Gonzaga University offers a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies through its School of Leadership Studies. The program can be completed almost entirely online, but does require students to visit the campus in Spokane, WA to participate in one immersion learning session (although students have the option to attend more than one immersion if they choose). For its online program management, Gonzaga University uses the Blackboard learning management system. Through Blackboard, students can access class materials, submit assignments, participate in online discussion forums with classmates, and communicate with instructors and faculty members.

The Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies requires 30 credit hours of study and, on average, is completed in two years by most students. The program emphasizes skill development in communication, problem solving, and negotiation, teaching students the fundamentals of conducting audience analyses, evaluation research, interpreting data, and delivering effective presentations and messaging.

The ten-course curriculum is divided between theory and practice core classes (4 classes), electives (4 classes), a capstone (2 classes), and one on-campus immersion. Electives are broad, allowing students to select coursework in topics such as relational communication, digital storytelling, media literacy and digital citizenship, strategic and corporate communication, digital and social media, communication consulting and training, and more. Students may also select from one of six optional academic concentrations that supports their professional field of practice, including the following: Change Leadership, College Teaching; Digital Media Strategies; Global Leadership; Servant Leadership; or Strategic and Organizational Communication. Concentrations have specific elective requirements students must take in addition to the core courses.

Core coursework for all tracks covers major concepts and fundamental principles in communication theory, writing, communication and leadership ethics, intercultural and international communication, and content creation and strategy. With the core set of courses, students also complete a core capstone course. This course familiarizes students with conducting and analyzing academic research in order to prepare students to complete a professional project or thesis at the end of their program.

The optional academic concentrations include the following options:

  • Change Leadership: This concentration teaches students how to employ key interpersonal and organizational communication strategies to guide diverse groups and/or organizations through change. The concentration requires three core courses, one of which includes a 3-day on-campus immersion, and one elective.
  • College Teaching: Designed for individuals pursuing communication teaching careers at the postsecondary level. The concentration includes three required courses, including Communication Teaching and Pedagogy, an internship, and an elective.
  • Digital Media Strategies: This concentration teaches students how to use digital platforms to develop, launch and evaluate digital media messages and campaigns. Students must complete two required courses in Digital Storytelling and Digital Media Analysis, as well as two electives.
  • Global Leadership: This concentration helps students understand complex work environments by developing a self-aware cultural sensitivity that allows them to negotiate within different cultural contexts. The concentration requires a single course in global systems, two electives and a study abroad experience in Colombia, Belgium, or Czech Republic.
  • Servant Leadership: This concentration is for individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge of the philosophy of servant leadership and develop strategic skills to practice servant leadership in their industry. The concentration includes two required courses, including a four-day on-campus immersion in Spokane, WA, and two electives.
  • Strategic & Organizational Communication: This concentration is for those who want to advance their skills in strategic communication and learn how to apply strategic problem solving practices in organizational settings. The concentration requires a single course in organizational communication and two electives.

After finishing core courses, electives and concentration classes, students complete their capstone project or thesis, which they present at a forum at the end of the program. For students who choose a concentration, the topic of their final project or thesis should be related to that concentration.

Gonzaga University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies

Department: School of Leadership Studies
Specializations/Concentrations: Optional Concentrations in Strategic & Organizational Communication; College Teaching of Communication; Global Leadership; Digital Media Strategies; Servant Leadership; Change Leadership
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with one required campus visit (students may attend additional immersion sessions if they choose)
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction - students can access course materials at any time
Campus Visits Required: Yes (1 throughout the program)
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 to 2.5 years
Start Dates: Five starts per year (January, March, May, September, October)

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone project or thesis
Example Courses: Theorizing Communication; Masters Level Writing; Communication & Leadership Ethics; International and Intercultural Communication; Content Creation and Strategy; Organizational Communication and Leadership; Digital Storytelling; Strategic & Corporate Communication

Admission Requirements
Application Requirements: Bachelor's degree; one letter of recommendation; statement of purpose; resume
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 (if GPA below 3.0, applicants must submit an explanation of GPA statement)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$31,500 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,050 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Program does not currently accept students from Massachusetts

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It does not include fees or other expenses.