Curriculum and Class Details

  • A group of female strategic communication students sit in a group with their professor

    Our MS in Strategic Communication is designed to meet the needs of both full-time students and working professionals. Take up to four classes per semester to earn your master’s degree in 12–14 months, or lighten your workload to accommodate your busy schedule and still complete the program in three years or less.

    To earn your degree, you will need to complete a minimum of 36 credits beyond your bachelor’s degree. That includes 30 course credits and 6 credits of internship or thesis. Within that framework, you will have the opportunity for a number of electives to personalize your communication curriculum.

    Curriculum: MS in Strategic Communication

    Required Core Courses (12 credits)

    Course Name Credits
    COMM 511 – Theories and Principles of Strategic Communication 3
    COMM 512 – Writing for Strategic Communication 3
    COMM 513 – Multimedia Development and Production 3
    COMM 715 – Research and Professional Development in Strategic Communication 3
    GSR 615 – Elements of Research 3

    If you want to pursue the applied track in preparation for your communication career, you will need the six-credit internship as part of your curriculum:

    Applied Track Requirements (6 credits)

    Credits
    COMM 793 – Internship 6

    The research track gives you the preparation you need to continue your studies at the doctoral level. The research track requires the six-credit thesis.

    Research Track Requirements (6 credits)

    Credits
    COMM 795 – Thesis 6

    The remaining 15 credits (five classes) can be taken as electives. The Department of Communications Media offers a number of options, which help you further specialize your studies to fit your professional goals and interests.

    Elective Course (15 credits)

    Credits
    COMM 611 – The Strategic Communicator 3
    COMM 612 – Persuasion 3
    COMM 613 – Strategic Communication and Online Campaigns 3
    COMM 712 – Global Strategic Communication 3
    COMM 713 – Advanced Strategic Communication Writing and Production  3
    COMM 714 – Crisis Communication 3
    COMM 720 – Political Communication 3
    COMM 745 – Health Communication 3

    Sample Academic Schedule

    The program accommodates both full-time and part-time students. Full-time students normally take 12 credits per term (fall, spring, and summer) and can finish the program in one year.

    Part-time students have the option of doing one to three courses per semester and have up to five-years to complete the program. Students should consult with the program coordinator on possible options and timelines. 

    A suggested sequence of courses for full-time, enrolled students:

    Courses by Semester
    Credits
    Fall Semester
    COMM 511 – Theories and Principles of Strategic Communication 3
    COMM 512 – Writing for Strategic Communication 3
    COMM 513 – Multimedia Content Development and Production 3
    GSR 615 – Elements of Research
    3
    Spring Semester
    COMM XXX – Elective 3
    COMM XXX – Elective 3
    COMM XXX – Elective 3
    COMM 715 – Research and Professional Development in Strategic Communication 3
    Summer (Year 2)
    COMM XXX – Elective 3
    COMM XXX – Elective  3
    Applied Track, COMM 793 – Internship
    -or-
    Research Track, COMM 795 – Thesis
    6
    Total Credits 36

    Course Descriptions

    COMM 511
    Theories and Principles of Strategic Communication

    Provides students a solid foundation of the study of strategic communication with emphasis on organizational communication theories, strategic storytelling, participatory media, and online media’s impact on behaviors and attitudes. Students will learn key elements of the field, analyze and evaluate messages for their strategic communication effectiveness, and create and present examples of Strategic Communication in written and oral presentations. This course will provide an overview of discipline specific applications of strategic communication.

    COMM 512
    Writing for Strategic Communication

    Prepares students to write goal-driven messages aimed at promoting action across a wide variety of media platforms. Students evaluate and write strategic communications documents for communication platforms, including in-person, online, and on-air.

    COMM 513
    Multimedia Development and Production

    Focuses on the planning, development, and production of multimedia for strategic communication. Particular focus is placed on both the function and promotion of interactions between developer and the target audience with the goal of creating media that both provide content and motivate and equip audiences to respond with user-generated content.

    COMM 611
    The Strategic Communicator

    Prepares students to become strategic communicators. Students will be engaged in content about interpersonal communication, group dynamics, problem-solving, and conflict resolution to become effective strategic communicators in the field. Course content will help students identify challenges, develop solutions, and use appropriate presentation techniques to solve organizational problems.

    COMM 612
    Persuasion

    Introduces students to the theories and practices involved in understanding the creation of persuasive messages, or messages intended to influence people’s attitudes, behaviors, and opinions through all forms of media and interpersonal discussion. This course will look at how people process persuasive messages and the subsequent effects of these messages. This course will explore theories of persuasion, attitude change, and message design that can be used for message creation.

    COMM 613
    Strategic Communication and Online Campaigns

    Prerequisite: COMM 513

    Exposes students to the current and evolving terminology for online distribution of media campaigns. The course will require students to study successful and unsuccessful campaigns of the past. Students will then plan and develop a media campaign that is strategically targeted to a narrow audience and delivered and promoted via online media.

    COMM 712
    Global Strategic Communication

    Exposes students to the complexities of strategic communication for global organizations, with an emphasis on leadership and management of communication. Students will be engaged in research, discussion, and writing to gain an understanding of how organizations develop information for a multicultural and global audience, both internal and external. Includes analysis of ethical, legal, political, and social communication issues around the globe. Skills and practices learned in this course will be transferable to multiple contexts of globally oriented communication.

    COMM 713
    Advanced Strategic Communication Writing and Production

    Prerequisites: COMM 512, 513

    Prepares students to write and produce strategic messages at the professional level and to meet the needs of employers in internships and careers. Using theory, research, writing, and production concepts from previous coursework, students will be engaged in the purposeful creation of strategic communication products that meet the needs of organizations and audiences.

    COMM 714
    Crisis Communication

    Explores the challenges of communication during crisis situations and emphasizes the practical and theoretical applications of communication strategies used by companies, organizations, and governmental bodies during headline-grabbing crises. The course focuses on the issues relevant to planning, developing, and executing of crisis communications plans. Students will explore communication and media relations techniques for communicating with stakeholders during a crisis. Cases discussed will examine crisis situations in business, political, educational, and non-profit settings.

    COMM 715
    Research and Professional Development in Strategic Communication

    Prerequisites: Department Permission

    Provides a broad overview of the diverse perspectives and approaches to strategic communication. Using theory, research, writing, and production concepts from previous coursework, students will be engaged in the purposeful creation of strategic communication products or a research project that reflects the goals of the MS in Strategic Communication program. This project-driven course provides a capstone course experience for students in the Master of Science in Strategic Communication.

    COMM 720
    Political Communication

    Provide students with a survey of communications role in politics and the political process. An interdisciplinary exploration of the field will explore the role of communication in and through legislative processes and outcomes, political campaigns and debate, news media, civic engagement, public opinion, political discourse and political identity construction.

    COMM 745
    Health Communication

    Explores the role of communication campaigns in the area of public health. Students will develop the skills necessary to use media strategically to advance persuasive health messages through design, production and dissemination. Applies communication theory to the promotion of health messages.

    COMM 793
    Internship

    Prerequisites: COMM 713, departmental approval

    Provides for a summer experiential education experience in a professional setting. This faculty-supervised experience may include placement at approved academic, business, nonprofit, governmental, or other organizations in a department or area related to the goals of the MS in Strategic Communication. Students will complete 240 work hours for this six-credit culminating experience.

    COMM 795
    Thesis

    Prerequisites: COMM 715, department approval

    Requires students to design, develop, and execute an original research study in an area related to strategic communication. The culmination of the research will be a written thesis.