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Master of Communication Management

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Master of Communication Management Online

The online Master of Communication Management degree program is offered by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. The program prepares communication professionals for the modern landscape of the workplace, independent of industry.

Setting New Standards for Communication

Students learn to apply common language, tools and problem-solving techniques thanks to a multi-disciplinary and interconnected program designed around evidence-based research and communication best practices. Graduates are equipped to gather, interpret, analyze and translate information—transforming complex ideas into actionable strategy.

World-class Education for Communication Professionals

USC Annenberg has worldwide recognition as the leader among communication schools, setting the standard for communication professionals. The faculty has deep academic expertise and extensive professional experience, uniting communication research and theory with their day-to-day implementation in organizations around the world.

Why Choose USC?

  • USC is in the top 25 "Best National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • More than 15,000 USC Annenberg alumni worldwide
  • Faculty of leading experts in Marketing, New and Social Media, Change Management, Communication Research, and Corporate Communication
  • 100% online

What Is the MCM Program?

  • The Modern Communication Landscape

    The online Master of Communication Management (MCM) is designed to build real-world leaders for the modern workplace through a rigorous curriculum and experiential learning. This online communication management degree is a deep exploration of communication principles and practices, featuring coursework in key areas such as research and data synthesis, organizational communication, audience analysis and communication strategies for emerging media.

    • Explore central theories in organizational communication, such as systems theory, institutional theory and network theory.
    • Learn to delegate in a constructive manner that fosters effectiveness and organizational efficiency.
    • Develop your ability to identify organizational challenges, and verbally propose and defend strategic solutions.
    • Discover how to design, construct and present an integrated marketing communications plan, using traditional and social media to deliver your message.
    • Identify tactics to help you clearly pinpoint and profile your target audience – the first step in virtually any effective communications plan.
    • Refine your ability to identify destructive behavior in the workplace and how to respond using available channels of intervention.

    The best online communication management programs deliver a full toolbox of advanced skills as well as the practical training to help you use those skills in the real world. The USC online Master of Communication Management culminates with an experiential practicum course to give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in professional settings. The Communication Research Practicum challenges you to pick a communication crisis within your organization and collaborate with your cohort and faculty to solve that crisis.

  • Interconnected and Comprehensive Curriculum

    The progressive curriculum of the USC Annenberg online Master's of Communication program means each class is a building block for the next. Communication challenges in the workplace rarely occur in a vacuum; they’re multifaceted and far-reaching. The online MCM curriculum mirrors the interconnectivity, co-mingling theory, research and application of the classroom experience. Application assignments connect research and theory to daily practice; taking something from class and finding it in real-world settings, such as peer-reviewed academic literature, popular press or through interviews of their professional peers. And group-based learning means students are studying with talented peers across a diverse representation of organizations, allowing them to delve deeply into areas of communication previously unexplored. The online Master of Communication Management (MCM) consists of a total of 32 credit hours (typically 8 courses) and features an integrated capstone experience.  
    Students will engage in a curriculum that is composed of the following course offerings:
    CMGT 500 Managing Communication
    Organizations are created through the process of communication, whether in the form of verbal agreements, written policies or enacted behaviors. As a result, organizational communication is highly interdisciplinary. It is inextricably linked to management, sociology, psychology and organizational behavior. Managing Communication is about the process of understanding the systems, structures and processes that are integral to creating and maintaining organizations. This survey course will work through a model of organizational design to touch on a wide variety of the macro-level areas of the field of organizational communication, including the organizational structure, partnerships, networks, teams, culture and reward systems.
    CMGT 502 Strategic Corporate Communication
    More and more organizations find they have to be much more strategic in their communication with their stakeholders. No more can a company or a nonprofit focus on its key messages at the expense of stakeholder perception. This class simulates the issues and stakeholders a U.S. publicly held company has to deal with on a regular basis. The class members play the role of the chief communication officer and create data-based strategic communication plans. Students work both on group and individual assignments throughout the semester.
    CMGT 505 Communication in Work Settings
    Communication in Work Settings focuses on internal communication topics (e, g., manager-employee and peer communication). Equal emphasis is placed on theoretical understanding and practical applications. A strong theoretical foundation is required to ensure that decisions about communication practices are based on sound research rather than popularized myths. That is, how is a concept studied by academicians and why do we want to build/test theories about the concept. Concomitantly, how is the concept treated by practitioners and consultants? Your (future) employers are counting on you to be able to collect and evaluate the most recent research about topics that they are concerned about. Topics covered include:
    • Foundations of Organizational Communication and Competencies
    • Leadership, Delegation and Coaching
    • Destructive Workplace Communication – Workplace Bullying and Incivility
    • Employee Engagement and Building Trust
    • Emotions in the Workplace
    • Organizational Culture
    CMGT 508 Communicating Strategy and Change
    The context of the class is the organization and the role communication plays in developing and implementing business strategy. Students assess and make recommendations on live organizational change projects. Course pulls from corporate case studies as well as current theory. Topics include business strategy, the role of the change agent, change models and their application, building ad-free brand communities, power, organizational politics and leadership. Students practice using change management tools and techniques while assessing organizational change efforts from both a theoretical and practical perspective. This course prepares students to lead change within the reality of today’s modern organizations.
    CMGT 510 Communication, Attitudes, Values and Behavior
    Engage the theory and practice of social influence processes used every day to inform, change people’s attitudes, change behavioral intentions, change behaviors, and/or change beliefs and norms. This courses reviews traditional social psychological communication theories as well as current trends such as viral advertising, word of mouth, “influencer” campaigns, uses of social media, games (both “serious games” and “alternative reality games”) and transmedia narratives. Students will learn how to be effective in persuading an audience, understand why audiences respond to messages the way they do as well as the underlying processes or theories that explain success and failure in a persuasion campaign.
    CMGT 540 Uses of Communication Research
    An understanding of research methods is essential to successfully navigate the current professional business world. In this course we consider research from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. The course is designed around the principle that the best way to learn is via doing. Each week students apply the instructional materials to a range of problems simulating real-world scenarios. The course presents a range of methodological approaches, and multiple opportunities are provided to tailor the assignments to student personal interests.
    CMGT 541 Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies
    Successful creative campaigns communicate consumer benefits in simple, unexpected and compelling ways. This course provides an overview and application of marketing communication principles and strategies. It focuses on key concepts and frameworks for creating and managing an integrated marketing communication plan. Topics will include situation analysis, consumer research, branding, campaign objectives, creative strategy, promotion strategy, media strategy, and campaign management and evaluation. Special attention will be given to social media and other current trends and innovations.
    CMGT 555 Online Marketing Comm. Development & Analysis
    In an increasingly saturated digital environment, with shifting patterns of media consumption and new modes of communication, today’s marketing and communication practitioners must possess an understanding of these forces and be able to apply communication constructs in new and innovative ways. This course is designed to provide students with critical perspectives about new media technologies, social marketing communication and consumer behaviors online. In addition to evaluating theories and observing brand interactions online, students are provided with opportunities to gain practical, hands-on experience in creating online elements as part of digital marketing campaigns.
    CMGT 556 Global Marketing Communication
    Markets are becoming more and more intertwined, and it has become imperative for all entities to analyze their consumers and their competitive landscape in global terms. The ability to effectively do so provides a key competitive advantage to create, capture and deliver value in an evolving global landscape. This course provides participants analytical tools to identify the challenges and opportunities in the global marketplace. The analysis draws on relevant interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks as well as practical applications from case studies to bridge the gap between theory and practice utilizing lectures, articles and industry reports.
    CMGT 587 Audience Analysis
    Throughout this course, you will learn how to think critically about research by asking good questions and applying rigorous methods and models to data. You will also practice using research to answer business questions. As industries become increasingly competitive, organizations are relying more and more on data to make more informed decisions. This reality requires individuals who understand not only how to interpret data, but how research can be designed to optimize the quality of research findings. This course has been designed to provide you with grounding in the overall process of research design, to build your competence as a communicator of complex research findings, as well as to help you gain practical skills in some of the most common research methods.You will have the opportunity to learn course concepts through the development of a marketing research project for a client. Throughout the semester you will work with a team and use research to answer your client’s questions and provide recommendations. The final product will be presented to your clients.
    CMGT 597 Communication Research Practicum
    In this course you will engage in detailed research-orientated examination of a topic. Topic selection is guided via a discussion with your instructor to design an achievable research goal that fulfills the goals of the program and your goals as an individual. This course serves as the capstone experience of the program and as such is oriented to allow you to produce your best work while demonstrating what you have learned in the program. Due to the individually tailored and student-oriented research projects, each student engages in very different work, which results in very different final deliverables.
    For full program course selection: Download Full Program Details >
  • Diverse Professional and Academic Faculty

    The faculty is one of USC Annenberg’s richest sources of academic distinction. They are drawn from a wide range of academic disciplines, and include distinguished scholars and researchers, editors of leading journals, officers in prestigious national and international professional associations, and highly respected consultants to government and private industry. This diversity is demonstrated in the classroom, adding a rich experiential perspective to data-driven teaching. The online MCM is taught by full-time USC faculty, all with a Ph.D., maintaining the education quality standard expected of a top-tier university. In fact, such is their expertise and distinction that USC Annenberg faculty members are frequently the authors of textbooks and publications other faculty uses to teach.
    Brad Shipley, Ph.D.
    Teaching in the Communication Management program, Dr. Brad Shipley aspires to provide a learning experience that will result in practical application of Communication Theory and Research by exposing students to a variety of pedagogical approaches. An advocate for Experiential Learning, Brad has designed many learning simulations and has had articles published in leading Experiential Learning Journals.
    Rebecca Weintraub, Ph.D.
    Rebecca Weintraub has spent more than 20 years in the field of communication, facilitation, change management and organizational behavior. Dr. Weintraub is a clinical professor at USC in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She teaches strategic communication classes in the Communication Management program and provides communication and facilitation consulting services to organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
    Andrea Hollingshead, Ph.D.
    Andrea B. Hollingshead is a Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and has joint appointments with the Marshall School of Business and the Department of Psychology.
    Courtney Schultz Pade, Ph.D.
    Courtney S. Pade has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Organizational Communication from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Prior to USC, she graduated with a B.A. in Human Biology and a M.A. in Media Studies from Stanford University.
    Kimberlie Stephens, Ph.D.
    Dr. Stephens strives to work at the intersection of research and practice. A student of organizations, she works as an instructor, facilitator and researcher to bridge academia and industry, allowing each to inform and motivate the other.
    Nithya Muthuswamy, Ph.D.
    Dr. Muthuswamy’s interests focus on communications that transcend cultural and national boundaries. Her research critically examined the use of fear appeals as a strategy in promoting condom usage towards preventing HIV/AIDS in Namibia, Africa. Dr. Muthuswamy received her Masters and Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University.
    Paolo Sigismondi, Ph.D.
    Paolo Sigismondi’s research and teaching interests focus on the phenomena of globalization forged by new technologies and economic forces such as multinational corporations, especially media, advertising and entertainment conglomerates and their impact on society.
    Michael Cody, Ph.D.
    Michael J. Cody, Ph.D., is a Professor in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where he teaches and conducts research on social influence processes. He has co-authored two text books, Persuasive Communicationand Interpersonal Communication: A Goal-based Approach; and he has co-edited five books: The Psychology of Tactical Communication, Explaining the Self to Others,Gender, Power, and Communication in Human Relationships, Entertainment-Education and Social Change and Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects.
    Jessica Neff, Ph.D.
    Dr. Neff holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Communication from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and a B.A. in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz.
    Mathew Curtis, Ph.D.
    Mathew Curtis received his Ph.D. from USC. He teaches a wide range of courses at the graduate level from Research Methods to Persuasion and Influence and has been the recipient of both teaching and mentoring awards at USC.
    Susan Resnick West, Ph.D.
    Dr. Resnick West specializes in organizational change and effectiveness. Her current research focuses on communication mechanisms to deal with the complex, multi-stakeholder problems of integrating corporate responsibility and sustainability. She is a member of Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability, Designing Organizations for the Triple Bottom Line, a university-wide research consortium.
    Colleen Keough, Ph.D.
    Colleen M. Keough, Ph.D., teaches courses in conflict management, communication evaluation, management-employee communication, group and team communication, and presentational skills.
    Daniela Baroffio, Ph.D.
    Daniela Baroffio received her Ph.D. from USC Annenberg in 2006 and now serves as a clinical assistant professor, teaching foundational theory courses in the undergraduate program and research methods in the graduate programs. As faculty in the undergraduate program at USC Annenberg, Dr. Baroffio teaches courses that examine the politics of gender in the media, interpretations of popular culture, and the politics of social change and advocacy in the political economy of the entertainment industry.
    For full program course selection: Download Full Program Details >

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Why Choose the USC
Master of Communication Management Online Program?

  • Grounded in Evidence-based Decision Making

    The USC Annenberg online Master of Communication Management is designed to teach students how to think, not just what to think, to help them thrive in a data-intensive and analytics-driven workplace. It pushes the learning experience beyond textbook examples of matching solutions to problems; theory is the foundation but not the destination. Smart decisions are born in knowing your objectives, asking the right questions of the right audience and understanding the results. The online MCM equips students with the skills to decipher, design and distribute communication measurement models that speak the language their principle audiences—managers, executives, stakeholders and customers—understand. Evidence-based Decision Making in Action with Students and Alumni
  • The USC Annenberg Experience

    USC Annenberg is redefining the communication field for the 21st century and beyond, as a center for discussion among scholars and professionals in journalism, communication, public policy, media and education. The reputation of Annenberg faculty and the rigor of the programs are reason enough for such distinction. But at the heart of Annenberg’s renown is the breadth and depth of its research. Examinations of new media and technology, cultural communication, public interest and global leadership set new standards not only for education, but also in application at organizations around the world. More than 15,000 Annenberg alumni contribute to a professional network of industry leaders and communication professionals that can attach “USC Annenberg” to their resumes—a powerful differentiator in a crowded and competitive marketplace.  

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Who Should Choose the USC
Master of Communication Management Online Program?

For a wide variety of professionals, the online Master of Communication Management can be a catalyst for career development. This immersive online communication degree is designed for students at various professional levels across many communication-related disciplines, including corporate and strategic communications, marketing and public relations. The online Master of Communication Management can provide dynamic career skills — including critical thinking, writing, presentation and oral advocacy — to help you thrive in your field.

  • Communication Pioneer

    Develop the tools to help you become a leader at the forefront of current communication technologies. The online Master of Communication Management presents fresh ideas and innovative coursework to help communication pioneers drive the new professional age, focusing on new communication channels and best practices for modern research. If you aspire to be a trendsetter in the digital age, the ability to analyze and solve real-world business and communication problems is essential. This advanced degree program presents the opportunity to develop new skills alongside the USC Annenberg community, collaborating with classmates and faculty through synchronous online sessions to help you grow professionally and develop strong working relationships.
  • Communication Veteran

    Enhance your professional profile with cutting-edge communication skills and modern media fundamentals that can promote future success. For professionals who already have years of experience but are looking to stay competitive with colleagues and rivals, the online Master of Communication Management offers relevant and immediately applicable contemporary skills. Our online communication management program can help you master the strategic use of social media and other modern avenues of communication while developing a deeper understanding of your audience. If you’re a communication veteran who strives to stay one step ahead of the game, the Master of Communication Management online can provide you with the advanced knowledge to get the job done.
  • Communication Coaches

    Build the advanced knowledge of communication theory, practice and research methods to lead by example and have a positive influence on those around you. For communication veterans with a desire to give back to their field through leadership and mentorship, the online Master of Communication Management can provide vital new media skills and a valuable knowledge of industry-specific best practices. This advanced online communication program presents you with problem-solving and qualitative skills to help you empower new experts in your field, as well as the opportunity to earn a degree that, in some cases, is required for advancement to management positions.

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Why a Master of Communication Management Online Program?

The Universal Language of Communication

It’s no surprise that organizations with a cohesive, comprehensive approach to communication strategy are among the most profitable. From the mailroom to the boardroom, successful communication is the linchpin to successful operation. The workplace, especially rivals, are taking notice and effecting change to stay competitive.

Everyone communicates, but not everyone communicates well. “Strong communication skills” are ubiquitous to today’s job postings, regardless of function or industry. So what does this mean for communication professionals? How do communication professionals set themselves apart in a field of résumés peddling “strong communication skills?” Communication is more than just art or just science; it’s a strategic balance of both. Understanding the balance is a key differentiator for professionals in a competitive marketplace.

  • The Art of Communication

    A communicator’s job is to translate — explain, describe, host, speak and write; make the unknown known; cut through clutter and capture attention; transform complex ideas, research and data to bring them to life. But the landscape of communication has changed, as organizations that rely on it have adapted to the needs of their communities. One of the biggest changes is how they communicate. Communication has gone digital, and with digital communication comes the associated challenges — it is instant, global and archival. What you “say” can be distributed quickly across the world and is easily retrieved. For communication professionals, the implications are huge; yesterday’s methodology no longer applies. They need supplemental skills to complement the basics of “how” to send a message, and they need training that can keep up with the pace of the digital world.
  • The Science of Communication

    The digital world demands substantiation. Tens of thousands of resources exist to prove or disprove, support or refute, and it’s imperative for communication professionals to be able to separate the good from the bad. They need guidance to ground their strategy in reliable evidence. How to communicate may have serious considerations, but they all become secondary to the message itself — the “what.” Defining communication strategy with measurable outcomes is among the biggest obstacles facing today’s communication professional. What do you want to accomplish? How will you identify success? Too often communicators don’t have the data to back up what they think needs to be done, or the effect of what has been done. And without those analytics, they lose the ear of the people who matter — front-line managers, C-suite executives, cross-departmental stakeholders and customers. Data-driven measurement provides the foundation for effective communication management, regardless of the speed of “how.”
  • The Evolving Landscape

    The dichotomy of communication pits theory and research against the need for actionable strategy. And two factors make communication even more complex. First, the need for flexibility and personalization — seldom does a “best practices” approach, applied to the letter, yield appropriate results from one organization to another. Second, the answer to yesterday’s problem rarely fits today’s needs, let alone those of the future. To be successful, communication professionals require specialized training to productively and adroitly apply theory and research to modern needs. More and more, they recognize that the value of a graduate degree is found in its ability to marry the two. Communicators need a graduate degree with more focus on creativity, technology, conflict management and the interconnectivity of personal relationships. They want to design communication strategy and elevate their execution, striving to gain knowledge and develop skills that keep them at the leading edge of communication best practices. Business models are changing, as are the demands on communication professionals.
  • Bringing It All Together

    The USC Annenberg Master of Communication Management online degree program trains communication professionals with the skills they need to satisfy those demands. It specifically addresses the goals of those who want to bring the most value in a modern, interconnected landscape. More importantly, the online MCM equips communicators to provide that value from within their organizations, empowering them to be key contributors with a voice in strategy.
  • Communication Master’s Career Growth

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that from 2008 to 2018 primary communication-related occupations will grow by more than 16 percent, but that in itself is an incomplete perspective. The need for smart, analytical, aggressive and responsible communicators is independent of title and occupation. In the more recently released (February 2012) Employment Projections: 2010-2020 Summary, the BLS notes that occupations that typically need some type of postsecondary education for entry are projected to grow the fastest during the 2010-20 decade. Occupations classified as needing a master’s degree are projected to grow by 21.7 percent. The growth in the labor market and the evolution of communication job requirements are driving a few distinct segments.
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