RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Where can an online masters in communication take you?

19th April 2021 Print

Communication degrees are often considered to be ‘hybrid’ qualifications. They are theoretical – focusing on the history and psychology of media, marketing, and communication. They are also vocational – teaching students how to develop skills in marketing, media, advertising, and plenty of other communicative fields. An online masters in communication is a good choice for the student fascinated with the communicative machinations that drive our social structure and individual habits. A passion for understanding structures, histories, and the science of information exchange is extremely conducive to a good performance going into a communication degree. 

If you are considering entering into one of these courses, you might feel a little apprehensive about what kind of work you might get at the end of your studies. At first glance, ‘communication’ might seem like an overly vague term for a masters course. If you think of communication as the glue that holds together all social and financial interaction, you might get a bit more of an understanding as to why it is so important to have a good understanding of the subject in business. There is no shortage of fields in which a communication graduate can thrive. You’ll need to make an educated decision as to what your specialism will be so that you can tailor your studies towards your goal. Don’t worry about rushing into a specialism – most people find that their interests naturally surface after a couple of months of studying. 

Here are some of the most rewarding and profitable fields that a graduate of an online masters in communication can get into.


Advertising is a branch of marketing communication that is concerned with the production and dissemination of sponsored messages – be they on billboards, the internet, in magazines, or in any other form of media. An advertiser differs from a general marketing executive or public relations officer in that they specialize in concocting and creating the actual materials. Adverts are the cutting edge of marketing and public relations. 

The advertising industry is absolutely vast. In 2019, companies based in the USA spent over 138 billion dollars on creating and disseminating advertisements. Successful advertising executives are well paid and well-valued by the companies they work for – but don’t expect your life to be like Mad Men. Advertising executives have to do a great deal of groundwork and consultation before they begin designing advertising campaigns. They also need to collaborate well with market researchers, business strategists, and product designers in order to create effective advertisements. An online masters in communication can help you break into the lucrative world of advertising. 


Marketing is a much more broad field than advertising. The term ‘marketing’ refers to all of the activities that a company engages in in order to spread awareness, sell products and make the services they offer known to the public. Marketing can take on many forms. Some of these forms really suit people that have graduated with an online masters in communication. Here are a few of the areas of marketing most suited to communications graduates.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a product of the social media age. Paid partnerships are symbiotic relationships between social media influencers and brands. Social media influencers receive a fee in order to ‘organically’ promote a product on their platforms. This kind of marketing is most famous for its prevalence with young audiences, but it is also a popular way of getting marketing materials to older people listing to successful podcasts. Influencer marketing is far more regulated than it used to be. Advertisements are now required to be marked as such. 

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is all about building a lasting bond between the consumer and the company. It is a complex communicative field involving the use of personalized feedback and directly listening to customer suggestions to guide the marketing strategy of a brand. Relationship marketing focuses on customer retention and satisfaction over short-term financial gain. The logic behind this focus is related to long-term goals: companies that foster healthy long-term goals with customers will have longer-lasting and more entrenched success. Relationship marketers have developed ways in which to harness the emotional bonds that can be formed between a customer and a brand. 

A crude wielding of emotion can, however, come across as being insincere and manipulative. Marketers have to be careful to read the room and come up with a responsible plan. 

Guerilla Marketing 

Guerilla marketing – named in homage to the asymmetric military tactic used by rebels – is the use of unconventional strategies to make the most out of limited resources. It can involve tapping into online cultures, generating news pieces, or creating interactive events. It was invented by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984

Guerilla marketing campaigns are typically undertaken by smaller companies with more limited resources. They require a very nuanced understanding of the culture that you are trying to break into. They do have a tendency to backfire when poorly researched or clumsily executed. People can see right through an insincere campaign. 

Political Campaigning

People graduating from an online masters in communication are well placed to enter the murky – if rewarding – world of political campaign management. Political campaign managers are responsible for the promotional efforts of political candidates. A political campaign manager may be responsible for developing policy, reaching out to voters, project management, communications auditing, event booking, and fundraising. You need to have your fingers in a great many pies in order to run a successful campaign. Networking and public relations acumen are essential. If you think you can ‘read a room’ like nobody else, perhaps campaign managing is for you.

A well-run campaign involves very astute project management and an understanding of the political zeitgeist. Graduates from online masters in communication courses will be well aware of the complex mass psychology behind successful campaigning. You also really have to believe in what you are doing. You’ll regret campaigning on behalf of something that you abhor! Campaign managers have a reputation for being apolitical and amoral. This really doesn’t need to be the case. Harness your actual beliefs. 

Public Relations Management 

Public relations management differs from marketing management in that it involves managing the relationships between the public and the client or company even when marketing campaigns are not going ahead. Public relations managers are essentially the mouth of the company that they work on behalf of. 

Public relations are absolutely essential for modern companies. Selling services or goods is inherently a public act. The way a company communicates with the public can make or break its success. Graduates from online masters in communication courses can choose to specialize in this often high tension, high stakes communicative realm. Bad Public relations can doom a company, so competent and imaginative public relations managers are in very high demand. PR managers need to be adept at collaborating with strategists within a company in order to come up with an appropriate communicative plan. 


Journalists are key communicators. An online masters in communication can help you develop the skills that you need to become a successful journalistic writer. Of course, there are many kinds of journalism, and all of them require a great deal of passion, knowledge, and perseverance to break into. Journalism is a famously competitive environment. Expect to work as a poorly paid freelancer for a few years before you can get signed to a news agency, specialist publisher, or web publisher. The good thing is that journalists have a wonderful network of unions that represent their cause. The National Writer’s Union is the largest in the United States and is dedicated to representing freelancers as well as contracted journalists. 

Online masters courses in communication provide students with a historical and psychological perspective of media communications. This knowledge can be very useful for the aspiring journalist. Knowing how and why groups of people react to media in a particular way can be inspiring when trying to pitch articles or understand the culture you are writing for. 

Market Research

Market research is a fast-evolving and completely essential part of any long-term business strategy. Graduates from online masters in communication courses can do a great deal worse than specialize in research. There are all sorts of popular market research methods, and they typically evolve in parallel with technological advantages. Although market research has been carried out in some form since the 1300s, when craftsmen traveled to different towns to understand gaps in the market, it has really taken off in the digital age. A few of the more important modern practices include:

Big Data Research

Big data market research is a trend with a great deal of hype at the moment. It involves the collection and analysis of quantities of data that would previously have been unimaginable and unmanageable. Big data is almost always collected automatically within preset parameters. This is achieved through the writing of algorithms that trawl for information online or within databases. As a market researcher, an online masters in communication graduate won’t be programming the algorithm, but they will be carefully choosing the parameters that the algorithm searches using. The analysis of the vast quantity of collected data can then be done through a combination of human plotting and the use of data analysis software. Making conclusions about future market trends from this data is a real skill and takes communicative, interpersonal, and business acumen along with a deep knowledge of a client’s aims. 

Focus Group Research

Focus group research has been a key part of market research since the 1950s, and it is still extremely important to many organizations. Designing focus group questionnaires and figuring out what kind of people should actually be involved in a group is the market researcher’s job. Strangely enough, quite a lot of market research goes into the creation of a market research strategy. The actual value of focus group research is debated by some, but it is hard to deny that it is a significant factor in shaping public-facing marketing materials and products. 

Experiments and Field Trials

Putting out beta products or offering pre-release items to selected consumers can help generate qualitative data for market research purposes. Studying for an online masters in communication, you’ll learn how to make sense of often confusing qualitative data sets to complement your quantitative data. Field trials can lead to extremely useful feedback that reflects the projected success of a product in the real world – something that cannot be done by quantitative data analysis alone. 


Surveys are one of the oldest market research tactics, being employed since the early 20th Century in the United States. Today, surveys are never conducted as a stand-alone form of research. Instead, they are written to be comparable with other collected data. Using multiple styles of market research data collection can help produce more accurate strategic projections. Multi-pronged approaches to communications are emphasized during an online masters degree in communication. Relying on one method creates an inaccurate picture. 

Internal Communications Writing

Many large companies need to communicate with colleagues and collaborators internally. This is never as easy as just putting out a memo. Internal communications need to be on-brand, easy to understand, and in keeping with the overall strategies of a company. That is where a graduate of an online masters in communication can come in handy. People with a knowledge of the science and practice of communications can really help get a company’s message across to internal stakeholders and workers. Communications on quotas, human resource initiatives, and changes in policy all need to be worded extremely carefully. 

Successful communication within a company can make it a far more streamlined and effective affair. For this reason, internal communications specialists are very well paid by huge companies like Google and Amazon. Bad internal communication can have disastrous consequences. Amazon recently found itself in hot water after an internal communication advising against union membership was leaked. The video was patronizing, terrifying, and, generally speaking, extremely foul. 

Dystopian internal communications can seriously hurt a company. That is why experienced and nuanced communicators are so highly prized. Internal communications specialists collaborate with designers, executives, human resources divisions, and market research specialists.