MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership Curriculum
MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership Curriculum
MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership Curriculum

Effective communication defines the success of businesses across industries. In fact, almost every industry seeks communication experts, making the skills taught in communication courses useful across professions.

Master’s degree programs in strategic communication and leadership can provide the perfect outlet to help you deepen your knowledge and become a more effective and collaborative leader.

In the changing field of communication, the ability to manage initiatives, analyze trends, anticipate market shifts, and build strong connections is vital. At Maryville University, we offer advanced communication classes to give you the opportunity to expand these skills, so you can prepare to anticipate the needs of businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations.

Maryville University Online MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership Curriculum

At Maryville, we don’t succeed unless you do. That’s why our online master’s in strategic communication and leadership degree is career-based and future-focused. Choose this 36-credit-hour program, and you can personalize your studies to align with your professional goals. Whether you want to run a communications department or start your own consulting business, we offer the industry-relevant courses to match.

Much like you, we’re outcomes driven, and it shows in our curriculum. It’s the reason we partner with leading authorities like Google and Salesforce. Choose our online master’s in strategic communication and leadership program, and you can graduate with at least three industry-leading certifications:

  • Google Ads Certification
  • HubSpot Content Marketing Certification
  • Salesforce Certification

Strategic Leadership Core Courses

  • This course explores the process of leadership through the framework of contemporary leadership research and theory. Emphasis is placed on integrating theory and practice through a variety of methods, including student case studies and experiential learning. Drawing on current leadership research and tools, students explore options to practice leadership and affect positive change from any position in an organization, community, or society.

  • A core competency of strategic leadership is the ability to gather information, analyze and critically evaluate that information, and then use that information to make important decisions. In this course, students will learn to become effective consumers of research and data, as well learn to use traditional methods of research and analysis, such as surveys, focus groups, field experiments, program evaluations, and descriptive and inferential statistics to evaluate organizations, communication strategies, products, services, processes, and performance.

  • This course addresses key communication theories and best practices within the context of work. Graduate students will learn how to assess communicative issues, locate quality evidence, and apply the findings to everyday work situations to develop more effective organizational communication strategies both internally and externally. Furthermore, graduate students will learn effective communication strategies specifically in regards to leadership, change management, decision making, organizational culture, organizational identification, conflict management, and team management.

  • This course examines ethical decision making and issues in the organizational context using a framework that is empirically informed and consistent with best practices and regulations. Emphasis is placed on understanding how interpersonal and group relations and values impact individual and corporate responsibility and ethical issues in relation to internal and external stakeholders.

Strategic Communication Core Courses

  • This course provides an intensive examination of a variety of strategic communication theories in public relations, advertising, and marketing communication; the background and perspectives of scholars who developed the strategic communication theories; and the application of these theories in academic and professional work.

  • This course focuses on the systems and models of communication practice that have been studied and developed by academics and applied by practitioners in their work. The emphasis in this course is understanding the synergy created when academic knowledge and scholarship are incorporated in strategic decision making as illustrated by case studies and other practical-world analysis.

  • This course focuses on the advanced communication systems present in a variety of cultures with an emphasis on deeply understanding the social, cultural, political, and economic effects on different organizational systems. Students will also explore advanced nonverbal and intercultural communication competencies, and the many strategic challenges of communicating in a global environment.

  • Comprehensive examination must be taken in the last semester of coursework before graduation. Note: This course is only offered Fall and Spring semesters. Prerequisite: Students cannot take this class until they have complete the other seven core classes (COMM 501, COMM 502, COMM 503, COMM 520, COMM 522, COMM 523, and COMM 525).

Optional Emerging & Digital Media Concentration (choose 4 courses)

  • Based in the scholarship of issues and crisis management, this course prepares students to fulfill an advanced level of crisis communication within an organization. This course discusses at an advanced level the communication role important to dealing with issues in a timely fashion to prevent crises, as well as managing and/or mitigating a crisis in all its various stages and across all the various channels (including social media platforms).

  • This course gives graduate students the opportunity to be innovative in the development, creation, implementation, and evaluation of an advanced communication campaign for a client/organization in the St. Louis community. Key elements of this course include the ability to apply theoretical, evidence-based concepts and strategies to a particular client situation, to negotiate and advise the client on best courses of action, and to experience the real-world outcomes of evidence-based strategies.

  • This course provides an intensive examination of a variety of digital media metrics and analytics necessary to measure and evaluate marketing communication campaigns. Furthermore, it provides an evidence based approach to digital marketing that can measure an organization’s return on their marketing investments. Graduate students will learn practical, up to date tools that will help in analyzing, creating and measuring effective digital marketing campaigns.

  • Designing and creating innovative digital media campaigns is a powerful process in contemporary society and an essential tool for helping organizations craft a public narrative about their value in society. In this course, students will learn to evaluate organizational digital media efforts, create and design digital media campaigns for a variety of purposes, and provide recommendations to organizations about how to improve their digital media efforts. Additionally, students in this course will be able to articulate, find, and digest the latest academic research that lies at the intersection of how technology is impacting organizations.

  • The objective of this course is to educate students on how to use and understand photography as a tool in communication. Students will learn how to create professional photographs with their iPad or Digital Camera and grasp an understanding on how to read those photographs from an objective lens. There will be a survey of topics ranging from photojournalism ethics to fashion model objectification that will widen one’s appreciation of how photography changes society for the good and bad. The course will be deep rooted in photography theory and critical thinking. Students will graduate will the basic skills of an entry level photographer and have a portfolio of images to illustrate their competency. The experience will accumulate in a final photo-thesis where the student will argue with media theory (Punctum and Studum Theory) why the images they created are powerful.

  • Develop knowledge, understanding and concepts related to direct and web marketing techniques, tactics, and strategies that enable a manager to make sound business decisions. Topics include web media and databases, target audiences, forecasting and cost control, research, and testing of creative strategies. Cross-listed: MKT 673Prerequisite: COMM 501 or MKT 660

Strategic Communication Electives

Personalize your educational experience by choosing elective courses that relate to your career goals and interests.

Pick two courses from those listed in the Emerging & Digital Media Concentration and two graduate business electives listed below (12 credits).

  • This course examines the roles and skills of the project manager and project teams through the phases of the project life cycle. Topics including project initiation and planning, project organizational structure, teamwork, leadership, resource planning and scheduling, control and project termination. Case studies of real organizations focus on the issues associated with new product, reengineering and technology implementation projects and with behavioral aspects including culture, conflict, risk and change management. The course is a general coverage of project management issues commonly found in the project management certification resources relevant for a wide variety of project types. Pre-requisite: MGMT 647

  • This course focuses on legal issues relating to business relationships. The social and ethical duties of business are studied within the legal context. Analysis and evaluation are applied to legal problems to develop and understand the philosophies underlying the legal rules and regulations controlling business activity.

  • This course focuses on ethical problems in business as well as issues of current interest (e.g. the environment, technology, international relations).

  • Developments and issues in the international marketplace are covered to gain a basic familiarity with global business strategies and philosophies. Different cultural, economic, legal, and political environments also are addressed. Emphasis is on the application of the core business functions in an international context and the implications of global issues for business decision-makers.

  • This course is the study of human resource management (HRM) related to managing equal opportunity and diversity, personnel planning, recruiting and talent management, testing and selecting employees, training and development, performance management, compensation, ethics, retention, labor relations, collective bargaining, and safety. Pre-requisite: MGMT 647

  • This course will focus on further preparing the student to enter the workforce by concentrating on a greater understanding of human relations principles and practices. (Career success is a function of many facets.) The ability to understand and cope effectively with todays work and/or life issues and problems is a skill that is valued by most employers. Many trends, such as workforce diversity, flatter organizations, globalization, teamwork, workplace violence, require a greater understanding of human relations. Pre-requisite: MGMT 647

  • This course examines the current leadership literature and traces the development of leadership theory. It stresses the strategic nature of leadership and its role in contemporary organizations. Students conduct self assessments of their personal leadership skills and participate in many activities designed to develop leadership and skills in team building. Pre-requisite: MGMT 647

  • Apply both management principles and marketing theory to strategic marketing problems, emphasizing long-range planning of marketing mix elements, consideration of marketing interface with other areas, and problem solving and decision making.

  • This course examines influences such as political and legal factors (external) and attitudes and personality (internal) that affect the consumers ultimate decision process. It also explores marketing strategies that respond to the consumers needs. Pre-requisite: MKT 660

  • This course explores the role of the brand management function in building strong brands, measuring their equity or value, and in maintaining the strength of the brand over time. The primary objectives of this course are to increase the understanding of the important issues in planning and evaluating brand strategies and to provide the appropriate theories, models, and other tools to make better branding decisions. An additional area of emphasis will be brand management’s interaction with other functional disciplines within the corporate structure, including customer marketing and field sales. Pre-requisite: MKT 660

To ensure the best possible educational experience for our students, we may update our curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry trends.

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What are the common skills and competencies associated with master’s-level communication classes?

When you earn your master’s in communication, you can deepen your understanding of the discipline and put your nuanced knowledge into action through creative and practical application. As you build your expertise through communication courses, you can focus on expanding in-demand skills, including:

  • Communication, management, and leadership. As organizations’ outreach channels become more complex and varied, the need for leadership in these areas is growing in importance. In fact, effective communication is often what typifies successful leaders in many fields. Through high-level communication classes, you can learn how to work collaboratively and manage teams. In addition, you can gain skills to help you in negotiating solutions, resolving conflicts, and working across departments.
  • Knowledge of current trends in modern communication. Channels, platforms, and policies are always evolving, meaning that communication experts need to be able to follow trends and anticipate changes before they occur. Through advanced communication classes at Maryville, you can set yourself up for success as you navigate this dynamic and ever-changing field.
  • Individualized experiential learning. Integrating skills learned in the classroom with real-world applications makes for exciting, meaningful learning opportunities. After mastering foundational skills, you may be asked to apply them to practical scenarios outside of the classroom. Learn to navigate the problems, difficulties, and successes that are part of the everyday landscape of organizations around the world.
  • Storytelling. People connect with stories. The ability to craft marketing materials with narratives is necessary for businesses to succeed. Without a story, production elements lose their power; the story gives messaging meaning that stays with the audience. In master’s-level communication classes, you can learn how to help organizations craft stories that inspire, influence, inform, engage, and achieve your goals.
  • Foundations of leadership. What makes an effective, respected leader? You can discover the answer in your communication classes through problem-solving studies, personal investigation, and discussion. By deepening your understanding of techniques to resolve conflicts, motivate team members, make smart decisions, and spearhead change throughout an organization, you can equip yourself to seek management positions or work as an effective team member.
  • Strategic communication best practices. As the field of communication changes, students need to develop a firm understanding of best practices to remain competitive in the workforce and create continuity across channels. Focusing time and resources on understanding best practices is essential if you want to set up your career for profitability and sustainability.
  • Professional and organizational ethics. Clear, consistent, and honest communication helps express real values, and it helps organizations evolve and grow. You can discover how to lead the communication of a team in any environment in a way that adheres to high ethical and professional standards.
  • Digital media campaigns. Businesses increasingly rely on digital marketing strategies to help them achieve their goals. As consumers spend more time on the internet and marketing continues to migrate to online platforms, it’s essential that communication experts know how to manage digital media campaigns. Learn how to navigate the evolving digital landscape and craft successful marketing strategies for organizations in any field.

What are some common courses in communication and leadership master’s programs?

When you earn your master’s degree in communication and leadership, you can expect to take part in specialized classes to prepare you for the challenges and opportunities of the modern professional landscape. Here are a few courses that might be available to you:

  • Leadership
  • Evidence-Based Research
  • Organizational Communication
  • Professional Ethics
  • Integrated Marketing Communication
  • Crisis Management
  • Digital Media Campaigns
  • Digital Analytics

Learn more about an online master’s in strategic communication and leadership.

Communication classes at the master’s level can help you prepare for an exciting and lucrative career path. As communication methods and platforms change, a strong educational foundation can set you up to succeed and evolve along with technology advancements and trends.

From internal communication to outgoing messaging, leaders in this field help organizations distribute their content and fulfill their mission.

At Maryville University, we offer an online master’s degree program in communication and leadership designed for the brave future industry leaders like you. Our degree offers a modern, dynamic curriculum that addresses current trends in the field. To set out on a rewarding career path, find out more about our online master’s in strategic communication and leadership.

Be Brave

Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life.