social change and media; also prepares students for entering a PhD program in Communication, Culture and Media
- Public Communication for careers in journalism and public relations
- Science Communication for training in science, environmental and health communication
- Technical Communication for careers in technical writing, software documentation, and editing
Our courses develop students’ professional skills of producing, analyzing and monitoring print, digital and audio-visual communications in a global society. Students also design theory-based, audience-specific communications for the public, media, government and non-profit organizations. Our instructors have academic training and industry expertise to help students apply theory and research in professional communication. In addition to coursework, students gain relevant professional work experience prior to graduation through a six-month internship.
The Master of Science in Communication accommodates students from widely varying educational backgrounds and can be completed either full time or part time. Students typically enter the program in fall term, but applicants are considered for admission in any quarter.
The Master of Science in Communication requires 45 credits of coursework on the quarter system, including required core courses for each concentration. The program emphasizes flexibility, allowing each student to work with an adviser to craft an individualized plan of study to meet his or her professional goals. This flexibility allows students to take electives from other disciplines on campus, or to take courses in more than one communication concentration. Students are required to develop a professional exit portfolio, which showcases professional work samples. Students leave the program with relevant professional work experience by completing a required six-month internship. Matriculated students with relevant work experience can apply for an internship waiver.
All students in the Master of Science in Communication program are required to complete a six-month internship or equivalent (for example, a student could do two three-month placements).
The internship requirement can be waived for students with full-time work experience in the field. To request a waiver, contact the graduate director. You will need to fill out the waiver and attach a memo documenting your work experience.
While the program will try to help with internship placement, students should expect to research and find suitable internship positions on their own as well. Note that some internships (e.g. NIH) require applications many months before starting dates.
In order to graduate, each student is required to submit a portfolio of materials developed while enrolled in the program. The portfolio should not only represent students' best efforts, but also reflect ideas and skills developed during the course of their graduate study. The presentation of materials must be of professional quality, suitable for review by faculty, professionals, and potential employers.
The following requirements should be considered for student portfolios:
- Before beginning a portfolio, students must choose a portfolio adviser from the faculty in the department.
- Portfolios must include three to five items.
- These items can be written documents, graphical exercises, films, videos, websites, scripts for the visual media, brochures, or other items that represent students' achievement as communicators and that are judged to be of professional quality.
- Studnets must develop three items from course projects; they may develop up to two additional items from professional, internship or course work. While the portfolio is being reviewed, students can add items developed from courses or an internship completed during this review process.
- Students should also include a brief introduction to the portfolio, providing necessary background, explaining the rationale for selecting these particular items, and relating the items to their intellectual development and the students' career interests.
- Students should include a current resume in the portfolio.
The Portfolio Review Process
Review and revision of portfolio items is essential to the development of an acceptable portfolio. This requires students to undertake writing or reworking activities at a level that probably was not possible during the 10-week quarter in which the material was created. Students will choose a portfolio adviser from within the department who will make decisions about the acceptability of the portfolio items and their professional level; the Graduate Director will resolve any conflicts.
Students should first send potential submissions to their portfolio adviser for initial review and discussion. They will then revise these documents and assemble three copies of the portfolio to be given to a Portfolio Review Committee; this committee will consist of the student’s adviser, one other member of the communication faculty, and a representative of the professional communication community, nominated by the student and their adviser, and approved by the Graduate Director. Following this evaluation, the student will complete necessary revisions of the portfolio as part of the requirements for graduation. Consequently, to facilitate a successful review, the student and portfolio adviser must remain in close contact.
Due Dates & Time Schedule
Students should begin the review process with their adviser two terms before expecting to conclude the program (see timetable below). This timetable asks students to start thinking about the portfolio early, but does not preclude them from including items developed from an internship or courses taken during this process. Students should be aware that delays in the process might result in a postponement of the graduation date.
- PHASE 1 (about four to six weeks): The candidate should meet with their adviser to discuss the portfolio and to submit the first draft of the portfolio. Thereafter, the candidate meets with the adviser to receive suggestions, criticisms, etc. of draft one.
- PHASE 2 (about five to seven weeks): The candidate then works on a revision of the portfolio and submits three copies of draft two to the adviser at an agreed time. The adviser mails one copy to the external reviewer and gives a second to the internal reviewer. Reviews/comments should be returned to the adviser within four to five weeks.
- PHASE 3 (at least two weeks): The candidate meets with the adviser to discuss suggestions, needed corrections, criticisms, etc., of draft two offered by the reviewers. The candidate makes any necessary final revisions and submits to the adviser for approval. Once this final copy is approved by the adviser, the adviser notifies the Program Director and Department Head of the candidate's completion of the portfolio requirement. This copy stays on file with the department.