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M.A. Strategic Communication FAQ’s

As you know, jobs in the communication field are sometimes hard to come by. What kind of jobs could I possibly get with this Master’s degree?

Our degree focuses on strategic communication, with an emphasis in one of two areas: Public relations or health communication.

This is a really broad degree that will allow you to almost any job that requires the development of messages and the analysis of audiences. In other words, the job market for strategic communication is very deep. Depending on your focus, here are some of the possible job titles:

  • Media relations specialist
  • Health campaign designer
  • Risk/crisis communication specialist
  • Organizational communication specialist
  • Communication consultant
  • Director of corporate communications

How would this degree make me stand out against someone with a only Bachelor’s degree but who has a ton of experience?

The difference between an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree is the ability to explain why certain messages will work better and why audiences will respond a certain way. Our master’s degree will help you think much more critically about communication and message development. You will be able to develop messages addressed to specific audiences and understand why some the actions many people think are the best will not be very successful. If someone has a BA degree and 20 years of experience in the communication field, he or she has probably learned these lessons the hard way. However, for someone without 20 years experience, a MA degree in strategic communication provides the knowledge and skills needed to develop a communication campaign. Perhaps most importantly, in our program, you will develop two very marketable skills: research methods and evaluation and message design and development. In other words, you will know why certain messages will work, have the technology skills to actually develop the messages (i.e., videos, websites, print materials), and the evaluation skills to assess if the messages achieved the effect you intended.

How long does it take to complete the program?
This will depend on how many classes you can take. For most students, the program can be completed in 21-months. Students who want an accelerated path can complete it in 16-months. If you’re working full time, you can take one class a semester and complete the program in 36 months. Most students take the 21-month route.

When is the deadline for turning in an application?

The deadline for priority decision for the fall semester is March 15. We will have a rolling admissions process, so applications will be accepted until July 15. After that deadline, no new applicants will be admitted.

I have no experience in strategic communication and my undergraduate degree will be in another major. I’m still very interested and would like to complete this program. Will that affect my chances of being admitted to the program?
We provide the preparatory courses you need, so you do not have to have a background in communication studies. Students without a background start in the fall and take research methods and an intro to strategic communication course. These courses prepare you for the other courses.

When I apply do I need to have everything (the references, personal statement, etc) at that time or can I turn it in as I get it?
It’s an online application, so things can be turned in as you get them. However, your application is not reviewed until it is complete.

Can I get some of the references now or does it have to be within a certain time frame?
You can absolutely get some references now. Your references should be from people who can address your academic ability.

How many nights a week do you have to go to school?
Our classes are one night a week, so how many nights would depend on how many classes you wanted to take. Most students take two or three classes.

Are all the classes on the main campus or are any of the courses offered off campus or online?
All classes are offered on main campus.

How many faculty participate in the graduate program?

We currently have 18 full-time faculty, so you will have a lot of mentoring during your program.

Is there housing available on campus?
No, there is no guaranteed housing available on campus for graduate students, although sometimes rooms become available. However, we do have a relationship with a local apartment complex–many of our students live there. See Dr. McDermott for more information. Also, the city of High Point offers several housing options and rent complexes (apartmentfinder.com; apartmentlist.com).

Is there a minimum GPA required?
The minimum expected GPA is a 3.0. However, if your GPA is slightly below that and you have other academic or professional credentials that you think make your application compelling, you can still apply. Your GPA will be considered as one component of your application—we will also review your test scores and academic indicators, professional experience, references, personal statement, and resume.

What if my GPA isn’t as high as needed, what can I do to strengthen my application?
Your GRE test scores can improve your chances for acceptance. Also, give extra attention to completing your essay and resume thoroughly.

Is the GRE mandatory or do you only have to take it if you have below a 3.0? 

It is not mandatory. Because part of our program focuses on the production and technology skills for campaign development, the GRE is not necessarily predictive of a student’s success. If a student’s prior academic record is not as impressive as he/she would hope, he/she could take the GRE as additional evidence of academic preparation.

What score would you need to receive on the GRE? 

A minimum of 1000 (combined) for the verbal and quantitative, and a minimum of a 4.5 on the analytical writing section.

The High Point University GRE code is 5293.

I took the GRE a couple years ago. Will you accept my scores?
Acceptable GRE scores must have been taken with the past five (5) years.

Do I need to take three classes a semester?

No, you can arrange your timeline to suit specific situation.

 

When is registration for graduate school for the fall session? 

Registration for the fall semester for current students starts in April and continues until August. New graduate students register at orientation, which is usually one week before classes start.

What days are classes held and times?  

Currently, most of our courses are held Monday –Thursday evening from 6-9 pm.

What is the application fee?
The application fee is a nonrefundable $50 fee.

How do I check my application status?
Give one of the Graduate School Staff a call to check on the status of your application at 336.841.9198.

How much does it cost?
The cost of tuition for fall 2013 will be approximately $1000 per credit hour.

Are there any scholarships or assistantships offered by the Graduate School?
Many graduate students use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA loans to support their graduate education.  Information about these loans is available in the office of Student Financial Services.  Contact the office directly (336) 841-9124 or emailfinplanning@highpoint.edu.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

I‘m an international student; Do I have to take the TOEFL?
Yes, unless you have attended a university or college in the United States or have come from a predominantly English speaking country. However, the IELTS is acceptable to replace the TOEFL. A 6.5 is the guideline for the IELTS score. TOEFL score minimum for the internet based test is 80 and the paper based score is 550.

My lifelong dream would be to go back to my alma mater and teach communications and journalism there. Would this degree be the best route for me to accomplish that?

A graduate degree is not just helpful but necessary for teaching in college. Our specific degree will be especially helpful in two ways. First, we will make you marketable to doctoral programs by providing the academic training in theory and research methods. Second, colleges and universities are always looking for people to teach public relations courses and technology courses. With a MA degree, you could be an instructor at a four-year college or a professor at a two-year college.

 

If you have any other questions, send Dr. Virginia McDermott an email atginny@highpoint.edu.

CONTACT THE OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS

The High Point Admissions Office is Located in Wrenn Hall.

Tours are available 7 days a week. Please contact us to schedule your visit.

(800) 345-6993
(336) 841-9216
(336) 888-6382 (fax)
admiss@highpoint.edu

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