Online Programs

MA in Strategic Communication: Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

American University’s School of Communication has a distinguished history of accomplishments in social change, social justice, political communication, and advocacy. The Advocacy and Social Impact concentration of the Master’s in Strategic Communication program focuses your passion for positive social change and political causes on communication techniques that engage audiences and encourage real action.

More people around the country and the world today wish to make their voices heard in social movements, election campaigns, public-policy debates, and legislation to achieve social change. To accomplish this, organizations need to engage, influence, and mobilize people for action. This unique concentration emphasizes high-level communication principles and techniques to create change at the individual, community, and public-policy levels, allowing you to apply what you learn to a career path in your area of choice, such as politics, health care, community issues, or the nonprofit sector.

Through the degree and this concentration, you will:

  • Create and manage dynamic communication campaigns
  • Develop effective communication plans using qualitative and quantitative research
  • Think analytically about communication problems and develop creative solutions
  • Write clearly and strategically across media channels, including social and digital
  • Understand how channels differ and how to use each one effectively
  • Use digital strategy and technology tools adeptly in integrated communication campaigns
  • Focus on tactics to engage and mobilize audiences to achieve positive social change

Concentration Curriculum

Students choose three electives from the following five course options. These electives fulfill three of the five required electives for the overall MA in Strategic Communication curriculum:

  • COMM 533 Ethics in Strategic Communication
  • COMM 540 Social Marketing for Social Impact
  • COMM 551 Grassroots Digital Advocacy
  • COMM 608 Social Media Strategies and Tactics
  • COMM 639 Political Communication

Communication Careers in Advocacy and Social Change

Many MA in Strategic Communication students want to pursue a career working for social causes and issues they are passionate about, such as health, education, and the environment. If you want to work for organizations that are dedicated to improving lives, the Advocacy and Social Impact concentration can provide you with the specific skills and expertise such organizations are looking for, including:

  • An understanding of the theory behind behavior change
  • Knowledge of communication theory and its applications in social marketing
  • The ability to make change happen
  • Strong digital organizing and social media skills

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), rates of employment in public relations and marketing communications-oriented jobs are increasing,1 while applicants with strong social and digital media skills will see high demand. Graduates may have titles similar to other areas of strategic communication (e.g., Director of Communications, Public Affairs Specialist) while working for government agencies and nonprofit organizations such as foundations, associations and advocacy groups.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed May 31, 2017.

Pursue a fulfilling career helping causes you are passionate about with the online MA in Strategic Communication with the Advocacy and Social Impact concentration. Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions adviser, or request more information here.