College of Professional and Continuing Education

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Master of Science in Professional Communication

Master of Science in Professional Communication (M.S.P.C.)

The Master of Science in Professional Communication curriculum is designed to enhance communication skills and managerial techniques through courses designed specifically for mid-level communication professionals and recent bachelor degree graduates. Classes are small, fostering discussion and interactivity. Varied learning experiences offset abstract concepts with concrete applications: theory informs the practice, while the practice proves—or disproves—the theory.

This professional degree is structured to provide skills essential in marketing communications, new media technologies and communications management and human resource development. While initially designed to accommodate adult working students, with the increased demand for graduate professional degrees today, over half of our current students are attending our graduate programs as full-time students. International students attend our professional degree programs from countries around the world.

Why "Professional Communication"?

Now, more than ever, clear communication is essential for productivity and progress. Exchange of information internally, externally, and internationally must be concise and, most of all, effective. It is an artful science whose logic must be understood fully to be applied effectively. The starting point is with company leaders. To be such a leader, you must be able to build teams, manage conflict, develop human capital, and direct the flow of vital information. With the right skills, properly applied, you and your organization will be poised for future growth.

Clark University's Master of Science in Professional Communication degree is designed to provide practical knowledge that can be transferred immediately from the classroom and applied directly on the job. Theory is balanced with practice in hands-on, reality-based learning experiences. Our students are more confident because they are more competent. They are more influential because they are more persuasive. And the small class sizes encourage lively interaction in courses taught by disciplined practitioners with advanced degrees who enrich the discussions with a wealth of real-world experience.

Thus, the Clark University M.S.P.C. degree truly focuses on the business of communication. Our graduates are not artists or theorists; they are communication professionals such as public relations specialists, human resource managers, communication managers, or advertising executives. M.S.P.C. students learn the finer points of today's evolving communication field, as well as the vital management skills for career advancement. Because the course work is at a challenging, high level, even seasoned professionals find the degree infinitely practical, and immediately applicable to their careers.

Core Competency Development

Since the core competencies approved by our Advisory Board define the mastery profile we expect our graduates to have achieved upon completion of their studies, frequent practice in developing these skills is integral to coursework in the M.S.P.C. program. Graduates should demonstrate proficiency in communicating effectively in all environments through writing, speaking, and technology use. They should have the facility to analyze and solve problems, conduct research, and develop and deliver polished presentations in management settings.

In the M.S.P.C. program, competency is defined as "the ability to operate effectively in a domain to adapt to changes, and to be committed to continuous learning and self-improvement." The core competencies which students are expected to achieve and which are addressed in coursework comprise functional literacy in:

  • Understanding and applying communication theory and technologies
  • Communicating effectively using oral, written, and visual skills
  • The design, implementation, and application of research, including gathering, analysis, and application of quantitative and qualitative data
  • Methodologies for assessing, analysing and developing effective solutions to problems
  • Application of accounting, finance and budgeting for sound fiscal management
  • Understanding and generating effective organizational communication, including the role of leadership in the communication process and empowerment of others to be effective communicators
  • Understanding the communication process across different cultures and effectively interfacing with cross-cultural and diverse constituencies
  • Understanding the expectations and requirements of ethical conduct in the workplace and in society.

One Degree, Four Tracks

Every great company excels at communicating both externally, to customers and prospects, and internally, to employees and management. The Clark M.S.P.C. degree recognizes and focuses on these success factors. Students have the option, if they so choose, to focus on one of four tracks, each of which allows focus in several areas of specialization, including a customized course of study.

Marketing Communication

This concentration focuses on communication to an external audience, a vital component to any company. Students learn, for example, how to develop a strategic marketing plan and how to make public relations an invaluable resource. Importantly, many courses concentration on understanding one's audience, how to discover what motivates them and how to create an effective message to them and a dialogue with them. Our new technology courses examine the impact this new area has had on global communication. Students also learn how to use the Internet and social media as marketing tools, including the skills necessary to create and maintain web site, blogs, and podcasts.

New Media Technologies

This specialization prepares students for the future of new mass media. Offered in conjunction with the Master of Science in Information Technology degree, this program provides students with the skills necessary for today's online and computer-based communications industries. By blending content and technology with an analysis of current industry practices, students prepare to be new media producers and managers for projects such as web sites and other digital ventures. The new media technologies specialization emphasizes the design and structuring of traditional mass media content for broadband delivery.

Communication Management

Organizational leaders and communication professionals tackle new challenges every day. While many are capable of meeting the challenge, few are equipped to get the right message across consistently while at the same time strategizing and planning for tomorrow. In order to maintain their edge, whether they are managing change for a high-tech corporation, marketing to multicultural constituents, or raising funds for community health programs, there are many things communications experts need to know. Students choosing the Communication Management concentration focus on strategic and integrated communications and the interface between communication competencies and organizational vision and strategy.

Human Resource Management

In the fields of personnel management and adult training, this concentration proves invaluable. Courses are offered in managing diversity, human resource development, conflict management and negotiation, among others. Maximizing productivity, minimizing friction and retaining valuable employees are priorities for successful companies. Here, students gain the tools needed to effectively handle these vital internal communication issues. As part of the human resource concentration, students may concentrate their studies specifically on either Human Resource Management or Conflict Management.



Special Features

Customization to Personal Goals

The M.S.P.C. curriculum allows students to tailor the degree to custom fit their individual aspirations. As discussed above, four tracks with suggested courses are provided, but students may use their six elective courses to fashion a program that is deeply satisfying because it suits their own particular needs.

Internship Experience

To link the classroom to the marketplace, an internship is available and strongly recommended to all students with less than three years experience. Interns are expected to find an internship in an agreed-upon site where they engage in the full range of duties assigned to entry-level employees. Ordinary tasks are balanced with challenging responsibilities that will contribute to their professional growth. Interns report to a designated on-site supervisor who provides guidance and feedback on performance and participates in the evaluation process. Interns are provided a comprehensive handbook and participate in a regular seminar to share experiences and strategies to position themselves better to enter the career path of their choice with poise.

Advising Always Available

Advising is available to all students at all times that the COPACE Graduate Programs office is open. Students may rely on receiving personal attention to their concerns and prompt responses to their questions from the day they inquire into the M.S.P.C. through the day they graduate from the program.

Two or Three course "Sampler"

Students who want to sample the program before applying formally may take two or three courses to test the fit of the curriculum with their personal and professional needs and aspirations. Those who complete two courses with grades of "B" or above may substitute these courses for the GRE or GMAT otherwise required for matriculating into the degree program.

Rolling Admissions

Students may apply for matriculation into the program at any time during a calendar year.

Integrated Degree Programs for COPACE students

The Integrated Degree Program offered through COPACE encourages qualified students to combine their undergraduate program in communication, human resource development, or public administration with the Master of Science in Professional Communication degree. Students are able to decrease the time needed to earn both degrees by beginning study on their master's degree in the final year of their undergraduate study.

Accelerated Bachelor/M.S.P.C. Degree Program for Clark University Day School Seniors

Clark University full-time day school undergraduates may combine their bachelor's degree with an M.S.P.C. degree at an accelerated pace by beginning the M.S.P.C. program during their senior year and finishing it within a fifth year of study. Qualified students may earn the master's degree tuition free.

Degree Program at branch campuses in Poland and Russia

Graduate students in these countries can enter the collaborative program through a branch campus. Those entering the program must be fluent in Polish or Russian, respectively, and open to the possibility of studying abroad. Since some courses are taught in English, proficiency in English is essential. It is also possible for MSPC graduate students in the main program in the US to study abroad in the summer at one of our international branch campuses. See Program Director for details.