Communication for Development and Social Change, M.S.


About the Program

The M.S. in Communication for Development and Social Change is a 30-credit program designed to be completed in one year, with 18 credits of required core coursework, 9 credits in a specialization, and 3 credits of capstone field experience. The curriculum provides a comprehensive overview of management and communication theories and their implications for communication management; research methods tailored to media and development communication issues; and the design, implementation, and evaluation of development communication projects.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years, although the program is designed to be completed in one year

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: While the degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis, full-time enrollment is strongly encouraged.

Interdisciplinary Study: The program is designed to be interdisciplinary in nature.

Areas of Specialization: Examples of previously designed specializations include those listed below, but the possibilities are open-ended as students are encouraged to design their own specializations based on their interests:

  • Community Development
  • Conflict, Peace, and Human Rights
  • Media Development and Advocacy
  • Policy, Planning, and Governance
  • Public Health
  • Sustainability and the Environment

Job Prospects: The program prepares graduates as communication specialists who can help raise public understanding, build consensus, and generate change by effectively using the range of communication alternatives available, whether by facilitating processes of dialogue among stakeholders or through media campaigns for governmental and non-governmental institutions.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may take up to 9 credits before submitting an application.

Financing Opportunities: Given that the program is designed to be completed in one year of full-time study, the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication does not offer graduate assistantships for those in the Communication for Development and Social Change master's program.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1

Admission is open for the Fall term only. Applications are accepted after the deadline, but late applications cannot be guaranteed full scholarship consideration.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who are able to provide insight into the applicant's potential for professional achievement and aptitude for graduate study.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals: Include your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional. If provided, scores at or above the 65th percentile are expected.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 105
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 72

Resume: Current resume or curriculum vitae is required.

Writing Sample: If you elect to not submit GRE scores, you are required to submit one of the options below so that your readiness and ability/potential to engage rigorously with graduate-level work can be assessed:

  1. Professional writing samples that you produced in a professional capacity, such as a project report, public relations release, or any internal communications. Please include a cover sheet indicating the purpose of the piece, intended audience, and if any analysis was done.
  2. Academic paper or published article. Please include a cover sheet identifying the course and term for which the academic paper was written or for what publication and on what date the material was published.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Year 1
Summer IICredit Hours
GDC 8001Seminar in Media, Communication and Development3
 Term Credit Hours3
GDC 8003Research Approaches in Communication, Development and Social Change3
MSP 8254Public Information Media Campaigns3
MSP 8275#ourmedia: Community, Activist, Citizens' and Radical Media3
Specialization Course13
 Term Credit Hours12
GDC 8002Communication for Social Change Project Design3
JRN 5213Solutions Journalism3
Two Specialization Courses16
 Term Credit Hours12
GDC 8089Field Experience3
 Term Credit Hours3
 Total Credit Hours: 30

Culminating Events:
Capstone Course:
The hybrid capstone course, GDC 8089 Field Experience, takes the form of an internship, special project, or service learning experience. It is offered in the Summer term.


GDC 8001. Seminar in Media, Communication and Development. 3 Credit Hours.

This intensive seminar consists of twelve sessions providing an introduction to the program and an overview of the historical roots, political influences, institutional arrangements, and cultural considerations that have shaped and defined the field of development communication. This course prepares each new cohort of students for the rigors of the program by equipping them with a solid foundation in history and trajectories of development communication theory and practice. Throughout the seminar, participants are immersed in key readings and engage in a range of activities designed to foster a deeper theoretical and critical understanding of the issues covered. By the end of the course, students are able to take full advantage of the programs/s curriculum by proposing a specific program of study including which specialization they will pursue. NOTE: This 3 credit hour course will only be offered during the three weeks prior to each fall semester (12 meetings total, 3 contact hours per meeting), and is for incoming students.

Level Registration Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels: Graduate.

Repeatability: This course may not be repeated for additional credits.

GDC 8002. Communication for Social Change Project Design. 3 Credit Hours.

Recognizing the power of communication as a catalyst for social change, this course focuses on how development communication projects intended for a specific target audience are designed, managed and refined. The course also provides instruction in project monitoring and evaluation, decision-making tools, and human resource management as related to key aspects of development communication, such as behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, and participatory development communication.

Level Registration Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels: Graduate.

Repeatability: This course may not be repeated for additional credits.

GDC 8001|Minimum Grade of B-|May not be taken concurrently.

GDC 8003. Research Approaches in Communication, Development and Social Change. 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides a hands-on approach to learning a series of research methods and fieldwork approaches used in the field of communication, development and social change. Students will learn different strategies to conduct fieldwork in marginalized communities, including participatory research and action research. The course focuses on practical research skills including how to formulate research questions, gather primary and secondary data, complete formative and summative research reports, and develop qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

Level Registration Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels: Graduate.

Repeatability: This course may not be repeated for additional credits.

GDC 8089. Field Experience. 3 Credit Hours.

The Field Experience is a custom-designed course that provides the opportunity for Globalization and Development Communication (GDC) students to apply course work to practice and/or research experiences. Field experiences can include internships with governmental and non-governmental organizations, research projects with socially responsible businesses, and participation in community development initiatives or media productions for social changes that allow students to acquire knowledge and new skills and become more reflective development practitioners. NOTE: This 3 credit hour course takes the form of a "hybrid," with students meeting with the instructor during several days of the "Maymester" term and completing their field experiences independently during the summer under the supervision and evaluation of the course instructor. The course is for outgoing GDC students.

Level Registration Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels: Graduate.

Repeatability: This course may be repeated for additional credit.

GDC 8002|Minimum Grade of B-|May not be taken concurrently.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Lew Klein College of Media and Communication

Office of Research and Graduate Studies

2020 N. 13th Street, 344 Annenberg Hall

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6015


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Kaitlin Pierce


Program Director:

Thomas Jacobson, Ph.D.