Learning Outcomes

A candidate for a research master’s degree is expected to demonstrate knowledge in the chosen discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making a contribution to the field in an appropriate timeframe.

  • Make a contribution to the scholarship of the field: synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of others; apply existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills; and communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline.
  • Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship: keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas; show commitment to personal professional development through engagement in professional societies and other knowledge transfer modes; and show a commitment to creating an environment that supports learning through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration.
  • Demonstrate professional skills: adhere to ethical standards in the discipline; and listen, give, and receive feedback effectively.

The Master of Arts program in strategic communication requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit. Courses for the program are offered online.

The curriculum consists of core courses, electives, and a capstone project in place of a thesis. In most courses, students are encouraged to introduce case studies and projects from their workplace.

The M.A. with a major in strategic communication requires the following coursework.

Core Courses

All of these:
JMC:5235Strategic Communications Research3
JMC:5240Digital Strategic Communication3
JMC:5300Foundations of Strategic Communication3
JMC:5400Strategic Communication Writing3
JMC:5950Capstone Project in Strategic Communication3


In consultation with their advisors, students earn 15 s.h. in elective coursework chosen from the list below. They also may choose other electives that are appropriate for their individual programs, drawing from courses offered by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and by other University of Iowa departments and programs.

JMC:5200Topics in Strategic Communication3
JMC:5237Financial and Budget Fundamentals for Communicators3
JMC:5238Strategic Communication Campaigns3
JMC:5243Copywriting for Strategic Communication3
JMC:5248Strategic Political Communication3
JMC:5250Strategic Communication for Nonprofits3
JMC:5255Strategic Global Communication3
JMC:5260Digital Analytics for Strategic Communication3
JMC:5266Risk Communication3
JMC:5267Strategic Health Care Communication3
JMC:5269Media Management for Strategic Communicators3
JMC:5270Leadership Communication3
JMC:5285Strategic Communication Externship3

For a more detailed description of the M.A. in strategic communication, contact the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Applications for admission to the program are accepted all year.

The strategic communication program is designed for professionals in a wide variety of areas, such as corporate and organizational communication, public relations, integrated marketing communication, advertising, political and public affairs communication, health communication, event management, risk communication, and professional writing. The program focuses on the skills, knowledge, and experience that working professionals need, including the ability to anticipate and meet the challenges of radical change in the media landscape.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Strategic Communication, M.A.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
30 s.h. of graduate level coursework must be completed; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a, b
Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75.
First Year
JMC:5300 Foundations of Strategic Communication c, d 3
Required Core or Elective c, d 3
JMC:5400 Strategic Communication Writing c, d 3
Required Core or Elective c, d 3
JMC:5200 Topics in Strategic Communication e 3
Second Year
Required Core or Elective c, d 3
Required Core or Elective c, d 3
Required Core or Elective c, d 3
Required Core or Elective c, d 3
JMC:5950 Capstone Project in Strategic Communication 3
 Total Hours30
Note: Most students take 2 courses per semester with some summer courses; program courses are offered online, so most students work full-time jobs.
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
Students may complete graduate elective coursework based on their specific career goals; electives (3000 level or above) may be taken from within the program or across the university. Work with faculty advisor to determine elective coursework and sequence.
Students must complete JMC:5235, JMC:5240, JMC:5300, JMC:5400, JMC:5950; work with faculty advisor to determine required core coursework and sequence.
SJMC usually offers a JMC:5200 Topics course in summer. Students may also opt to take an elective across the university.