Western New England University

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Updated August 7, 2020

Western New England University was established in 1919 and is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. The college offers on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate degrees through its five schools, and U.S. News & World Report acknowledges Western New England University on its 2017 list of Best Regional Universities North. It was also ranked as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans and Best Value Schools and received recognition for its business and engineering programs.

Western New England University Accreditation Details

Western New England University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. A number of the degree programs offered by the university are accredited by the organizations in their respective fields.

Western New England University Application Requirements

The school offers rolling admission into its online MA in Communication degree. Interested students must first complete the online application and submit a $30 application fee as well as official copies of transcripts from all previously attended universities for graduate and undergraduate studies. Students are also required to submit three recommendation forms, at least one of which directly speaks to the student's ability to be successful in master's level work as well as his or her intellectual capacity. Applicants must also write a personal essay of at least 500 words indicating the reason(s) why they are pursuing a graduate degree in communication.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students attending Western New England University and earning their online Master of Arts in Communication degree can expect to pay $750 per credit or $2,250 per three-credit course for a total tuition of $22,500. The school offers several financial aid options to online part-time students, including an adult learner scholarship for graduate and undergraduate study, federal direct student loans, an employer reimbursement payment plan and company or government direct payment. In order to be considered for financial aid, applicants are required to submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The school also participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program and several federal programs for veterans, including Principles of Excellence and the DOD Memorandum of Understanding. Western New England University waives its application fee for all veterans and has a solid transfer-friendly policy for nontraditional educational experiences, including training and courses obtained through the Armed Services.

Online Master of Arts in Communication Degree Available

Students seeking an online Master of Arts in Communication degree with an emphasis on public relations from Western New England University will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to strategically use publicity to masterfully manage communication crises, cultivate strong media relationships, develop creative messages to expand or build an organization's brand and enhance the organization's image. Students learn from faculty with experience in all aspects of communication, from the corporate world to the sports industry. Faculty members have worked in politics, public relations, business, international radio, education and television and are focused on teaching students in-depth public relations methodologies and skills. As influential members of the community, the communication faculty at Western New England University can help connect students to both opportunities and people that will help take their careers to the next level.

The online Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in public relations degree program is designed to enable media strategists and public relations specialists currently working in the field to advance more quickly in their careers by receiving additional training in the latest public relations approaches. The program also helps business professionals enhance their facility with and knowledge of current research practices and methods and allows those without any professional experience or an undergraduate degree to develop the background and skills required to enter the rapidly-growing field. The online M.A. in Communication is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.

Students may complete the 10-course, 30-credit curriculum in as few as 15 months if they take two classes per term, and the Master of Arts in Communication degree is conducted entirely online to best fit the needs of working professionals. The school implements an 11-week term calendar which includes two courses per semester, including summers, with courses scheduled to run every three summers and every two years. The online classroom allows students to communicate directly with professors, participate in discussions with classmates, complete and submit assignments and view lectures.

Courses focus on how to strategically use public relations in today's digital world, and students will gain new insights and skills to make their messages stand out in an ever-changing stream of media. Students sharpen their analytical, research and professional writing skills and develop both a principled approach to practicing public relations as well as a number of approaches to handling public relations crises.

Studies focus on the core of public relations, and students have the opportunity to explore specific industries through elective and required courses. Required courses include writing for communications professionals, crisis management and principles and practices of public relations. Students may choose from a number of electives, including public relations and nonprofit organizations, strategic approaches to public relations and public relations strategies for social and digital media.

In order to earn their Master of Arts in Communication degree with a concentration in public relations, students must complete 30 credits, 18 of which must be from required courses and 12 of which must come from elective courses. Under the approval of the department chair and the program director, students may be entitled to transfer up to six credits from other graduate programs. However, students are not eligible to repeat a course for credit. Required courses include crisis management and public relations, manufacturing and managing public opinion, ethics in public communication, communication research methods, writing for communication professionals and principles and practices of public relations. Elective courses include public relations for nonprofits, strategic approaches to public relations and strategies for social and digital media.

Related Resource: 30 Top Affordable Online Master's in Communication

Variable courses such as an independent study in public relations and the master's thesis in public relations are designed to allow students to more quickly move the program if they wish and if they are able to successfully execute a thesis or independent study project significant enough in scope and size to warrant more than three credits. The program director must approve proposals to undertake a variable credit course.

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