Since 1995, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and its Department of Public Relations have offered an interdisciplinary 36-credit Independent Study Degree Program leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Communications Management for a select group of experienced public relations and communications practitioners (minimum five years full-time experience in public relations or related field required).
The master’s program draws upon the interdisciplinary strengths and international reputations of the Newhouse School, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. The program takes two years to complete, with a required five-day residency on the Syracuse University campus at the start of the fall term (mid-August); a required five-day residency at Syracuse University’s Lubin House in New York City in the spring term (early January); and a required five-day summer residency in Syracuse (mid-May). Students enroll in as many terms as meet their professional and personal schedules, but each enrollment requires the residency.
During the residencies, faculty members present an overview of the entire course and the guidelines for independent study. Upon return to his/her community, the student studies and completes assignments at his/her own pace, meeting predetermined deadlines over the 15-week semester. Access to faculty and fellow students is ongoing through the use of Blackboard, conference calls, and online sessions. After completing 30 to 33 credits (10 or 11 three-credit courses), the student chooses to complete the program with either a 6-credit master’s thesis or a 3-credit applied research project and one additional elective.
Courses in this interdisciplinary program are drawn from the following general areas: public relations theory, public opinion research, analytics, communications law, management, communications theory, social and digital media, accounting, finance, organizational behavior, strategic planning, crisis management, problem-solving, conflict resolution, negotiation, leadership, advertising, branding, marketing, and public relations measurement and evaluation.