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Master of Arts in Corporate and Organizational Communication (Online)

The Masters of Arts in Corporate and Organizational Communication is an online program intended for working professionals who want to improve their communication skills and effectiveness in order to be successful in their careers. In this program, students will learn how to navigate organizational networks effectively, influence coworkers, clients, and administrators, interact with people from diverse populations, use technology and social media to effectively communicate, and increase one’s communication competence in one-on-one and group interactions.

The faculty who teach in this program are the same faculty who teach in the MA and PhD programs on campus. These individuals are recognized as some of the best researchers and instructors in the communication discipline and at West Virginia University.

The Approach

All of the courses in the Masters of Arts in Corporate and Organizational Communication program are asynchronous. Our next cohort starts this August (Fall 2017). Students complete two courses each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer). Most students will complete the program in two years (36 credit hours are required for graduation).

Below are the courses that will be taught in the coming semesters for the cohort starting Fall 2017:

Fall 2017: Communication in the Organization, Organizational Communication
Spring 2018: Organizational Research & Evaluation, Organizational Culture
Summer 2018: Conflict, Social & Digital Media Management
Fall 2018: Communication Campaigns, Diversity in the Workplace
Spring 2019: Persuasion, CMC and Professional Identity
Summer 2019: Leadership, Case Studies in Organizational Communication

The Admissions Process

Individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree (B.A., B.S., or equivalent) may apply. The program does not require GRE/GMAT scores or letters of recommendation.

Learn more about the WVU Graduate Admissions process

Course Descriptions

Communication in the Organization

An organization is a group of people with a particular purpose (such as corporations, schools, non-profits, armed forces, hospitals, and churches). This course explores the role of communication in the organizational environment. Drawing from research in different branches of communication studies, students will learn to analyze patterns of communication and apply criteria for competent communication.

Theory in Professional Life

A successful career and professional life requires an intricate understanding of communication dynamics. This course offers an introduction to major communication theories, with emphasis on the applicability of these theories in organizations. Students will learn how to apply communication theory to workplace situations and their everyday life to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Organizational Research & Evaluation

Corporations and other organizations conduct research to make informed decisions. This course is geared toward the practical application of research. Students will acquire skills to be more critical and knowledgeable research consumers. Students will also develop beginner research skills to conduct their own research and use their findings to make better decisions.

Organizational Culture

Just as people have different cultures, organizations (such as corporations, schools, non-profits, armed forces, hospitals, and churches) have their own cultures too. In this course, students will examine how organizations refine, alter, and reinforce their cultures. Attention will be paid to the practices of people who shape organizational culture. Students will assess their own organizations and recommend how their organization can improve its culture.

Conflict in the Organization

Conflicts between people can arise in any professional situation. In this course, students will learn about managing and resolving conflict in organizations. Students will learn about research on conflict processes in workplace settings. Special attention will be paid to workplace conflicts. Students will reflect on their own communication preferences during conflict and will learn concrete solutions to resolving workplace conflict.

Social Media Management

Social media management involves monitoring, contributing to, and evaluating the social media presence of individual people or organizations. This course will present students with theoretical and applied examples of how social media (such as Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, and websites) can be successfully managed. In the end, students will apply the theories and concepts discussed in the course to craft a social media management plan for their organization or industry of choice.

Communication Campaigns

Communication campaigns use media messages (such as TV advertisements, signs or brochures, and social media posts) to influence people’s knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors. Students will learn the basics of how to develop, implement, and evaluate a communication campaign. Students will also play the role of a campaign consultant, by applying communication theories to critically evaluate campaigns developed by public health, political, public relations, and marketing organizations.

Diversity in the Workplace

Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people belonging to an organization. Contemporary workplaces bring people together from different races, gender, sexual orientations, socio-economic statuses, ages, physical abilities, and beliefs. This course focuses on the potential of diversity to enhance workplace communication. Students will explore theories and research that demonstrate how workplace communication influences people’s diverse identities, as well as how diversity influences workplace communication.

Persuasion

Persuasion is the process of influencing people’s decisions or changing people’s minds. The primary goal of this course is to provide students with effective tools for influencing people in organizations (such as corporations, schools, or healthcare settings). Students will examine key persuasion theories and research, which they can apply to reach their social influence goals. Special attention will be paid to the process of constructing, refuting, and defending arguments.

Computer-Mediated Communication and Professional Identity

Successful professionals manage their identity both offline and online, using online tools (such as social network sites and websites). In this course, students will explore their own digital media footprint and develop strategies on how to effectively communicate a professional identity online in a way that meets their personal and professional goals. Students will be asked to evaluate their online presence and interactions in relation to social media theories and best practices.

Leadership

Some people are born leaders, but everyone can use some training. The goal of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed for effective leadership in organizations. Students will apply communication theory to cultivate leadership strategies and develop their own leadership case study. Ethical issues involved with leadership challenges in the workplace will also be addressed.

Case Studies in Organizational Communication

In this course students will explore communication dynamics in organizational communication case studies. Students will use communication theories and concepts as a lens for analyzing the case studies. This course serves as a capstone course. Students will create their own organizational communication case study.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)about the Master of Arts in Corporate and Organizational Communication

What is the value of a MA degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication?

Individuals who succeed in the workplace have strong organizational, interpersonal, critical-thinking, and written communication skills. These skills are sought after by employers in all organizations. Our program focuses on developing these skills. The workplace of the 21st century is based on information exchange – on developing core communication literacies to effectively engage multiple information sources and receivers in an increasingly crowded and connected digital landscape. Our program assists our students in becoming more appropriate and effective communicators. Our alumni regularly inform us that their MA degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication provided them with the knowledge and skills to advance in their current organizations or to accept a position in a new organization that would not have been available to them without our degree.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies to be prepared for this program?

No. Students do not need any education background in communication studies for this program. The two courses offered in the first semester of the program, Communication in the Organization and Theory in Professional Life, are intended to provide students an introduction to communication studies.

My undergraduate GPA is below 2.75, may I still apply to the program?

Individuals who apply with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 may be accepted as provisional students. When individuals successfully complete their first two courses with a grade of B or better, they are no longer considered to be provisional students.

Do I need to take the GRE exam or TOEFL exam?

No entrance exam is needed.

How long does it take to earn a MA degree in this program?

The MA in Corporate and Organizational Communication is a 36 credit hour program. Most students will take two, three-credit classes a semester (Spring, Summer, Fall) and will finish the program in two years.

Is there a time limit to get the degree?

Yes. Students must complete the degree within eight years of starting the program.

If I do not take courses in a given semester or more semesters, do I need to reapply?

If you do not take classes for two semesters, WVU would view you as inactive and you would need to reapply and pay the application fee.

Are all of the classes online?

Yes. All of the classes are online. To succeed in this program, students must be able to allocate time each week to being online.

Is there any specific time when I will need to be online in the course for a live interaction?

The program does not have classes that meet at a specific time. Students can go online to complete coursework at their convenience. If an instructor has a live event (such as a discussion of a given topic), that material will be posted in the course for all to view at their convenience.

How do I know what courses to take?

All students are expected to take the same courses. The schedule of courses for coming semesters will be available at the start of the program. Instructors in later semesters will expect you to be able to build on and apply the materials learned in previous semesters.

How much time do I need to dedicate to each class in a given week?

On average a student will need to spend between 9 to 12 hours on a course per week (some weeks might involve more hours, some less). Students will know at the start of the semester the due dates for all course assignments and will be able to plan/schedule when they will participate in the course.

Do I need specific computer skills or capabilities to be a student in this program?

Because this course is conducted entirely in a computer-mediated environment, having access to a reliable Internet connection is a must. You should plan on logging in to eCampus at least several times a week. You should also make sure that you have the necessary software to read any documents or view any videos posted on eCampus. At the very least, you will need access to some sort of PDF viewer, Microsoft Word, and Adobe flash player.

Am I able to use graduate credits from any other department/school for this program?

Students may be able to apply up to six credit hours from an accredited university towards this degree with the permission of the program coordinator.

Is there a comprehensive exam required at the end of the 36 hours of coursework?

For students who complete the scheduled 12 courses, there is no comprehensive exam. In the final semester, in the Case Studies in Organizational Communication course, each student will have a final project that demonstrates the knowledge and skills they learned in the program.

How much are tuition and fees for six credits a semester?

For tuition and fees for programs at WVU can be found at: http://tuition.wvu.edu

How do I learn more about financial aid for graduate students?

Information about funding and support for graduate students can be found on the Graduate Education & Life website: http://grad.wvu.edu/funding

How do I apply for the program?

One applies for the program online: https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=wvugrad

I have more questions. Who should I contact?

You can contact Ms. Joy Green, the administrative assistant for this program joy.green@mail.wvu.edu or Dr. Matthew Martin, the coordinator of this program and the chair of the department mmartin@wvu.edu. Both are also available at 304-293-3905.

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Seelio: Sharing Student Work

Students enrolled in COMM courses are asked to study the theory and process of human communication so that they can apply this knowledge to understanding real-world issues. As part of this process, COMM students have adopted the Seelio platform – a social media platform that allows students to create an online portfolio of their coursework that is easily accessible to the public. Sharing these portfolios shows the importance of the COMM degree while also giving prospective employees a clear, accurate look at the academic work our students are doing.

Seelio Student Coursework Showcase

Academic Advising

Our advisors are available during the summer, fall and spring semesters during office hours. Check 108 Armstrong Hall, call 304-293-3905, or e-mail an advisor to check office hours for the semester (see below for contact information).

The COMM academic advisors are:

Nikki Loy – nikki.loy@mail.wvu.edu
Dr. John Shibley – jshibley@wvu.edu
Mary Donato – mdonato4@mix.wvu.edu

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Request a Mountaineer Intern

Professional Field Experience (PFE) is a key element in the undergraduate COMM curriculum that allows students to gain experience in applying their classroom knowledge to a variety of corporate and organizational environments. Organizations looking for students with an in-depth understanding of communication areas that include (but are not limited to) communication theory, data analysis, health communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and social media/communication technology now have the opportunity to request an intern from the Department of Communication Studies at WVU. Use the form below to read up on our PFE program, and to request a Mountaineer intern today.

Organization Intern Application