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Hugh Downs School launches new bachelor's to master's accelerated programs

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October 09, 2023

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University is excited to announce the launch of three new accelerated degree programs in communication (formerly referred to as 4+1 programs) that allow high-performing undergraduate students to earn a master's degree in just two semesters beyond their bachelor’s degree.

The accelerated programs are open to all eligible BA and BS communication majors in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and business communication majors in the W. P. Carey School of Business. They are three of the most popular majors on the Tempe campus. Both online and in-person undergraduates are welcome to apply for the online MA.

Employers often rank communication skills as one of the most critical factors in hiring and promotion decisions. The ability to communicate verbally and in writing with people inside and outside an organization is valued across many different careers.

Majors in communication and business communication learn these skills and more.

“Our new accelerated programs are perfect for students who want to level up their skills in conflict management, persuasion, strategic communication, and clearly articulating ideas across communication media,” said Sarah Tracy, professor and director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

“Our accelerated MA programs also allow students to take courses they just couldn’t fit into their undergraduate experience,” added Tracy. “Most importantly, these programs are instrumental for developing skills in leadership and team management that will set them apart in the job market.”

The programs are ideal for students interested in building or deepening their communication skills and expanding professional portfolios to fast-track their career trajectories. The accelerated master’s degree pathway has other benefits as well.

“It is a very cost-effective option for ASU students," said Raena Quinlivan, director of the online master’s program at the Hugh Downs School. “The program offers an excellent intellectual opportunity for qualified students to move into graduate-level work during their senior year.”

In the accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree programs, students begin taking graduate courses while still undergraduates. Some 400-level coursework counts toward the MA degree (as elective credits) if taken after admission into the accelerated program — and they can count up to 12 credits toward both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Traditional programs require 120 credits for the BA and BS, and 30 additional credits for a master’s degree. In the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication accelerated programs, students can complete both degrees with a total of only 138 credits.

Another benefit is that the coursework after the bachelor’s degree is online, which can be a convenient option for students wanting to work while pursuing their master’s degree.

The MA program concludes with a capstone course where students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to create a digital portfolio for an organization to solve immediate communication needs. The portfolio can then be shown to current or future employers.

For more information on eligibility and applying, please contact these advisors:

W. P. Carey School of Business students:
Megan McLeroy
Phone number: 480-965-6662

Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (HDSHC) students:
HDSHC advisors:
Phone number: 480-965-5095

HDSHC MA contact:
Raena Quinlivan, director of the online MA in communication program

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