Master of Strategic Communication
School of Arts and Sciences
The Master of Strategic Communication (MSC) program is a fast-paced, intensive degree that allows you to work with real clients on strategic communication problems and projects. As an online, competency-based program, you have a lot of flexibility. You only have to meet on campus once per semester, so you can pursue your degree while maintaining a full-time job. And the MSC program is structured around project sequences, which means you’ll spend your time working with professional clients rather than sitting in class. You’ll collaborate with other students in your cohort, developing projects like integrated marketing communications plans, branding strategies, training programs, organizational strategy recommendation reports, and crisis communication evaluations. And your faculty mentors and performance coaches will be there to guide you throughout the process.
Who It's For
The MSC program is ideal for dedicated and self-directed learners who want to improve their strategic communication skills. While most of our students have professional experience and have worked beyond their bachelor’s degree, it’s not required. To ensure your success in the program, you’ll need to be organized, focused, and motivated. And because you’ll be working in groups, you’ll need to be a team player.
- Trained program alumni offer you performance coaching, working with you to determine your individual career goals, set milestones, and evaluate your progress while helping you improve your project management skills, develop leadership potential, and become a successful communicator.
- Program faculty and industry mentors with extensive professional experience and subject-matter expertise teach the project sequences, providing you regular support, feedback, and direction for success.
- The program is flexible and customizable—you can study what you’re passionate about without disrupting your schedule.
- Your cohort will take an all-inclusive international trip where you’ll put your skills into practice. Past cohorts have traveled to destinations such as Peru and South Africa.
- Graduates receive an average pay increase of $8,600.
- You’ll receive textbooks, software licenses, and high performance coaching at no additional cost.
How Long It Takes
The MSC program is 5 semesters, completed over 18 months.
"The MSC program has given me a different set of skills than typical master's programs through the self-paced model. My strengths now include time management skills, self-motivation, and the ability to take charge of how much I learn. Because I manage my school workload with a full-time job, I've become better at juggling competing priorities. I got my current job through one of my classmates in the program."
About the Program
The MSC program gives you the opportunity to explore your passions and earn your degree while advancing your career. The program is competency based, which means that as you work with clients on projects, you’ll demonstrate your learning in authentic, meaningful ways that go far beyond memorization. You’ll work with a cohort of talented professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and receive mentoring from highly qualified faculty with expertise in rhetoric, professional writing, information design, and branding. You’ll talk to your professor and classmates on a weekly basis via phone, Skype, or any other method of your preference. And when you graduate, you’ll have a portfolio of work that demonstrates your quality and value to current or future employers.
less than the average MBA program in Utah
of graduates get promoted upon graduation
Average cohort size (as of 2020)
What You'll Learn
- Project-based, client-driven: Complete a total of 5 project sequences designed and sequenced specifically to measure student learning. Projects are based on current communication problems and opportunities and may originate with a small business or nonprofit client, an individual student's place of employment, or an entrepreneurial venture.
- Individual and team-based: Complete some projects individually to demonstrate mastery of associated professional communication competencies. Other projects are team-based to assist students in mastering leadership competencies that include managing projects and leading and working in teams.
- Competency-based: Submit work to understand that you will revise and re-submit until projects meet specified "competencies" or professional-level standards. You are encouraged through this model to improve continually until your work is client-ready.
- Low-residency and online: In addition to the one-day on-campus residencies that occur at the beginning of each of the 5 project sequences, you will use a learning management system and resources in an online environment to work independently and as a team to master program competencies. Most projects are submitted online, through interactions with faculty and peers, through phone calls or videoconferencing, or asynchronously through email or online discussion boards.
- Faculty coaching: Work directly with a Westminster College faculty member individually to acquire project guidance and feedback. Faculty members also evaluate your completed projects to determine they sufficiently demonstrate project learning.
- Self-directed learning: While coaches and mentors guide students through the learning process, you are ultimately responsible for high-quality and timely submissions. You have flexibility in terms of submissions, but at times may need to meet deadlines.
- International experience: Travel internationally after completing the program to engage in projects that promote intercultural communication skills and applied knowledge in an international context.
Plan of Study
The Master of Strategic Communication program follows an alternative plan of study format. Instead of taking multiple courses, you will complete a set of project sequences.
The program is competency-based, meaning curriculum was developed to help you master certain knowledge, skills, and abilities (competencies) as you progress. Through this curriculum style, you work on projects for real clients, building expertise as you put theory into practice and tailor what you learn to your personal background, interests, and professional aspirations.
This program is also taught in an interactive online format, meaning you can complete projects around your personal and professional schedule to make degree completion more flexible and convenient while still having meaningful interactions with faculty and peers.
Sequences include 2 individual projects and 1 team project and are completed in order over a 5-semester (18-month) timeline, with 1 sequence per semester. Once you demonstrate a mastery of a sequence’s learning goals and competencies, you move forward to the next sequence. The 5 sequences are:
- Rhetoric and Strategic Public Relations
- Visual Communication and Brand Strategy
- Organizational Communication and Culture
- Integrated Marketing Communication
- Strategic Communication Capstone
Each sequence includes a 1-day on-campus residency at the beginning of each semester that will allow you to become familiar with the upcoming projects and sequence content, network, and connect with your faculty mentors, performance coaches, and peers.
At the end of the program, you’ll take an international trip with your cohort where you’ll engage in projects that promote the development of intercultural communication skills and apply your knowledge in an international context. The trip is included in your tuition.
More information on projects, faculty and staff interaction, grading, residencies, the international trip, and more can be found under degree requirements on the master of strategic communication academic catalog page. Specific information on the parts of each project sequence is listed under course descriptions for the program in the academic catalog.
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Our graduates go on to have successful careers in a wide variety of communication-related fields including marketing, advertising, content strategy, public relations, and project management. Our program helps you build on your existing communication skills, and develop new skills and strategies to take your career to the next level—whether that’s within your current company or outside of it.
is the average salary of our graduates
- Director of Marketing & Communications
- Community Engagement Manager
- Director of Public Relations
- Communications Instructor
- Content Developer
- Marketing Writer
- Creative Director
- Project Manager
- Advertising Coordinator
- Account Executive over Advertising
- Trade Show Director
- Brand & Product Manager
- Media Supervisor
- Non-profit Agency Director
- Proposal Writer
- Product Marketing Director
- Web Content Specialist
- Organizational Development Consultant
"I worked with real clients on real projects, providing real deliverables that went straight to my portfolio upon completion. My assignment presentations were refined by my peers and mentors, and then I took them to presidents of multi-million dollar companies, top tier leadership of local non-profit organizations, and of course, current and potential employers. I didn't "get" a master's degree. I earned one."
Tuition and Fees
The price model of the Master of Strategic Communication program ensures that you know the full price of the program at the beginning. All-inclusive pricing is fixed for 5 years once enrolled, as long as you stay active in the program. This includes all course materials and an international context tour.
Westminster works with all students to determine the financial aid opportunities available to them. Federal financial aid is available and will be awarded on an individual basis to students who have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some federal financial aid programs require students to maintain the equivalent of full- or part-time enrollment. Westminster also offers scholarships for graduate students.
Students who completed an undergraduate degree at Westminster are eligible to receive the Westminster Alumni Scholarship.
Graduate students are eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct (grad) PLUS loans through the U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program.
Complete applications are reviewed on a rolling admissions basis. Early submission of applications is strongly encouraged.
Fall or spring