Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) offers an online Master of Science in Strategic Communication program through its Department of Communication. The online program is equivalent to their campus-based program and can be completed entirely online. (Students who live near the campus can choose to take courses on-campus as well if they prefer a hybrid program). CCSU uses the learning management system Blackboard Learn for its online course delivery. Through Blackboard, students can access their syllabus and class materials, submit assignments, participate in online discussions with other students, and communicate with instructors.
The Master of Science in Strategic Communication requires 33 graduate credits to complete, which most students finish in 1.5 to 2 years; the program also offers part-time enrollment options. The program is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of strategic communication, teaching them to develop and launch communications initiatives for both internal organizational communication and external public relations. Students gain insights into communication problem solving between teams and departments within an organization, as well as externally between an organization and its target audiences (e.g., consumers, customers, and/or investors depending on the business). The curriculum emphasizes the study of the latest media technologies and how to leverage those platforms to navigate complex communication issues.
The curriculum is divided between core courses (12 credits) and directed electives (18 to 21 credits depending on the student’s choice of capstone option). Foundational courses introduce students to graduate-level study in communication, covering subjects such as research methods in communication, persuasive communication, public opinion research, campaign monitoring and evaluation, and social media research and analytics. After completing their foundational work, students transition into directed electives. Sample electives include Intercultural Communication, Corporate Communication, Communication and Social Change, Communication and Relationship Management, and Case Studies in Public Relations. Students may also pursue independent study, crafting courses that align with their academic needs.
Students in the program must complete a culminating/capstone experience and can choose between completing a special project, a thesis, or a comprehensive examination. The special project is a guided capstone that ends with students creating a portfolio they can use while they apply for jobs. It is a highly flexible and applied learning option. For example, some students may conduct a research project wherein they apply the insights of their research to their current place of employment, while other students may design and implement a communication solution at their place of work before gathering data and analyzing the impact of this solution.
The thesis option is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in academia, producing original research and scholarship in the field. Students must complete a traditional five-chapter dissertation. Lastly, the comprehensive examination option requires a once-per-semester, rigorous examination that tests students on three of the courses they have completed. Students who choose to complete the comprehensive examination have to take one additional elective, as the exam does not count toward the required 33 credit hours, whereas the thesis and special project are completed for credit.
Central Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Association Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).
Online Master of Science in Strategic Communication
Department: Department of Communication
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction with optional synchronous sessions for students who would like to attend in real-time
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years of full-time enrollment (part-time enrollment is also available)
Start Dates: Fall and Spring admission
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone thesis, special project, or comprehensive exam
Credits Required: 33 credits (10-11 courses)
Example Courses: Theories of Human Communication within an Organizational Context; Research Methods in Communication; Persuasive Communication; Campaign Monitoring and Evaluation; Campaign Planning; Communication and Social Change; Public Relations Writing Strategies; Corporate Communication; Intercultural Communication; Advanced Public Relations and Social Media
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 (students with a GPA between 2.7 and 2.99 may apply for conditional acceptance)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree; resume; personal statement
Estimated Tuition*: ~$22,605 + fees (in-state); ~$25,311 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $685 per credit (in-state); $767 per credit (non-resident)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states