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The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Strategic Communications

Updated:
The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Strategic Communications
Rank School Location
1 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, Pennsylvania
2 University of Delaware Newark, Delaware
3 Texas Tech University Lubbock, Texas
4 Florida International University Miami, Florida
5 Washington State University Pullman, Washington
6 Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan
7 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia
8 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, Arkansas
9 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, Connecticut
10 Southeastern Oklahoma State University Durant, Oklahoma
11 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida
12 University of Maryland Global Campus Adelphi, Maryland
13 American University Washington, District of Columbia

We have ranked the best online master’s degrees in Strategic Communications in the U.S. Our list is designed for online master’s students to become informed and make intelligent college and degree decisions.

About this ranking

This ranking includes all categories of higher learning – public, private, non-profit and for-profit schools. This ranking is informed by our algorithm, which analyzes data from the National Center for Education Statistics, and a proprietary metric of academic influence. For more information about our ranking methodology, see our College Calculator.

In our increasingly interconnected world, obtaining an online master’s degree in Strategic Communications can be a strong and strategic professional degree, providing various opportunities in the modern workforce.

In our increasingly interconnected world, obtaining an online master’s degree in Strategic Communications can be a strong professional degree choice, potentially providing a variety of opportunities in the modern workplace. Businesses, non-profits, governments, celebrities, and anyone or any organization that has a public presence can use strategic communication in crafting their public images and personas. Strategic Communications is a versatile degree choice which can potentially provide graduates with many career options.

Organizations can be one negative story or headline away from losing their business and reputation. Communications professionals make it possible for companies, individuals, and governments to craft their narrative and positively influence public opinion.

What is an online master’s degree in Strategic Communications?

Strategic Communications programs teach students about using communication and media channels strategically to achieve goals. Students learn consumer and marketing data analysis, how to make persuasive arguments, and critical thinking skills in creating narratives, shaping public opinion, and crafting brand development across media outlets.

The typical credit hour requirement is 30 credits. Students can complete these online programs in approximately two years. Some programs are only one year, and some are three years. Degree programs can be synchronous or asynchronous.

Some online class examples from various colleges include:

Many programs have a capstone requirement.

Strategic Communications | job positions

Job positions for Strategic Communications graduates might include:

Career FieldAverage Median Salary
Marketing Manager$135,030
Technical Writer$78,060
Communications Strategist*$69,313
Public Relations Specialist$62,800
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, *ZipRecruiter

An online degree in strategic communication will let you take on more seniority while collaborating with the C-suite.

Communications, writing, and consumer analyses are all career-advancing skills. Most online Strategic Communications master’s degrees will make you stronger in these areas.

Featured online colleges

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Ranking Methodology

This Best Online Master's Degrees in Strategic Communications ranking was created using Successful Student's ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school's ranking placement:

Learn more about our methodology.

Online Graduate College | Ranking CriteriaWeight
Retention Rate20%
Desirability (Number of Applicants)20%
Graduate Fully Online Enrollment10%
In-District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates10%
In-State Average Graduate Tuition10%
Academic Influence30%

The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Strategic Communications

1.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

On Successful Student, Penn State is a top three business school. With Penn State World Campus, students can experience a world-class education from home.

Understanding Penn State’s online Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications

This 30-credit program is perfect for communications professionals who want to become managers. After finishing the online Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications, students should know how to run effective campaigns in the modern digital era.

Courses:

Required courses in this program include:

  • Strategic Communications: Theory and Implementation
  • Digital Media Analytics
  • Strategic Communications Industry
  • Ethics and Decision-Making in Strategic Communications
  • Research Methods in Strategic Communications
  • Strategic Communications Campaigns

Additional courses include:

  • Social Media Communications
  • Advanced Digital Media Analytics
  • Reaching Multicultural Populations with Strategic Communications
  • Strategic Communications Law

How to Apply

To apply for this course, you should have a bachelor’s degree. Fortunately for students with crazy work schedules, this program offers fall, spring, and summer intake.

2.
University of Delaware (UD)

Newark, Delaware

The University of Delaware is highly ranked on SuccessfulStudent.org in many disciplines. Between its flexible course offerings and its 7-week courses, University of Delaware students have the advantage of learning at their own pace.

Understanding the University of Delaware’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication

The University of Delaware’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication is a 30-credit program that takes two to three years to complete. Graduate students can pursue one of three concentrations:

  • Digital and social media
  • Public relations
  • Customized degree

After completing this course, graduates will be able to research and create effective communication campaigns.

Courses:

Required courses for this program include:

  • Communication Research
  • Principles of Strategic Communication
  • Communication Theory
  • Communication and Ethics

Students specializing in Public Relations will be able to choose from courses like:

  • PR Management
  • Strategic Communication and Persuasion
  • Public Relations Campaigns
  • Crisis Communication
  • Strategic Communication Campaigns
  • Branding
  • Advanced Strategic Communication Writing
  • Public Relations Writing
  • Reputation Management
  • Topics in Public Relations

Meanwhile, the digital and social media specialization includes courses like:

  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Interactive Marketing
  • Writing for Digital Media
  • User Data Analytics
  • Reputation Management
  • Digital Media Content Strategy
  • Topics in Digital Media
  • Advanced Strategic Communication Writing
  • Social Media Management

In addition, the University of Delaware’s strategic communication electives include:

  • Strategic Communication Campaigns
  • Digital Political Strategy
  • Sports Communication & Branding
  • Media Analytics
  • Effective Health Communication
  • Communication & Leadership

All students will need to complete a strategic communication capstone to graduate.

How to Apply

The University of Delaware’s graduate application process is based entirely online. Potential students will have to provide transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores.

Once you’ve filled in the application, you’ll need to pay a $75 fee. In addition, you’ll also need to submit your application before the deadline.

  • Enrollment: 23,808
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 82%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $12,730
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $34,164
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Desirability: 24.2%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 6%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $34,164
  • Influence: 74.4341%

3.
Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Texas Tech began teaching classes off-campus in 1971. Then, it introduced a distance-based degree in 1996. Today, in the 2000s, the university is continuing to offer convenient learning solutions to its students.

Understanding Texas Tech’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation

This 30-credit program is built with the needs of busy working professionals in mind. After completing a combination of core courses and electives, graduates of the MA in Strategic Communication and Innovation will have the foundation needed to become managers, directors, and senior-level communication specialists.

Courses:

Mandatory courses for the Texas Tech MA in Strategic Communication and Innovation include:

  • Strategic Communication Planning and Writing
  • Research Methods
  • Communication in Organizations
  • Media Management, Entrepreneurship, and Consulting
  • Mass Communication Theory Seminar
  • Strategic Communication in a Global Environment

Elective course offerings include:

  • Production of Digital Media Content
  • Audience/Data Analysis & Reporting
  • Multimedia Story Telling
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Advanced Social Media Practice
  • Special Topics in Strategic Communication

Along with these required courses and electives, there’s also a capstone final project. According to the university, this will involve doing applied research.

How to Apply

You need a resume along with a personal statement and samples. In addition, the university will also ask for letters of reference and recommendation.

Although admissions are rolling, the university advises students to apply at least 45 days before starting. For international students, the application process may have an even longer waiting period.

  • Enrollment: 38,742
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 59%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $6,744
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $5,958
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Desirability: 35.08%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 27%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $5,958
  • Influence: 70.6553%

4.
Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Florida International University’s online degrees are created with the needs of busy working professionals in mind. So much so that the university has over 100,000 online graduates. Many of these former students have gone on to pursue careers in law, engineering, education, and medicine.

Understanding Florida International University’s online Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications

This program requires students to study for roughly 48 weeks in total. Graduate students in the online Global Strategic Communications program will be taking two courses per term, and four courses per semester. After completing this course, students should be able to step into senior and executive-level positions at major companies.

Courses:

Required courses for this program include:

  • Production of Digital Media Content
  • Audience/Data Analysis & Reporting
  • Multimedia Story Telling
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Advanced Social Media Practice
  • Special Topics in Strategic Communication

Electives include:

  • Communication for Change Management
  • Advanced Communication Seminar
  • Multimedia Production and Design
  • Strategic Facilitation
  • Communication in the Digital Age
  • Global Reputation Management
  • Strategic Storytelling and Digital Content Creation
  • Social Media Metrics and Evaluation
  • Mediation Techniques
  • Applied Media Communication Skill
  • Fundamentals of Conflict Resolution
  • Organization Conflict and Dispute Resolution Systems
  • Global Communications
  • Media Planning
  • Independent Study

In this program, all students are required to complete a research-based mass communications professional project.

How to Apply

Florida International University has an online application process. After choosing the online Master of Science in Mass Communication: Global Strategic Communications, you’ll need to submit your transcripts and your proof of degree. After that, you’ll be required to pay a $30 application fee.

  • Enrollment: 58,711
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 56%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $4,721
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $8,912
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Desirability: 37.28%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 29%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $8,912
  • Influence: 34.2989%

5.
Washington State University

Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Pullman, Washington

Washington State University offers students the online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication degree online. This program is taken through the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, and designed for students who want to learn communication for public relations, advertising, and corporate communication strategies.

Selection of classes:

  • Research methods
  • Crisis communication
  • Multimedia content creation
  • Professional ethics
  • Persuasion for Professional Communicators

Credits: 30

Online students learn the latest multimedia tools for content creation, and how to market their content, which includes social media marketing.

Students complete a 3 credit capstone project.

GRE scores are not required for admission.

6.
Michigan State University

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

East Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University has the online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication degree. There are 1, 2, and 3 year degree tracks available to online students. This online program was specially designed for assisting in the career advancement of working professionals.

Selection of classes:

  • Social Media Storytelling
  • Media Analytics
  • Evaluation Techniques for Working Professionals
  • Digital Media Strategies
  • Brand Image & Communication

Credits: 30

Students will complete a final capstone project.

No GRE is required for admission.

7.
Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Based in Virginia, Liberty University has been offering distance-based liberal arts education to students since 1985. Like many other universities that offer distance-based programs, the school strives to help busy working professionals pursue advanced degrees in a convenient and efficient format.

Understanding Liberty University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications

Liberty University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications is a 33-credit hour program that takes an average of one year to complete. While working on this online master’s degree, students will get a practical look at running communications campaigns. After graduating from this program, Liberty students will know exactly how to apply communications theory to real-world business problems.

Courses:

The university requires students to complete the coursework for this degree in this exact order:

  • Strategic Media Analysis
  • Effective Social Media
  • Strategic Storytelling
  • Video, Social, and Mobile Promotion
  • Best Practices: Transforming the Digital Organization
  • Media Technologies and Communication Strategies
  • Transmedia Storytelling
  • Using Emerging Trends in Strategic Communications
  • New Beginnings: Research, Insight, & Application
  • Strategic Organizational Communication
  • Strategic Campaigns for the Digital Age

How to Apply

All graduate students will need a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5. To apply, you’ll need to submit your college transcripts before paying the $50 application fee.

  • Enrollment: 85,586
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 39%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $15,417
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $7,980
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Desirability: 24.47%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 94%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $7,980
  • Influence: 23.6724%

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8.
Arkansas State University-Main Campus

Jonesboro, Arkansas

With a history that dates back to 1909, Arkansas State University is the second-largest university in Arkansas. Although the institution is known for its emphasis on research, the university’s well-rounded alumni list includes NFL players, NBA players, politicians, and other public figures.

Understanding the Arkansas State online Master of Science in Strategic Communication: Tech Law and Policy

For graduates who want to pursue a rigorous degree that emphasizes analysis, research, and law, the MS in Strategic Communication: Tech Law and Policy is a smart choice. This 30-credit program can be completed within 10 months for students in a hurry and comes at a total cost of less than $10,000. Between the academic degree and the Hootsuite certification that comes with it, program graduates will be ready to take on senior-level and executive positions within their organizations.

Courses:

All students must take either Media Entrepreneurship or Communication Regulation and Policy.

Additional core courses include:

  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Advertising Account Management
  • Strategic Communication Management
  • Strategic Communications Seminar

Other courses within the curriculum are:

  • Privacy Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • EU and US Data Protection Law
  • Seminar in Information Technology Law

How to Apply

Arkansas State University requires applicants to submit writing samples. In addition, you must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree with a 3.0 GPA. Along with the official transcripts, you’ll also need to submit a $30 fee with your application.

  • Enrollment: 13,356
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 47%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $6,540
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $4,986
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Desirability: 37.19%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 77%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $4,986
  • Influence: 17.8901%

9.
Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, Connecticut

With a founding date of 1963, Sacred Heart University is younger than some of the other institutions on this list. However, that hasn’t stopped this university from making an impact. From its impressive rankings to its emphasis on student outcomes, Sacred Heart University prides itself on innovation and excellence.

Understanding Sacred Heart University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Between the portfolio-building coursework and the degree’s emphasis on agency creation, graduates from this 36-credit program will learn about everything from crisis communications to creating multimedia content. With its emphasis on learning PR in the 21st century, Sacred Heart’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications and Public Relations is designed to put students in control of their careers.

Courses:

The core courses for this degree include:

  • Media Ethics in a Professional Context
  • Strategic Communication in the Digital Age
  • Multimedia Communications I and II
  • The PR Agency in the Digital Age
  • Strategic Communication for Diverse Populations
  • Crisis Communication
  • Special Topics: Law & Strategic Communication
  • Advertising, PR, and Consumer Culture
  • Social Media and Strategic Communication
  • Corporate Communication

Sacred Heart’s program also has a Strategic Communication and Public Relations capstone.

How to Apply

Sacred Heart University has an online application form that requires students to have a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. While GRE/GMAT scores are not required, you will need to submit a resume, a personal statement, and two recommendation letters to apply for this program.

  • Enrollment: 9,156
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 72%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $42,800
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $30,427
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Desirability: 21.35%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 30%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $30,427
  • Influence: 1.08949%

10.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, Oklahoma

Southeastern Oklahoma State University can trace its historic roots back to 1909. And with a notable alumni list that includes a tribal chief, football players, basketball players, politicians, and Reba McEntire, the university’s contributions to culture and diversity are impossible to deny.

Understanding Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s online MBA in Business Administration: Strategic Communication

This degree differs from others on this list in that the coursework focuses on business administration while offering 12 credit hours of strategic communication-related coursework.

Courses:

The first 24 credit hours of coursework for the MBA include:

  • Behavioral Management
  • Research Methods
  • Strategic Management
  • Management Economics
  • Marketing Management
  • Financial Management
  • Data Analysis for Managers
  • Accounting for Managers

The 12 credit hours of strategic communication coursework include:

  • Crisis Communication
  • Persuasion and Leadership
  • Strategic Communication
  • Strategic and Organizational Communication

How to Apply

Southeastern Oklahoma State University requires its master’s students to have bachelor’s degrees and a minimum 3.0 GPA. If your grades fall below this threshold, you may be asked to provide additional work, portfolio, or application letter requirements. In addition, if you have a non-business degree, you may need to take prerequisites.

Assuming all of this is complete, the university’s streamlined online application process is intuitive and easy to use.

  • Enrollment: 5,049
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Six Year Graduation Rate: 25%
  • In State Average Undergraduate Tuition: $6,240
  • In State Average Graduate Tuition: $4,716
  • Retention Rate: 62%
  • Desirability: 62.66%
  • Grad Students Fully Online: 93%
  • In District Average Tuition Full Time Graduates: $4,716

11.
University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Founded in 1853 and operating out of the same campus since 1906, the University of Florida is a well-known institution with a storied history. Considered a top-5 public university and boasting twenty top-20 graduate programs, this institution combines prestige with academic excellence.

Understanding the University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a Global Strategic Communication Concentration

The online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with Global Strategic Communication concentration focuses on helping students learn how to do cross-cultural and international communication. With a deep emphasis on interpersonal communication and cultural awareness, graduates from this program will be ready to work in mission-driven business and nonprofit environments.

Courses:

Core courses for this degree include:

  • Video Storytelling
  • Mass Communication Theory
  • Global Activism
  • International Issues and Crisis Communication
  • Foundations of Intercultural Communication
  • Public Affairs Communication

How to Apply

You need an upper-division undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Your transcripts will need to be provided. In addition, you’ll need three letters of recommendation along with a statement of purpose and a resume.

Once you’ve put everything together, you can pay the non-refundable $30 application fee.

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12.
University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, Maryland

The University of Maryland’s Global Campus helps working adults and veterans receive a top-notch education at an affordable price. Between the school’s flexible programs and its emphasis on practical instruction, the student experience at the University of Maryland’s Global Campus is hard to beat.

Understanding the University of Maryland – Global Campus’ online Master of Science in Strategic Communications

This 36-credit online program draws heavily from the University of Maryland’s larger mission of giving its students a hands-on and practical education. After completing this degree, students will be able to apply their coursework in real-world business situations.

Courses:

All students are required to take a foundation course in Decisive Thinking, Communicating, and Leading in Multidisciplinary Fields.

Additional core courses must be taken in this order:

  • Foundations of Strategic Communications
  • Communications Techniques and Tactics
  • Communications Leadership and Management
  • Crisis Communications Management

There’s also a Communications Campaigns capstone.

How to Apply

All you need to qualify for this master’s program is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. After that, you’ll just need to list your degrees and your attendance dates. For master’s degrees, the application fee adds up to $50.

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13.
American University

Washington, District of Columbia

Based out of Washington State, American University was created after George Washington insisted that the U.S. capital should have a national university. In 1893, Congress chartered the institution, and American University was born.

Understanding American University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication

The online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication is ideal for students who are looking for careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

The list of available concentrations includes:

  • Advocacy and Social Impact
  • International Strategic Communication
  • Diversity and Multicultural Communication
  • Corporate Communication and Reputation
  • Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics

As such, strategic communication students have plenty of career opportunities available to them after graduation.

Courses:

Required courses for this degree include:

  • Writing for Strategic Communications
  • Communication Theory
  • Research for Strategic Communication
  • Principles of Strategic Communication

The extensive elective course catalog includes:

  • Sports Communication
  • Media Relations
  • Political Advertising
  • Speechwriting
  • Political Communication
  • Visual Design in Strategic Communication
  • Social Media Strategies and Tactics
  • Strategic Health Communication
  • Ethics in Strategic Communication
  • Web Portfolio
  • Political Communication
  • History of Cross-Cultural Cinema
  • Communication and Social Change
  • Strategic Communication Practicum
  • Digital Media Literacy and Skills
  • Political Advertising
  • Multicultural Strategic Communication Campaigns
  • Social Marketing for Social Impact
  • Foreign Policy and the Press
  • Strategic Communication and Content Creation
  • International Strategic Communication
  • Grassroots Digital Advocacy
  • Strategic Communication in Advertising
  • Entertainment Communication
  • Communication, Culture, and the Environment
  • History of Cross-Cultural Cinema
  • Reputation Management
  • Strategic Communication Campaigns: Advertising Lab
  • Strategic Communication Leadership and Management
  • Digital Strategic Communication Analytics and Certifications

Along with these course requirements and electives, students will have to complete the Strategic Communication Capstone.

How to Apply

To qualify for this program, students need a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of their coursework. Once you’ve submitted your resume, transcripts, recommendation letters, and essay, you’ll need to cover the $55 application fee.

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Career information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Media and Communications fields are projected to grow by 14 percent between 2020 and 2030, adding over 150,000 positions.

Now more than ever, organizations need to create sophisticated communications strategies that speak to a wide range of audiences. Online master’s degrees in Strategic Communications make it possible for graduates to learn the art of communication to craft the narratives for businesses, non-profits, and any public-facing organizations.

College data sources

  1. Penn State – World Campus: Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications
  2. University of Delaware: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  3. Texas Tech University: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation
  4. Florida International University: Master of Science in Mass Communication: Global Strategic Communications
  5. Washington State University: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  6. Michigan State University: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  7. Liberty University: Master of Arts in Strategic Communications
  8. Arkansas State University: Master of Science in Strategic Communication: Technology Law and Policy
  9. Sacred Heart University: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Public Relations
  10. Southeastern Oklahoma State University: MBA in Business Administration: Strategic Communication
  11. University of Florida: Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a Concentration in Global Strategic Communication
  12. University of Maryland Global Campus: Master of Science in Strategic Communications
  13. American University: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  14. National Center for Education Statistics
  15. SuccessfulStudent.org: College Calculator

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