It may only be June, but the FIU Global Strategic Communications (GSC) master’s program is already having a record year. It earned impressive recognitions on four different ranking lists as one of the nation’s top programs, increased its community engagement and strengthened its foothold on the national stage.
In August, the program will celebrate five years since it developed a fully-online track and during this time, the program has seen a three-fold increase in its total class size. The program had 94 students active during the 2018-2019 academic year while over 130 fully-online students have graduated since the program’s inception.
The independent college ranking board, BestColleges.com, recognized FIU and its GSC Online program in the Top 10 2019 Best Online Master’s in Communications programs in the nation and #6 in its list of Best Online Master’s in Public Relations. The annual ranking highlights accredited not-for-profit institutions that have developed quality online graduate-level communications programs that focus on student success while delivering a strong return on investment.
“After researching hundreds of communications programs, BestColleges has identified 25 schools that rank among the Best Online Master’s in Communications programs in the nation. These programs reflect the best academic opportunities for students wishing to further their career goals,” says Stephanie Snider, director of BestColleges. “We’re thrilled to have Florida International University be a part of this list, and we commend them for establishing this exceptional online program that focuses on academic success while remaining affordable and flexible.”
The GSC Online program also ranked #7 on the list of Top 15 online Media Communication programs by OnlineMasters.com — naming it the “Most Accelerated,” noting the entire program can be completed in 12 months. It also ranked #27 on the list of Top 40 online Master’s in Communication programs with a special nod to “Best Certification and Degree Combination”.
“We are very proud of this national recognition,” said Aileen Izquierdo, FIU Department of Communication interim chair and GSC director. “Our fully-online program is nearing its fifth anniversary and, in these few years, we have grown our student enrollment, expanded course offerings and graduated dozens of communication professionals who will continue to elevate the communication industry.”
During this time, the GSC program also began a combined B.S. and M.S. (4+1) program for highly motivated students wanting to begin their graduate degree while still completing their bachelor’s degree. This spring, the GSC 4+1 program graduated its first cohort of students – four in all — who already have a head start in the competitive communications world. Forbes recently reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of public relations specialists to grow 9 percent through 2026, above the national average of other fields.
Samuel Grossman, a former U.S. Marine and 4+1 student, said, “This has been a huge accomplishment for me. When I started at FIU, I never imagined I would be able to graduate with my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time.”
The spring semester also saw the launch of the GSC Speaker Series which inaugurated with FIU alumna and spatial computing futurist Cathy Hackl. The series, which will pick up again in the fall, welcomes a diverse mix of industry leaders to share their experiences, expertise and insightful perspectives on a variety of topics related to global communications.
“These recognitions, combined with the significant growth we’ve seen in the GSC program, are a testament to the effectiveness and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Brian Schriner, Dean of the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA). “The GSC program is infusing the global communications economy and reinforcing our commitment to prepare our graduates for meaningful careers and leadership positions in their chosen professions.”