Careers in Communication

Our students choose among a variety of academic and non-academic career options, since our program is flexible enough to prepare excellent doctoral students as well as well as those seeking a destination Masters degree for "conceptual enrichment and practical skill enhancement" related to non-academic career plans (Applegate et al., 1997, p. 116). Successful UWM students qualify for the nation's top Ph.D. programs. In recent years, our graduates have gone on to pursue doctoral Communication studies at such schools as Arizona State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, and University of Texas. Equally important is our preparation of Masters students who have aspirations other than doctoral study. Those who choose a UWM Masters degree are sought after to teach in two-year and some four-year colleges, while others launch successful professional careers in the business or non-profit sectors.

Recently New York University Graduate School dean predicted that Masters degrees, already popular educational choices, will continue to increase in popularity, "eventually becoming as indispensable as Bachelors degrees became in World War II's wake" (quoted in Magner, 1999, p. A16). An M.A. that enfolds diverse topic specialties and approaches to inquiry, including quantitative, qualitative, and critical methodologies, encourages the sophisticated reasoning and strong writing skills that are "the bread and butter of the workaday world" (Schneider, 1999, p. A12). Communication is such a degree. Employers increasingly prize and reward effective communication skills, and UWM is recognized for cultivating these abilities. As Andersen argued, problem-solving, information retrieval, critical thinking, team work, and oral and written communication skills are among the most prized workforce commodities in the 21st -century information age, and "[i]t is in graduate education in communication, even more than in the baccalaureate, where these skills are honed and where the best performers are stretched" (1997, pp. 125-126).

In an era when the value of even doctoral degrees to contemporary American society is contested (see Atwell, 1996; Kuh, 1996; Magner, 1999), destination Masters degrees have emerged as higher education's "silent success" story that excellent, innovative Communication departments fashion into "highly rewarding educational ventures" (Andersen, 1997, pp. 124, 126; Conrad, Haworth, & Millar, 1993). Versatile Masters degrees, especially with internship possibilities, can smooth the transition into corporations that are "desperate for people who can communicate well and work in various disciplines," attested Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Humanities graduate Matt Percy (quoted in Schneider, 1999, p. A12). Graduate internships, the Rhetoric area's interdisciplinary cooperation with the English Rhetoric faculty, and the Communication Department's aggressive and ever-expanding foray into technological and international communication position UWM graduate students to participate in novel rewarding educational ventures. UWM's metropolitan location, the department's exclusive graduate focus on Masters candidates, and Milwaukee's enviable profit and non-profit internship opportunities prepare students to either pursue doctoral studies or take advantage of employers' appreciation for those with Masters of Arts in Communication as destination degrees (Andersen, 1997, p. 124).

Andersen, J. F. (1997). Graduate education trends: Implications for the Communication discipline. Communication Education, 46, 121-127.

Applegate, J. L., Darling, A., Sprague, J., Nyquist, J., & Andersen, J. F. (1997). An agenda for graduate education in Communication: A report from the SCA 1996 Summer Conference. Communication Education, 46, 115-120.

Atwell, R. (1996, October). [Interview with P. M. Callan, Executive Director of the California Higher Education Policy Center]. Crosstalk, 4. Available:

Conrad, C. F., Haworth, J. G., & Millar, S. B. (1993). A silent success. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kuh, C. V. (1996). Is there a Ph.D. glut? Is that the right question? Communicator, 29, 1-4.

Magner, D. K. (1999, April 30). Master's degrees are the hot topic at a meeting on doctoral education. Chronicle of Higher Education, A16.

Schneider, A. (1999, May 21). Master's degrees, once scorned, attract students and generate revenue. Chronicle of Higher Education, A12.

Job Titles of Recent Graduates

Training Manager, ExecuTrain
Employment Specialist, Bank One
Professor, University of Georgia
Assistant City Attorney, Milwaukee
Credit Representative, Wisconsin Bell
Training Director, Harnischfeger
Account Executive, ABC Outdoor Advertising, Inc.
Employment Coordinator, Johnson Controls
Director for Extension, Cornell University
Public Relations Coordinator, Milwaukee Public Museum
Asst. Administrator for Development, St. Mary's Hospital
Special Events Coordinator, American Lung Association
Communication Coordinator, American Baptist Churches
Case Manager, Racine County Human Services Department
Marketing Support Rep., JWP Information Services