Comparing the M.S. in Communications to Specialized Degrees

 As digital communications continue to evolve at an astounding pace, many creative professionals are recognizing the immense value of earning a graduate degree in the field. However, when selecting a degree path, aspiring students are often faced with the dilemma of whether to pursue an M.S. in Communications with a specialization in a chosen field or a more specialized master’s degree.

The Benefits of Earning an M.S. in Communications

The Newhouse School’s M.S. in Communications degree offers specializations in PR, advertising and journalism innovation. While these specializations allow students to gain highly targeted skills, the degree focuses heavily on building foundational communications skills and helping students apply them to new technologies, ideologies and media outlets. This focus on using proven concepts to inform innovative practices helps students apply new skills to a wider variety of organizations.

Master’s Degree in Advertising vs. M.S. in Communications

For aspiring advertising professionals, a graduate degree path often comes down to a choice between an M.S. in Communications or an advertising-specific degree such as a master’s in advertising. So, how do the two degrees compare?

M.S. in Advertising

Advertising master’s programs typically place a heavier emphasis on understanding the role of advertising in society from a historical and theoretical perspective. Much like the M.S. in Communications degree, master’s degrees in advertising focus on strategic branding, marketing strategy and media relations.

M.S. in Communications with an Advertising Specialization 

This degree path explores fundamental topics such as multimedia storytelling, content marketing and social media. Students then learn to analyze competition, build brand identities, define markets and assess creative performance. In addition to specialized skills, students develop a high-level expertise of digital media and emerging technology. 

Learn more about the advertising specialization

Master’s Degree in Journalism vs. M.S. in Communications

For many journalism majors, a graduate degree in journalism seems the obvious path for continuing their education. For some, however, an M.S. in Communications with a specialization in journalism can actually be a more useful degree option.

M.S. in Journalism

A master’s degree in journalism is ideal for students who have a concrete understanding of core journalism principles and who have a clear career path in mind. Journalism master’s degrees expand on fundamental concepts and frequently offer students the opportunity to specialize their degree in a sub-category of journalism such as sports media, video production or public policy journalism. 

M.S. in Communications with a Specialization in Journalism

Like a traditional journalism master’s degree, a journalism specialization focuses on key concepts such as multimedia storytelling, media law and content production. Where the journalism innovation specialization from Communications@Syracuse differs from a traditional journalism degree is in its heavy emphasis on using data and new media to create data-driven journalism. Students gain a big-picture understanding of digital media and learn to use cutting-edge research and analysis methods to inform the stories they tell. 

Learn more about the journalism innovation specialization

Master’s Degree in Public Relations vs. M.S. in Communications

At its core, public relations (PR) is really about understanding the nature of human communication. As such, the choice between a master’s in PR or an M.S. in Communications with a specialization in PR can be a tricky one. So, how do they compare?

M.S. in Public Relations

While a traditional PR master’s degree will typically share a number of core skills with the M.S. in Communications specialization, this degree path often places a larger emphasis on copywriting and editing skills. Students in these graduate programs also typically gain a deeper understanding of how PR integrates into and influences specific industries. 

M.S. in Communications with a Specialization in Public Relations

Like a traditional master’s in PR degree, this specialization builds essential understanding of digital media, project management, research methods and PR strategy. This specialization then places a unique focus on understanding the larger landscape of digital media and helping students apply PR skills and concepts across a wide array of industries. 

Learn more about the public relations specialization

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