Online Master’s in Communication Academics Overview

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, institutional 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 optional experiential practicum course to give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in their professional settings. The Communication Research Practicum challenges you to pick a communication problem in your organization and work under a faculty advisor to develop a strategy to solve that problem.

Interconnected and Comprehensive Curriculum

The online Master of Communication Management (MCM) consists of 32 credit hours (typically 8 courses) and features an integrated capstone experience. Students engage in a curriculum drawn from the following courses and designed by our faculty to meet the needs of working communication professionals.

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 course 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 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.

PR 561 Principles of Public Relations

Practical and theoretical survey of the public relations profession as it is currently practiced, providing a social/contextual backdrop for further study of the field.

PR 562 Foundations of Effective PR Writing

Specialized writing for persuasive and strategic communication contexts. Intensive focus on public relations writing for print, online, broadcast and social media.

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.