Program goals

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture prepares effective and skilled communicators through quality instruction, advising and student services, based on real-world applications. Through research, professional service and scholarship in applied communications, the school advances the knowledge and practice of a multidisciplinary and evolving media environment. The school values truth, ethics, creativity, innovation, collaboration, cultural diversity, shared governance and community engagement.

The M.S. in Mass Communications with a concentration in integrated public relations and advertising is offered in collaboration with Fudan University in Shanghai, one of VCU’s 16 recognized international partners, and VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. It is designed to educate Chinese students for the practice, in China, of professional public relations and/or advertising. Because in many agencies and organizations public relations and advertising are integrated, we are integrating the two professional disciplines in one degree program. The program is for Chinese students who have undergraduate degrees from a Chinese institution and who are already working or aspire to work in China for a public relations or advertising agency or an agency that combines the two persuasive communication disciplines. It is also open to students in the U.S. with the same undergraduate education and a desire to work in an internationally active public relations or advertising agency that does business in Asia/China. The program will prepare its students to function at a higher professional level than they can attain with their current academic and professional credentials.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate higher-level skills of the public relations management function, including strategy development and critical thinking
  2. Communicate clearly and effectively in written and spoken forms appropriate for strategic public relations practice, audiences and the purposes they serve
  3. Demonstrate ability to conduct research and evaluation to support strategic public relations decision-making
  4. Effectively apply tools and technologies appropriate to managing the process for strategic public relations

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

The mass communications graduate handbook is available on the Robertson School website at robertson.vcu.edu/about/advising/handbooks-and-worksheets.

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S. Spring Jan 15 (preferred consideration) GRE-general
Mar 15 TOEFL (International students only)

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Pass the entrance examination for postgraduate studies in the School of Journalism at Fudan University
  2. Attain a qualified English proficiency level (i.e., greater than 600 for TOEFL or equivalent for iBT test)
  3. Attain a GRE general test level of more than 1050 with no less than 500 for verbal (or equivalent for revised GRE)

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses and to conduct significant research.

The dual degree program generally takes three academic years. The first three semesters are typically completed at Fudan. Students will continue their studies in VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture for three semesters (second semester and summer of the second academic year and fall semester of the third academic year). Students return to Fudan for the final semester.

  1. Credit hour requirements: This degree requires a minimum of 31 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate, of which 18 credit hours are from VCU and 13 credit hours — preparatory foundation courses and thesis supervision — are taken at Fudan University’s School of Journalism. At least one-half of the credit hours presented for graduation must be at the 600 level or higher. Upon completion of all requirements, students in this dual master’s degree program will receive both the M.S. in Mass Communications from VCU and the Master of Literature from Fudan University.
  2. Other requirements: All students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a suite of software programs commonly used by public relations and advertising practitioners before enrolling in their first VCU course.

Curriculum requirements

Course requirements: Fudan University 1
JOUR 6003Research Methods of Communication2
JOUR 6005Media Management2
JOUR 6007Marxist Journalistic Ideology2
JOUR 6008Research on Journalistic History and Theory2
Select five credit hours of recommend electives (Fudan University) of the list below5
Thesis taken at Fudan University
Course requirements: Virginia Commonwealth University
MASC 671Strategic PR in a Digital Environment3
MASC 672Strategic PR Research and Evaluation3
MASC 675Strategic PR Management3
MASC 682Strategic Media Relations3
MASC 683Strategic PR in the Global Environment3
MASC 695Fieldwork/Internship (elective course)1-3
Total Hours31

Recommended electives (Fudan University)

JOUR 6009Journalistic Practice3
JOUR 6010The History of China's Journalism Thoughts3
JOUR 6011The Study of Communication3
JOUR 6012Cyber Communication3
JOUR 6013Marketing Communication3
JOUR 6014Consumer Behavior3
JOUR 6015The Study of PR3
JOUR 6016The Study of Current Publishing3
JOUR 6017The Study of Current Newspapers3

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 31

Graduate program director
June O. Nicholson
Professor and director of graduate studies, Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture
jnichols@vcu.edu
(804) 827-0251

Program website: robertson.vcu.edu