SHU to Launch New Master's Degree in Communication for Fall 2011

News Story: January 1, 2011

The Department of Communication and Media Studies (CMS) at Sacred Heart University will inaugurate a new master’s degree in Communications beginning in September 2011. It will combine the social and cultural analysis of media and communication technologies with media production. Skills applications will include digital video, broadcast and print journalism, television, radio, photography, advertising, public relations and digital multimedia. The CMS curriculum is interdisciplinary by nature and international in scope, blending theory and practice, and the mainstream with the alternative.

The department’s overall goal is to produce responsible media scholars, consumers, and communication professionals who analyze the social effect, moral substance, and aesthetic value of the media and communication technologies, and learn the social and artistic skills involved in the conception, shaping and execution of their own media/communication projects and career paths.

CMS faculty encourage students to explore the ethical implications of producing mass-mediated messages, and to appreciate the profound social responsibility they will have as communications professionals. Along the way, students will gain the necessary skills to put their ideas and ideals into action through the University’s robust media production curriculum.

According to Dr. James Castonguay, director of CMS Graduate Programs and an associate professor of Communication and Media Studies, “MACOMM students will create real-world multimedia productions for actual organizations, businesses, publications or media outlets. Combining hands-on learning with the latest technologies will give students the experience and portfolio they need to compete and excel in the ever-changing communications and media industries.”

The U.S. Department of Labor places jobs for communication and public relations specialists in its highest growth category, projecting that employment opportunities will increase for communication specialists by 24 percent from 2008 to 2018. The MACOMM degree program will supply the communications, public relations, and news industries with the next generation of professional communicators.

MACOMM students will complete 12 credits of internships and mentorships as part of a curricular strategy in which they are immersed in a professional setting in order to get advanced practical training and real world results. Recent internships completed range from ABC, Connecticut Post, and CNN en Español, to DreamWorks Pictures, ESPN, Late Show with David Letterman, and National Geographic, to the New York Yankees, Walt Disney World Resort, WSHU National Public Radio, WWE, and Univision.

MACOMM courses combine face-to-face classes with online sessions, allowing students to schedule their campus commitments around their work and family obligations. With rolling acceptance and convenient eight-week sessions scheduled year round, students can start when they want and finish when they can, building a professional portfolio along the way. Full-time students can complete the degree in one year taking two classes each semester. They will graduate with a portfolio of digital multimedia materials that demonstrates to potential employers that MACOMM graduates are highly skilled communicators with advanced training in the latest media technologies.

Full-time MACOMM graduate students will receive Macbook Pro laptops running the latest Apple and Adobe software, and their coursework will feature extensive work on these mobile multimedia production platforms, which have become the industry standard.

The department offers undergraduate majors in Media Studies and Communication & Technology Studies. Both of these majors explore everything from broadcasting, filmmaking and journalism to advertising, public relations, web design and digital and multimedia production. The department gives all of its students immediate access to the latest technology and software in order to prepare them for the career path they choose either within the media or communications industries or in another field.

For further information, contact Dr. Jim Castonguay, director of MACOMM, at 203-371-7710 or castonguayj@sacredheart.edu, or Alexis Haakonsen, dean of Graduate Admissions, at 203-365-4731 or haakonsena@sacredheart.edu.