Murrow Online

Strategic Communication

Master of Arts

Advance Your Credentials

Washington State University’s online master’s degree in Strategic Communication is designed for those who want to excel in advertising, public relations, corporate communication, and communication management. Started in 2014, the program now has 345 alumni from over 80 different disciplines. Whether you have no training in strategic communication or are a seasoned professional, the degree will advance and energize your career.

Program of Study

The degree requires 30 credits. All courses are available online.

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 organizations 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 (15 credits)

COMSTRAT 561 – Persuasion for Professional Communicators
Introduction to theories, concepts, strategies, and processes of persuasion and social influence. Sample syllabus

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

COMSTRAT 564 – Consumer Behavior and Brand Development
Tactics and strategies for consumer analysis and brand development; skills necessary for uncovering consumer insights to link client objectives, account management, creative development, and media planning. Sample syllabus

COMSTRAT 565 – Professional Marketing Communication Management and Campaigns
An overview of behavior change theories with a focus on strategic marketing campaign design and evaluation; learning to use theory and research to more effectively plan, design, execute and evaluate strategic communication campaigns. Sample syllabus

Capstone Course (3 credits)

COMSTRAT 701 – Master’s Capstone
Culminating course where students demonstrate core competencies with the response to 4-5 prompts, completion of an online portfolio and other creative and engagement activities. Sample syllabus

Program Objectives

There are two primary objectives for the Online MA Strategic Communication program.

These include:

  1. producing quality students who possess the theoretical foundation and practical knowledge to succeed in their chosen fields and
  2. training individuals who will perform at the highest level of both professional and ethical standards.

In keeping with the recommendations of the Commission on Public Relations Education for professional master’s degrees, our program will combine professional skill development with training in ethical decision-making. This dual emphasis seeks to honor the legacy of Edward R. Murrow, our college’s namesake. Murrow set professional standards for what was then the emerging broadcast news industry. He also was one of the industry’s strongest critics who
urged its practitioners to rise to the industry’s potential for serving justice and for fostering democratic institutions.

Similarly, the goal of the MA Strategic Communication is to train individuals who will perform at the highest level of both professional and ethical standards, who will both define and improve the industry while in the service of just and democratic societies.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of strategic, entrepreneurial communication skills such as managing online presence, self and organizational presentation, and collaboration in an increasingly global world.
  2. Ability to gather and assess strategically relevant information using analyses and research.
  3. Evidence of professional skills to develop strategic communication campaign materials and implementation of campaign through administration and management, planning, leadership, teamwork, and customer relations.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to ethically communicate information to diverse audiences.

Professional Master’s Degree

The Online MA Strategic Communication program is a professional degree program. It is structured to provide opportunities for those interested in career transition or advancement in professional communication positions. The program is non-thesis, involves limited theory, does not include a classroom teaching component or active research assignment.

Student Pathways

  • All courses are 100% online and include weekly online instructor office hours, frequent student self-assessment tools & ongoing interaction with other students.
  • Most students take 2-3 classes each semester across the 10-course curriculum.
  • Students work closely with both industry professionals and PhD faculty scholars
  • Students select one, two or three-year tracks but it is recommended they take no less than five semesters to complete the program in order to achieve the best work-home-school balance

Application Info

Applications Deadlines

Aug 1, Dec 1 and April 15 for fall, spring and summer enrollment

Application Instructions

Complete a general application with WSU Graduate School, indicating an interest in a degree program. Also include:

  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate institutions
  • International students submit TOEFL
  • Current professional resume that includes at least three professional references name and contact information
  • Statement of Purpose articulating your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and talents


  • There is a $75 application fee (non-refundable)
  • This program does not require any undergraduate prerequisites but applicants must have bachelor’s degree with minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0*
  • No GRE required
  • Application Materials

*The minimum GPA requirement for admission into WSU Graduate School is 3.0. Applicants with a GPA below 2.99 are subject to departmental review and consideration.

Statement of Purpose

To gain a better understanding of your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and diverse talents, we ask that each applicant prepare a comprehensives statement of purpose. Admission decisions for the online MA Strategic Communication program are based on a full assessment of the applicant’s academic profile, mix of experience they bring to the program and overall readiness for graduate-level work. Please address your experience in each category keeping in mind how you could contribute to the future community of excellence at WSU. Your statement of purpose should not exceed one page and should address the following:

  • Why the online MA Strategic Communication 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 your MA will lead you personally and/or professionally
  • How the degree 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


  • Online students pay the in-state tuition rate
  • The tuition is estimated at $623 per credit
  • The estimated cost of program is $18,500
  • Graduate students must be enrolled in at least half-time SIX CREDITS to be eligible for financial aid.
  • Veterans’ benefits: (509) 335-1234 or


The program is designed for individuals who are at least three years outside their undergraduate program and/or have at least three applied work experience. The coursework is bench-marked at a level best suited to those with solid work and life experience. Student engagement is built into each course and with it students benefit greatly from knowledge share and mutual exchange. We find that those with limited applied work experience are not fully equipped to contribute to those discussions in a meaningful way – nor are they as successful in completing the more complex course work. The decision to admit involves a full assessment of the applicant’s academic profile, the mix of experience they bring to the program and overall readiness for graduate-level work – not just undergraduate GPA or quality of their statement of purpose.