Strategic Communication (MA)

Time to degree: three semesters (30 credits)
We are currently accepting applications for this program for Fall 2021.

The world needs savvy and creative professionals with contemporary strategic communication skills now more than ever. Our Strategic Communication MA is designed to shape the professionals who will fill this need, creating leaders who plan and execute key communications initiatives across many different spheres.

The Strategic Communication MA provides current, in-demand applied strategic communication skills to help graduates advance in their current fields, secure a creative communications management position, or pivot to a new career. The degree provides students with a broad range of communications tools, including public relations, brand management, organizational communication, and creative advertising.

What Makes This Degree Different?

The Strategic Communication MA program leverages Columbia's unique positioning as a creative leader and industry-focused school with a hands-on approach in the heart of the third-largest media market nationwide.

Our MA in Strategic Communication students dive into strategic issues and opportunities with improvisation exercises, innovative design ideation sessions, rapid creative prototyping, and more. Our students tackle real communication issues brands, companies, non-profits, government agencies and associations face daily. Students will gain experience (crafting internal communication; learning how to handle crisis situations; overseeing the creation, roll out, and analysis of campaigns across platforms; and more).

You will put your creative energies to work, spending your time learning by doing, and building your strategic communication portfolio of applied industry-based projects.

Who is Best Suited for the Strategic Communication MA?

The Strategic Communication MA is a great fit for both professionals seeking promotion and individuals looking for strategic communication skills aligned with their creative passions. This degree provides critical applied strategic communication skills to help graduates advance in current fields, secure a creative communications management position, or pivot to something new.

student at desk

Inside and Outside the Classroom

What You Can Expect

During your first term you’ll be introduced to the career pathways, trends, and issues in the Strategic Communication field. You will learn and apply up-to-the-minute creative communication research and digital communication techniques on actual client projects in Communication Research and Digital Content and Analytics. You’ll also take courses in advertising, public relations, marketing, brand management, user experience design, and leadership.

In your last semester, you’ll be enrolled in Strategic Communication Lab. In this hands-on capstone course, you’ll work directly with an organization (non-profit, existing brand, or start-up). You’ll take additional creative management, crisis communication, research, digital analytics, and leadership courses. You will finish your final semester with a series of both theoretical and real-world projects to create a career-ready strategic communication portfolio.

Flexible Course Schedules

Columbia College Chicago schedules its Strategic Communication courses with working professionals in mind. Courses meet only once a week, and most classes are either online or meet during weekday evenings. 

View required courses

Careers in Strategic Communication

What can you do with a master’s degree in Strategic Communication? You can combine your newly developed strategic communication skills with your existing creative talents working with a wide variety of organizations. Or you can leverage your new strategic communication skills to advance your existing career.

Potential job types and career paths include:

  • Strategic planning -- Ad agencies, PR agencies, in-house marketing departments, and more.
  • Agency management -- Oversee the team creating the campaigns, messaging strategies, and more at advertising agencies, public relations and promotional companies, digital content businesses, event marketing firms and more.
  • Brand marketing management -- Directing the marketing team (writers, designers, content
    creators, research, strategy, media planning) for a for-profit, non-profit, association, media outlet, etc.
  • Corporate and/or internal communications -- For brands, non-profits, associations, causes, and more.
  • Content strategy -- Developing strategies, supervising content creation and placement across social and digital platforms, and results analysis.
  • Digital communication management --- Leading strategic planning, implementation, and measurement of creative messaging, digital platform selection, targeting, executions, and communication analysis from social media to website content to apps, e-marketing, and more.


The Strategic Communication MA program draws on faculty expertise from across Columbia College Chicago. Our faculty members are active practitioners in various communication, marketing, media, and leadership fields and have established links with ongoing projects, consultancies, and client work. 

Participating faculty: