Washburn University offers a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership through its Department of Communication Studies. The degree is offered entirely online and does not require student to visits campus. The university uses the Brightspace learning management system from Desire2Learn (D2L) for its online degree programs. Through the platform students can access class materials, participate in class discussions, watch lectures, submit assignments, and more. Students can also access technical support through the platform 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on the instructor, some classes may have live (synchronous) sessions using video conferencing software.

The Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership requires 30 credit hours and can be completed in as little as two years if students enroll full-time and complete two eight-week courses per semester. The program is designed for working professionals and offers an interdisciplinary curriculum to help them develop effective communication, leadership and strategic thinking skills. Students in this program follow a set ten-course sequence that covers multi-level leadership, negotiation and mediation, public policy communication, strategic communication management, and rhetoric and persuasion. An introductory class in graduate work in communication helps students become familiar with core concepts in the field, such as perception, conflict, group dynamics and listening.

From there, the curriculum helps students build skills in interpersonal, inter-group/organizational, and external-facing strategic communication. Moreover, through these classes, students explore essential leadership skills and gain practice in managing organizational resources (e.g. personnel, finances) to implement effective communication services, products, and programs. The curriculum also requires students to consider leadership in varying contexts – both local and global – thereby preparing them to balance priorities within different organizational settings. Courses include Team Communications in Organizations, Communication in Conflict and Negotiation, Public Policy and Global Leadership, Seminar in Strategic Management Communication, Organizational Improvement and Innovation, and Self and Systems Leadership. Students also take either a Special Topics course in communication leadership, or select an elective upon receiving approval from their faculty advisor.

The program culminates in a capstone experience in the final semester. The capstone requires students to identify a community or organizational communication opportunity or issue and develop a strategic plan to further define, analyze, measure and address the communication issue. During their work on their capstone project, students receive support and feedback from faculty mentors.

Washburn University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership

Department: Communication Studies Department
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses asynchronous instruction but may have some synchronous sessions depending on the instructor
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in ~2 years

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone project
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Introduction to Graduate Study in Communications Studies; Seminar in Strategic Management Communications; Team Communication in Organizations; Communication in Conflict and Negotiation; Persuasion; Organizational Improvement and Innovation

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 in last 60 hours of undergraduate degree
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Start Dates: Fall admission only

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$14,790 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $493 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Students from California should check with program to ensure they are eligible for admission before applying

*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.