Communication Studies


Admission Requirements 

Degree Requirements 



The Department of Communication/Journalism at Shippensburg University offers a graduate program that provides professional growth opportunities in the dynamic areas of strategic public relations and digital media. The department is dedicated to educating its graduate students in the key areas of mass communication writing and web publishing, digital media, 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 professions.

The 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 communication studies program 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 (COM 603) that is certified as acceptable by a committee of the communication studies faculty.

Required for all communication studies students: 

  •   COM 510 Professional Seminar
  •   COM 520 Applied Mass Communication Research

Select one option and complete both courses: 

 Strategic Public Relations

  •   COM 505 PR Foundations
  •   COM 506 PR Strategies

Digital Media

  •   COM 527 Digital Storytelling
  •   COM 528 Digital Media Workshop

Select five (5) 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 Selected 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 adviser, students may select interdisciplinary courses (up to 9 credits) that enrich and broaden the communication studies curriculum.

Special Resources

Students have access to audio and video production studios, visual and multimedia tools, 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 and flatbed and negative scanners. The audio suites are equipped with computer editing stations using Adobe Audition and Apple Logic software. One suite is a fully functioning MIDI recording studio with M-Audio ProTools recording software and gear.

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 Adobe Premier 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 regularly attend regional and national conferences and meetings with students.

Students may select a three-credit (3) internship requiring 120 hours of work in print, digital and electronic media, public relations, or a media-related business. with permission of their advisor. Interns have worked with such organizations 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), 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 resume 
  • Three professional references 
  • A 400- to 500-word essay demonstrating your writing skills and explaining what you expect to gain by completing the degree 

An applicant whose bachelor's degree is not in a communication-related field may be required to take several undergraduate communication courses in addition to the master's degree requirements.



Ted Carlin, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, electronic media, audio production, new media technology, media literacy.

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

Kyle Heim, Ph.D., University of Missouri, journalism/online media.

Beth Kanagy, M.S., Shippensburg University, journalism, public relations.

James Lohrey, M.A., State University of New York at Buffalo, gender/sexuality issues in media and broadcasting.

Carrie A. Sipes, Department Chairperson, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, public relations, media effects, media writing & research.

Stephanie Witmer, M.F.A. Pennsylvania State University, feature writing, brand journalism.