Strategic Communications Degree

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - July 30, 2018
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A strategic communications degree teaches you how to change the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the target audience to achieve a specific outcome. This could be encouraging a customer to buy a product or service. It also might be to improve the reputation of a celebrity in the general public. Or, strategic communications may be used in a public health campaign to encourage people to exercise and stop smoking.

Professionals with this degree with learn the skills and knowledge that are required to design, manage and launch effective communications campaigns for all kinds of public and private sector organizations.

What Is Strategic Communications?

Strategic communications refers to effectively communicating an idea, data or process that solves or fulfills a long term strategic goal of an organization. Strategic communication usually refers to guidance and policy making for strong, consistent communication in an organization and between different organizations. Effective strategic communication allows professionals to create and distribute different types of communications that may have a different purpose and style but share coherence and similarities in theme.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for all media and communication occupations will increase by 6% through 2026, which is about average when compared to other occupations. There will be a total of 43,500 new jobs in these areas in that period of time. As the US and global economy continues to expand, it is expected that more businesses will be hiring more communication professionals to be more competitive.

Career Paths

A common career path for a professional with this degree is public relations manager or specialist. These public relations professionals plan and direct the creation of marketing and communications materials that improve or maintain the public image of the client.


The median salary for all media and communication occupations was $56,300 in 2017, which was higher than the median wage for all occupations at $37,600.

The median salary for public relations managers in 2017 was $111,000 with the bottom 10% earning less than $61,000, while the top 10% earned more than $208,000.

Online Degree Programs

Busy professionals often have a difficult time finding the time to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree these days. That is why it is so useful and helpful to be able to earn your degree online. Many students can earn their degree from their home and never need to visit a college campus.

For example, Washington State University Global Campus offers a Master of Science in Strategic Communication. This two year, online program is made for professionals who want to be outstanding in the fields of advertising, public relations, corporate communication, and communication management.

This program is suitable for students new to the field and also for experienced communications professionals. The approach of this program includes these innovative features:

  • Develop expertise in traditional and new media which is so important for effective strategic communications today
  • Teaches you how to collect and analyze information and use what you learn to create an effective communication campaign
  • Train students to devise messages that are both responsible and strategic
  • Online professor office hours each week where you can learn one on one the essentials of strategic communication and receive customized student support

Bachelor’s Degree

A great way to get a jump on a career in strategic communications and related fields is to earn a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications at National University. This four year degree program will prepare you for a leadership position in public relations, corporate communications, advertising and integrated marketing.

This program offers students a blend of professional and human communication skills and theory so you can communicate well in a variety of business and organizational settings. Graduates are able to apply message creation skills and strategic thinking skills that they acquire so they can work in almost any industry.

Learning outcomes in this strategic communications degree program include:

  • Develop effective communication campaign messaging.
  • Apply effective persuasion theories to a variety of communication campaigns and online media messages
  • Devise content that fulfills the strategic communications campaign objectives
  • Explain how effective strategic communication plans work and present them well to stakeholders
  • Apply marketing research data to guide how strategic communication campaigns are developed

Master’s Degree

Do you want to earn a higher level position in strategic communications, marketing or public relations? The ticket could be a master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia University. This Master of Science in Strategic Communications will provide you with an excellent foundation for a solid career in a variety of communication professions. All Columbia graduates develop the communications and marketing skills that they need to become communication leaders in their field.

This two year, on campus program provides you with the chance to use your developing strategic communication skills as a fully functioning part of the communication team in class. You also will be able to expand your resume, build a strong network of communications-related contacts and gain an edge over others vying for the same positions as you in the marketplace.

Most applicants to this program have up to 10 years of work experience in communications. The strongest applicants are critical thinkers and usually have a bachelor’s degree that stressed strong writing skills.

Most students complete a practicum during their master’s program. Past students have worked with companies in the New York City region such as:

  • Chanel
  • Dior
  • Bangkok Bank
  • Bismarck Phillips
  • SAP
  • eBay
  • The Brooklyn Brothers

Admission Requirements

Common admission requirements for a master’s program in strategic communication include:

  • GRE scores may be required
  • 5 or higher GPA
  • Bachelor’s degree in communications or business
  • Resume with related work experience
  • Writing samples and personal essay
  • Transcripts


A typical curriculum for a master’s degree includes the following types of courses:

  • English for Strategic Communication
  • Strategic Communication Management
  • Principles in Persuasion
  • Communication Research and Insights
  • Digital Media and Analytics
  • The Reflective Leader in Communications
  • Leadership Development in Communications
  • Building Internal Engagement
  • Crisis Communication
  • The Business of Issues

Financial Assistance

Students who want financial help to earn their degree should first consult with the financial aid office at their university. It also is helpful to check with the communications department where you are earning your strategic communications degree. Also, there are outside scholarships that can be used at most universities if you are earning a bachelor’s or master’s in communications:

  • Carl Clyde Periman Presidential Award
  • Career Path Scholarship
  • CW Forman and Louise Forman Endowed Scholarship
  • Jesse H. Jones and Mary Gibbs Jones Scholarship
  • Mary Arless O’Keefe Periman Presidential Award
  • AQHA Journalism and Communication Scholarship
  • Bill Caspare Memorial Fund Diversity Scholarship


Below are some great associations to join if you are involved in strategic communications:

  • American Marketing Association
  • Association for Women in Communications
  • American Communication Association
  • International Association of Business Communicators
  • Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management
  • International Communication Association
  • International Public Relations Association
  • National Communication Association

Earning a degree in strategic communications will provide you with outstanding communications skills that are essential to succeed in many management and executive positions.


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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