This article provides an overview of the master of arts strategic communication degree program, some of the subjects and courses that are covered as part of the degree, and why this degree could help you to significantly advance your career. It also highlights a high-quality master of arts strategic communication program that can be completed online.
What Is a Masters of Arts Strategic Communication?
The master of arts in strategic communication degree is designed for those who already work at top executive level in communication careers. Students learn about professional communication techniques, operational development, and leadership. Interestingly, there are currently only a few of these degree programs available across the country, although most of them that are available are delivered online. Usually a research project or a capstone is required for graduation. Because so few programs are available, however, admission is generally very competitive. A bachelor’s degree is almost always required, and also significant work experience in a field relevant to communications.
During the program, students will learn to take on positions at the executive level, ensuring that the company they work for can achieve its goals by making the right decisions. Students learn about networks and structures of local businesses, government agencies, global industries, nonprofit groups, and more. Furthermore, students are equipped with in-depth problem-solving skills, design agendas, and the ability to reach out to targeted audiences.
The program teaches students how to use contemporary communication forms, including podcasts, blogs, and social media. It also focuses on public relations, key messages, promotions, advertising, and market research methods. Students become excellent communicators, understanding what the power of opinions is, how to develop persuasive promotions, various decision-making factors, and more. Furthermore, there is a practical focus to the degree, looking at issues, such as public speaking, writing, reasoning, analysis, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Each school can set its own curriculum for a master’s in strategic communication. That said, most follow a similar core curriculum, which includes:
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Crisis Management and Strategic Writing
- Visual and Creative Communications
- Political and Global Communications
- Public Relations and Positioning
- Strategic Communications Theory
Why Earn a Masters of Arts Strategic Communication?
By earning a master of arts strategic communication degree, you will be equipped with the skills needed to analyze organizations and businesses, helping them to find important solutions, measure opinions, and make decisions in terms of how to communicate with their audience. The degree prepares students to take on executive management positions.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that advertising, promotions, and marketing managers had a median salary of $127,560 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those with a master’s degree are in higher demand and are more likely to earn more as well, thereby being more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $208,000 per year or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be a 9% increase in demand for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers from 2014 to 2024, which is slightly faster than the national average and will translate into some 19,700 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters of Arts Strategic Communication
If you are interested in getting a masters of arts strategic communication degree, then you may want to consider the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program offered by American University‘s School of Communication. This degree program focuses on the global interconnectedness resulting from the digital revolution. It develops communicators who are able to create compelling messages to capture their audience through strategic planning. American University offers this degree online, which means students can complete it around their existing schedule.
The degree has received a lot of recognition, including:
- The 2017 PRWeek top 5 PR program finalists in the United States
- #3 by College Magazine as best school for Public Relations
The program is also the longest standing of its kind in the nation’s capital. The university being located in the heart of government, is uniquely positioned to teach students about social-change communication, public diplomacy, international strategic communication, political communication, PR, nonprofit, corporate, and government communication, and more. It bridges the gap between advocacy, public service, and political science, and graduates can find employment as critical thinkers and writers in just about any industry.
The school offers an optional concentration in advocacy and social impact. This concentration focuses on how social marketing can be used to achieve changes of behavior, including in ethics, political communication, digital advocacy, and grassroots movements.
The degree has been designed to enable graduates to greatly advance their career. While delivered online, it has a strong focus on practical, real-world applications. Graduates are in demand for their skills in targeting audiences, craft persuasive messages, and plan campaigns, using the latest social and digital tools. Graduates are known to be able to:
- Manage and create dynamic communication campaigns
- Be analytical thinkers in terms of problems of communication and how to creatively solve those
- Create strategic communication plans using quantitative and qualitative research
- Write strategically and clearly regardless of the media channels used including digital and social channels
- Understand the different channels, their strengths and weakness, and when to use which
- Use the different communication tools that are available and integrate them in communication campaigns
- Engage audiences in order to bring about social change, particularly through the concentration option
The core courses of the degree include:
- Principles of Strategic Communication
- Writing for Strategic Communication
- Research for Strategic Communication
- Communication Theory
- Strategic Communication Capstone
American University is highly respected for its faculty, who come from global corporations, government agencies, PR firms, and more. They provide real-world experience gained from working in the field in the modern era. Over 95% of graduates from the university are employed in a relevant field just six months after they complete their degree. They are found organizations, such as the U.S. Department of State, Reuters, Microsoft, Ogilvy, Edelman, Fox News, NPR, and Discovery Communication. By earning this master’s degree, people can significantly advance their existing career, taking on positions of leadership with additional responsibilities. Others find new work, moving into management positions. They can be found in business, legal, educational, political, and medical sectors. Some of the common positions they can take on include:
- Vice president
- Communications manager
- Public relations manager
- Advertising manager
- Campaign manager
By earning a masters of arts strategic communication degree, you can significantly advance your career in virtually any industry. You will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to harness the power of modern communication methods, applying them the right way for the right audiences. You will also be a recognized expert in your field, something to take a great deal of personal and professional pride in.
- Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
- Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://programs.online.american.edu/msc/masters-strategic-communication