USC Annenberg Announces First Graduation for New Online Program

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USC Annenberg’s Master of Communication Management will graduate its first class of 47 students on Friday, May 17th.

Even in the workplace, I knew the degree would be recognized and would have value.

Friday will mark the first commencement ceremony for students who earned an online degree from USC Annenberg. Recognized as trailblazers of the school’s advance into online education, 47 working professional men and women will earn their Master of Communication Management (MCM) degree having completed a 20-month, fully-online program.

The focus of the curriculum is on integrating organizational, strategic and marketing communication whether applied in the corporate, governmental or nonprofit sectors. USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Professor Rebecca Weintraub said: “The program is just as rigorous as the on-campus program. The bottom line is it’s exactly the same degree, the same program, just a different delivery system.”

And Weintraub soon confirmed that the delivery system attracts exactly the kind of client USC was looking for — working professionals. The classes are stacked with men and women working in public relations, journalism, marketing, corporate communication, education, human resources, health care, and the military.

Thirty-nine-year-old Army Maj. Mike Nicholson earned his degree while serving as a Public Affairs Officer at NATO strategic headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“I work in a field that directly applies to what I was studying,” he said. “It contributed to the work I was doing on a daily basis, so both fed into each other. I brought ideas from what I was learning and immediately used them in my day-to-day environment.”

Gaining that rounded perspective – considering communication problems from all angles by moving back and forth between school and work – paid off.

Nicholson says he taps into his academic experience, and the perspective he gained from his diverse classmates, almost daily.

“There are more areas you’re able to make connections with, both from an academic and a practitioner sense. In the program, we were all working in the field – some were in marketing firms, public relations firms – everyone was in the communication field. It gave us all better breadth.”

The graduates, who hail from Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington were drawn to the program because it promised to be rigorous and demanding.

“I didn’t feel comfortable doing any other online program,” said 40-year-old graduate-to-be Daniel Kopec, who writes and produces documentary films for PBS in Seattle. “Even in the workplace, I knew the degree would be recognized and would have value, and it wouldn’t be viewed as a second-tier degree.”

“Personally,” said Kopec, “it was such a huge achievement for me because you want a master’s degree to be challenging. So it was fulfilling to know I could operate at that level.”

The program launched in September 2011; there now are about 140 students enrolled.

To learn more about USC Annenberg’s online Master of Communication Management program, visit

About the USC Annenberg’s MCM Program:

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California offers the online Master of Communication Management degree program. The program prepares communication professionals to navigate the modern landscape of any workplace, regardless of the industry. To learn more, visit

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Geoff Kass
USC Annenberg
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