The Perfect Balance of Strategic, Analytical, and Creative Knowledge
When you choose an online Master's in Strategic Communication from American University, you choose a program that has been developed for the way we communicate today. This program will provide a balance of theoretical insight and practical application to help you shape initiatives and bring your ideas to life. Each course weaves in strategic, analytic, and creative knowledge to connect with target audiences and align communication with the goals of your client or organization.
Over the course of this master's program, you will:
- create strategic communication campaigns
- develop a professional writing portfolio with traditional and digital media samples
- use quantitative and qualitative research to define content, purpose, and target audience
- tell compelling stories through creative messaging and understanding the key factors in persuasive communication
- learn to integrate digital and social media strategies and tactics with traditional methods
- use metrics to track and evaluate campaign performance
- understand and explore international approaches to communication, including public diplomacy and cross-cultural communication
- examine crisis communication messaging and decision-making
- explore messaging strategies specifically for creating change and action around social or political causes (in the Advocacy and Social Impact concentration)
The online program consists of 10 courses (30 credits), each eight weeks long, culminating with a capstone course that allows you to apply everything you have learned to a project in your specific area of interest. Further focus your studies, and choose from two concentrations:
- The Advocacy and Social Impact concentration provides you with the opportunity to focus on strategies and tactics related to social justice, political, and advocacy communication.
- The Digital Strategy and Analytics concentration focuses on ways to integrate analytics, cutting-edge trends, and the latest technology to craft communications that produce results.
In the end, you'll be able to pursue better careers in strategic communications.
American University is pleased to offer select students an Online Merit Scholarship, which is limited based on funds. Admitted students will be eligible for scholarship consideration based on academic credentials, professional experience, and exceptional leadership skills.
Course Requirements (15 credit hours)
COMM 640: Principles of Strategic Communication
This foundational course teaches the six steps of building a public relations plan and prepares students to explore topics more deeply in subsequent courses.
COMM 644: Writing for Strategic Communication
Writing is the most vital skill in the field of public relations. In this course, you’ll develop strategic writing skills and explore the relationship between audience, message structure, and medium.
COMM 738: Research for Strategic Communication
Research is central to strategic communication. This course is an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods in communication.
COMM 735: Communication Theory
This course explores a wide range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding public communication, or communication in the public sphere.
COMM 744: Strategic Communication Capstone
In this course, you’ll gain subject-matter expertise by answering a communication issue that hasn’t been studied before. You will design, develop, and execute a research study around this communication issue.
Electives (15 credit hours)
Complete 15 credit hours from the following courses:
COMM 533: Ethics in Strategic Communication
This course provides you with an ethical framework for the practice of public communication and a concept of the ethical issues surrounding communication activities.
COMM 540: Social Marketing for Social Impact
Explore the principles of social marketing, defined as the systematic application of marketing and strategic communication principles to achieve human behavior change toward a social purpose or social good.
COMM 551: Grassroots Digital Advocacy
This course examines how a range of advocacy organizations, including national and international non-profits, NGOs, political campaigns, and activist networks, can harness the power of digital media to activate, mobilize, and organize supporters.
COMM 608: Social Media Strategies and Tactics
Social media is a dynamic communication tool that has significantly changed the public relations industry. You will learn to think strategically about which platforms are the best way to communicate to diverse target audiences and how to open authentic communication with your audience.
COMM 639: Political Communication
Apply public communication principles to advocacy and political campaigns and investigate the role of media relations in politics, the impact of television on political discourse, and political message development.
COMM 669: Digital Strategic Communication Analytics & Certifications
Today's communication professionals are required to understand the integral roles digital and social strategies play for organizations. This course prepares strategic communication students to obtain certification in social media monitoring and digital analytics platforms, such as Meltwater and Google Analytics.
COMM 620: Special Topics: Digital Marketing for Strategic Communication
Today's communication professionals must work strategically across paid, earned, shared, and owned (PESO) channels. Effectively driving digital traffic builds campaign awareness, stimulates engagement, and moves target audiences toward action. This course teaches students how to employ digital marketing strategies and tools to amplify multi-channel PR and strategic communication efforts.
COMM 641: Crisis Communication
Sharp communication within a crisis situation is imperative in today’s business world. This course examines the nature of issue and crisis management from the strategic communication perspective.
COMM 642: Strategic Communication Management
Provides hands-on experience for leading a team remotely to plan and manage public relations and communications projects. Important topics covered are negotiating, budgeting, research and evaluation, and the implementation of management objectives.
COMM 646: Strategic Communication Practicum
In this culminating skills component, you’ll put everything you’ve learned thus far into practice by working with a real-world client and designing a strategic communication plan.
COMM 649: International Strategic Communication
International strategic communication and public diplomacy is one of the fastest-growing areas in the public relations field. This course covers global communication implications, case studies, and PR practices around the world.
COMM-691: Graduate Internship
Gain hands-on, strategic field experience while earning three credits through a summer internship elective. You'll work on site with your company of choice while completing course components online.
Elect An Optional Concentration in Advocacy and Social Impact
Highlight advocacy and social impact expertise on your resume, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles by choosing at least 3 electives marked with an asterisk in the above list. Please note that this concentration will not be listed on diplomas, transcripts, or your degree audit.
Learn more today. Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions adviser, or request more information here.