Communication for Development and Social Change MS


Learn more about the Master of Science in Communication for Development and Social Change.

About the Program

The MS in Communication for Development and Social Change is a 30-credit program designed to be completed in one year. Students complete 18 credits of required core coursework, 9 credits in an area of specialization, and 3 credits of capstone field experience. The curriculum provides a comprehensive overview of theory and practice in the field of communication for social change, including research methods tailored to the specific needs of communication for social change professionals. Students learn the various uses of solutions journalism and media in community empowerment and development, as well as the practical skills needed to design, implement and evaluate community-centered 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 limitless as students are encouraged to design their own specializations based on their interests:

  • Civic Engagement and Democratic Governance
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Conflict, Peace and Human Rights
  • Media Development and Advocacy
  • Public Health
  • Social Justice
  • Sustainable Development

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 applying to the MS program.

Financing Opportunities: Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis by the admissions committee.

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: In approximately 1,000 words, present your strongest statement, which integrates your answers to the prompts below into a coherent essay, to allow us to assess your institutional fit. Toward this end, please review the descriptions of our program, curriculum and faculty, also incorporating this content into your statement. The prompts include:

  • How the MS in Communication for Development and Social Change will advance your professional aspirations, intellectual objectives or social change goals;
  • Your interests, experiences and academic research in the area of media and communication for development and social change, including your life experiences, because the best candidates are people who can connect their life experiences and passions to their career goals;
  • Your experiences as a social justice activist, public information campaign practitioner, community media practitioner or local journalist; and
  • How you will benefit from our program and what you will contribute to our learning community.

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 within two years of the test date for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 105
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0

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. A formal academic paper from your undergraduate work that represents your best academic writing. Please include a cover sheet on which you indicate:
    1. your name,
    2. the institution where you took the course for which the paper was produced,
    3. the course number and title of the course for which the paper was written,
    4. the professor for whom you wrote the paper, and
    5. the term in which you took the course.
  2. Professional writing samples that you produced in a professional capacity, such as a published report, research report, grant proposal, and/or assessment or evaluation report. Please include a cover sheet indicating:
    1. what role you played in the publication’s production,
    2. the institution that sponsored it, and
    3. on what date the material was produced.

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.


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:

Director of Graduate Admissions:

Kaitlin Pierce, EdD


Program Director:

Clemencia Rodriguez, PhD