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J-school offers new accelerated master's program for undergraduates

Posted April 27, 2017
By Emily Swan, first year master's student

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is introducing a new Accelerated Master of Mass Communication program for its undergraduate students to consider.

The M.M.C. program is a professional graduate program designed to teach students the management and communication skills needed to excel in the workplace.

By taking several graduate-level courses during their senior year, undergraduate students can save a significant amount of time and money on their graduate-level education.

“The accelerated M.M.C. program is a great option for our undergraduates who are really driven and know what they want to do and feel like a graduate degree would help them achieve their goals,” said Dr. Brooke McKeever, M.M.C. program coordinator.

USC students with 90 undergraduate credit hours and a GPA of 3.4 now have the opportunity to apply to this new accelerated program in order to achieve their bachelor’s degree and their M.M.C. in as few as five years.

Students can choose either the multimedia journalism track — which focuses on broadcast, print and digital journalism and production or the strategic communications track, which is geared toward students interested in advertising, public relations and integrated marketing communication.

McKeever has been involved in the implementation of this new program alongside Cindy Justice, assistant dean of student services for the College of Information and Communications, as well as Dr. Sei-Hill Kim, associate director of graduate studies and research.

“For us, it’s a way to recruit and retain our best and brightest students,” McKeever said. “For the students, I think it’s a way for them to advance and learn new skills, hone strategic and critical thinking, and learn some of the management components and theories that they may not be getting at the undergraduate level.”

McKeever, Justice and Kim all agree that a master’s degree is more valuable than ever, with employers requiring more of their new employees.

“Recently employers require a significant level of professional skills and understanding,” Kim said.

For that reason, more students are choosing to pursue master’s degrees in their designated fields.

“I think if you know you want to do a graduate degree anyway, and especially if you know what you want to do, this is a great option,” McKeever said.

Kim encourages current SJMC undergraduates to consider this new program as early as their sophomore year, to ensure they can schedule their future courses accordingly.

“My recommendation for students is to think about it as early as possible so they can schedule well in advance, in terms of which classes they want to take,” Kim said. “It is always a good idea to speak with our graduate office or their advisers. They are aware and informed about our program.”

Justice echoes Kim’s thoughts, recognizing the value of thinking about the future early.

“It will benefit them that they can really think strategically about their time here and be able to leave here with a graduate degree,” Justice said.

And a graduate degree is exactly what Justice believes students should strongly consider as they contemplate their next steps and look toward their future.

“I always believe that graduate education is where students should be moving toward. It’s an investment in yourself,” Justice said.

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Emily Swan

Emily Swan is a graduate student from Columbia, South Carolina, pursuing her master’s degree in mass communication. Her interests include entertainment journalism, nonprofit public relations and health communication.


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