Online Programs

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.


Strengthen Your Voice for a Digitally Connected World

We live in a world where everyone is competing for attention. Communicators who can capture audiences with strategic planning and compelling messages have a powerful advantage. Based in the nation’s media capital, American University teaches the skills you need to stand out in a noisy marketplace. Now, with the online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, we are bringing this dynamic learning opportunity to you, wherever you live, in a format that works with your schedule.

Earn a Degree from a Top Master’s Program

The Master’s in Strategic Communication, offered through American’s School of Communication, has been named among the top five PR program finalists in the United States by PRWeek for 2017. Also ranked No. 3 by College Magazine as a best school for Public Relations, the School of Communication offers the longest-standing program of its kind in Washington, D.C.

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. 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. With an online Master’s in Strategic Communication, you will be qualified for any career in strategic communication or a job in any industry that needs strong writers and critical thinkers. As a graduate, you will be equipped to handle a rapidly changing environment with a solid foundation in storytelling and a clear understanding of tools and platforms available for today’s media.

Concentration in Advocacy and Social Impact Option

Students in the program have the opportunity to explore techniques specifically for engaging and mobilizing 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.

A strategic communication degree from American University’s School of Communication will allow you to advance your career, in any field, by combining the foundational theories of effective communication with practical application to make an impact in a constantly changing media landscape. Our program allows you to learn on your own schedule via an engaging and interactive online learning platform. Request information to learn more.

Strategic Communication Scholarships

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 spring must be submitted by October 15 for priority consideration. Request information to learn more.

Master the Art of Communication in Our Dynamic Online Classroom

American University’s online Master’s in Strategic Communication program helps you plan campaigns, craft persuasive messages, and effectively target different audiences. You will learn to leverage the latest in digital and social tools to ensure that your messages have the greatest effect.

You will engage with domestic and international peers through group work, role playing, and dynamic online discussions. It is a format tailor-made for today’s lifestyle, with coursework that maintains a strong academic and professional foundation made accessible to you anytime and on any device.

Harness the Power of Media and Messaging

Washington, D.C. is home to some of the world’s most noteworthy communicators. When you study with us, you gain access to this world, enabling you to develop as a communications professional. The real-world skills and concepts taught in this program will open doors throughout the PR and media industry.

Upon completion you will have mastered the ability 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

Learn from 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.

Gain a Competitive Edge for Your Career

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, and the U.S. Department of State.

MA in Strategic Communication graduates build up a set of valuable career skills by the time they earn their degrees 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

Not only do our students learn the latest industry trends, they also develop the type of critical thinking that distinguishes them in the job market. Today’s employers are looking for a mindset that’s both creative and strategic, and that’s the kind of thinking we cultivate and encourage.

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.