Julia Cooke’s interest in market research was sparked during an introductory marketing course her first year at Stevenson University.

Julia Cooke’s interest in market research was sparked during an introductory marketing course her first year at Stevenson University. Eager to learn more, she pursued part-time work as a Qualitative Assistant and Research Associate while she completed internships involving project management and marketing. Julia’s experience in the field combined with her bachelor’s degree in Business Communication well-prepared her for the job market; however, in search of greater employment opportunities, she decided to pursue her master’s degree. Through the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option offered at Stevenson University, Julia began taking graduate courses in her junior year. In 2016, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree and had approximately one more year before earning her master’s degree. Currently, she is enrolled in Stevenson University’s Master’s in Communication Studies while working for the National Security Agency (NSA).

Stevenson University Online had the opportunity to chat with Julia about her experience in the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option.

Why did you enroll in Stevenson University’s Bachelor’s to Master’s Option?

I saw this program as an opportunity to “test drive” the courses in the Communication Studies program as an undergraduate and have those courses count towards both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I had two courses under my belt even before I finished my bachelor’s in Business Communication and those two courses pose no risk; I am paying the same tuition while getting credits toward both degrees and, if I decided not to continue with the graduate program, then I have the option to complete my bachelor’s degree as normal.

Why does the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option work for you?

Stevenson University Online made the transition from undergraduate to graduate courses seamless, despite any challenges that may arise. With the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option, I have seven years to finish the program. Life can take a turn at any moment; I may find a job after graduation that requires me to adjust my priorities or I may have trouble balancing my career and coursework. Stevenson allows students to prioritize their responsibilities and, if necessary, put the master’s degree on hold. If things go as planned, I can finish the program in about a year which eliminates the additional year required by traditional graduate programs.

This option also provides an easy transition into my specific program as well as Stevenson University Online in general. In terms of the process of applying, I applied for the master’s in Communication Studies program in my junior year; the application was reviewed and kept on file. Upon completing my undergraduate degree, my transcript was reviewed, and I was enrolled as a graduate student and assigned an advisor. It was much easier than the typical master’s program application process.

The transition from my major into my selected graduate program was easy as well. I loved the Business Communication program; the curriculum is interesting and the faculty are caring, thoughtful, and supportive. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered many of the professors from my major are teaching courses for the Communication Studies program. Some of those same professors developed the program as well. Because I was so successful and happy with the education I received as an undergraduate, I had no hesitation when enrolling in the master’s program.

What helped you to decide on the advanced degree options at Stevenson University Online?

All of Stevenson University Online’s master’s programs, such as Communication Studies, are completely online. As I said before, life can take unexpected turns. I am not sure where I will be post grad at the moment, but no matter where I go, I can take my master’s program with me. Because the courses are online, I can fit them into my schedule when it is convenient for me; I desire that level of flexibility because I am unsure of where life will take me as a young professional. The courses are accelerated and offered in 8 week sessions year round, which allows students many options. We can take one or two courses at a time and really concentrate on the course material rather than having up to six courses at a time for a 16 week semester.

What do you hope to gain as a result of completing two degrees in a short time frame?

I hope to gain an edge in my field. With a master’s degree, I will learn the practical application of the theories and practices of communication. I have learned alongside my peers who are passionate about education and communication like I am. I hope to expand my network and learn from not only the professors and coursework, but my peers as well.

In addition, I hope to gain confidence in myself. By furthering my education, I am developing a comprehensive background in the field of communication. When I pair that knowledge with industry experience, I know I will have all the tools to be successful. When I am working alongside people with years of experience, I hope my education will give me the confidence and reassurance that I know what I am talking about. One day, I want to be a leader in the field.

Do you believe the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option has assisted you in achieving your career goals?

Yes, the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option really takes your application to the next level. The courses involve students researching case studies and academic journals that all come from the field. I would read about a theory or a concept in a textbook and was then challenged to find that concept in my daily work life or in the news. The assignments also taught me that there is an aspect of communication in everything. Graduates of this program are not going to be restricted to a standard communications job, as every field needs exceptional communicators. I am grateful that the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option is comprehensive and has prepared me for whatever career I choose.

You are encourage you to attend Stevenson University’s Bachelor’s to Master’s Option Information Session on Wednesday, February 21 from 5 – 7 p.m. to learn more about the advantages of earning both degrees in a short time frame. For more information, view the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option web page or contact Tonia Cristino at tcristino@stevenson.edu or 443-334-3336.

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