Some people are fortunate enough to enter the job market knowing the exact positions they want to pursue and how to land them. But for many of us, our career aspirations aren’t so static. It’s only through time or trial and error that we realize which path we want to take.
Of course, switching careers and pivoting to a different industry can seem like a daunting task, especially when your resume or education experience doesn’t exactly translate to your new dream job.
So, how do you gain the necessary skills and knowledge to support your career change? Going back to school and obtaining a graduate degree is a successful way to do just that. Plus, many programs accept candidates from a wide range of employment backgrounds, meaning you won’t need to start from scratch with a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field.
USC offers multiple cross-disciplinary graduate programs that can act as a springboard into varying industries. Below, we’ve rounded up six degrees to help you transition to a new career.
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
When it comes to a master’s degree that can prepare you for multiple types of careers, people usually cite the Master of Business Administration (MBA). At USC Marshall School of Business, the MBA program teaches students to become effective leaders who thrive in our data-driven, digital world.
With an MBA, people can easily transition into versatile fields like technology, health care, the military, financial services, government and entertainment.
To be considered for USC Marshall’s online MBA program (which was ranked the number one online MBA program in 2022 by U.S. News & World Report), students simply need a four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent from an accredited institution, two years of professional work experience and to have taken the GMAT, GRE or Executive Assessment (if applicable).
Master of Communication Management (MCM)
With a master’s degree in communication management, people discover how to become strong leaders in both business and communications — giving them the skills needed to tackle all kinds of jobs.
Students in the online Master of Communication Management (MCM) program first learn about communication theory before diving into strategic corporate communication and global marketing, particularly the psychological and societal impact of marketing and the tools needed to run and measure successful campaigns.
Many positions open up to MCM graduates: Alumni have gone on to careers like management consulting, corporate communication, training and development, public relations, sales, advertising and market research.
The MCM program from USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism accepts professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. To apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology
The online Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology (MSIDBT) prepares students to tackle hybrid jobs that require knowledge in multiple disciplines. It’s specifically designed to fit a student’s customized path, with all sorts of elective and project options to help graduates reach individual goals.
After all, as Thanassis Rikakis, dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy put it, “The integration of different disciplines, different approaches, is where we’re going to see many future breakthroughs in human intelligence.”
Alumni of the online MSIDBT program have gone on to pursue a true gamut of careers. Some choose to enter the business world and go on to digital marketing, business analytics, product management and more. Others lean into the design side — becoming graphic designers, creative directors and advertising heads — or advance in the tech world, working in software engineering, website development and VR technology. Students have also used this master’s degree to enter the realm of film, PR or social media.
To be considered, students need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Master of Science in Project Management
A fairly new title in the world of work, a project manager describes someone who coordinates between multiple different programs to fulfill larger organizational goals. As you might imagine, a background in project management can tee you up for a myriad of possible careers.
While obtaining a Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM) from USC Bovard College, students how to build business relationship skills like conflict resolution and negotiation, and apply management processes to real-world projects. A focus is also placed on ethical leadership and social responsibility.
Graduates from the online MSPM program can go on to work in varied fields like technology, business, finance, entertainment, health care and more. Prospective students are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college.
Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership (OCL)
If making a true difference in an organization is a priority for you, an excellent choice may be the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership (OCL) online program from USC Rossier School of Education.
The program, which is organized around three themes — leadership, problem solving and reflection — prepares people to guide workplaces into becoming as effective, competitive and adaptable as possible. In short, students truly learn how to take charge and run an organization.
After obtaining a doctorate in organizational change and leadership, several impactful and high-level jobs in all kinds of fields open up for you. Past graduates have gone on to become CEO or president of their organizations, higher education administrators, professional development managers, executive directors of nonprofits, human resources managers, health care administrators and more.
To join the OCL online program at USC Rossier, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA, six years of proven leadership experience and a high-level writing ability — demonstrated by the EdD Writing Assessment, GRE or GMAT.
Master of Public Administration
Another good option for those hoping to make a difference in the world is the online Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. People with a background in public administration are experts at identifying pressing issues, and then dreaming up and implementing the changes necessary to solve these crucial problems. With this degree, graduates can land jobs that make a lasting impact.
There are a multitude of possible roles with a master’s degree in public administration. In recent years, online MPA students have gone on to work in the nonprofit domestic field, the private sector and government in local, state and federal levels. Job titles include board of directors’ members, executive directors, grant administrators, financial literacy advocates, city managers, emergency management coordinators and more.
To be accepted into the Master of Public Administration online program, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a 3.0 GPA. Pre-service students are required to complete a 300-hour internship and a one-unit Internship Seminar course.
Explore more USC online graduate programs today.