I want to opt for a Masters programme in the US. I am contemplating either communications or journalism. Which colleges would you suggest? Also, would it be advisable to go to the US next Fall since the country is going through yet another phase of recession?
Kindly answer my query if you have a fair idea about the education system in the US...thanks
Re: Best Communication & Journalism colleges in USA?
American universities offer Masters courses in communication studies and journalism. So what’s the difference between the two? Well, journalism is more about the making of communication while communication studies, as the programme is called, focuses more on the study of communication.
Amongst the better universities for graduate programmes (for postgraduation) are: Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Journalism programmes broadly have three ‘tracks’: magazine, newspaper or broadcast (TV & Radio). You will also intern at a publication or broadcast station. At the graduate level, courses are less about the theoretical aspects of journalism and more about the tricks of the trade. Missouri, for example, offers intermediate and advanced writing, newspaper reporting and magazine editing. The MS programme at the Columbia School of Journalism includes courses such as personal and professional style, covering ideas and the deadline in depth.
The ‘tracks’ within communication studies are loosely defined, so you can focus your curriculum to suit your interests. Typically these would be in the following areas: organizational communication, communication industries and technologies, rhetoric, media and public culture, relational communication, media and politics, and argumentation and advocacy.
Do keep in mind that Grad-school is quite expensive, almost prohibitive by Indian standards. The one-year graduate programme at Columbia costs US$ 75,000 including tuition and living expenses, which is around Rs 35 lakh. Also, many of them, prefer a couple of years of work experience in the field.
Regarding the current US economic downturn/recession, do keep a couple of things in mind. One, understand the impact the recession has on jobs and hiring outlook in your desired field. By and large with lower spends from advertisers, traditional mainstream media does reduce its hiring but that doesn’t mean they don’t require skilled, qualified and motivated professionals. Be prepared to work hard and do well both academically and in your internships to improve your chances of landing a job.
Secondly, during a recession most universities actually see an increase in applications with people wanting to ride out the tough times and improve their skills and thereby making themselves more employable. As a result, getting admissions into the better programmes actually becomes harder.
Lastly, the recession has a definite impact on funding, aid and scholarships available, especially so for international students. Most international students look at a combination of university scholarship and aid, and scholarships and grants from their home country to fund their education. But don’t let the prevailing economic scenario stop you from applying in the first place. You’re targeting the academic session of 2012 and will graduate in 2013 — that’s a long wayoff and things should improve by then.