New communication tools emerge constantly in today’s digital world. What’s trending today may be obsolete tomorrow. Every shift has the power to transform the way an organization connects with and engages specific audiences. It’s a fast-paced, ever-evolving landscape — and it’s more important than ever to stay ahead of the curve. That's why Maryville offers a professional program designed with technical certificates embedded in your courses so you can stay on top of trends — and stand out with employers.
For strategic leaders and communication professionals like you, innovation is everything. Maryville’s faculty regularly updates course materials to reflect the industry’s latest trends and digital tools. Maryville stays focused on the future, so you can graduate with the skills and confidence to challenge the status quo — and lead the future of strategic communications.
Apply with no entrance exams
Explore eligible transfer credit options
Access 100% online coursework with no campus visits required
Learn from industry-experienced faculty
Earn real-world certifications from Google, Salesforce, and Hubspot
Build dynamic, practical skills that are relevant to nonprofit and business careers
Complete immersive projects and earn industry-relevant certifications
Much like you, Maryville is outcomes driven. And it shows in the curriculum. It’s the reason Maryville partners with leading authorities like Google and Salesforce. Choose this online master’s in strategic communication and leadership program, and you can graduate with at least three industry-leading certifications:
This hands-on, practical experience allows you to see everything you’re learning in the classroom translate to the real world. It’s work you can add to your portfolio — and share with potential employers.
Maryville’s online master’s in strategic communication and leadership degree is career-based and future-focused. Choose this 36-credit-hour program, and you can personalize your studies to align with your professional goals. Whether you want to run a communications department or start your own consulting business, Maryville offers the industry-relevant courses to match.
This course explores the process of leadership through the framework of contemporary leadership research and theory. Emphasis is placed on integrating theory and practice through a variety of methods, including student case studies and experiential learning. Drawing on current leadership research and tools, students explore options to practice leadership and affect positive change from any position in an organization, community, or society.
COMM 520 – Evidence Based Research (3 credits)
A core competency of strategic leadership is the ability to gather information, analyze and critically evaluate that information, and then use that information to make important decisions. In this course, students will learn to become effective consumers of research and data, as well learn to use traditional methods of research and analysis, such as surveys, focus groups, field experiments, program evaluations, and descriptive and inferential statistics to evaluate organizations, communication strategies, products, services, processes, and performance.
COMM 523 – Organizational Communication (3 credits)
This course addresses key communication theories and best practices within the context of work. Graduate students will learn how to assess communicative issues, locate quality evidence, and apply the findings to everyday work situations to develop more effective organizational communication strategies both internally and externally. Furthermore, graduate students will learn effective communication strategies specifically regarding leadership, change management, decision-making, organizational culture, organizational identification, conflict management, and team management.
COMM 525 – Professional and Organizational Ethics (3 credits)
This course examines ethical decision-making and issues in the organizational context using a framework that is empirically informed and consistent with best practices and regulations. Emphasis is placed on understanding how interpersonal and group relations and values impact individual and corporate responsibility and ethical issues in relation to internal and external stakeholders.
COMM 502 – Foundations: Theories and Application (3 credits)
This course provides an intensive examination of a variety of strategic communication theories in public relations, advertising, and marketing communication; the background and perspectives of scholars who developed the strategic communication theories; and the application of these theories in academic and professional work.
COMM 503 – Best Practices: Models and Systems (3 credits)
This course focuses on the systems and models of communication practice that have been studied and developed by academics and applied by practitioners in their work. The emphasis in this course is understanding the synergy created when academic knowledge and scholarship are incorporated in strategic decision making as illustrated by case studies and other practical-world analysis.
COMM 522 – Global Communication (3 credits)
This course focuses on the advanced communication systems present in a variety of cultures with an emphasis on deeply understanding the social, cultural, political, and economic effects on different organizational systems. Students will also explore advanced nonverbal and intercultural communication competencies, and the many strategic challenges of communicating in a global environment.
COMM 685 – Capstone: Comprehensive Examination (3 credits)
Note: Approval by program director required. Comprehensive examination must be taken in the last semester of coursework before graduation.
COMM 516 – Issues and Crisis Management (3 credits)
Based in the scholarship of issues and crisis management, this course prepares students to fulfill an advanced level of crisis communication within an organization. This course discusses at an advanced level the communication role important to dealing with issues in a timely fashion to prevent crises, as well as managing and/or mitigating a crisis in all its various stages and across all the various channels (including social media platforms).
COMM 571 – Integrated Marketing Communication (3 credits)
This course gives graduate students the opportunity to be innovative in the development, creation, implementation, and evaluation of an advanced communication campaign for a client/organization in the St. Louis community. Key elements of this course include the ability to apply theoretical, evidence-based concepts and strategies to a particular client situation, to negotiate and advise the client on best courses of action, and to experience the real-world outcomes of evidence-based strategies.
COMM 605 – Digital Media Campaigns (3 credits)
Designing and creating innovative digital media campaigns is a powerful process in contemporary society and an essential tool for helping organizations craft a public narrative about their value in society. In this course, students will learn to evaluate organizational digital media efforts, create and design digital media campaigns for a variety of purposes, and provide recommendations to organizations about how to improve their digital media efforts. Additionally, students in this course will be able to articulate, find, and digest the latest academic research that lies at the intersection of how technology is impacting organizations.
COMM 610 – Digital Media Metrics and Analytics (3 credits)
This course provides an intensive examination of a variety of digital media metrics and analytics necessary to measure and evaluate marketing communication campaigns. Furthermore, it provides an evidence-based approach to digital marketing that can measure an organization's return on their marketing investments. Graduate students will learn practical, up to date tools that will help in analyzing, creating and measuring effective digital marketing campaigns.
COMM 630 – Digital Visual Communication (3 credits)
The objective of this course is to educate students on how to use and understand photography as a tool in communication. Students will learn how to create professional photographs with their iPad or digital camera and grasp an understanding on how to read those photographs from an objective lens. There will be a survey of topics ranging from photojournalism ethics to fashion model objectification that will widen one's appreciation of how photography changes society for the good and bad. The course will be deep rooted in photography theory and critical thinking. Students will graduate will the basic skills of an entry level photographer and have a portfolio of images to illustrate their competency. The experience will accumulate in a final photo-thesis where the student will argue with media theory (Punctum and Studum Theory) why the images they created are powerful.
COMM 673 – Social Network & Search Engine Optimization (3 credits)
Develop knowledge, understanding, and concepts related to direct and web marketing techniques, tactics, and strategies that enable a manager to make sound business decisions. Topics include web media and databases, target audiences, forecasting and cost control, research, and testing of creative strategies.
Personalize your educational experience by choosing elective courses that relate to your career goals and interests.
Pick two electives from strategic communication and/or graduate business electives (6 hours).
BUS 640 – Project Management (3 credits)
This course examines the roles and skills of the project manager and project teams through the phases of the project life cycle. Topics including project initiation and planning, project organizational structure, teamwork, leadership, resource planning and scheduling, control, and project termination. Case studies of real organizations focus on the issues associated with new product, reengineering, and technology implementation projects and with behavioral aspects including culture, conflict, risk, and change management. The course is a general coverage of project management issues commonly found in the project management certification resources relevant for a wide variety of project types.
BUS 641 – Legal Environment of Business (3 credits)
This course focuses on legal issues relating to business relationships. The social and ethical duties of business are studied within the legal context. Analysis and evaluation are applied to legal problems to develop and understand the philosophies underlying the legal rules and regulations controlling business activity.
BUS 643 – Business Ethics (3 credits)
This course focuses on ethical problems in business as well as issues of current interest (e.g. the environment, technology, international relations).
BUS 676 – Global Business (3 credits)
Developments and issues in the international marketplace are covered to gain a basic familiarity with global business strategies and philosophies. Different cultural, economic, legal, and political environments also are addressed. Emphasis is on the application of the core business functions in an international context and the implications of global issues for business decision-makers.
MGMT 640 – Human Resources Management (3 credits)
This course is the study of human resource management (HRM) related to managing equal opportunity and diversity, personnel planning, recruiting and talent management, testing and selecting employees, training and development, performance management, compensation, ethics, retention, labor relations, collective bargaining, and safety.
This course will focus on further preparing the student to enter the workforce by concentrating on a greater understanding of human relations principles and practices. (Career success is a function of many facets.) The ability to understand and cope effectively with today's work and/or life issues and problems is a skill that is valued by most employers. Many trends, such as workforce diversity, flatter organizations, globalization, teamwork, workplace violence, require a greater understanding of human relations.
MGMT 687 – Leadership (3 credits)
This course examines the current leadership literature and traces the development of leadership theory. It stresses the strategic nature of leadership and its role in contemporary organizations. Students conduct self-assessments of their personal leadership skills and participate in many activities designed to develop leadership and skills in team building.
MKT 660 – Strategic Marketing (3 credits)
Apply both management principles and marketing theory to strategic marketing problems, emphasizing long-range planning of marketing mix elements, consideration of marketing interface with other areas, and problem solving and decision-making.
MKT 663 – Consumer Behavior (3 credits)
This course examines influences such as political and legal factors (external) and attitudes and personality (internal) that affect the consumers ultimate decision process. It also explores marketing strategies that respond to the consumer’s needs.
MKT 680 – Branding (3 credits)
This course explores the role of the brand management function in building strong brands, measuring their equity or value, and in maintaining the strength of the brand over time. The primary objectives of this course are to increase the understanding of the important issues in planning and evaluating brand strategies and to provide the appropriate theories, models, and other tools to make better branding decisions. An additional area of emphasis will be brand management's interaction with other functional disciplines within the corporate structure, including customer marketing and field sales.
Note: Comprehensive Examination must be taken in the last semester of coursework before graduation.
To ensure the best possible educational experience for students, Maryville may update its curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry demands.
Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (college work)
Applicants who do not meet the GPA requirement may be considered for provisional admission.
No GMAT/GRE required
Official transcripts required for all institutions previously attended*
Personal statement detailing qualifications for graduate work
International applicants: Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 563 within two years of application
*Additional official and/or unofficial transcripts may be requested during admission for financial aid reviews.
Transfer credit policy
Up to six credits from a regionally accredited institution can be transferred into a master’s program.
Tuition and fees
Maryville University was named as one of the best values in private college education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
A college degree is an investment in yourself and your future. That’s why Maryville strives to offer value and give you the best possible return on your investment.
Tuition rates vary depending on the type of degree you are interested in pursuing. The costs below reflect tuition rates for 2020-21 and are subject to change.
MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership
36 credits, $714 per credit
Online program fees
Each semester, your billing statement will include a per-semester student fee called OneFee. This fee covers your access to all services and resources provided by the university and made available to you as a Maryville University student. Please note: Some programs do have additional fees. Your enrollment advisor can help answer any questions you may have regarding program fees.
Online Master’s and Doctorate Programs OneFee: $675 per semester
About Maryville University
Innovation, service, and bravery are woven into the fabric of this institution. Maryville University has been challenging the norms of higher education for nearly 150 years. When the status quo doesn’t make sense, this university has the courage to change it.
Today, Maryville University is a nationally ranked private college recognized for comprehensive and innovative education focused on student learning, outcomes, and success — both online and on campus.
Accreditation and ranking
Maryville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Ranked by Forbes among “America’s Top Colleges” for 2019
Named a 2019-2020 Military Friendly® School
Named an “Apple Distinguished School” for 2018-2021
Listed among the “Best College Values 2019” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Ranked a “Best National University” for 2020 by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked among Money’s “Best Colleges” 2019
Maryville faculty members are a large part of what makes the experience different, and the biggest reason students are so successful. No matter which Maryville program you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from a renowned group of industry leaders and subject matter experts with both real-world experience and a passion for helping you excel.
Maryville faculty are professionals and leaders in their fields who bring their experiences and knowledge into the classroom, but what makes them truly unique is that they’re about teaching first. They are invested in helping you excel in the classroom, in your career, and beyond.