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Shippensburg PA 17257
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Department of Communication/ Journalism

Rowland Hall 108
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1521
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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371 

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016 

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Communication Studies - Master of Science

CommStudies   “The professors understand your life position. They treat you as an adult. The program has been rigorous and the experience has been eye opening, mind expanding, rewarding, tiring, and fun!”
~Beth Kanagy


Program   Degree Requirements   Strategic Public Relations / Digital Media  
Resources  Admission Requirements   Faculty 

The Communication Studies master’s program provides professional growth opportunities in the dynamic areas of strategic public relations and digital media. The Department of Communication/Journalism is dedicated to educating its graduate students in the key areas of mass communication writing and web publishing, communications research and analysis, and theory and ethics. The program allows students to strengthen an existing communications career, to prepare for advanced communications studies, or to begin a new journey into the evolving world of today’s communication industries.

The Communication Studies Program

The Department of Communication/Journalism offers a master of science degree with specialization in communication studies. The successful completion of 30 credits is required for graduation. To accommodate the varied academic backgrounds and career objectives of students enrolling in this program, the department offers a flexible course of study. Students select courses in public relations, electronic media, print media, digital media, and interdisciplinary areas to enhance professional and personal growth opportunities.

The graduate program in communication studies is directed to:

  • The media professional who seeks to update skills in digital media and internet publishing for career advancement. 
  • The baccalaureate degree holder in communication who wishes to refine and build upon previous academic preparation.
  • The baccalaureate degree holder in another discipline who wishes to prepare for a career in the media, public relations, or a closely related field.

Communication Studies Degree Requirements

To qualify for a master of science degree in communication studies, you must complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester hour credits with a “B” average (3.0) including a professional project (COM603) that is certified as acceptable by a committee of the communications studies faculty.

Required for all communication studies students:  

  • COM510 Professional Seminar
  • COM520 Applied Mass Communication Research

Select one option and complete both courses:  

Strategic Public Relations: 

  • COM505 PR Foundations
  • COM506 PR Strategies

Digital Media: 

  • COM 527 Digital Storytelling
  • COM 528 Digital Media Workshop

Select five communication/journalism courses (15 credits) as restricted electives to satisfy professional goals and personal interests.

  • COM 410  Women and the Media
  • COM 425  Feature Writing
  • COM 432  Public Relations Research and Campaigns
  • COM 451  Electronic News Gathering 
  • COM 452  Electronic Field Production 
  • COM 460  Case Studies in Public Relations 
  • COM 470  Advanced Digital Photographic Communication 
  • COM 476  Magazine Design
  • COM 478  Digital Journalism 
  • COM 481  Interactive Media Design
  • COM 482  Internet Communication
  • COM 484  Electronic Media Programming and Management
  • COM 490  Special Topics in Mass Communication
  • COM 511  Modes of Film Communication
  • COM 516  Photographic Communication
  • COM 526  Emerging Mass Media Technologies
  • COM 530  Law & the Media
  • COM 536  Global Communications Systems
  • COM 570  Fund Raising & Association Public Relations
  • COM 594  Selected Topics in Mass Communication
  • COM 609  Internship I
  • COM 610  Internship II

Note: With the approval of the student's advisor, students may select interdisciplinary courses (up to 9 crs.) which enrich and broaden the communication studies curriculum.

Special Resources

Students have access to audio and video production studios, visual and multi-media tools, and computer labs equipped with the latest industry hardware and software, and mini-labs with iPads and access to the latest social media applications.

The MAC lab in Rowland Hall is equipped with Adobe Creative Suite. Students may use departmental digital cameras, scanners, and assorted film processing equipment. The audio suites are equipped with computer editing stations utilizing Adobe Audition and Apple Logic software. One suite is a fully functioning MIDI recording studio outfitted with M-Audio ProTools recording software and gear, as well as electronic keyboard and drums.

The university’s TV studio in Grove Hall is a full-functioning TV production center equipped with three Hitachi digital studio cameras, a Grass Valley Kayak digital video effects switcher, and Apple Final Cut Pro HD non-linear editing systems. The TV production center also has a mobile TV production van equipped with four Sony VX1000 MiniDV cameras and digital instant replay tape decks to produce live and live-on-tape events, sports contests, and news for broadcast on cable.
There are chapters of the National Broadcasting Society (NBS) and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) affiliated with the department. The faculty are members of professional organizations and faculty regularly attend regional and national conventions and meetings with students.

Students may select a 3-credit internship requiring 120 hours of work in print, digital and electronic media, public relations, or a media-related business. Interns have worked with organizations such as The Patriot News (Harrisburg), FoxSportsNet (Pittsburgh), Lancaster United Way, the Governor’s Press Office (Harrisburg), the U.S. Army War College (Carlisle), CNBC (Washington), Antietam Cable (Hagerstown), WGAL-TV (Lancaster), WHTM-TV (Harrisburg), and WPMT-TV (York). 

Admission Requirements

 Graduate Admissions   -  Apply Now! 

Applicants must meet all requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average (GPA). An above average score on the GRE or Miller Analogies Test or significant communications work experience may be considered if the GPA is lower than 2.75.

In addition you must include with your application:   

  • A professional resumé;
  • Three professional references;
  • A 400- to 500-word essay demonstrating your writing skills and explaining what you expect to gain by completing this degree.


An applicant whose bachelor’s degree is not in a communication-related field may have a number of undergraduate courses to take in addition to the master’s degree requirements. 


Joseph Borrell, Ph.D., chair, Department of Communication/Journalism; University of Pennsylvania, electronic media production, economic and financial research and analysis, nonprofit communications

Masudul Biswas, Ph.D. Louisiana State University, interactive media, diversity and the media, social media

Jeffrey Bitzer, J.D., The Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson School of Law, communication law

Ted Carlin, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, electronic media, new media technology, media literacy, sports writing and reporting

Michael Drager, Ph.D.,
Michigan State University, journalism, mass media and public policy research and analysis

John Ellerbach, Ed.D., Oklahoma State University, public relations, independent film production, media law

Margaret Evans, M.F.A., Rochester Institute of Technology, traditional/digital photography

Kimberly D. Garris, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, broadcast journalism, press and public affairs

Carrie A. Sipes, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, public relations, media effects, media writing

Stephanie Anderson Witmer, M.F.A., The Pennsylvania State University, creative writing, media writing, media design