Program goals

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture prepares effective and skilled communicators through quality instruction, advising and student services, based on real-world applications. Through research, professional service and scholarship in applied communications, the school advances the knowledge and practice of a multidisciplinary and evolving media environment. The school values truth, ethics, creativity, innovation, collaboration, cultural diversity, shared governance and community engagement.

The M.S. in Mass Communications with a concentration in strategic public relations trains a new generation of communications professionals who are able to function in high-level management positions and apply sophisticated strategic thinking to accomplish organizational objectives.

Student learning outcomes

SLO1: Higher level skills
Students graduating from this program will demonstrate higher level skills in critical thinking.

SLO2: Clear and effective communication
Students graduating from this program will master written and multimedia platforms to communicate clearly and effectively to inform and engage audiences.

SLO3: Research and evaluation
Students graduating from this program will demonstrate the ability to conduct foundational research applicable to mass communication.

SLO4: Tools and technologies
Students graduating from this program will be able to apply tools and technologies required for mass communication workplaces.

SLO5: Persuasion and ethics
Students specializing in this sequence will develop a working understanding of strategic message design, persuasion and the ethical principles governing the creation, distribution and reception of messaging.

SLO6: Strategic communication
Students specializing in this sequence will develop a working understanding of the strategic communications process and its impact on audience behavior and decision-making.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

The mass communications graduate handbook is available on the Robertson School website.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
M.S.Fall or springApplications considered on a rolling basis
SummerFeb. 1

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. An undergraduate degree in a relevant field or a degree in a non-related field with extensive relevant work experience
  2. A detailed resume/CV showing work and/or educational experience in the relevant field
  3. An application kit (see program website for details)

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete 30 credit hours of specialized course work. 

Curriculum requirements

MASC 611Communication Research3
MASC 645Digital Production3
MASC 654Persuasion3
MASC 675Leadership in Action3
MASC 676Media Law and Ethics3
MASC 682Media Mechanics3
MASC 683Strategic Communications in the Global Environment3
MASC 685Strategy3
MASC 691Topics in Mass Communications3
MASC 694Capstone3
Total Hours30

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 30.

Karen McIntyre
Assistant professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-4652

Program website: