The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Strategic Communications through the Department of Liberal Arts and Communication. The program is intended for working professionals and is fully online with no required campus visits. UMGC specifically designs their programs for working adults and members of the military; therefore, instruction is asynchronous so that students can complete assignments and access course materials from anywhere and according to their schedule.
This 36 credit-hour degree program requires the completion of six courses and a capstone. The program can be completed in as few as 18 months, but students have up to five years to complete the degree requirements. Students can start the M.S. in Strategic Communications during any of the program’s four terms–in winter, spring, summer or fall. Courses offered reflect the program’s commitment to blending rigorous academics with practical applications. All students complete the same fixed curriculum, as there are no elective courses.
The curriculum includes a foundational course entitled Decisive Thinking, Communicating, and Leading in Multidisciplinary Fields, and core courses in Foundations of Strategic Communications, Crisis Communications Management, and Communication Leadership and Management. These classes are intended to help students to advance their professional careers and are also designed to assist them in preparing for industry certification exams offered by the Public Relations Society of America (Accreditation in Public Relations) and the Global Communication Certification Council (Strategic Communication Management Professional).
Students finish the program by completing a capstone project in which they choose an existing organization and design a communications plan to help advance the strategic communication of that organization. The capstone course requires students to conduct research, set goals and objectives for the communication campaign, develop specialized messaging to target audiences, and determine a budget for carrying out their chosen campaign tactics according to their strategic timeline.
The capstone course is meant to give students hands-on experience acting as an organization’s corporate communication director and to result in a project that testifies to the specialized skills and advanced strategic communication knowledge that they acquired during their time at UMGC.
University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Online Master of Science in Strategic Communications
Department: Liberal Arts & Communication
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 18 months
Start Dates: Four starts per year (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall)
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 36 credit hours (6 courses with capstone)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone communication campaign
Example Courses: Decisive Thinking, Communicating, and Leading in Multidisciplinary Fields; Foundations of Strategic Communications; Communications Techniques and Tactics; Communications Leadership and Management; Crisis Communications Management
GPA Requirements: No minimum GPA to apply
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree
Estimated Tuition*: ~$18,144 + fees (in-state), ~23,724 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $504 per credit (in-state); $659 per credit (out-of-state)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states