MSEM Communication Track

About the Track

Millersville University’s Master of Science in Emergency Management (MSEM) degree requires 30 credit hours of study. The curriculum for the Communication Track within the MSEM Program consists of 15 credit hours of communication courses and 15 credit hours of MSEM courses. The Communication Track requires students to take five graduate courses from the Department of Communication and Theatre, including three required courses and two electives. Since the MSEM is an online program, all communication courses will be offered completely online, with synchronous component in each course for faculty and student interaction, discussions, group work and individual projects. Courses will be offered year around, with flexibility to accommodate those with demanding schedules.

Learning Objectives

1. Understand and learn important communication theories, principles, methods, literature and sources in crisis, emergency, and risk communication.

2. Recognize and employ relevant knowledge and skills in dealing with real-world communication problems during crisis and emergency situations.

3. Analyze and discuss how digital technologies, social forces, historical contexts, and political factors are interconnected with communication practices in crisis and risk communication.

4. Identify and demonstrate sophisticated skills when addressing diverse populations (such as people of different educational levels, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, vulnerable publics, and those who have experienced trauma) and different communication contexts (such as organizational, interpersonal, group, mediated, social-economic, and local-global contexts).

5. Critically examine existing literature and case studies from scientific, communication, and transdisciplinary perspectives and conduct research in related fields.

6. Develop and become emergency managers who seek greater currency in communication and become practitioners who need the abilities to advocate for best practices.

Communication Track Requirements

  1. Completion of the MSEM Degree with a Communication Track requires 15.0 credit hours of MSEM courses plus 15.0 credits in Communication.
  2. Students in the MSEM Communication Track shall take 9.0 credit hours of required coursework and 6.0 credits of electives in the Department of Communication & Theatre. 

  3. Admission into the Communication Track within the MSEM Program is upon admission by the directors of the Department of Communication & Theatre and Center for Disaster Research & Education 


Required Communication Courses:


EMGT 617, COMM 605, COMM 625


Required MSEM Courses:


EMGT 601, EMGT 603, EMGT 605, EMGT 614, EMGT 693


Communication Elective Courses (6 credits required)


COMM 610, COMM 627, COMM 653, COMM 661

Communication Courses

  • COMM 605 Communication Research Proseminar


    Course Description:

    A survey and application of research methods for managers and communicators. Students

    will investigate appropriate literature, design and undertake a study to investigate a communication problem in their profession. Quantitative and qualitative analyses will be considered with a focus on multi-method approaches to research. Class participants will determine how best to measure and analyze data specific to their hypotheses and/or research questions.



    COMM 610 Seminar in Organizational Communication


    Course Description:

    The course introduces students to fundamental theories and issues associated with

    organizational communication, including organizational culture/climate as created by internal/external communication in interpersonal, small group, intercultural, and public communication contexts, exploring the impacts of communication in both face-to-face and mediated formats.



    COMM 625 Intercultural Communication in Contexts


    Course Description:

    This course is designed to introduce major theories and research dealing with

    communication between people of different cultural backgrounds in crisis, emergency,

    risk, and disaster communication contexts. It examines theoretical issues and

    methodological concerns in studying intercultural conflicts, problem situations, and

    emergency management strategies. By examining the intersections of global and local in

    emergent and conflict situations, students will discover and investigate questions about

    intercultural communication phenomena, engaging with discussions of identity, culture,

    context, power, history, and relationships. Students will learn a range of research tools to

    conduct their independent research, sharing insights and participating in intercultural

    dialogues, with the goal of facilitating intercultural understanding and advocating for best

    practices during emergency management situations.



    COMM 627 Digital Advocacy


    Course Description:

    This course focuses on the ways that digital technologies and social media increasingly

    shape the contemporary impact of social movements and political activism. Bringing together cultural studies approaches to communication and social movement theories with historical attention to protest and social change, this course considers what it means to ‘become-activist’ and how to serve as an advocate for social-political change as an ongoing aspect of one’s everyday life. Hence, the course will explore matters such as commitment and participation, place and identity, conflict and group cohesion, and the social justice issues that arise in regard to race, class, gender, ethnicity, disability rights, immigration and refugees, environmentalism, animal rights, and global activism. As part of the MS program in Emergency Management, the course will also consider the impact of digital advocacy in crisis, emergency, risk and disaster contexts.



    COMM 653 Applied Communication Theory


    Course Description:

    This course is designed as an opportunity to apply communication theories, concepts,

    principles, pedagogies, and practices to address real-world problems in crisis, emergency,

    risk, and disaster contexts. Whether it is at the interpersonal, group, mediated,

    organizational, societal, or global level, communication theories can help postgraduate

    students understand and investigate important issues and concerns. While the main focus

    of the course is to introduce communication theories and apply them in students’

    experiences of crisis, risk, and emergency management, it also employs critical and

    practical perspectives in evaluating current theoretical trends and creating new currents of

    thoughts in research and paradigms. Postgraduate students will be able to apply their

    knowledge and skills to improve their practices during emergency management and

    provide valuable services to the community at large.



    COMM 661 Health Communication


    Course Description:

    This course focuses on forms and functions of communication in a variety of health care settings and on messages in human and mediated communication contexts that promote and reinforce health values, beliefs, practices, policies, and products. This course prepares students to examine the specialized research in health communication in this growing area of scholarship that receives recognition at the national level. It works to advance theory, research, teaching, and practical applications of human and mediated communication to health care and health promotion. Students will also examine how cultures influence the construction and interpretation of health-related messages. As part of the Master of Science in Emergency Management, the course will include a focus on crisis, emergency, risk, and disaster contexts.

About the Program