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Program Overview

Advance your career and rise through the ranks with a master’s degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership. The 100% online format was designed with busy professionals in mind. If you are juggling multiple responsibilities at work and at home, you can have the flexibility to study when it fits your schedule.

With mentorship from experienced professors, you will benefit from a dynamic balance of theory, research and practical application. You’ll study trends in the fast-paced communication field, learn how to apply effective messaging to support organizational goals and develop leadership qualities that sustain organizations and the communities they serve.

Our faculty blend corporate expertise in the business, nonprofit and government sectors with a passion for effective communication within sustainable organizations.

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Delivery Format



Credit Hours







Learning Experiences

Strategic communication and leadership courses are offered in the fall, spring and summer semesters. With eight-week terms and 30 credit hours required to earn a master’s degree, you can graduate in 18 months. You will also complete either a research project or an internship at an organization of your choice. 

The Strategic Communication and Leadership program also offers three stackable graduate certificates:

  • Foundations of Strategic Communication (9 credit hours)
  • Applied Strategic Communication (15 credit hours)
  • Communication Studies (18 credit hours)

Regardless of where you are in your career journey, our curriculum will enrich your understanding of strategic communication and help you assume an executive role in your organization.

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Courses required in the Strategic Communication and Leadership Program include:

  • Data-driven Decision Making
  • Strategic Communication
  • Public Relations
  • Organizational Communication
  • Leadership
  • Risk and Crisis Communication

For more details, view the course liststackable graduate certificates or Academic Catalog.

Graduate Outcomes

You’ll have superior written and oral communication skills, allowing you to improve company cultures and strengthen stakeholder relationships.

You’ll possess the analytical and ethical skills needed to identify organizational problems and propose unique solutions. And your expertise will make you a prime candidate for leadership positions in any sector.

Our graduates have gone on to jobs such as strategic partnerships coordinator, communications manager, public relations director, director of marketing and communications, fundraising manager, health commissioner, content manager, senior producer and executive director.

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Ashland University ranked a top school for online master’s in communications for 2023

AU has been ranked as one of the nation’s best colleges for online master’s programs in communications. Just 6% of regionally accredited postsecondary institutions earned a ranking position.

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Can You Give Me a Glimpse of My Future?

What Students Say

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“Ashland University’s graduate program gave me the flexibility and knowledge I needed to focus on public relations. All of my professors were willing to help and take extra time to talk to me. The program was completely remote, which allowed me to work full time and apply everything I learned on-the-go.”

- Asia Black, M.A.’19, Alzheimer’s Association, California

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“My goal now is to continue to lead, build the staff of our organization and help our employees learn how to communicate a little better with each other and with the general public. A lot of the conflict we see at work is just a breakdown in communication.”

- Vickie Taylor, M.A.’18, Department of Health, Ashland County, Ohio

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“Everyone is getting a bachelor’s degree these days. I want something to make me more marketable and that’s why I decided to go for a master’s degree. I was looking up schools that were military-friendly and asynchronous, where I can do school around my work schedule. I liked the program at Ashland. Some of the courses seemed very relevant for what I wanted to do and that was a big driving factor.”

- Trevor Griffin, anticipated M.A. ’24, U.S. Air Force  

Contact Information

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Olga Monacell, Ph.D.
Director, M.A. in Strategic Communication and Leadership
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
328 Center for the Arts