National University offers an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication through its College of Letters and Sciences. A fully online program, the master’s degree can be completed without any in-person residency requirements. Online instruction is asynchronous, meaning students are not required to log on to view live lectures or attend class discussions virtually. However, the program does offer live weekly seminars for students who would like to interact more directly with instructors and peers in real-time. These sessions are also recorded for students who cannot attend.

The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication requires 10 courses (45 quarter credits), which can be finished in ten months to one-year of study. Each class spans four weeks, and the sequence of courses prepare students to lead, develop and implement organizational communication strategies using a range of traditional and new media platforms, such as mobile media, blogs, social media networks, podcasts and more. The curriculum also introduces advanced concepts in audience analysis, evaluating communication campaigns, and conducting research to both inform communication strategies and determine the efficacy of communication initiatives. Students also learn key skills in, professional writing and presentation, media communication planning, and project management.

The 45-credit curriculum includes the following courses:

  • Communication in Global Environment
  • Emerging Interactive Media
  • Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Research Methods
  • Crisis Communications
  • Campaign & Program Management
  • Campaign & Program Evaluation
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Capstone Project

These classes explore major theories of the communication field, including organizational communication and integrated marketing communications. Students examine interpersonal communication practices, exploring how culture, personal characteristics and backgrounds influence message creation and reception. The program also reviews integrated marketing communications, teaching students how to organize interdisciplinary and multichannel marketing communication initiatives that target specific consumer groups. Additionally, students learn how to manage communication campaigns, including individual aspects such as budgeting, resource allocation, audits and asset development.

The final course that students take is the Capstone Project course. The capstone is a presentation of what the student has learned during the master’s program. Students use research, analysis and evaluation to prepare and present a digital, web-based e-portfolio. The portfolio requires students to conduct informational interviews, develop a reflective journal and create a digital portfolio that has text and graphics, a video podcast, interactive links, and contact links.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications

Department: College of Letters and Sciences
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction, although students may attend live weekly online seminars if they want, these sessions are recorded for students who cannot attend in real-time
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 10-12 months

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone project (digital, web-based portfolio)
Credits Required: 45 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Communication in Global Environment; Integrated Marketing Communications; Crisis Communications; Campaign & Program Management; Persuasion; Legal and Ethical Issues

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.5 (or 2.75 in last 90 quarter units)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required if GPA greater than 2.5 (students with a GPA of 2.0 to 2.49 must submit satisfactory scores on either the GRE, GMAT or MAT for probationary acceptance)
Start Dates: 12 starts per year (one per month)

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$18,720 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $416 cost per unit

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*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.