Want your work to make a difference beyond your paycheck or a company’s bottom line? You can use science and strategic communication to make the world a better place.

Our lab members are committed to training the next generation of advocacy and public interest communication scholars, researchers, and practitioners to use science-based strategic communication for social change.

In 2018, we launched the nation’s first on-the-ground M.S.J. (master of science in journalism) in advocacy and public interest communication. In addition to grounding in journalism and strategic communication, ethics, and social science research methods, students obtain a graduate Area of Emphasis (AOE) in APIC through selecting courses such as public interest communication, advocacy communication, crisis emergency risk communication, audience development/engagement, and others.

What is APIC?

Advocacy and public interest communication (PIC) is an interdisciplinary emerging field linked to strategic mass communication. It merges theory and practice to examine the development, implementation, and evaluation of science-based strategic communication efforts to achieve publics’ attitudinal and/or behavioral changes regarding a public interest issue (i.e., a risk or problem that surpasses a particular organization’s or entity’s concerns). Put simply, advocacy and PIC engage science-based strategic communication to influence prosocial change.

What will this degree do?

Entering with a variety of backgrounds and career goals, students benefit from exploring theory and research regarding identifying audiences and appealing to their self-interests, developing proficiency in strategic use of digital and social media, pondering ethics of persuasion, understanding and applying science in communication, appreciating civic engagement, engaging in responsible advocacy in the marketplace of ideas, and taking social and entrepreneurial action.

With research-grounded discussions surrounding issues such as public health, terrorism, climate change, education, poverty, corporate social responsibility, social justice movements, public affairs, and more, the APIC curriculum exposes graduate students to diverse viewpoints of substantial meaning to society, and it challenges and enables them to become responsible change agents. Studies culminate in either an original research project (thesis) or a literature-grounded professional project to solve a real-world social problem.

The systematic study of APIC prepares and empowers students, whether they move on to earn doctoral degrees or research fellowships or seek professional communication careers ranging from government to corporate to nonprofit to grassroots social entrepreneurship.