New MA in Communication

Training for the Digital World

Students who enroll in Sacred Heart University’s Master's in Communication (MACOMM) program full time can complete this advanced degree in just one year, gaining the multimedia experience needed to excel in corporate communications, public relations, journalism, broadcasting, new media marketing, event planning, advertising and similar communications professions. “The program combines hands-on production courses with internships and mentorships that have students working out in the field with established communications and media professionals, learning how to create top-quality materials and productions,” said James Castonguay, Ph.D., director of graduate programs for the School of Communication & Media Arts.

MACOMM Program
Watch this video to learn more about the MACOMM program

Rolling admissions and eight-week classes allow students to enter the program at many points throughout the year, rather than just the spring or fall semester. Classes are delivered in person and online – many taught by working communication and public relations experts, digital production professionals and journalists with extensive experience in the field. “MACOMM‘s curriculum is intense and exciting, just like the rapidly changing communication and media industry itself,” said Castonguay. “We integrate the latest industry-standard technologies, and students are given the opportunity to complete up to four internship experiences with leading communication and media companies in Connecticut and New York.”

SHU’s close proximity to New York City and its location in the heart of Fairfield County means that communication students routinely complete internships at an impressive array of leading companies and media outlets, including ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, CNN, HBO, FOX, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, A&E Networks, Food Network, Sesame Street/Sesame Workshop, Noggin, Univison, Channel 12 News, WTNH-TV Channel 8 News, WSHU National Public Radio, Cox Radio/Media Group, Clear Channel Communications, Disney, DreamWorks Pictures, Tribeca Films, NFL Films, NFL Super Bowl (XLV and XLVI), HBO Sports, Fox Sports, National Geographic, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Fairfield County Magazine, the Connecticut Post, the Waterbury Republican American, Hearst Magazines, Condé Nast, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, World Wrestling Entertainment, Red Bull North America, Nielsen Company,, Bigelow Tea, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, the New Jersey Nets, HWH PR/New Media, Rogers & Cowan PR, Porter Novelli PR, JS2 Communciations PR, and BBDO Advertising, among many others. “Students leave with both extensive experience in digital, multimedia productions and a portfolio that shows work they’ve completed not just for classes, but for actual businesses, publications or media outlets,” explained Castonguay. “It’s common for our students’ work to be distributed through local media outlets or featured on corporate websites.”

U.S. Department of Labor statistics cite expected “much faster than average” job growth for communication specialists, with employment opportunities increasing by as much as 24 percent between now and 2018. Expected to be particularly in demand are communications professionals able to record, edit and produce digital content that can be viewed on computers, tablets, SmartPhones and other emerging technologies. Sacred Heart students learn the ins and outs of video, television, social networks, podcasts, multimedia websites and other traditional, online and mobile communication methods.

In response to emerging technology, the MACOMM program recently purchased two Newtek Tricaster mobile production units that integrate social media publishing, high-end graphics and web streaming to be used in its corporate event planning and broadcast production classes. “These Tricaster systems are the industry standard and will be used to produce MACOMM’s successful SHU Media Exchange event, which brings communications leaders to campus to discuss industry trends,” noted Dr. Lori Bindig, who teaches MACOMM courses on social media and other forms digital communication. “We still cover all the bases in terms of more traditional forms of communication and professional methods, but we also update those techniques to include newer digital and social media. Students learn how to put new communication technologies to creative and effective uses within the context of their chosen professional interests.”

To complete their coursework and to create professional quality materials, all MACOMM students receive Macbook Pro laptops running the latest Apple and Adobe software, which have become the industry standard, and students keep the laptops after graduation. Through their course work, workshops and mentorships, students learn not only from their professors, but also from established industry professionals from leading PR, television, broadcasting, entertainment and other media companies. “We give students the tools, learning and training they need to be successful communications and media professionals in the digital age,” said Castonguay. “The result makes the MACOMM program truly unique.”
To earn the Communications master’s degree, students must complete 33 credits and choose one of three concentration areas:

  • Corporate Communication & Public Relations. Students learn to plan, create and distribute multimedia publicity for a wide range of organizations and businesses.
  • Digital/Multimedia Journalism. Current and aspiring journalists are trained in the latest technologies and multimedia techniques to be one-person, “all-platform” news producers.
  • Digital/Multimedia Production. For students who aren’t interested in public relations or journalism, advanced production skills are tailored to meet specific interests in areas like sports communication, advertising or advanced digital film, television and video production.

Sacred Heart also offers 12-credit program certificates in each of these areas.

Students unable to pursue their degree full time, which requires taking two classes during each eight-week session, can take one class per session and earn the degree in two years.

“Either way, it’s a dynamic program that provides students with the experience, knowledge and connections needed to advance and succeed in this rapidly changing media industry,” Castonguay said.

Motivated learners from any undergraduate major or career path are encouraged to apply. Accepted students will take a pre-assessment survey and, if needed, attend added training workshops to ensure success in the program.