Master's Degree in Strategic Communication


CORINNE HOARE: In addition to my faculty position at AU, I maintain a public relations business consultancy for a wide range of clients inside the beltway. I love teaching, because I get to integrate practical elements from my real world experience and combine them with a theoretical academic framework. And crisis communications is one of my favorite courses to teach.

SCOTT TALAN: One of the things that AU liked about me was my use of social media. It wasn't just part of the class. It was a graded aspect in the course. It was integrated and integral.


GADI BEN YAHUDA: Whatever kind of social network we have created offline, we have recreated online.

ALLISON BURKE: Developing content is the most important part of any social campaign that you build and implement for an organization or a client.

TOM MCLEAN: That is, if you're not telling your story, someone else will for you.


Learn How to Captivate a Digitally Connected Audience

Communicators who can capture an audience’s attention with strategic planning and compelling messages have a powerful advantage in the market. American University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication equips you to pivot your messaging and market strategies amid rapidly changing environments and trends. With a solid foundation in strategy and platforms available to today’s media, you’ll optimize messaging for every circumstance.

Study in an Online Program that Supports Your Goals

Based in the nation’s political media capital, American University brings this dynamic learning opportunity to you— wherever you live — in a format that works with your schedule. It teaches you the specific skills and strategies you need to stand out in a noisy marketplace.

Graduates understand the importance of effective communication within the public and global forum, and leave the online master’s program with working knowledge of the intersection between traditional communication and PR and political science, public service, and advocacy.

Build Your Expertise in Our Top-Rated Master’s Program

Washington, D.C. is home to some of the world’s most noteworthy communicators. When you study in this proven program, you gain access to this world to become a strong communications professional. The Master’s in Strategic Communication, offered through American’s School of Communication, is:

  • Named among the Top 5 PR program finalists in the United States by PRWeek for 2017
  • Ranked No. 3 by College Magazine as a best school for Public Relations
  • The longest-standing program of its kind in Washington, D.C.

Be the Source of Powerful Social Change

American University’s location within the nation’s capital and the faculty’s Washington experience prepare students for the worlds of corporate, nonprofit and government PR, political communication, international strategic communication, public diplomacy, and social-change communication.

Students in the program have the opportunity to explore techniques specifically to engage and mobilize audiences for social change and justice via the Advocacy and Social Impact concentration. Courses focus on social marketing to achieve behavior change, grassroots and digital advocacy, political communication, and ethics. Learn more about this concentration.

Develop Key Communication Skills in an Engaging Format

You will connect with domestic and international peers through group work, role playing, and dynamic online discussions. It is a format tailor-made for your lifestyle, with coursework that maintains a strong academic and professional foundation.

You'll learn to:

  • 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 with an optional Advocacy and Social Impact concentration

Join a Network of Top Professionals and Educators

Our faculty have worked with major PR firms, government agencies, and global corporations, bringing that experience into the classroom, providing you with knowledge and skills needed to reach your career goals.

Adjunct faculty, guest lecturers, and alumni include top speechwriters, press secretaries, media strategists, Hollywood agents, public diplomacy experts, and advertising and PR executives. Learn more about the faculty in our Master’s in Strategic Communication program.

Master the Many Strategies of Media and Messaging for Success

The real-world skills and concepts taught in this program will open doors throughout the PR and media industry. Employers look for a mindset that’s both creative and strategic, and that’s the kind of thinking we cultivate.

Graduates build a set of valuable career skills including:

  • Knowledge of how to design a communication plan and pitch a plan to a client
  • Research skills necessary to identify a target audience or evaluate results from a PR campaign
  • A portfolio of both written and digital media samples to show employers
  • Working knowledge of the latest social media strategy and digital communication techniques

The Degree that Delivers Career Success

With an online Master’s in Strategic Communication, you will be qualified for a career in strategic communication or a job that needs strong writers and critical thinkers in an industry of your choice. Students learn the latest industry trends, they also develop the type of critical thinking that distinguishes them in the job market.

Graduating students with a master’s degree from American University’s School of Communication are highly employable. More than 95 percent report being employed after six months at companies as diverse as:

  • Discovery Communication
  • NPR
  • Fox News
  • Edelman
  • Ogilvy
  • Microsoft
  • Reuters
  • U.S. Department of State

Financial Support is Available

American University is pleased to offer select students an Online Merit Scholarship of $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000. Admitted students will be eligible for scholarship consideration based on academic credentials, professional experience and exceptional leadership skills. Applications for summer must be submitted by March 15th for priority consideration. Request information to learn more.

Find out More Now

Take the first step to advance your career. Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions representative, or request more information here.