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College of Information and Communications

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Data and Communication

Data-driven decisions, data-based strategies and digital storytelling are essential skills for communication professionals. We have combined the best courses from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Information Science to create a robust master’s program. This flexible online master of science degree was designed for both seasoned professionals and recent graduates entering the workforce. 

To apply, you'll need:
  • Two letters of recommendation, including at least one from an academic source.
  • Your official academic transcript.
  • Your résumé.
  • Your Statement of Objectives, which explains why you are applying.
  • The GRE is not required. If you have current scores and would like to submit them with the application, we will review them with the other application materials. If you choose to submit a test score, you’ll need your official score from the GRE (the USC institution code is 5818).


Applications submitted by the priority deadline have top consideration for admission. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis prior to each deadline.

Term Priority Deadlines Final Deadline
Fall May 1 June 1
Spring October 1 November 1

Competency Requirement:

Applicants must be competent in statistical reasoning. If you haven't completed a course in descriptive or inferential statistics, we offer one in the summer as part of our summer Camp Carolina. 

The Camp Carolina writing course will help those who have not taken any journalism or advertising/public relations writing courses during their undergraduate program.  The course is also required for international applicants with a TOEFL (IELTS) score below 90 (6.5).

Questions about the application process, tuition, and financial aid?
Contact Jasmine Blackwell.

Once you've completed your application, submit your forms and documentation to the Graduate School, along with your application fee. Your application won't be reviewed until everything is received. It's best to arrange for document transfers and transcripts well in advance of the application deadline.

Your application will be reviewed by the school's Admissions Committee, which will then make a recommendation to the Graduate School. You will be notified by the Graduate School about the status of your application.

Students who are admitted usually have:

  • At least a 3.0 grade point average
  • If you're an international student, you will need to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 90 or score a 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Those with a degree from an English-speaking institution are eligible for an exemption from this requirement.

Typical students exceed these marks, but exceptions are made for those who are unusually promising in other ways, such as overcoming formidable odds or years of solid professional experience.

  • 100% online
  • Certificate after specific 12 credits for all MS students
  • Capstone course that involves working with real clients
  • Internship opportunities
  • The ability to stand out in the workplace or hiring process
  • Understand data and information gathering techniques, multiple data analysis approaches and master tools for data interpretation.
  • Develop systems for data mining, selection, collection, regression, classification, clustering, and storytelling, integrating information and using theoretical and technical resources to design solutions.
  • Understand and strategically respond to communication and ethical challenges in the digital domain.
  • Apply theory and research methods to develop data-based strategy and gain insights for desired communication outcomes.
  • Describe strategic planning processes and the various steps involved in developing, managing, implementing, and managing strategic communications. 

30 Credit Hours: 7 Core + 3 Elective Courses 

  • Data and Digital Communication Fundamentals
  • Knowledge Discovery Techniques (Data Science)
  • Digital Law and Ethics
  • Research Methods
  • Strategic Communication
  • Data Visualization
  • Capstone 

9 credits of electives at the 700 level or above. Advisors will help students select elective courses appropriate to their areas of professional interest. 

Questions about application process, tuition, and financial aid?
Contact Jasmine Blackwell


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