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Professional Communication and Leadership MA

Master of Arts in Professional Communication and Leadership
Format: Online, in person on the Statesboro Campus or the Armstrong Campus in Savannah
Credit Hours: 30
Entry Terms: Fall and Spring

Certificate in Professional Communication and Leadership
Format: In person on the Statesboro Campus or the Armstrong Campus in Savannah
Credit Hours: 15
Entry Terms: Fall and Spring

The Professional Communication and Leadership degree, offered at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong & Statesboro campuses, as well as fully online, focuses on the importance of written and verbal communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills in the workplace and beyond. This community-driven program is developed to help students gain not only the knowledge but also the practical skills required to be successful in their careers. By pursuing this degree, you will become familiar with communication strategies, technical editing, organizational communication in diverse contexts, leadership, and more. Graduates of the Professional Communication and Leadership program find themselves prepared for employment in a variety of workplace settings thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum.

The program is ideal for:

  • Working professionals seeking more training in workplace communication and leadership.
  • Recent graduates looking to enhance their communication and leadership talents, while developing specialized, applied skills.

Candidates who wish to take courses at the Army Education Center at Fort Stewart beginning October 9, 2023, should submit an application for the Fall 2024 semester and email Graduate Admissions at gradadmissions@georgiasouthern.edu to request an entry term update to Fall 2023.

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“The primary thing that attracted me to the PCL program was the mix of academic research and real world application. The flexibility of the program with two campuses and online options to learn from professors with a wide variety of professional backgrounds and research interests was an added bonus! The PCL program allowed me to expand my portfolio of work, to build connections in the community, and to study a variety of a topics that married perfectly with my real world experience.”

Tiffany N. Gearhart, Double Eagle
BS – Speech Communication (’05)
MA – Professional Communication & Leadership (’19)
Current Student Information

This page contains information and samples of the projects for students in the Professional Communication & Leadership program.

Internship Proposal Information & Example

Project Internship Thesis Requirements

Project Proposal Form

Project Proposal Sample

Deadlines for Internship, Project, Thesis Proposals

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

Course Rotation
This course rotation is dependent on the availability of faculty. 
 
The following courses will be offered each semester:
COMM 7100: PCL Research
COMM 7150: Communication & Leadership
COMS 7200: Organizational Communication in Diverse Context
ENGL 7400: Professional Communication Strategies
LEAD 7700: Internship
LEAD 7900: Comprehensive Project
ENGL 7453: Plain Language in Workplace Writing (not required from Fall 2024)
 
Elective courses are offered based on course demand and faculty availability.
 
Program of Study

Students can complete their course of study at the Armstrong or Statesboro campus, or fully online. Students in the on-campus program have the option of taking a course on any campus, and many students use a hybrid approach mixing in-person and online courses.

Program of Study for MA

Required Courses

COMS 7200 – Organizational Communication in Diverse Contexts

Theories and principles of professional discourse applied toward working effectively in ethnically diverse organizations and in international contexts.

COMM 7100 PCL Research 

Introduction to the concepts and methods of applied research necessary for professionals in leadership settings. Topics will include survey development, interviews, focus groups, experiments, ethnography, and content analysis. Students will construct a research question, review literature, analyze data, and present the results of their analysis.

COMM 7150 – Communication and Leadership 

Examination of the communication and leadership on public issues. Course explores the theories and practices associated with leadership in groups and organizations in the public and private sectors. Focuses on interactive aspects of leading and following, and developing leadership skills from a communication perspective.

LEAD 7700 – PCL Internship OR LEAD 7900 – Comprehensive Project in PCL

Students are not required to complete both courses. The PCL Internship and Comprehensive Project must be approved by a faculty member before students can register for the course. For more information about these courses click here.

ENGL 7400 – Professional Communication Strategies

Communication strategies employed by leaders in business, industry, education, and health professions; practice in writing effective memos, letters, and reports; oral communication skills required for influencing group decisions, conducting interviews, and making presentations.

ENGL 7453 – Plain Language in Workplace Writing

Introduction to the principles of plain language in workplace communication. Students will analyze document design along with passages at the word-, sentence-, and paragraph-level, and conduct usability testing to improve documents’ clarity. Students will examine the history of plain language movements and understand the social impacts of plain language in legal, medical, and professional contexts. Students will revise and create documents in plain language for use by specific audiences.

Elective Courses

*5000 level courses are cross-listed with undergraduate courses and may be offered during the day.

*Electives offered on each campus are determined by the expertise and availability of faculty.

APPH 7134 – Social Marketing for Health Communication

COMM 5030G – Selected Topics in Communication

COMM 5333G – Theories of Mass Communication

COMM 5335G – Public Relation Campaigns in Health and Science

COMM 7250 – Strategic Communication

COMM 7300  – Applied Crisis Communication Theory

COMM 7400 – Health Communication

COMM 7500 – Selected Topics in Communication

COMS 5330G – Communication Theory

COMS 5331G – Communication and Conflict

COMS 5332G – Nonverbal Communication

COMS 5333G – Communication & Gender

COMS 5334G – Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace

COMS 5335G – Family Communication

COMS 5530G – Rhetoric

COMS 7400 – Communication Training and Development

ENGL 5511G – Nonprofit and Grant Writing

ENGL 5551 – Publication Design

LEAD 7300 – Selected Topics in Leadership Studies

LEAD 7400 – Contemporary Issues in Leadership

LEAD 7800 – Independent Study in Professional Communication & Leadership

PSYC 6150 – Conflict Resolution

PSYC 6300 – Leadership and Group Dynamics

Certificate Program

Required Courses

COMM 7150 – Communication & Leadership in the Public Arena

Examination of the communication and leadership on public issues. Course explores the theories and practices associated with leadership in groups and organizations in the public and private sectors. Focuses on interactive aspects of leading and following, and developing leadership skills from a communication perspective.

COMS 7200 – Organizational Communication in Diverse Contexts

Theories and principles of professional discourse applied toward working effectively in ethnically diverse organizations and in international contexts.

ENGL 7400 – Professional Communication Strategies

Communication strategies employed by leaders in business, industry, education, and health professions; practice in writing effective memos, letters, and reports; oral communication skills required for influencing group decisions, conducting interviews, and making presentations.

Elective Courses

*5000 level courses are cross-listed with undergraduate courses and may be offered during the day.

*Electives offered on each campus are determined by the expertise and availability of faculty.

APPH 7134 – Social Marketing for Health Communication

COMM 5030G – Selected Topics in Communication

COMM 5333G – Theories of Mass Communication

COMM 5335G – Public Relation Campaigns in Health and Science

COMM 7250 – Strategic Communication

COMM 7300  – Applied Crisis Communication Theory

COMM 7400 – Health Communication

COMM 7500 – Selected Topics in Communication

COMS 5330G – Communication Theory

COMS 5331G – Communication and Conflict

COMS 5332G – Nonverbal Communication

COMS 5333G – Communication & Gender

COMS 5334G – Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace

COMS 5335G – Family Communication

COMS 5400G – Advanced Public Speaking

COMS 5530G – Rhetoric

COMS 7400 – Communication Training and Development

ENGL 5511G – Nonprofit and Grant Writing

ENGL 5521G – Writing for Publication

ENGL 5551 – Publication Design

LEAD 7300 – Selected Topics in Leadership Studies

LEAD 7400 – Contemporary Issues in Leadership

PSYC 6150 – Conflict Resolution

PSYC 6300 – Leadership and Group Dynamics

Or an approved elective

PCL Registration Tips

Click here for a tip sheet with suggestions for deciding which classes might be best for you to take.

FAQ

Will I need to take courses on both campuses? 

No, students can complete their entire course of study on either the Armstrong or Statesboro campus. While students have the option to take a course on another campus, it is not necessary. All required courses will be offered on both campuses during the academic year.

What can I do with a degree in Professional Communication and Leadership?

The possibilities are endless! PCL graduates have used their degree to pursue a wide range of career opportunities in communication, marketing, public relations, criminal justice, athletic coaching, education, the health professions and military service. The PCL program also prepares students to pursue advanced graduate degrees in law, leadership, and communication related disciplines.

Are online courses offered?

The program can be completed on the Armstrong or Statesboro campuses or completely online.

Can I pursue the MA if I begin the program as a certificate student?

Yes, many students do this and all certificate courses can be applied to the master’s degree.

How long does it take to complete the PCL degree? 

That depends on how many courses you plan to take each semester. Students who take 3 courses per semester (we do not advise taking more than 3 a semester) typically finish the program in 18 – 24 months.  Certificate students can finish the program in one academic year.

How much does the PCL degree cost?

The PCL program is 30 credit hours. The in-state tuition per credit hour for graduate students is $277 which puts the cost for total credit hours to complete the program at $8,310. This cost does not include mandatory fees, cost of books, living expenses, etc.

For a more detailed look at the total cost of attending graduate school please (mandatory fees, out-of- state tuition) visit the Bursar’s website. http://finserv.georgiasouthern.edu/bursar/office-of-student-accounts/tuition-and-fees/

I’m a senior and am planning to pursue the PCL degree after I graduate from Georgia Southern. What is Senior Privilege? 

Senior Privilege is a great option for students transitioning to graduate school. To be eligible for Senior Privilege, students must be in their last semester of coursework and have no more than 12 hours left in their undergraduate degree.

Seniors are allowed to take up to 9 hours of graduate level courses (5000G, 6000, and 7000 level), with the total enrollment in graduate and undergraduate credits not exceeding 15 hours. Keep in mind, while the 5000G courses (and 6000/7000 courses) will count towards your graduate program of study once you have gained admission, they will not count towards your undergraduate degree requirements.

Seniors do not need to apply for admission into the graduate program, but would need to submit the Transient Student Request Form to your Program Director and Department Chair for approval. Once they have approved the form it would go to the Georgia Southern College of Graduate Studies for final approval.

How do I apply for Graduate Assistantships? 

The Professional Communication and Leadership (PCL) program offers a limited number of competitive graduate assistantship positions. For more information about eligibility and the application process please visit the Graduate Assistantship webpage for the College of Graduate Studies.

https://cogs.georgiasouthern.edu/new-current-students/graduate-assistantships-information/

How do I find out what classes to take? 

Your academic advisor is Dr. Beom Bae. You can search for classes using the Georgia Southern University’s Course Search.

How can I fund my education?

There are several resources for funding your education. Graduate assistantships cover standard in-state and out-of-state tuition costs. You may also apply for internal and external scholarships. Additionally, you may borrow federal, state, and private loans to fund your education. If you are a GSU employee, you may be eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), an employee supplemental educational assistance program.

How do I find out about graduate health insurance? 

You can voluntarily enroll in the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Graduate assistants and other specific groups that are required to have health insurance are automatically enrolled in SHIP. However, they may apply for a waiver if they already have a personal health insurance plan.

What health and well-being resources and facilities are available to me?

You have access to online and in- person mental health and well-being resources as a PCL graduate student. For more information on the resources available to you, please visit the College of Graduate Studies website. https://cogs.georgiasouthern.edu/health-and-wellbeing/

Where do I get my Eagle ID card?

You can visit the EagleCard Services website for information on where and how to get your Eagle ID card. The site also provides information on what to do if your Eagle ID card is lost or stolen.

Where do I go to receive academic support services on campus? 

As a PCL student, you have access to the Academic Success Center and the University Writing Center.

Graduate Assistantships

The Professional Communication and Leadership (PCL) program offers a limited number of competitive graduate assistantship positions.

The Department of Communication Arts has ONE open Graduate Teaching Assistantship (TA) position open for Fall 2024.  If you are interested in applying, please see the information provided at this link.  Application materials must be received by 5 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday, April 1, 2024. 

Please make sure you have applied to the PCL program and have also completed the Graduate Assistant application form through the College of Graduate Studies website.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Plew (mplew@georgiasouthern.edu).  

For more information about eligibility and the application process please visit the Graduate Assistantship webpage for the College of Graduate Studies.

http://cogs.georgiasouthern.edu/new-current-students/graduate-assistantships-information/

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid. For more information about the FAFSA and applying for financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid Office webpage.

As of fall 2018, graduate students must take 9 credit hours per semester to be considered full-time for financial aid purposes and 5 credit hours to be considered part-time. Click here to review the Student Guide to Understanding Financial Aid Eligibility for more information.

Tuition Assistance Program

Admission Requirements for the Professional Communication & Leadership MA

  • For regular admission the applicant must have: Official transcripts that demonstrate completion of requirements for the baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. A 2.75 overall grade point average, OR a 2.50 overall grade point average with a minimum 2.75 major grade point average, on all undergraduate work is required.
  • A resume or vita
  • A Letter of Intent.  A writing sample of 200-500 words that describes how a Master’s Degree in Professional Communication and Leadership would help you meet your personal and professional goals. This essay may include a discussion of any weaknesses in your academic record.
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Provisional Admission Requirements – Applicants may be approved for provisional admission based on the quality of the admission material presented. Provisional students must earn grades of ‘B’ or higher in their first nine (9) hours of course work after admission and meet any other stipulations outlined by the department to be converted to regular status.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is not a requirement.

Admission Requirements for the Professional Communication & Leadership Certificate Program

  • Official transcripts that demonstrate completion of requirements for the baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. A 2.75 overall grade point average, OR a 2.50 overall grade point average and a minimum 2.75 major grade point average, on all undergraduate work is required.
  • Official transcripts that demonstrate completion of requirements for the baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A resume or vita
  • A Letter of Intent. A writing sample of 200-500 words that describes how a Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication and Leadership would help you meet your personal and professional goals. This essay may include a discussion of any weaknesses in your academic record.
  • Two professional letters of recommendation

For more information on the application process, visit the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Application Deadlines

Applications must be submitted online by the following deadlines. These deadlines apply to both the Armstrong & Statesboro campuses:

  • Fall: July 1 for regular applicants; July 15 for Army Education Center
  • Spring: November 15
  • Summer: April 1

Meet Our Students

Shalonda Rountree
Marketing and Business Development Manager
Chatham Area Transit
Fall 2017 Graduate

I chose the Professional Communication and Leadership program to enhance and develop the necessary skills to advance my career from mid-management to senior and executive level roles. The PCL program offered evening and online classes which afforded me the flexibility to juggle the responsibilities of work and family obligations with school. I learned new skills that I was able to apply to my organization right away.

Robert M. Vieito
Director, Advanced Aircraft Programs
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
Spring 2018 Graduate

The Master of Arts in Professional Communications and Leadership (PCL) was a perfect choice to round out my education and elevate my communication and leadership skills. More than ever, organizations are searching for employees who know how to communicate, interact and collaborate with their peers, especially in team environments, and the PCL program provides those now essential skills.  No matter the stage of your career, the PCL program gives its students the knowledge to succeed in today’s ever-changing workplace environment.

Seth Barber
Staff Sergeant (E-6)
Spring 2018 Graduate

The PCL program was a perfect fit for me because it taught me the importance of effective communication in an environment other than the military, and gave me the opportunity to further develop my leadership skills.

Dominique Crumbly
Sergeant (E-5)
Spring 2018 Graduate

I chose the PCL program to assist me in furthering my military career. Communication and leadership are both staples of the military. The PCL program gives me the knowledge to put myself in front and lead the future.

Madison Ray
Coordinator of Programming and Outreach
Florida Gulf Coast University Honors College
Spring 2018 Graduate

Getting a Master’s in Professional Communication and Leadership was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After receiving my Bachelors in Communication Studies from UVA-Wise, I moved to Savannah and started the PCL program right away. It meant a lot to me to find a program that was interdisciplinary and provided real-world experience. The PCL program gave me the opportunity to intern, enhanced my skills with unique courses, and brought my undergraduate research full-circle through completion of a comprehensive project. I feel very confident that the PCL program has prepared me for my new career.

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Temptaous Mckoy, PhD
East Carolina University
Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication 
Spring 2015 Graduate
 
 
I decided to enroll in the PCL program to further expand my knowledge on professional communicative practices. Upon graduation, I decided to continue my education and obtain my PhD. Thankfully, the PCL program helped create the foundation needed to better assess the technical and professional discursive practices that take shape in numerous communities, outside of the business industry.

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Last updated: 5/22/2023