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Specialisation in Organisational Communication

Gain the skills you need to take on challenging communication tasks in an international organisation


In the first semester of the specialisation in Organisational Communication, you acquire extensive knowledge of strategic communication management. In the second semester, you focus on organisational communication in more complex contexts, such as intercultural environments or consultancy situations. In the third semester, you extend and reflect on the skills you have acquired: depending on your personal strengths and preferences, you can either study abroad or gain practical work experience in an international company.

In the specialisation modules, you focus on developing solutions to practical problems. We give you the chance to deal with real tasks and concrete projects as often as possible so that you acquire the necessary competences in a hands-on approach. In some modules, you receive real-life assignments from industry partners and work with other students to develop viable solutions under the supervision of a lecturer.

International competences

The specialisation programme is also designed to promote international competences. In the second semester, for example, all lectures and seminars take place in English, and you address the challenges international organisations have to overcome when it comes to communication. These challenges include coordinating and aligning the content and organisation of communications across different countries, interacting with stakeholders from different cultures and gaining insights into relevant media discourse in different countries.

Core modules

The research-based core modules form part of the MA for all specialisations. In the core modules, you learn to reflect critically and constructively on professional practice. The modules investigate principles and methods of applied linguistics. In plenary lectures and small groups of students from the different specialisations, you study central issues relating to applied linguistics in professional practice and you learn how to assess communication output competently.

The specialisation modules in Organisational Communication carry 74 ECTS credits, the core modules 16 ECTS credits.

Career opportunities

Our Master’s programme prepares you to take on a management or specialist position in organisational communication. This means that the programme focuses primarily on analytical, conceptual and strategic skills and on international and intercultural competences.

Our graduates typically work for large companies or SMEs in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe, for companies operating globally, international organisations, associations, the public sector and consultancy firms. 

During your studies, you have the chance to make contact with well-established communication practitioners. As external or guest lecturers, they pass on their knowledge and skills from various branches of the industry and from the perspective of various professional positions. This contact with the professional world makes it easier for you to gain a firm foothold in your chosen career when you graduate.

Target public

Our Master’s programme is primarily designed for people with a Bachelor’s degree in organisational communication, languages, humanities or social sciences who see their future in corporate communications. For many people with a degree in humanities or social sciences, it is an ideal further qualification which allows them to enter the professional field of organisational communication.

Our Master’s programme therefore brings together students with Bachelor degrees in a wide variety of subjects. We take advantage of this mix to consider problems from different perspectives and to use different methods to find solutions. Valuable knowledge transfer takes place during seminars and groupwork, and students gain an insight into the ways of thinking characteristic of other academic disciplines.

Admission requirements

Personal qualities

Successful candidates for the Master’s programme specialising in Organisational Communication should have:

Formal admission requirements

In order to be admitted to the programme, you must fulfil the formal conditions listed below. On the application form, you will find details about the documents that you should include with your application or submit afterwards. 

  1. Bachelor’s degree
    You must have a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent tertiary qualification in organisational communication. If you hold a degree in an unrelated field, you are required to pass a written test of competence in applied linguistics and organisational communication.
  2. Professional aptitude test
    You take an oral professional aptitude test designed to assess your practical aptitude in the field of organisational communication and your potential for postgraduate studies at Master’s level.
    In the test, you must demonstrate a basic understanding of organisational communication in practice. This also applies if you do not hold any qualification in organisational communication or have not yet had any practical experience in this field. We recommend you to prepare for this interview by consulting the literature on organisational communication practice and by reading the public media regularly.
  3. Test of competence
    If you have a degree in a subject unrelated to organisational communication, you are required to pass a test in applied linguistics and organisational communication, in addition to the professional aptitude test. Depending on the degree you hold, you may be exempt from parts of this test. After the deadline for applications, you will receive a reading list to help you prepare.
  4. Internship
    In order to be admitted to the programme, you need to have relevant professional experience or to have completed a full-time internship of at least 3 months in the field of organisational communication. Evidence of professional experience or of the completion of an internship must be included with your application form. Candidates who do not fulfil this requirement when they submit their application can, on request, supply the necessary evidence at the start of their studies.
  5. Language competence (English / German)
    Candidates for the specialisation in Organisational Communication also have to provide evidence of English language competence (at least C1 level) and, in the case of non-native speakers of German, of German language competence (at least C2 level). This evidence can be in the form of language certificates, a Bachelor’s degree in a language-related subject or proof that they have spent considerable periods of time in a country where these languages are spoken. The necessary documents can be submitted up to the date they start their studies.

Individuals who have been excluded from a Master’s degree programme at other universities that cover equivalent content can no longer be admitted to the corresponding specialisation at the ZHAW.

Dates and deadlines

We recommend candidates who hold a Bachelor’s degree in a subject unrelated to organisational communication to apply by the first deadline so that they have enough time to fulfil the necessary requirements (completing an internship, passing the test of competence, producing evidence of English language skills) before they start their studies.

Candidates who hold a Bachelor’s degree in Organisational Communication and who already fulfill most of the requirements can apply by the second deadline. In exceptional cases, we may consider applications submitted after the second deadline.

  Programme start: Spring semester 2024
Deadline for applications 1 15 May 2023
Professional aptitude test 1 26 June – 7 July 2023
Deadline for applications 2 31 August 2023
Professional aptitude test 2 25 September – 6 October 2023

Subject to change.