26 May 2009

Researching More Master’s Programs

You may remember my blog about researching MFA programs in creative writing. That was in January, and I’m still interested in earning a master’s degree, but I’m not entirely sold on the practicality of studying creative writing—formally, at least. I think the best way to learn writing is simply to write, a lot, and perhaps more importantly, to read a lot.

Of course, creative writing is still an enticing program option, but I’m now considering interactive media, integrated marketing communication (IMC), and strategic communication (StratCom) as well. I found several excellent programs in the North, such as Medill’s IMC program at Northwestern, but because of my own cost and location preferences, these are my top picks:

Elon University, Elon, NC
MA in Interactive Media
The program looks top-notch, the curriculum looks exciting, and “the university's historic 575-acre campus is a designated botanical garden and is ranked one of the most beautiful campuses in the country by The Princeton Review.” The school is also ranked the #1 School to Watch in 2009 by US News & World Report. The program requires one year of full-time study to complete.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
MS/MA in Integrated Marketing Communication
I had considered this school for an MFA in creative writing, so I was happy to learn their IMC program is excellent as well. I'm also interested in library/info science, and their MLIS program is currently ranked 14th by US News. Since FSU recently combined their School of Communication with their School of Library and Information Studies, I'm wondering if a new, integrated degree is coming soon?

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
MA in Journalism with StratCom Emphasis (online program)
If I decide to go the online route, this is my first choice. Mizzou has one of the best journalism schools in the world, yet their online program is relatively affordable—currently around $500 per credit hour, with 37 credits needed for graduation. There are two focus options for the online program: strategic communication (my choice) and media management.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
MA in Mass Communication with StratCom Emphasis
I like how this program offers a Professional Track and a Mass Communication track. The Professional Track appeals to my past experience as well as my future goals, and it even allows me to focus on strategic communication (or other areas). I can also enroll in courses at several other NC universities, including Duke, for the same tuition as at UNC Chapel Hill. Speaking of tuition, since I'm not a resident, this program is the most expensive of my five options, thus my attendance would likely be contingent on a Roy H. Park Fellowship or similar financial aid.

University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Master of Mass Communication with IntCom Emphasis
Since I’m a resident of South Carolina, I was thrilled to discover the U of SC has an integrated program. Then, when I read about Columbia’s new research park, Innovista, I was even more thrilled. I’m looking forward to visiting Columbia and sharing my experiences and photos in a future New Thing post.

Now that I’ve discovered these wonderful programs, I am very excited about earning a master’s degree. I think I’ll apply to all five programs and see what happens. For now, it’s back to Cracking the GRE.

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