Earning a Master’s in Strategic Communication Through a 4+1 Program

Today, we’ll hear from Maridel Tineo and David Rodriguez, who will earn their undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years and ultimately save money through Rowan’s 4+1 program in Strategic Communication. 

Maridel Tineo is a senior from Camden, NJ (Camden County) who will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Advertising this spring. Maridel is a first-generation college student and part of Rowan’s EOF program. She found out about the 4+1 program last year in her Public Opinion class. Her professor, Dr. Bokyung Kim, serves as the advisor to the program and encouraged Maridel to apply.

“After she introduced the program to the class, I applied for it because I always wanted to get my master’s degree. It was always just a thought, but when I got the opportunity and information, I had to do something about it,” she explains.

She was accepted into the program in her second semester of junior year. 

Portrait of Maridel Tineo.
Maridel Tineo

Maridel ultimately decided to choose the program because the classes are closely related to what she was already majoring in (Public Relations and Advertising), she liked the coursework and she will save money by shaving a year off of her studies. 

This program does have its unique challenges, though. Maridel shared that the coursework is accelerated and very fast-paced. “The professors definitely hold you to a higher standard. There are great expectations in this 4+1 track because it’s so calculated to make sure you’re able to finish in the five years,” she says.

A class that stuck out to her was a graduate-level Strategic Communication course with Professor Alison Novak. “[Dr. Novak] made the course engaging even though it was online,” Maridel says. “A lot of things that we covered were so interesting to me. My favorite topic was starting my own [fictional] business from the ground up and learning what goes into doing it. Even though it was challenging, it made me realize how interested I was in what we were learning about.” 

Maridel’s end goal is to start a nonprofit organization to give back to her community in the future and take what she has learned in her coursework to make it happen.

David Rodriguez, a senior and first-generation college student from Clayton, NJ (Gloucester County), will graduate with his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations this spring. David also heard about the path to a fast-tracked master’s degree through a class with Dr. Kim. He ended up choosing the program because it was a cost-effective option to achieve a long-term goal he’s always had. “I never thought I would get my master’s degree from Rowan, but I like the professors here a lot and I’m saving money,” he says.

David was accepted into the program in summer 2020 and began his experience the following fall semester.  

David Rodriguez stands in front of a garage door.
David Rodriguez

This program does come with its challenges, though. “The professors in graduate classes expect more. I’ve had the same professors in undergrad classes and graduate classes, and you can tell the difference,” he says.

When asked about an influential professor, David shared his experience about his Graduate Strategic Writing 1 class with Professor John Moscatelli. “He’s a tough grader but made me a better writer. I find myself using the rules and tricks he required in my other classes,” he says.

David’s end goal is to end up in the public relations sports or fashion worlds because it ties what he’s interested in with what he’s learned from his time at Rowan. 

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, junior public relations and advertising major

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