Strategic Communications SpecializationStrategic Communications SpecializationStrategic Communications Specialization

No GMAT Required to ApplyNo GMAT Required to Apply

Combine Advertising and PR Skills

Creating a strong brand identity is key to achieving a company’s marketing or public relations goals. While there are many approaches to crafting consistent and compelling messaging, strategic communications help to establish cohesion across media initiatives, press and internal communication programs.

As a student in the Strategic Communications specialization, you will explore the core pillars of advertising and PR, learning how to research, design and execute a campaign that resonates with clients and consumers. You’ll graduate prepared to drive positive brand recognition at the forefront of your industry.

Specialization Courses

The courses for the Strategic Communications specialization comprise 12 of the 33 program credits. You will learn to develop a successful communications strategy and leverage consumer research. Whether you’re transitioning into a marketing-oriented field, or upgrading your skills to advance your career, this specialization will prepare you with the foundational knowledge and practical skill set to thrive in a variety of communications roles. Explore specialization courses below.

Strategic Principles and Practices

In this course, you will explore the fundamentals of strategic planning as practiced in advertising, including problem assessment, competitive analysis, target-market profile, brand positioning, opportunity recognition, creative platform and creative executions.

Topics in Advertising: Communications Planning

Media planning as a discipline has evolved from a game of numbers executed in a media buy to a much more strategic pursuit. More frequently now called communications planning, it is about developing a holistic plan that drives brand marketing objectives across platforms. In this course you will work through the communications planning process culminating in a media recommendation for a client. You’ll learn about the digital media sales and buying process today, known as programmatic buying. This course also examines the ethical issues associated with the collection and use of data.

Digital Branding and Strategy

In this course, you will explore how digital media, such as websites, social networks, blogs, wikis, and mobile platforms, have transformed the advertising industry. You’ll also learn about how consumers are targeted and how they perceive messages on these digital platforms.

Crisis Communications

This course teaches crisis communication management, including identifying and understanding different crises, developing effective strategies, and utilizing historical and current management theories to add value to any organization. 

Public Relations Theory and Practice

This course covers theories of excellence in public relations by looking at PR models, organizational culture and diversity and ethics in the field. A brief overview of communication theory is included. Theories form the foundation of professional practice.

Strategic Communications Management in the Digital Age

This course introduces students to public relations, mass communication, and social psychology theories applicable to professional practice and orients them to effective strategies that are required in an increasingly digital and social media-driven working environment.

Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution

In this course, you will learn to apply strategic planning, research and tactics to meet client needs. In teams, you will design, execute and evaluate appropriate integrated campaigns for actual clients. You will produce campaign books to add to your professional portfolio.

“The communications and advertising fields are changing rapidly, and I am most excited to learn where these fields are headed. I knew that I wanted to continue my education, but I was adamant about finding a program that was exciting and inspiring. It is also fitting that as the communications industry turns its focus to the digital world, we are learning in a digital environment.”

Natascha Trittis

International Olympic Committee, July 2015 cohort

How Will You Craft Your Brand’s Identity?

Start building the skills with an online master of science in communications from Newhouse.

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Why Choose a Strategic Communications Specialization?

As a graduate of the online M.S. Communications program with a specialization in Strategic Communications, you will build skills to advance your career and drive innovation and brand recognition across industries.

Discover the benefits of this specialization below.

Understand Your Audience

The Strategic Communications specialization will teach you to think critically about how consumers receive messages about brands and products—and then build the target-market profile, creative approach and digital strategy to reach them. You will emerge prepared to develop intentional messaging that resonates with your audience, no matter who they are.

Grow Your Professional Network

Communications can be one of the most competitive industries to break into. At Newhouse, you’ll build a network of accomplished professionals—faculty and alumni—that you can use to grow your career long after graduation.

Showcase Your Newfound Knowledge 

Your Capstone Project serves as an opportunity to apply the design-based thinking skills you will acquire throughout the program and channel them towards a project tailored to your goals or work aspirations. Through this project you will gain real-world insights into the nuances of effective communication, branding, and successful implementation strategies. 

Learn From Strategic Communications Professionals

Over the years, Newhouse has evolved into a leading communications school with a variety of award-winning advertising and PR experts as faculty. As a student, you’ll learn from professors like Brian Sheehan, who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi and managed accounts for top-tier brands including General Mills, Toyota, IKEA and Procter & Gamble.

Strategic Communications Career Outlook

Our specialization will help you cultivate skills that can be applied across a variety of professions, including:

  • Account manager
  • Advertising director
  • Marketing manager
  • Press secretary
  • Lobbyist
  • Communications manager
  • Media relations manager
  • Public relations director
  • Internal communications director

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