Progressive. Professional. Personalized.

The Master of Arts in Professional
At William Paterson University


What You'll Learn

The curriculum of the M.A. in Professional Communication supports a structured program of study designed to give graduates a unique combination of skill sets for their professional development in the industry.

This is a two-year program that 's well suited for students and working professionals seeking to achieve success in an array of communication fields including public relations management, integrated communication, corporate and strategic communication, new media and professional writing. You will need to complete 30 credits to graduate from this program. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are 3 credits.


In addition to a Core and a set of Elective requirements, students are expected to specialize in one of the program's two Tracks: Corporate & Strategic Communication or New Media & Professional Writing.

The amount of classes a student takes each semester depends on the student's schedule and availability. Full-time students may take three classes a semester for their first three semesters (one Core, one Track, and One Elective) and spend their last semester working on their Master Project.  Part-time and working students may decide to only take two classes a semester for four semesters and take their remaining two classes during Summer Sessions or the following Fall semester.  Students are encouraged to make an appointment with their advisors to discuss their class schedules and the subject and form of their Master Project. The Master Project demonstrates to instructors an applied competency in effective communication and is the final course a Professional Communication student must complete in order to graduate.


Core Courses (12 Credits)

Every student enrolled in the M.A. in Professional Communication program is required to take Core courses. These four classes provide the bedrock for understanding problem-solving techniques, various forms of professional writing, and the ethics surrounding professional communication as well as a finished product that displays that understanding:

  • Integrated Communication
  • Survey in Professional Writing
  • Communication Ethics
  • Master Project


Two Tracks to Success (9 Credits)

Track One: Corporate & Strategic Communication

This Track emphasizes the importance of public relations skills, understanding of corporate issues, programming of marketing campaigns, and analyzing organizational structures through three specified classes:

  • Professional Seminar
  • Strategic Public Relations Management
  • Organizational Communication


Track Two: New Media & Professional Writing

The New Media & Professional Writing track seeks to develop professional writers during the course of three classes geared toward comprehension of digital applications and different writing forms:

  • Writing for Digital Media
  • Digital Communication Applications
  • Advanced Topics in Professional Writing


Electives in Applied Professional Communication (9 credits)

Students taking either of the above tracks may take courses in the other track to fulfill Elective requirements in addition to, or in place of, program electives, which are as follows:

  • Leadership & Teamwork
  • Applications for Website Creation
  • Global Communication
  • Crisis & Reputation Management
  • The Press & Global Society
  • Technology & Integrated Communication


By advisement, students may be allowed to take a maximum of no more than six credits outside of the M.A. in Professional Communication program to partially fulfill their Electives requirements. Approval is not automatic and requires a formal application and review process.


Course Descriptions

Search the current class schedule

Core Courses (12 Credits)

Integrated Communication (5100): Students develop an integrated approach and skills set in problem-solving and strategic thinking with an emphasis on the use and language of imagery and design in print and electronic communication for a range of professional environments.

Survey in Professional Writing (6000): Introduction to the various forms of professional writing with emphasis on purpose, structure and limitations, including television, radio, new media, journalism, public relations, etc.

Communication Ethics (6060): By analyzing real world cases, students examine ethical, legal and moral dilemmas found in such businesses as electronic communication, corporate communication/public relations, education and marketing.

Master Project (7300): A cumulative experience in which students demonstrate applied competencies in effective communication through research, planning, writing, verbalization and technology use in a variety of environments. A graduate-level professional internship may be incorporated as part of the Master Project to enhance the student's professional preparation.

Track Courses (9 Credits, only choose one Track)

Track One: Corporate & Strategic Communications

Professional Seminar (5110): A series of lectures and seminars led by professional industry leaders in the public relations, media and communication fields to discuss topics and present cases relevant to the global public relations and integrated corporate communication industry.

Organizational Communication (5120): Provides a framework for analyzing organizational structures and processes as well as a consideration of how they influence and are influenced by organizational communication activities.

Strategic Public Relations Management (6200): Students learn to effectively create, present, and lead integrated public relations and marketing programming: how to manage accounts, employees, C-suite executives, members of the media, marketing partners, finances, clients and business leaders within a professional organization.

Track Two: New Media & Professional Writing

Writing for Digital Media (6100): Examines the art and craft of writing for digital media, including forms and limitations of the online environment by understanding how the evolution of digital media has changed the structure and marketplace of "traditional" media.

Digital Communication Applications (6150): A graduate-level introduction to digital media tools necessary in professional media production, communication and design. Students develop working competence in file creation and editing, compression, and content transmission, and explore other professional tools and production possibilities with consumer applications and freeware.

Advanced Topics in Professional Writing (7100): Explores selected topics in greater detail, determined by current events or faculty interest such as, but not limited to, international media, grant writing, public relations, feature writing, technical writing, etc.


Leadership & Teamwork (6090): This course enables students to acquire advanced theoretical knowledge and applied skills in the areas of teamwork and leadership. The course provides a dual focus with a theoretical survey of, and practical experience in, team processes and leadership theories/practice.

Applications for Website Creation (6130): Introduces students to basic tools used for creating web content such as Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop, as well as to social networking sites, online production tools and distribution systems.

Global Communication (6210): Uses comparative analysis to examine broadcasting in America and other countries. World broadcasting is viewed as a social, political and economic force.

Crisis & Reputation Management (6230): Crisis, reputation and risk management issues are explored. The integral roles of a public relations or corporate communication professional within an organization's crisis team are discussed. Topics include crisis planning and preparedness, reputation and risk management assessment and responses, techniques and tools for communication professionals to utilize before, during and after a crisis situation.

The Press & Global Society (6280): This course provides an overview of the role of the press in a global society from historical and contemporary perspectives. Students study philosophical and legal issues pertaining to journalism, analyze the content and design of newspapers, and gain experience in the principles of journalistic reporting, writing and editing.

Technology & Integrated Communication (7150): Course focus is on the social implications of technological tools as they are used in integrated marketing techniques. Students will explore the dynamics of such areas as viral marketing in the context of social interaction, the evolution of social websites like and, and other channels of integrated marketing from music downloads and distribution, to matchmaking as big business.


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