NACOGDOCHES, Texas - A newly established master's degree offered through the Department of Mass Communication at Stephen F. Austin State University will prepare students for a career in the evolving media industry.

According to Dr. John Hendricks, SFA professor and chair of the mass communication department, obtaining a Master of Arts in mass communication will prepare students for any career in journalism; strategic communication, including advertising and public relations; and/or electronic communication.

"This degree was approved to be offered as both a face-to-face and online degree," Hendricks said. "Once the new program acquires a specific enrollment benchmark, it will be offered solely online - hopefully within the next semester or so."

The new degree comprises two different completion paths, a thesis option or media project option. Both options require completion of 30 hours of coursework and six additional credit hours.

The thesis option was designed to assist students wishing to continue their graduate studies; whereas, the media project option evolved for those wishing to advance as media professionals, Hendricks said.

Hendricks noted that students graduating with a Master of Arts in mass communication will be able to comprehend a variety of theories within the mass communication discipline; understand and conduct research pertinent to mass communication; retain knowledge of legal and ethical principles, as well as historical context and societal implications of the media industry; and grasp the evolving trends - all while analyzing the media's role in the global market.

"The strength and appeal of this degree is that it's designed to allow students to pursue specializations and specific interests and allows for individual personalization to help achieve career goals."