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Program of Study

The MCM curriculum provides students with leading-edge education in communications theory and practice. The MCM is the result of 15 years of development between MCM partners, McMaster and Syracuse University. The MCM curriculum is based on exhaustive research, including a thorough literature review of professional communication and communications management scholarship, interviews with top communications managers worldwide, a national survey and focus groups of professional communication practitioners.


MCM Program Learning Outcomes

Type 1: Communications Management

Students should have a critical, structural and functional understanding of how current and emerging practices of communications management interact and interrelate within a historical context.
Students should be able to know and apply the various theories of communication management to diverse organizational cases and scenarios.
Students should have a critical and administrative understanding of how technology and innovations in digital media transform communications management, in the past, present and future.
Students should understand how to conceptualize, apply and critically evaluate the appropriate research methods, data science analytics and metrics used in communications management.
Students should understand and critically apply ethical reasoning to a variety of communication management scenarios within the context of Canadian and international policy and law.

Type 2: Business Administration

Students should have knowledge of strategic communications management, strategic marketing management and public affairs in the corporate, not-for-profit and government sectors.
Students will have an understanding of the fundamentals of managerial finance, financial reporting, and accounting within an organizational communication management context.
Students should understand how the unique fields of communication management interact with other operational and functional management disciplines.
Students will understand key leadership roles and procedures for modern enterprises with communication functions, including, strategic management, entrepreneurship and consulting.
Students will understand the role and impact of globalization and internationalization on the practices of communications management.

These program learning outcomes are achieved during the MCM curriculum which systematically imparts, in a cumulative fashion, the tactical, strategic, theoretical, methodological, scientific and cultural ideas necessary for success as a senior communications manager.

MCM Program Structure:

Public Relations Core:
(4 required courses; 12 credits)
Management Core:
(4 required courses, 12 credits)
  • COM MGMT 711 Organizational Public Relations
  • COM MGMT 712 Public Relations Research
  • COM MGMT 714 Strategic Public Relations Management
  • COM MGMT 715 Applied Ethics in Communications Management
  • COM MGMT 721 Strategic Management
  • COM MGMT 722 Financial Reporting and Management Accounting
  • COM MGMT 723 Managerial Finance
  • COM MGMT 724 Marketing Management
3 courses (9 credits)
Capstone Project:
(3-credit project)
  • COM MGMT 731 Reputation and Brand Management
  • COM MGMT 732 Communication Frontiers: Social Media
  • COM MGMT 735 Negotiation: Theory and Practice
  • COM MGMT 741 Crisis Communications
  • COM MGMT 742 Social Media and Mobility: Strategy and Management

 *This is a small sample of potential electives

  • Students will do a professional capstone project (equivalent to one course) and three electives.

Course Descriptions

(All course and program descriptions can be found in the School of Graduate Studies Calendar)

Public Relations Core

An advanced understanding of the history communication and its theoretical foundation is a necessity for professional and ethical practice. These courses will provide you with a deep foundation in leading communications roles and models, organizational and management processes, ethics and law, and research.(4 required courses; 12 credits)

Management Core

Effect communications management requires a firm understanding of the language of business, including financial management and accounting. These courses, traditionally found in graduate management programs, provide the business acumen necessary for developing effective strategies to support an organization’s bottom line and senior management.
(4 required courses; 12 credits)


The MCM program offers a number of electives in communications theory and management, allowing students to explore and gain experience in different areas of the profession.
Three courses, 9 credits
During the second term, students will vote for a total of three electives, which will be offered in the third term subject to the availability of instructors; taught by faculty from either Syracuse or McMaster faculty.

Capstone Project COM MGMT 740

(3-unit Professional Capstone Project)
Students in this program complete a professional capstone project and will require three electives to complete their degree. The capstone is an opportunity to pursue original independent research. Students will be matched with an MCM faculty member who will supervise their research on a topic not currently offered in the list of MCM course offerings. The course must have a significant deliverable (case study, research essay or technical report) supported by qualitative and/or quantitative research.

MCM + APR Professional Accreditation


Starting in 2018, recent MCM alumni have a new opportunity to submit their MCM capstone or other research assignments as part of their application file for the CPRS Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation.

The APR is an international professional designation, recognized in 14 countries around the world. In Canada, it is administered by the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Despite living across North America, MCM alumni have generally prepared their accreditation through the CPRS Hamilton Accreditation Study Group, which is led by an MCM alum or faculty member. The first CPRS Hamilton MCM+APR Accreditation Chair was Heather Pullen, APR, FCPRS. In 2017, Heather designed the CPRS Hamilton APR curriculum and shepherded many potential APRs toward successful completion of the credential.

Starting in 2019-20, Dr. Alex Sévigny, APR is serving as MCM+APR Accreditation Chair.

Here is a list of MCM Alumni who have achieved their APR through this program:


  • Matthew Radford, MCM, APR
  • Sara Goldvine, MCM, APR
  • Caroline Bourque-Wiley, MCM, APR


  • Jane Antoniak, MCM, APR
  • Josie Cassano Rizzuti, MCM, APR
  • Claire Ryan, MCM, APR
  • Julia Rim Shepard, MCM, APR

Honorable Mention: David Scholz, M.A, APR