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MCIS students complete 36 credits to earn their degree. The program is self-paced (3-12 credits per semester). There are three specialized and one general track available to you. Once you are admitted to the general program, you can stay within a specialized track or combine tracks to focus on multiple areas of interest.

All core and elective courses in the three specialized tracks are taught online and/or in the evening (between 6:20-9 p.m.) on weeknights. Some electives are cross-listed with the doctoral program courses in the school, but many are restricted for master's students only.

MCIS Tracks


In the general track students will take a self-designed course of study drawing across any of the specialized MCIS tracks as well as courses in other areas of the School.  Courses in organizational communication, mediated communication, health communication, social interaction, knowledge management, and media studies are offered throughout the year. Many of these courses are cross-listed with the doctoral program in the School. Many of them are taught in the afternoons, but some are evening offerings.

Strategic Organizational Communication

In the Strategic Organizational Communication track students are able to emphasize theory-informed, research-based study of organizational process, structure, and interaction as well as use of new communication technologies in organizational and societal contexts. Courses examine organizations in a variety of contexts including businesses, nonprofits, civil society, and government.  This track may be especially appealing for those whose have goals for careers in corporate communication, advocacy, administration and/or management, training and development, consulting, change management, stakeholder relationship management, and social media management.

Electives in this track include courses dealing with organizational leadership, organizational decision-making, interorganizational relationships, organizational change, organizational training & development, persuasion & advocacy, networks, collaboration & conflict, global organizations, virtual organizing, work & technology, knowledge management, information policy, competitive intelligence and social media.

Digital Media (Available Fully Online)

This track is intended for journalists and other communication specialists who wish to retool and gain understanding of 21st century media.  This includes study of grassroots reporting and advocacy.  The track will ensure students are conversant in digital video capture, editing, and production as well as social media management. This track is completely online (although face-to-face or online electives in other tracks are available to these students as well).

Electives in this track include new media law and policy, critiquing marketing communications, digital journalism, digital advocacy and persuasion, globalization, media and social change, and digital media production, and interface design among others being developed.

Health Communication

This track is intended for students who wish to specialize in various contexts related to community wellness and health interaction such as public health communication; facilitated provider-patient communication; health campaigns and advocacy; and community health and wellness.

Electives in this track include persuasion & advocacy, e-public health, community-based organizing, interpersonal health, health campaigns, mediated health communication, health informatics, social informatics, and records management.  Students who have interests in health organizations may wish to combine study in this track with study in the Strategic Organizational Communication track.

Requirements for All Tracks

Core Courses (15 credits)
  • Communication and Society Overview Course
    • Communication and Society — for General and Strategic Org tracks
    • Digital Media and Innovation — for Digital Media Track
    • Health Communication — for Health Communication track
  • Communication Research — focuses on literacy in reading original research
  • Organizational Communication
  • Mediated Communication (Digital Media students take Media Studies Theory & Practice)
  • Capstone — This is a 3-credit faculty supervised project completed by all MCIS students in or near the last semester of study. Options:

1. Capstone paper requires students to integrate what they have learned in the MCIS program through the completion of a clearly focused case study, literature review, or empirical project. The projects can be of an applied or scholarly nature. All projects are informed with literature and scholarly knowledge gained through the program. Projects are supervised by the course instructor as well as through faculty mentors.

2. E-Portfolio is a 3-credit online course in which students develop a professional e-portfolio that showcases a resume; academic work, professional development courses, certifications and/or military service; social media and other digital assets; relevant audio/video material; professional, community and school activities; and writing samples. The class will leverage theory, research, best practices, and current thinking to help each individual determine the most effective approach to reach relevant stakeholder groups and to identify critical steps to reaching career goals. Assignments will help students prepare their e-portfolios, which they will be able to use in their career searches. Feedback from the instructor and peers will provide an “outside” perspective of e-portfolios.

Experiential Learning (6 credits)

MCIS students are required to take six credits of experiential learning. In these supervised experiences, you will engage with practitioners to learn skills and perspectives. Grades are assigned based on a self-evaluation by the student and a supervisor-evaluation by the practitioner or faculty member. Online students may complete this requirement in an online opportunity or in their local area. You can satisfy this requirement through:

  • Internships (150 hours for 3 credits) in businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and/or Rutgers units/departments. You cannot intern where you are employed.
  • Practicum: work with faculty in executing cutting-edge research projects.
  • Teaching Interns: work as assistants to a professor in a course related to their study.
  • Fellowship: You can apply and be selected as Fellows in the Johnson & Johnson Fellowship program. Six of the credits earned in this program may be applied to degree requirements. Fellows have tuition paid and receive a stipend. Yo will spend 20 hours per week onsite at J & J. Belgium Fellows spend one year in Brussels for their placement.
Elective Courses (15 Credits)

In addition to the electives made available on the specialized and general MCIS track, You can apply up to six credits of coursework from outside of the School of Communication and Information. You may wish to supplement your MCIS program with courses in business, social sciences or other professional schools.

MCIS Colloquium (0 credits)

Your attendance at MCIS-sponsored or approved colloquia, workshops or webinar (select one) is required for each course registration each term. This is required of all students each term.

Special Opportunities

Johnson and Johnson Fellows

Students are selected by Johnson & Johnson to be Fellows and spend about 20 hours each week on site. Fellows are given a stipend, plus have their tuition paid and gain valuable experience in learning about corporate communication, corporate social responsibility programs, among other network and project opportunities. All MCIS applicants are considered for J & J Fellowships as part of our admissions process. Nominated students are asked to supply a professional resume for further consideration. Typical Fellow placements are for four semesters. Fellows may apply six of their Fellowship Credits toward degree requirements.

Research Associates

Students may apply to be a Research Associate in their first semester in the program. These students have somewhat different requirements (9 credit core; 3 credits of practicum; 3 credits of teaching internship; 21 credits of electives). In addition to coursework, they will be involved in empirical research with a faculty member; assist in teaching a course; and focus their study and capstone project with a research orientation. Students who are aiming toward doctoral level study or a research career may wish to consider applying to be a Research Associate. This is not a funded opportunity.