Professional MA Courses & Curriculum

Degree Requirements

The Professional MA in Strategic Communication requires 30 graduate credits to be completed within 24 calendar months. All students take the same 24 course credits in communication and complete a three-credit individual project. In addition, students complete three credits of supporting study at the graduate level. Three of these credits may be taken outside of the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and achieve a grade of B or higher on their three-credit project. Student progress is evaluated by the program director, director of graduate studies, and program faculty. Students must progress each semester to continue in the program. 

There is no final thesis or final MA oral examination required.

Program Curriculum

Please click on the year below to discover the courses you can take. 

Year 1

Fall Semester:

JOUR 8200
Strategic Communication Research and Evaluation

JOUR 8201
Business Fundamentals for Strategic Communication

Spring Semester:

JOUR 5251
Strategic Communication Theory

JOUR 8202 
Brand Management 

Summer Term:

JOUR 8208
Digital Planning, Strategy and Analytics

Year 2

Fall Semester:

JOUR 8203
Writing and Planning for Converged Media 

Strategic Communication Leadership 

Spring Semester:

JOUR 8205
Strategic Communication Cases and Campaigns

Elective Course 

Summer Term:

JOUR 8206 - Capstone Project
This course is designed to support the completion of an individual strategic communication campaign project demonstrating mastery of the entire curriculum in the M.A. in Strategic Communication. This project is completed by taking JOUR 8206 in the summer term. 

Program Courses

Below is a brief overview of the program courses. Students must complete the following courses in sequence:

JOUR 8200: Strategic Communication Research and Evaluation
Concepts and methods to identify consumer insights and social trends that affect communication strategy. Validity and reliability of research techniques will be emphasized as will legal and ethical considerations. This course will review best practices in qualitative and quantitative techniques, including laboratory, online, and market approaches.

JOUR 8201: Business Fundamentals for Strategic Communication
Identification and analysis of issues that affect the development of communication strategy, coupled with background on how organizations develop strategic plans. Factors will be examined with a view to understanding their implications for the development of effective strategic planning. Attention will be given to both the analytic and predictive skills required in this area.

JOUR 8202: Brand Management
Effective brand building can provide organizations with the competitive advantage needed for success. From helping drive stakeholder engagement to building overall brand value, Brand Thinking is central to how today’s most dynamic organizations build brands people can believe in.

JOUR 5251: Strategic Communication Theory 
This course is an introduction to psychologically-grounded concepts, theories and research and their applications for strategic communication. The course objectives involve comprehension and application of a range of psychological concepts and theories related to attitude development, susceptibility to message influence, and opinion formation and change.  

JOUR 8208: Digital Planning, Strategy and Analytics
This is a class that will feel more like a workshop; purpose-built to provide a hands-on learning experience while developing a digital presence for a real-world brand. Starting with the why (business problem or opportunity), students will collaborate on a communication strategy that informs the what throughout the remainder of the class, including the creation of a website, content and ads - as well as becoming Google Analytics certified. At the end of the semester, each student will play a key role in presenting the digital strategy and work that came from it directly to the client, along with an articulation of the impact it made on the client’s communications and business goals.

JOUR 8203: Writing and Planning for Converged Media
An exploration of how communication strategies are integrated across media. The course will include the identification of all relevant stakeholders, points of media contact, audience segmentation, and the roles that each communication discipline can play in campaign development. It will also explore the relationships among media that underlie a successful communications campaign.

JOUR 8212: Strategic Communication Leadership
This course is designed for aspiring leaders responsible for managing communications teams in various organizational contexts. The course covers fundamental principles and theories, guiding students in crafting communication plans aligned with organizational objectives. Students learn to build and manage teams effectively, interact with executive leadership, analyze AI-driven communication tools, and enhance writing and presentation skills for leadership communication. Emphasis is placed on ethical leadership, transparency, diversity and inclusion. Through guest lectures, practical exercises and theoretical discourse, students gain insights into stakeholder relationships and the impact of generational differences on organizational behavior.

JOUR 8205: Strategic Communication Cases and Campaigns
An in-depth analysis of public relations case studies focusing on the development and implementation of communication strategies. Cases will cover a broad range of situations including cases on products, corporate communication and non-profit organizations. Cases will focus on such issues as brand introduction, brand reinforcement, revitalizations, crisis communication, issues management, and legal and ethical considerations. The cases will examine campaign impact on all relevant stakeholders.

JOUR 5252: Issue Management in Strategic Communication (Elective Option) 
Corporations and other types of organizations, specifically non-governmental organizations (NGOs), engage in sophisticated communication activities to manage issues. Advocacy communication provides organizations with a tool for promoting change, forming attitudes, and furthering dialogue about substantive issues. By engaging in advocacy, organizations enter into a public dialogue about issues that they view as significant in the realization of their goals and objectives. 

JOUR8290: Crisis Communication (Elective Option)
This course teaches the concepts and strategies of effective crisis communication. Topics taught in this course include crisis type identification and evaluation, forming a crisis management team, planning and execution of crisis communication strategies, and post crisis communication evaluation. Case studies will be used to teach and analyze crisis communication concepts. Students will participate in a crisis communication simulation to gain experience planning and executing the concepts and strategies learned in this course.

JOUR 8206: Directed Study: Capstone Project 
This course is designed to support the completion of an individual strategic communication campaign project demonstrating mastery of the entire curriculum in the M.A. in Strategic Communication. This project is completed by taking JOUR 8206 in the summer term. 

Supporting Courses (Electives) 
Students take three credits of graduate-level credits, generally courses designated as 5000-level courses and above. Recommended program electives would be JOUR 5252: Issue Management in Strategic Communication or JOUR8290: Crisis Communication. These three elective credits can be completed from departments outside of the Hubbard School and may be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies if the student can demonstrate how the course is applicable to them and the program.



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