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Introducing the MA in Professional Communication

DePaul's Loop campus
(DePaul University / Maria Toscano)

Matt Ragas, an associate professor in DePaul's College of Communication, directs the newly approved master's in Professional Communication graduate degree. The program is admitting students for its inaugural cohort, to begin studies this fall (with a virtual residency and orientation in late August). Ragas answered a few questions about the program and its aims.

Q: How do you describe the master's in Professional Communication?

Professional Communication logo
The MA in Professional Communication is a new, fully online, accelerated graduate degree program, built to fit the busy lives and needs of working professionals. In this cohort-style program, students take classes together as a learner community and complete the degree in just one year. They will benefit from extensive cross-college expertise, engaging in real-world problem-solving while building a valuable professional network.

The PROCMN degree is taught by award-winning faculty in the College of Communication at DePaul. All faculty in the program have advanced training in online teaching. The curriculum is dedicated to helping enhance external and internal communication skills and advance careers toward communication leadership positions. The curriculum was designed with input from senior communication leaders at world-class organizations, such as the American Heart Association, Deloitte Consulting, Golin, the Walt Disney Company and Zeno Group.

Q: Why is the time right for the PROCMN degree program?

I think the time has never been better to launch a high-quality, accelerated online grad degree program geared to working professionals in the professional communication field. Stated simply, DePaul has amazing tools and technologies available to create a high-quality educational experience in an online graduate program. Further, the future of work is increasingly about distributed workforces and hybrid work.

For many communication professionals, the future of work involves online. Research shows that more positions are becoming remote-only and that "work from anywhere" is on the rise. Even more traditional positions are shifting to more work-from-home, or WFH, days. With the MA in PROCMN, you don't need to commute into the Loop several nights a week for your classes. Instead, we bring Chicago and a world-class and individualized educational experience to you. You can be physically located anywhere, and you will succeed in the PROCMN program, build your professional network and grow in your career.

Q: You're the director of the PROCMN program. What are your background and interests?

Matt Ragas
Associate Professor Matt Ragas
I am a tenured associate professor of public relations and advertising in the College of Communication. In many ways, I see myself as a "pracademic." As such, my teaching and research tends to have a practical edge to it. My expertise is in corporate communication, and my professional background is in financial communication and business publishing. Books I have co-authored on developing business acumen for communication professionals are in use at more than 25 different colleges and universities around the world. I am an active consultant to top organizations such as Target, Mayo Clinic and Heineken.

I'm not new to grad teaching and advising. Prior to PROCMN, I was the academic director of the DePaul PR and advertising grad program, which I helped grow into a Top Five nationally ranked program, according to PRWeek.

Q: Can you tell us about the special partnership between PROCMN and IABC Chicago?

I am delighted that the Chicago chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators is now a corporate partner of DePaul University. This means that IABC Chicago members can receive a 25% tuition discount off the cost of the PROCMN courses. We're talking an almost $10,000 savings in tuition, when one considers this discount and that PROCMN requires two credits fewer than our traditional grad degrees. This is serious ROI when you think about the annual dues for IABC and then this savings.

Since this is a cohort-based program, we admit students only once a year, with classes starting each fall (with a virtual residency and orientation in late August to get everyone acquainted and rolling). If you're interested, you still have time to get in your admission materials for this cohort.

Q: How do I learn more about PROCMN and if it might be a good fit for me?

To learn more about PROCMN, visit us online. The graduate admission team would be glad to chat with you. You can schedule a virtual appointment by emailing gradcom@depaul.edu. I'm also easy to reach and would be glad to speak with you.

I highly encourage those interested to consider attending a webinar on July 8 at 5:30 p.m. The webinar is free, but registration is required. In it, I'll provide a mini-workshop on communication leadership development, with a focus on "10 ideas in 10 minutes" for developing your business acumen, followed by an information session and Q&A about the PROCMN degree. I think you'll find this hour worth your time. Hope to see you there.

Originally published in Newsline.