Graduate Studies Spotlight: Corporate and Public Communication

After graduating with their Bachelor’s Degree, many students choose to take the next step in their academic careers by attending graduate school. While some will seek specific schools with certain programs, others will enroll in a degree program right here at the University.

Corporate and Public Communication (CPC) is just one of over 20 graduate studies programs that prospective students have the option of enrolling in at the University. By earning their Master’s in this particular field, “students will gain a competitive edge by mastering vital skills needed to analyze and produce effective messages for diverse audiences across multiple platforms,” according to the CPC informational brochure.

The program offers three different tracks, much like the undergraduate communication program offers varying clusters for students, including Public Relations and New Media, Human Resources Management, and Public Service Communication.

Students who earn their CPC degree are typically looking for jobs in the realm of public relations, health care, human resources, and marketing, among many other careers.

“I’m currently working as a marketing and media relations specialist. My position deals heavily with brand management, advertising, social media, and PR,” said Roxanne Belloni, a CPC alum. “The CPC program helped me to develop my writing and analytical skills, and also exposed me to different aspects of communications as a career.”

This 31-credit Master’s program can be completed in just four semesters, but students are also able to complete an 18-credit certificate program if they are not looking to earn another degree.

Deanna Shoemaker, Director of the CPC Graduate Program, explained that many working professionals are simply seeking some more expertise in their field, not necessarily a second diploma, so the certificate programs that are offered allow them to specialize in a particular area and sharpen their skill sets.

Much like many of the other areas of study at the University, the CPC program strives to give students hands-on experiences that will allow them to excel in their intended career paths after they graduate.

An internship course is offered as an option for CPC students looking to gain that kind of experience, and many are presented with opportunities to intern at local institutions, businesses, and companies.

Shoemaker and the CPC program have been working with Meridian Health, the largest employer in Monmouth County, to help place students inside some of their hospitals. By working within the medical field, CPC students are able to observe doctor and patient communication, as well as work directly with public relations and human resources specialists.

“Students have to get outside the walls of the classroom and learn by doing,” commented Shoemaker. “We’re trying to build those external opportunities for students to get outside of the classroom and work with real organizations in the community so that they’re more ready for jobs.”

Although the program has rolling admission, meaning that students are able to start taking classes during the summer, fall or spring, many current CPC students tend to enter graduate school almost immediately after earning their Bachelor’s Degree.

“The trend is that more and more students are interested in coming straight from their undergrad program into a Master’s program,” said Shoemaker. “So the thing that I like about the CPC program is that we have those students who are coming straight out of undergrad, but we also have working professionals with years of experience. There’s a lot of nice mentoring there,” she added.

The CPC program at the University tries to find a balance between grad level research and also professional experience because, as Shoemaker observed, students attend graduate school not just for theory and to conduct original research, but to develop hard skill sets that will help them get the job that they want.

But not only do students involved in the CPC program enjoy the opportunities presented to them when it comes to internships, they are also grateful for the personalized class sizes and enthusiastic professors.

“There are so many aspects of the CPC program that I like, but the personalization of it is the most important aspect of it to me,” explained Morissa Schwartz, a current CPC student at the University. “Professors actively engage with us; we are not lectured at but encouraged through activities and exercises that motivate us to think,” she added.

Another current CPC student, Tamar Farajian, added, “I knew right away the CPC program was a perfect fit for me. This feeling was solidified as I attended classes; each professor shared the same passion, which only inspired and motivated me toward graduation.”

Two new classes have recently been added to the CPC program’s repertoire, Message Construction: Audio, Video and Web, which helps students integrate their digital messaging skills, and Presentational Communication: Design and Delivery, which provides students with knowledge about how to give presentations at conferences, as well as providing skills regarding different types of higher-level public speaking.

Shoemaker and the rest of those involved in the CPC Program have worked hard to make it what it is today, and will continue to help it grow into a program that will allow students to succeed.