Emphasis Areas and Career Options

Interpersonal Communication:  Interpersonal Communication is the study of how people create, maintain and terminate their personal relationships. Based on the premise that all of what we think and do is formed and influenced by the communication we have with others, interpersonal communication studies the individual relationships we have with those around us and how those relationships affect our thoughts about ourselves and those we spend time with. Courses such as conflict management, nonverbal communication, family communication and small group communication are but a few examples of how the Division helps students prepare themselves to become more familiar with the varying aspects of interpersonal communication. Students who take courses in interpersonal communication do so for a variety of reasons. Some students take most of their coursework in interpersonal communication to help them advance in their careers (i.e. social work, working for a volunteer agency, human resource management). Some are interested in interpersonal communication to supplement their coursework in organizational communication. Others take an interpersonal class to coincide with a planned thesis or project which includes an interpersonal dimension (i.e. a public relations person may wish to study conflict management as a part of understanding crisis management). People who pursue a degree in interpersonal communication are interested in a variety of careers, including social work, counseling, working for various nonprofit organizations, or pursuing a Ph.D. in interpersonal communication.
 
Organizational Communication: Organizational communication is the study of how people communicate in work and organizational settings. Based on the concept that how we talk and work with each other creates our “work realities,” many aspects of work communication are studied including communication channels, management issues, power and control, and such topics as training and development, human resources, and worker motivation and satisfaction. People who pursue a graduate degree in organizational communication have bachelor’s degrees in such areas as organizational communication, psychology, sociology and business and/or have extensive work experience. Many different types of people are interested in pursuing a graduate degree with an emphasis in organizational communication. People who are currently working full time are often interested in organizational communication for career enhancement and advancement. People with a recent bachelor’s degree often seek to study organizational communication to prepare them for management and human resource management positions. Some people are interested in preparing for a Ph.D. Because of their work-related interest, people often take interpersonal communication courses to compliment their organizational focus. The careers people can pursue with an M.A. in organizational communication or public relations are varied and include sales, human resource management, training, and education.
  
Media Studies: Media Studies examine how people communicate in mediated and digital contexts – that is through such avenues as television, radio, print and digital media. Media Studies at the graduate level can focus on two distinct levels of the study of mass and digital communication – (1) advanced production techniques and issues and (2) media theories and their impact on society. Our graduate course offerings in media studies are limited. The media studies students who have done well in our program have entered the degree with extensive undergraduate coursework in mass communication and significant media experience.
 
Students who pursue a graduate degree in communication often do so to advance themselves in their current job or to improve their marketability in what is a very competitive job market. For example, some students have chosen to do a thesis or project that enhances their production and scriptwriting skills. Such courses as media law and a variety of advanced production and computer-related courses help prepare students for the job market, or to obtain a Ph.D. in media studies. People who complete a master’s degree in media studies pursue a variety of career goals, including video and/or audio production, media sales and broadcast management.
 
Public Relations:  The study of public relations is concerned with studying how different groups represent themselves in both external and internal communications with their “publics.” Courses such as public relations campaigns, case studies in public relations, and writing for public relations help to prepare students for advanced positions in the field.
 
Students who enter the graduate program at UW-Stevens Point for public relations do so with a specific understanding of certain issues. For example, there is a current bias in public relations that people with a bachelor’s degree in PR or communication should obtain several years of work experience in the field before pursuing a graduate degree. Also, any student pursuing PR at the graduate level should already have a bachelor’s degree in PR or communication and/or significant PR experience which provides them fundamentals in public relations issues and campaigns. Furthermore, the courses offered in the Division of Communication in public relations are somewhat limited because our PR faculty must work primarily with our undergraduate offerings. As a result, we offer a single graduate seminar in PR along with a few lower level graduate PR courses which are appropriate for graduate students to take. The students studying PR within our program have actually said this is a strength of our program – students studying PR take a variety of courses in organizational communication, interpersonal communication and media studies that are related to PR and thus leave our program with a broad understanding of public relations and other issues. One student, for example, took a variety of such courses to prepare him for looking at the public relations aspects of the lock-out that occurred in the National Hockey League a few years ago. He is currently working for a large public relations firm in New York City.
 
Students interested in attending our program in PR should do so with a specific career goal in mind. If you already have a bachelor's degree in public relations or communication, have some work experience and/or some significant internship experiences in the field, and are ready for taking a variety of courses in communication that can help you study PR-related issues, then our program can help you obtain your specific career goals.
 
If you have any questions relating to our program, please e-mail Chris Sadler csadler@uwsp.edu or call 715.346.3898.

Graduate Program

  
Nature of the Program
Graduate Assistantship Information for U.S. Students
Emphasis Areas and Career Options
Important Information for Foreign Students
Timeline for Graduate Study
Required Coursework
Admission Packet for U.S. Students
Admissions Pack for Foreign Students
Testimonials