A master’s degree in communication can open doors in many flourishing career fields that increasingly demand strong interpersonal and multimedia skills. However, the cost of graduate study presents a barrier for talented students.
This comprehensive guide explores merit-based scholarships, specialty programs, professional grants and employer support options to help finance a master’s in communication.
The Value of a Communication Master’s Degree
Communication encompasses broad areas including public relations, journalism, advertising, digital media, organizational leadership, instructional design and more.
A master’s program cultivates expertise in core competencies like written, oral and digital communication strategies, audience analysis, project management, graphic design principles, and communication research methods.
Coursework also delves into specialized subjects based on intended career paths such as social media marketing, health communication campaigns, intercultural negotiations, training and development techniques, or film and television production. Hands-on capstone projects allow applying skills to solve real-world problems.
Graduates gain qualifications for in-demand roles at corporations, government agencies, advocacy organizations, universities, museums, and more. Starting salaries average over $50,000 with room for growth into management. Long term, a communication master’s degree strengthens abilities crucial for success across industries experiencing rapid technological disruption.
Choosing a Program
When choosing a program, consider university reputation, accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), flexible formats, curriculum focus areas, internship/career resources, affordability and post-graduate outcomes. Programs take 1-2 years of full-time study, but online and part-time options exist.
Core courses cover communication theories, research methods, ethics, and project development. Program tracks specialize in areas like social/digital media, public relations, health/non-profit communication and more. Hands-on client projects, campus media experience and internship requirements prepare graduates for careers. Research faculty accomplishments and successes of alumni networks.
Promising Scholarship Resources
PRSSA Foundation Scholarships – Up to $5,000
The Public Relations Student Society of America funds multiple scholarships annually for master’s candidates planning public relations careers through nonprofit agencies or corporations. Selection weighs academics, leadership, recommendations.
AWF Grants for Women – Up to $10,000
The American Advertising Federation supports outstanding female students through its Advertising Women of New York Foundation scholarships. Applicants emphasize strengths in creativity, strategic thinking within advertising or related fields.
IABC Foundation Scholarships – Up to $3,000
The International Association of Business Communicators provides scholarships annually to candidates committed to business and organizational communication careers. Selection considers academics, work experience, and goals conveyed through essays.
NAHJ Ivette M. Rogers Scholarship – Up to $2,000
This National Association of Hispanic Journalists scholarship supports Latinx students pursuing journalism or media studies graduate degrees. Applications highlight contributions promoting diversity and inclusion on campus.
Online Universities Scholarships – Varies
Programs like American Public University System and Western Governors University offer competitive, merit-based scholarships up to $2,500 for outstanding students committed to advancing communication strategies and technologies through online graduate study.
Graduate Research Grants
Institutional graduate research grants up to $5,000 also help fund thesis/dissertation work at some universities. Areas of community impact, health disparities or crisis communication yield competitive proposals. Faculty mentorship aids the application and research process.
Employer Tuition Assistance
Larger communication firms and professional associations committed to cultivating expertise regularly reimburse employees pursuing advanced degrees part-time. Policies cover 50-100% of tuition with academic performance and post-degree work commitments determining award amounts. Combining independent scholarships with tuition reimbursement minimizes personal costs.
Additional Scholarship Databases
Going beyond general financial aid offices, prospect additional awards through specialized communication discipline organization pages and broader search tools filtering for relevant master’s degrees. Notable examples include the Foundation for American Women in Radio and Television and the Audio Engineering Society Foundation. Casting a wide scholarship net maximizes support potential.
The Application Process
Crafting compelling submissions requires advanced planning. Outline candidacy strengths addressing program qualifications, career aspirations, leadership examples, research interests and goals through each required essay component or personal statement. Align specific experiences with communicated sponsor values.
Edit drafts thoroughly, leverage campus writing center support and request letters highlighting qualifications from communication faculty familiar with your expertise. Follow submission instructions meticulously and send thank you notes. Dedication to targeted outreach increases viability for named and need-based scholarship awards.
In conclusion, a master’s degree in communication cultivates in-demand technical and leadership competencies driving careers forward. Researching funding streams helps talented students overcome financial barriers to enriching studies. Diligent prospecting combined with well-crafted applications optimize aid potential.