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. The required coursework falls into four categories that reflect the areas strategic communicators must master.

J608 Workshop (2 credits, offered through the Multimedia Journalism Master’s program):

  • J608 Audio Storytelling I: Intro: Learn the technical aspects of audio field recording and editing using Adobe Audition software.
  • J608 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.
  • J608 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.
  • J608 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.
  • J608 Web Design & Interactivity: Get an introduction to core principles of web design, user experience, and interactivity as they relate to multimedia journalism storytelling and create a simple website. This course does not dive into coding. This is a rotating elective, offered at varying times each year.

J609 Terminal Project (1–9 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.

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.

J610 Strategic Communication Elective (1–4 credits)
Past topics include:

  • Crisis Communication: Prepare to guide an organization through a critical time by mastering the foundational principles of crisis communication.
  • Political Communication: 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: Build a deep understanding of CSR and related concepts such as sustainability, corporate citizenship, and corporate social advocacy.
  • Strategic Social Media: 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: Get the foundational tools to bridge the gap between business and creative, left-brain and right-brain, technical and intuitive.
  • Design for Strategic Communication: 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: 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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 Project Management and Planning (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.

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 Strategic Communication Topics (2–4 credits)
Past topics include:

  • Introduction to Social Virtual Reality: 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.
  • Communicating for Social Impact: 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.

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.

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


    Need some guidance? Here are a few options:

    1. Download our graduate handbook for more details about program requirements and resources.
    2. Attend an info session at SOJC Portland to learn about the program and tour the building.
    3. Contact our graduate recruiter in Portland with questions about the program, the application process, and admission.

    Once you’re admitted, you’ll be matched with a faculty advisor who will be your first point of contact for academic and career guidance. You’ll also choose a capstone advisor to assist with your terminal project.