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 (AU) online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication prepares you to pivot your messaging and market strategies amid rapidly changing environments and trends. With foundational knowledge in strategy and the 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.
As the longest standing program of its kind in Washington D.C., the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication offers proven coursework to prepare you for the jobs of tomorrow. Now, online students can benefit from the history and expertise at American University. As a member of the AU family, you are encouraged to obtain a student ID and take advantage of the same resources our on-campus students enjoy.
RALPH BROGDEN, MA IN STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION, '19“I 100% recommend American's MASC program."
I 100% recommend American's MASC program. The quality of the professors and students is exceptional. If you apply yourself wholeheartedly you will be rigorously challenged and you will grow personally as well as professionally in this program. I was sad to see it end, which is one reason why I'm pursuing a PhD!
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. American University and the Master's in Strategic Communication, offered through the School of Communication*, is:
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
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.
Career opportunities in PR and Strategic Communication are projected to continue growing as companies, public entities, and nonprofits find they need experts to help them navigate complex new avenues of digital, public, and advocacy communication. Masters graduates of American University’s School of Communication are prepared to enter the workforce inside the Beltway and beyond as media relations managers, publicists, public relations consultants, social media outreach coordinators, and campaign managers. The online MA in Strategic Communication will empower you to take advantage of opportunities in all spheres — corporations, government, the nonprofit sector, and entrepreneurship.
Faculty teaching in the online program will be drawn from the highly regarded on-campus faculty. Get to know our faculty and learn more about their expertise.
Rankings & Accreditation
ONE OF FIVE FINALISTS AND HONORABLE MENTION FOR OUTSTANDING PR EDUCATION PROGRAM IN 2019*
Best Master's in Communication
Among 387 Best Colleges
Best Colleges (2022)
#4 College Gets High Marks
Best Colleges (2021)
#47 Best Colleges for Veterans
U.S. News & World Report
Best Colleges (2021)
#91 Best Value Schools
U.S. News & World Report
Best Colleges (2022)
*School of Communication
CONCENTRATIONS IN SOCIAL CHANGE AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND ANALYTICS
Beyond AU's unique positioning, MA in Strategic Communication students can further tailor their education with a comprehensive concentration. Graduate ready to enter the worlds of corporate, nonprofit and government PR, political communication, international strategic communication, public diplomacy, and social change communication.
Advocacy and Social Impact concentration
Explore techniques designed specifically to engage and mobilize audiences for social change and justice. You'll delve into courses that focus on social marketing to achieve behavior change, grassroots and digital advocacy, political communication, and ethics. Learn more about Social and Advocacy Impact concentration.
Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics concentration
Employers today are looking for communication professionals who know how to use digital strategy and analytics as part of integrated communication campaigns. In this concentration, you'll learn to capitalize on the full range of paid, earned, shared, and owned media channels. Learn more about Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics concentration. Learn more about Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics 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:
- Develop a communication campaign or plan that incorporates the key elements of planning, including situation analysis, research, objectives, strategies, target audiences, key messages, tactics, timeline, and evaluation
- Understand the role of qualitative and quantitative research in strategic communication and how to apply the findings
- Think analytically about communication problems and identify creative solutions
- Write clearly, concisely, and strategically in a range of formats and media
- Understand the role of digital strategy and technology tools in integrated communication campaigns
- Communicate confidently and persuasively
- Use theory, best practices, and the latest research in the field to inform communication practice and scholarship
JOIN A NETWORK OF TOP PROFESSIONALS AND EDUCATORS
Our faculty have worked with major PR firms, government agencies, and global corporations and bring that experience into the classroom to provide you with the 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. Our distinguished full-time faculty include scholars and practitioners in the field who are ready to share their knowledge and real-world expertise. 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. The work you do in our program will help you build skills and a diverse portfolio that will allow you to advance your career even before you graduate.
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
95% of American University's MA in Strategic Communication graduates are working in the field, in graduate school, or both within six months.
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 and 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
- Fox News
- U.S. Department of State
American University’s students will have access to multiple support resources, including a new student orientation to introduce the online learning environment. Students will also have access to resources for 24x7 help desk for technical issues, a student services coordinator, financial aid advisers and more.
Additionally, American University’s Career Center offers services online and over the phone to all online graduate students and alumni. Some services include employer recruiting events, networking events, career advisor webinars and appointments, as well as access to resources for job searches, career advising, internships and scholarships.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE
American University is pleased to offer a new Online Merit Scholarship for select students. Admitted students will be eligible for scholarship consideration based on academic credentials, professional experience, and exceptional leadership skills. 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.
What are your admissions requirements for the online Master’s of Arts in Strategic Communication?
Do I have to have a background in communication to apply?
How long does it take to complete the degree?
Why should I get a degree in Strategic Communication over a degree in PR or Marketing?
Can I transfer credit for previous graduate work?
Do you require submission of test scores?
What are the terms of provisional admission?
Are there scholarships available for the program?
What are the admission requirements for international students?
What documents are required when applying?
• A $55 application Fee
• Phone Interview with Admissions Advisor
• Statement of purpose
• Two letters of recommendation, which may be from former professors as well as current or former employers
• Transcripts from all previous undergraduate and relevant graduate coursework (If a degree was earned outside the U.S., a course-by-course evaluated transcript is required.)
When is the deadline for application?
Is financial aid available?
What should I expect from the capstone course?
Where do alumni of the MA in Strategic Communications program find employment?
Will I be able to take advantage of the same resources as on-campus students do?
What's the difference between the online and on-campus program/degree?
The only significant difference lies in time to completion. The online program takes eight more months to complete than the on-campus program because it's designed to give professionals the flexibility to work full time while earning their degree.
For more information comparing the two programs, reference this chart.