HELP: I need input to select Masters program

Hello!  As I near completion of my Bachelors in Applied Social Science at Colorado State, I am considering a number of Master’s programs.  In short, I thought I would reach out to my friends and associates to get your input, based on your knowledge of me, my skills, my gaps, and your view of the future.

I chose to pursue social science, because so many of society’s challenges and opportunities in both the public and private sector usually have solutions, but lack an understanding of how to organize the social environment for change; the environment, globalization, inequality, healthcare, and economic growth are all examples.  At the same time, we are in a period of great change with the advent of a global communication network, global transportation network, and the Internet, as we construct the social meaning of our future with these incredible capabilities.  As I consider Master’s programs, I am looking at it through the lens of social change in digital era, and the potential impact we can have on our major challenges, specifically focusing on the role of businesses, government, or NGOs in engineering the social element of solutions.

Therefore, I have thought about a Master’s program in the following ways:

  • Continue focus on social science, going deeper on communication as the key skill to affect change that can be applied to any situation.  These programs typically include focus on communication & media or communication & leadership.  The programs at Gonzaga, John Hopkins University, Seton Hall, University of North Carolina, and University of Southern California fall into this category.
  • Starting applying what I have learned about social science towards one of the most pressing opportunities and challenges of our time, environmental sustainability.  I think that both the public and private sector will need to address sustainability in a meaningful way in the future and will need leaders with a social science background to help affect change.  The programs at Colorado University, Duke, and University of Denver fall into this category.

The attached PDF, named masters thoughts, includes more detail for each program, including curriculum, costs, and duration.  I would very much like to hear your perspective.  Please provide your feedback using the blog comments.  Thanks!

masters thoughts


6 Comments on “HELP: I need input to select Masters program”

  1. rjrock says:

    These are all online programs….btw.

  2. Shaun says:

    I will study this in detail and add my perspective. For what it is worth I say pick one and don’t worry. You will succeed and master what ever you choose in the end.

  3. Tom Tonkin says:


    My thoughts when looking at this list are the following:
    GRE – Literally an ‘old school’ way of generating a number to rank students coming in. My opinion, no longer a valid or even a useful metric.
    Length – All are reasonable
    Cohort – An intangible at first, but I have experience with a cohort model. Excellent method and I highly suggest it especially at these higher levels. Not a ‘must have’, but certainly enhances your experience.
    Money – At a cursory levels, the average is in the low 30s’ (k), that is comparable to anything out there.
    Courses – Here is where the big departures take place. Schools define their view through the classes they offer from a particular department. For example, U of D’s MS in Innovation and Change still appears to have a financial spin on it, and John Hopkins has some research in their program which is their heritage form other degrees.
    My choices – Seton Hall and Gonzaga, in that order.

    Good luck


    • rjrock says:

      Hey Tom,

      Thanks for weighing in. I had similar observations, particularly as it relates to program heritage. After more research into the CU and University of Denver programs, the classes largely come out of the business school, with a smattering of sustainability and leadership thrown in. Any reason you like the Seton Hall program over Gonzaga?


      • Tom Tonkin says:

        Hey RIch,

        Two reasons, one is an assumption. I like the titles of the Modules. They appear to be more relational than Gonzaga’s. My assumption is that a Module approach, where you interact with multiple professors and students (the assumption) is much more rewarding than a class approach. In my Masters, it was a single professor with a set of students. My PhD is 6 professors with the same cohort every semester over 4 years. Completely different an much more rewarding.

  4. Just as a follow-up. Looks like its Gonzaga. Congratulations.

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