Tonia Watkins, Communication Management

Communication Management graduate student Tonia Watkins wants to go into employee training (Filmed and edited by Emerson students.)

Emerson’s Communication Management program prepares you to design and execute effective communication plans that help define and support an organization’s daily operations and long-term vision. We advocate a coordinated, proactive approach based on a clear definition ofthe organization’s vision, mission, and strategy. So that you may become a leader and a change agent, Emerson’s coursework focuses on leadership and negotiation, organizational communication, strategic planning, public affairs, online communication, and strategic communication.

A Flexible Program to Match Your Professional Goals

Our curriculum and concentration tracks allow you to customize a program based on your experience, expertise, and professional goals. You select from electives to strengthen your practical and theoretical experience. You will discover the importance of research in assessing the current climate of an organization and developing communication solutions appropriate to the organization and its environment.

Classes in negotiation, crisis communication, and global communication will prepare you to thrive in the field of communication management. Emerson has long-standing relationships with many corporate, nonprofit/charitable, and government organizations throughout Boston, as well as New York City and Washington, D.C., which afford our students outstanding internship opportunities.

Our program gives you an understanding of how the art and science of communication relate to the management of all types of organizations. Our new concentrations provide you with more choice and flexibility in focusing on specific areas of communication. Whether in the business, government, or nonprofit/charitable sector, you will learn to speak the language of organizations, leadership, and management.

Concentration I

An emphasis in public relations and stakeholder communication is a holistic approach to creating comprehensive public relations plans for private and public sector organizations. Managing identity and reputation in public communication takes a depth of knowledge in constructing meaningful messages for diverse audiences.

Students will:

  • learn to align and target messages across critical stakeholder groups
  • engage in relationship-building with a number of different traditional and Internet-based media, as well as varied types of communities
  • analyze the best uses of communication channels (community meetings, press conferences, websites, social media platforms, online videos) for managing how publics perceive and interact with organizations

Students choose electives that focus on crisis communication, public affairs, and web–based communication strategies, among many others.

Concentration II

The emphasis in political communication is on campaign leadership in strategic messaging through internal and external strategic communication. With a special emphasis on polling and focus group and survey research in formulating and delivering political narratives, the program utilizes traditional and emerging social media. Students will:

  • Lead communication campaigns, both electoral and advocacy based on a local, national, and global context.
  • Analyze relationships between publics and communication strategies for traditional communication channels and social media.

Students engage in communication planning to drive change for public diplomacy, public advocacy, political communication, human rights, health campaigns, and environmental activism.

Culminating Experience

The program culminates in either a thesis or capstone class. These are opportunities for you to synthesize all that you have learned into a communication project for a client or conduct research on a particular dimension of communication management. The thesis option is provided for those students who may wish to further their educational students through a PhD in communication.

For the client-based communication project, you may choose to:

  • write a crisis communication plan
  • develop a publication or online program
  • conduct a comprehensive communication audit
  • create a public affairs and communication plan to affect public policy


To complement your classroom experience, you are encouraged to take part in an internship. Known for offering high-quality work, Emerson students are sought after by news organizations throughout the city, from the Boston Globe to network news affiliates. Alumni, faculty, guest speakers, and the Office of Career Services are all helpful resources for finding an internship to suit your professional goals.

Learn more about our industry connections »