Strategic Communication Master’s Program Courses

We consult regularly with our professional faculty and the top communication executives in our Strategic Communication Leadership Network to determine the skills and curriculum students need to become successful strategic communicators. To find out when these courses are offered and to register, visit the UO Class Schedule.

Core Classes

J611 Mass Communication and Society (4 credits)
This introduction to graduate study in communication emphasizes the major intellectual traditions and enduring issues in the field of strategic communication.

J621 Foundations of Strategic Communication (4 credits)
Get an introduction to the many facets and theoretical frameworks of strategic communication, from public relations, advertising, and marketing to social media and corporate communication.

J629 Media and Communication Ethics (4 credits)
This course explores the ethical issues communications professionals face almost daily. It addresses how to survive and thrive in the turmoil and disruption of the current media landscape. We will explore what is changing, why it is changing, and how you can do good work despite, and sometimes because of, these changes. You’ll focus on ethical decision-making and potential outcomes—on a continuum of positive to negative—of communicating through digital media.

J642 Quantitative Research Methods (4 credits)
This is a practical, real-world research course that teaches methodological skills you can apply to directly in the workplace.

J610 Communication Ethics in the Digital Age (4 credits)
Explore the ethical issues communication professionals face almost daily, with a focus on surviving and thriving in the turmoil and disruption of the current media landscape. We will explore what is changing, why it is changing, and how you can do good work despite—and sometimes because of—these changes.

J641 Qualitative Research Methods (4 credits)
Learn the principles of research for the strategic management of communication programs and campaigns.

J616 Intro to Strategic Communication Marketing (4 credits)
Approach the practice of marketing from the perspective of a general manager.

J623 Creativity in Strategic Communication (4 credits)
Explore the use of creative conceptual thinking as part of the strategic basis in successful communication campaigns.

J624 Finance for Strategic Communication (2 credits)
Explore the basics of financial statements and their application for anyone working in public relations, advertising, marketing, and corporate communication.

J624 Campaign Planning & Management (2 credits)
Explore common problems in strategic communication management and the specialized skills you’ll need to solve them. Examples of topics we’ll cover are crisis communication, creativity in business, and corporate social responsibility.

J618 Strategic Communication Management (4 credits)
Learn the essential elements of managing and leading groups and organizations.

J609 Terminal Project (6–9 credits)
Your capstone project is an applied communication plan addressing a strategic communication problem or issue that’s directly applicable to improving the marketing of a process, service, procedure, idea, or product. By your second year, you’ll register for J609 for two or more terms. Many students complete projects for their current employers, and most add the final product to their portfolios. Past projects include an FBI social media policy for first-person shooter incidents, a rebranding schema for a healthcare company, and a brand and communication plan for a nonprofit.

Elective Courses

Students can choose electives that build focused skills in their areas of interest. Some elective topics are not offered every term or year. Talk to your program director about the electives offered each term.

J608 Multimedia Journalism Electives (each course is 2 credits):

Audio Storytelling I
Learn the technical aspects of audio field recording and editing using Adobe Audition software.

Audio Storytelling II: Podcasting
Explore narrative storytelling through audio. Get hands-on experience in field recording, interviewing, and editing an audio story for broadcast and other contemporary media platforms. Focus on short-form audio production that incorporates the use of interviews, actualities, voice-over narration, and sound effects. Special emphasis will be placed on writing for the ear and voicing scripts.

Motion Graphics
Gain exposure to the fundamental principles of motion graphics. Learn the basics of Adobe After Effects software, including 3D camera tracking titles and “2-½ D” photo movement.

Storytelling with Data
Get an introduction to data visualization techniques used in multimedia storytelling. Learn core vocabulary to more effectively communicate with designers and data visualization specialists.

Story in Stills I: Intro
Learn to think with more clarity and sophistication about how still images can convey narrative. You’ll discuss the process of finding, researching, shooting, and editing. 

Story in Stills II: Photo Story
Learn how to find and tell stories effectively with pictures. Develop your ability to research, find, and report stories that explore and explain issues in communities. Explore the ethics of using pictures to tell stories, and look at where we are in the history of photojournalism and documentary photography. This class is for graduate students who have experience taking pictures in the tradition of photojournalism or documentary photography.

J610 Strategic Communication Electives (each course varies on 1–4 credits each)

Crisis Communication (2-4 credits)
Prepare to guide an organization through a critical time by mastering the foundational principles of crisis communication.

Political Communication (2-4 credits)
Examine how political messages are produced and transmitted. Students study messaging produced by political communicators and how the recipients of these political messages are affected.

Corporate Social Responsibility (2-4 credits)
Build a deep understanding of CSR and related concepts such as sustainability, corporate citizenship, and corporate social advocacy.

Strategic Social Media (2-4 credits)
Learn the “why?” and “when?” of social media so you can meet organizational goals and objectives, build relationships, and demonstrate success.

Building Strong Brands—Strategy to Creative (2-4 credits)
Get the foundational tools to bridge the gap between business and creative, left-brain and right-brain, technical and intuitive.

Design for Strategic Communication (2-4 credits)
Build the skills to design memorable, meaningful, and ethical communications for a given message, audience, and medium using print, digital, and social media platforms.

Writing for Grad School (1 credit)
Learn the skills for success in graduate-level writing, including how to access and understand academic research, translate it for nonacademic audiences, and write with effective “academic voice.” Fundamentals of clear writing will also be introduced. (Offered every year)

Communicating for Social Impact (2 credits)
Whether you work for a nonprofit or as a journalist, creating social change takes strategic planning, resource development, and fierce determination. This course explores contemporary cases and provides a roadmap for developing messages and campaigns that make the world a better place.

Elective Courses offered in the Oregon Reality Lab:

Introduction to Social Virtual Reality (2 credits)
Get insight into the history and evolution of social virtual reality, from its early stages in the game space to the emerging social platforms designed for immersion with VR headsets. Explore and experience several platforms and critically analyze current and potential use of immersive VR in community building, storytelling, marketing, design, education, and more. Consider the ethical implications of this technology and its potential impacts on equity and inclusion.

User Experience & Design (4 credits)
This course is designed to teach fundamental principles of user experience (UX) and human-centered design (HCD) in the context of strategic communication. By design, this course is heavily interdisciplinary in nature, relying on various theoretical and applied approaches drawn from fields of human-computer interaction (HCI), media psychology, and many others. UX is also context-specific, and we will be highlighting UX design in various domains, including mobile apps, traditional web, service and customer experience, gaming, and product design, among others. 

Marketing with Immersive Technology (2 credits)
An introduction to social virtual worlds (VW), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) within the frameworks of building communities, marketing and storytelling.

Creating for Immersive Platforms (2 credits)
An introduction to designing and building tools for virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, including Unity, Maya, WebXR, and other character-generating tools used to create immersive VR experiences. Students work with industry standard software to create their first interactive VR environment, as well as explore the foundations for AR driven applications. Students will become familiar with off-the-shelf resources to get them started quickly and gain an understanding of the overall production pipeline used in generating content for immersive platforms. No prior experience required.

Introduction to Building Real-Time Ready Assets for Immersive Media (4 credits)
In this course, students will get an introduction to the production pipeline used in creating custom assets for immersive and interactive media. They will gain hands-on experience utilizing cross-platform workflows to bring their original ideas to life. This course focuses on 3D modeling, texturing, and lighting for real-time rendering environments. (Prereq: Creating for Immersive Platforms)

Comparative Software for Immersive Media Development (2 credits)
In this course students, will work with comparable production applications like Unreal Engine, to develop VR scenes used for storytelling and visualization. The technical focuses of the course are centered around setting up user functionality, basic interaction and UI, prototyping using Blueprints, high dynamic lighting and working with material graphs to generate visually compelling environments. Additionally, this course examines factors that contribute to a successful user experience and how to develop with those elements in mind. (Prereq: Creating for Immersive Platforms and Building Real-Time Ready Assets for Immersive Media)

Immersive Storytelling I: 360 Video (2 credits)
Examine current best practices around 360 video production and get an introduction to photogrammetry (the use of drones and still photography to create virtual worlds).


Need some guidance? Here are a few options:

  1. Download our graduate handbook for more details about program requirements and resources.
  2. Contact our graduate recruiter with questions about the program, the application process, and admission.

Request More Information