A student being superimposed in front of a pink background with paperwork and charts.

Why Complete Your MS in Strategic Communication?

For today’s businesses and organizations to be successful, it's now essential to have goal-driven communication leaders at the table. It’s time to claim your seat.

If you’re ready to meet the 24/7 challenges of a digitally connected world, earning your master's degree will hone your talents—and put you at a competitive advantage—for this in-demand field.

  • Lay the foundation for a successful career: More than 25 percent of public relations and marketing professionals hold a master’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics).
  • Set yourself apart: Professionals with master’s degrees in communications earn almost 20 percent more annually than those with only bachelor’s degrees (CBS News).
  • Growing opportunities: Overall employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2020 to 2030 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The MS in Strategic Communication degree program is customizable with full- and part-time options and applied and research tracks. It offers rolling admission, which means you can apply shortly before the semester starts. However, we can only accept a limited number of students each year, so we encourage early applications. We also have positions for graduate assistants. For full consideration for an assistantship, submit your application by March 15.

Imagine Your Future

You’ll graduate from the MS in Strategic Communication program ready to hit the ground running. Enhance your career prospects. Pennsylvania employs many communications professionals in public relations, media, and beyond.

Be ready to lead in any of these exciting areas:

  • Corporate communication
  • Corporate training
  • Health communication
  • Media and broadcasting
  • Political communication
  • Public relations
  • Social media management

Industries hiring professionals with a communication background include:

  • Financial services
  • Technology
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Higher education
  • Manufacturing

Advertising and Promotions Managers


Job growth for the next 10 years

New jobs for PR specialists


Over the next 10 years

Arts, A/V Tech, and Communication


Job Growth, Prior 10 Year Period

Advertising Managers


Job growth, next 10 years

Largest industry in PA

Broadcasting and Telecommunications

PA rank for number of employed PR professionals

Top 25%

Job Growth for PA PR Specialists


more than the rest of the country

Classes and Requirements

What You’ll Study

Whatever your goals for the future, one of the MS program tracks will help you make those ambitions a reality.

  • Applied track: Learn with a real-world edge. Focus on developing your writing and production skills and applying them to your internship or current job. This track requires students to take Advanced Strategic Communication Writing and Production, a course that will enhance your ability to develop goal-oriented media and communications campaigns.
  • Research track: Designed to grow your strategy skills for a career in communication or a future doctoral degree, you’ll conduct industry-related research. This track requires a thesis and completion of the Research Development in Strategic Communication course.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Applied Track: Skills That Set You Apart, No Matter the Field

Within a wide range of fields—from education and politics to safety science, business, and healthcare—having the ability to research and craft smart communications are essential and highly-valued skills. The Applied Track will help you build and demonstrate your abilities in these areas, so you can set yourself apart in the job market.

Our program is designed to address the core elements of career readiness, as defined by The National Association of Colleges and Employers:

  • Career and self development
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork
  • Technology

You'll hone these and other skills many employers are looking for, including problem solving, written and verbal communication expertise, and analytical skills (National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Research Track: Immerse in Your Interests and Advance Your Strategic Know-how

The Research Track enables you to dive deeply into a topic of interest that's directly relevant to your current or future career. You'll grow your expertise in researching and analyzing data using qualitative and quantitative methods, skills that are as important to effective communication as understanding audience and messaging techniques. The Research Track is also an excellent bridge to future doctoral studies.

In program coursework, you’ll learn how to:

  • Analyze organizational communications needs
  • Integrate written and verbal messages with digital media production
  • Utilize critical thinking and argumentation to construct strategic messages
  • Apply your learning through comprehensive thesis research

By graduation, you’ll be well-prepared to conduct the research that's vital for smart, targeted communications, or to continue your studies in a PhD or other doctoral-level program.

Application Requirements

If you’re interested in earning your MS in Strategic Communication at IUP, be prepared to submit the following materials:

  • Online application form and application fee
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate courses completed (except for IUP students and alumni, who will not need to provide their transcripts)
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional or academic references
  • A goal statement that details your reasons for earning the degree
  • Resume or curriculum vita

As an applicant, you'll need to complete your bachelor's degree before you begin graduate-level courses, and have earned a 3.0 GPA in your prior studies.

Early Admission for IUP Juniors

If you're a current IUP student working toward a bachelor's degree, you may apply for early admission to the MS in Strategic Communication program.

Early admission will let you jump-start future opportunities–and enter the field with an advanced degree faster.

Early admission requirements:

  • Open to current IUP students earning bachelor’s degrees.
  • Must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, at least 15 credits in your major, and plan to complete at least 60 credits in the semester when applying.
  • Up to 12 credits can be taken through early admission, with credits counting toward bachelor's and master's degree completion, saving time and money.