Murrow Online

Strategic Communication

Graduate Certificate
Finger touching an online certification icon on a screen

Enhance your Marketability

The WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication Online Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication is designed for individuals who want to advance their professional credentials in advertising, public relations, and digital communications. The coursework comprises 12 hours that address advanced media tools, best practices in market research techniques, integrated communication strategy and the design, implementation, and measurement of promotional campaigns across paid, earned, shared, and owned channels.

Program of Study

Courses are rooted in the foundation of research methods in partnership with courses teaching students the best practices and industry standards in contemporary communication strategies and tactics. Students take four courses – two from the professional COM Core in multimedia content creation, crisis communications, professional ethics, or research methods, and another two specifically in strategic communication including creative media strategies and techniques and professional digital content promotion.

Courses (12 credits)

This program does not require any undergraduate prerequisites, but applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Professional Core Courses (6 credits)

Students will select two COM courses

COM 561 – Multimedia Content Creation
Exploration and application of strategies to communicate ideas clearly, concisely, and effectively through multimedia content. Sample syllabus

COM 562 – Crisis Communication in Global Contexts
Prepare, plan, and execute crisis communication and management to protect the continuity of an organization’s image and mission. Sample syllabus

COM 563 Ethics for Professionals
The understanding, discussion, and application of key theories of individual and institutional ethics; the articulation and defense of ethical reasoning. Sample syllabus

COM 564 – Research Methods for Professionals
Understanding the role of research in media and related organizations and its application to organizational decision-making through quantitative and qualitative research methods including research design, questionnaire construction, sampling, data collection techniques, and variable measurement. Sample syllabus

Strategic Communication Core Courses (6 credits)

COMSTRAT 562 – Creative Media Strategies and Techniques
The strategies, processes, procedures and steps involved in creating marketing communications materials for a variety of different media. Sample syllabus

COMSTRAT 563 – Professional Digital Content Promotion
The application of writing, critical thinking, and persuasion skills to the practice and promotion of PR and advertising in both digital and social media outlets. Sample syllabus

Total Credits: 12 credits

All courses are offered in fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students can complete the graduate certificate in as few as two semesters.

This certificate is ideal for:

  • PR professionals
  • Advertising professionals
  • Journalists
  • Multimedia content creators
  • Public information officers
  • Social media coordinators
  • Communication coordinators
  • Campaign coordinators


  • This program does not require any undergraduate prerequisites, but applicants must have bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • No GRE required
  • No letters of recommendation required

Certificate Awarding Process

During the semester you wish to receive the graduate certificate, current students must complete the following steps:

  1. Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the duration of the certificate
  2. Submit an Application for Graduation for Graduate Certificate with the appropriate departmental signatures by the Application for Degree deadlines.

Application Info

Applications deadlines are Aug 1, Dec 1 and April 15 for fall, spring and summer enrollment.

New Students

  • To apply, complete a general application with WSU Graduate School, indicating an interest in a certificate program. Also include:
    • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate institutions
    • International students submit TOEFL score
    • A current professional resume that includes at least three professional references name and contact information.
    • Statement of Purpose articulating your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and talents
  • $90 application fee (non-refundable)*

Current WSU Graduate Students

Pursuing Formal Admission to Graduate School

  • A part-time graduate certificate student may elect to apply for formal admission to the Graduate School and pursue an advanced degree. Certificate students who decide to pursue a graduate degree from Washington State University should contact the Murrow College graduate program coordinator.
  • A determination of the applicability of any of the courses and credits earned while a certificate student will be made at the time of admission at the discretion of the academic department or graduate program where the degree is sought by the student filing a Program of Study as part of the admission material. Department-approved courses will be stipulated as such on the student’s Program of Study when it is submitted and will be reviewed by the Graduate School at that time. It is expected that a core disciplinary curriculum will be present in this Program of Study.
  • Coursework taken as a certificate student may be reviewed as part of the admission-review process but does not afford any preferential consideration for admittance to a graduate program. The faculty in the graduate program will continue to have the authority to deny admission to any student.

Statement of Purpose

To gain a better understanding of your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and diverse talents, we ask that each advanced certificate or degree applicant prepare a comprehensives statement of purpose (approx 1 page):

  • Why the online graduate program at WSU interests you – what attracted you to the program
  • What led you to the desire of earning an advanced degree
  • Where do you think the certificate or degree will lead you personally and/or professionally
  • How the program fits into your current personal or professional path
  • What are your goals in furthering your education? What do you hope to achieve through the curriculum?
  • Other anecdotes or background information that will aid in evaluating whether or not you would thrive and be successful in the program


  • Because graduate certificate students are part-time and have not been admitted to a degree program, they are not eligible for financial aid
  • Online students pay the in-state tuition rate (est. $672 per credit)
  • The estimated cost of the program is $8,000 (12 credits)
  • Veterans benefits may be available: (509) 335-1234 or