Strategic Communication (MA)

Applications are currently being accepted for this program on a rolling basis.
Time to degree: three semesters (30 credits)
Part-time options available

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 creative communications management positions, or pivot to new careers. The degree provides students with a broad range of communications tools, including public relations, brand management, account management, organizational communication, digital communication strategies and analytics, 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 that brands, companies, non-profits, government agencies and associations face daily. Students will gain experience in crafting internal communication, handling crisis situations, overseeing the creation and analysis of campaigns across digital and offline platforms, and more.

You will put your creative energies to work, spending your time learning by doing, and building a robust portfolio of applied industry-based project

student at desk

Inside and Outside the Classroom

What You Can Expect

During your first term you will learn and apply up-to-the-minute creative communication research and digital communication techniques on actual client projects in courses like Communication Research and Digital Content and Analytics.

During the program, 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 will 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—Shape goals and outcomes at ad agencies, PR agencies, in-house marketing departments, and more.
  • Agency management—Oversee campaigns and messaging strategies at ad agencies, PR and promotional companies, digital content businesses, and event marketing firms.
  • Brand marketing management—Direct marketing teams for businesses and non-profit organizations.
  • Corporate and internal communications—Create messaging for businesses and non-profit organizations.
  • Content strategy—Develop strategies, supervising content creation and platform rollout, and analyzing results.
  • Digital communication management—Select digital platforms, implement creative messaging strategies, and target and analyze communications across social media, websites, apps, and other e-marketing initiatives.


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:

  • Holly Bartecki, Executive Vice President, Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications
  • Kevin Christophersen, Associate Professor, Communication
  • Mary Filice, Associate Professor, Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Yonty Friesem, Graduate Program Director; Associate Professor, Communication
  • Lauren Liss, Assistant Professor, Interactive Arts and Media
  • Anne Marie Mitchell, Associate Professor, Communication
  • Laurence Minsky, Professor & Director of Graduate Programs, Communication
  • Peg Murphy, Associate Chair, Communication
  • Brian Ngo, Senior Strategist, DDB
  • Jennifer Sadler, Assistant Professor, Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Clifton Simmons, Lead UX Content Designer, Marketing Innovation and Corporate Brand, Allstate
  • Justin Sinkovich, Associate Professor, Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Ryan Smith, Associate Professor, Business and Entrepreneurship Department