Strategic communication

Master of arts in journalism University of Missouri-Columbia
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Master of arts in journalism

Look to the next stage of your media and communications career. You’ve proven yourself an effective writer and storyteller, and your ideas help set strategies in motion. To reach the next level, the University of Missouri-Columbia’s (Mizzou’s) online master of arts in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication grows what you know about content development, connecting with your audience and branding.

As an existing corporate communications, public relations or advertising professional, you’ll be exposed to a wider spectrum of media formats, including visual and digital, for developing more targeted messaging. A thorough introduction to management and ethics for media organizations further helps you envision yourself as a leader prepared to direct campaigns and organizational communication strategies that grab attention and drive results.

Quick facts

Official name

Master of arts in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Master's degree

Academic home

Missouri School of Journalism

Delivery mode

Blended, one campus visit required


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Why earn an online master’s degree in strategic communication?

As the media landscape changes, journalism and communications professionals find themselves along a number of paths. You might be developing branded content campaigns, you pivoted to print advertising or you’ve found your niche in digital marketing. Or, as you remain in media, you’re increasingly expected to use analytics and market research to predict what audiences will consume.

Mizzou’s esteemed School of Journalism designed this online master’s for professionals like yourself. The program reinforces and expands upon your journalistic knowledge base, covering modern-day ethics, laws and storytelling techniques to advance your skill set. Yet, you’re also thinking about what’s next. For moving up from an individual contributor or strategic role, the curriculum exposes you to the leadership, management and communication skills essential for supporting teams and driving success through collaboration.

This online master’s degree in strategic communication:

  • Is taught by renowned journalism professionals also known for their teaching and research accomplishments
  • Encourages collaboration and connection through small group projects that you’ll complete with professionals like yourself
  • Explores the ever-growing spectrum of storytelling techniques for engaging a variety of audiences
  • Covers all stages of developing, implementing and assessing communication strategies, factoring in audience and organizational goals
  • Touches on techniques for developing more compelling messaging and branding
  • Helps strengthen your research and analytical skills to uncover more about audiences and create more targeted campaigns that deliver desired results
  • Gives you the tools to adapt and lead in today’s rapidly evolving media environment
Strategic communication professionals pointing at various graphs and charts.

Career prospects

Pursue a leadership, management or advanced strategic role in public relations, corporate or nonprofit communications, advertising or marketing. Earning an online master’s in strategic communication gives you an edge in a field predicted to experience steady demand between 2021 and 2031.

Potential job titles include:

  • Director of major gifts
  • Media relations manager
  • Senior proposal coordinator
  • Writer, journalist and blogger
  • Communications manager
  • Marketing director
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
Employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
Median salary

Program structure

The online master of arts in journalism is divided into two portions. A 12-credit-hour core sequence builds what you know about the role of and current issues in print and electronic media. You’ll also learn more about mass media ethics and research techniques that media and communications professionals routinely employ.

Rounding out the 33 credit hours is the strategic communication emphasis area (15–17 credit hours). A degree of flexibility lets you select courses based on your industry and desired role.

Delivery of this program is blended; one on-campus seminar held in the fall is required, but individuals may elect to attend up to three times.

Courses are semester based. Students typically take one or two classes each semester and finish in two to three years.

Strategic communication courses

For the emphasis area, courses go over:

  • Libel, privacy and other tenets of U.S. communication law
  • Content creation and branded storytelling
  • Public relations for agencies, corporations and government organizations
  • Digital strategic communication methods
  • Visual communication and editing techniques
  • Journalism techniques for developing and engaging your audience
  • Modern media monetization
  • Strategic conflict management and organizational behavior
  • Interpersonal and mass communication theories
  • Management for media organizations

Review all courses for the online master of arts in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication.


Blended, one campus visit required

Calendar system


Typical program length

2 or 3 years

Typical course load

1 or 2 classes each semester

Earn a dual master’s degree

With this program, you can concurrently earn a masters of public health with an emphasis in:

The programs have separate applications and require a minimum of 12 hours of shared 8000-level or above graduate credit. Learn more about the academic process for dual master’s degree students at the Mizzou Graduate School website.


The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Missouri School of Journalism