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Annenberg, London School of Economics Offer Master’s Program

Members of the Managing Global Communication program at USC conduct a video conference with their London counterparts. Students spend one year at USC and one at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Photo by Irene Fertik

The USC Annenberg School for Communication has joined with the London School of Economics and Political Science to offer a new jointly taught master’s degree program.

The program, Managing Global Communication, teaches students in two of the largest media centers in the world.

“This is not just a jointly taught degree program, but a true collaboration between researchers on at least two continents,” said Patricia Riley, professor of organizational communication.

The program, launched in fall 2000, was the first of its kind, said Riley, who coordinates the program for Annenberg. It joins two very different but highly rated institutions.

“The LSE is the top-ranked school of social science in the United Kingdom … but has a small media and communication program,” she said. “Annenberg is one of the top-ranked communication programs in the world. The combination of the two programs is most remarkable in terms of access to cutting-edge research, networks and resources.”

Annenberg students interact with their counterparts in London through video-conferencing technology and Web-based instructional sessions. All students and faculty meet face to face twice a year at conferences in Los Angeles and London.

Students also spend one year at each school.

“I really liked the idea of a year in London and a year in L.A.; it gives a practical aspect to a global degree,” said Noreen Huang, a USC student completing the second year of the two-year program.

Currently there are 41 students in the program, 13 at USC and 28 in London. Six of the students now at USC started the program in London last year.

The program examines the globalization of media industries and the media as a globalizing force itself, Riley said. It prepares students for developing and managing the internal and external communications of multinational corporations, government and nonprofit organizations.

“The idea for the program … came from [social theorist] Anthony Giddens, who is the director of LSE,” said Riley, who is director of the School of Communication within the larger USC Annenberg School for Communication.

Annenberg Dean Geoffrey Cowan provided funding for the initial conference and sponsored a fund-raiser that paid for the first scholarships for this program.

“The next phase of this program will expand our collaborators and create projects that will involve researchers from all over the world,” Riley said.

Sandra Normann, a native of Neuwied, Germany, who began the program at the London School, noted differences in the two schools’ approaches. “The British university system in general is much more theoretical,” she said. “Here it is much more applied. At LSE I spent more time in the library, but here I am writing business papers, giving presentations and doing a consulting project.”

A multicultural upbringing influenced Pallavi Aiyar to pursue a global communication degree.

“I was born in India, educated in New Delhi, Oxford, London and Los Angeles. My boyfriend is Spanish and works in Beijing,” she said.

Aiyar, a second-year student, plans to live in Beijing for a couple of years before going on to France or India. “I decided to pursue this degree in order to make sense of changes in the global media landscape, which in some parts of the world – like India – are occurring at a dizzying pace.”

Annenberg, London School of Economics Offer Master’s Program

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