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Online Master of Science in Communication Courses

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Purdue University’s online Master of Science in Communication curriculum prepares you to provide strategic communication and the knowledge to address messaging on international, national and local levels.

Choose Your Learning Path

The online MS in Communication degree consists of 30 credits over 10 courses that can be completed in just 12–20 months. Though you can customize a learning track to meet your career goals, there are four concentrations that prepare you for specific roles and industries:

  • Strategic Communication/Public Relations
  • Integrated Communication and Advertising
  • Health Communication
  • Communication and Leadership

Take a Closer Look

Students who wish to customize a learning track to meet their career goals with the MS in Communication take 3 core courses and choose 7 electives. If you opt to study a concentration, you’ll take 3 core courses, 3 concentration courses, and select 4 electives. Courses cannot be counted twice.

Core Courses

Take all 3.

  • COM 60111 — Seminar in Strategic Communication

    This course surveys the theories and processes of strategic communication and its practice by business, government, politicians and nonprofits — in domestic and international arenas. It also emphasizes the application of theory to provide an in-depth understanding of planning, executing and evaluating strategic communication plans.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60411 — Seminar in Communication Research Methods

    This course serves as the methodological foundation of strategic communication. Students in this class survey core research methods (qualitative and quantitative) in professional and applied settings.

    Total Credits Hours: 3

  • COM 61011 — Strategic Communications and Ethics

    This course introduces the application of ethical principles and decision making. Students study both philosophical and practical ethical questions related to strategic communication.

    Total Credit Hours: 3

Elective Courses

Take 7 if you customize your degree; 4 if you've selected a concentration.

  • COM 60211 — Seminar in Global Strategic Communication

    This course provides students with a global perspective in strategic communication issues with international audiences. The class emphasizes such questions as how strategic communication plans can be successfully implemented in other countries and how plans can be measured and evaluated.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60311 — Seminar in Crisis Communication

    This course focuses on how to communicate in a time of crisis in order to manage threats to organizational identity, reputation or financial security.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60511 — Strategic Communication and Professional Writing

    This graduate course covers topics related to professional writing and strategic communication. Topics include grammar basics, audience considerations, credibility and ethics, and documentation style. In addition, writing is discussed in a variety of contexts such as media, public relations, advertising business communication.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60611 — Seminar in Financial and Investor Relations

    This course provides students with a theoretical and practical overview of theory and practice in financial and investor relations. Students learn about the potential investors in public companies and how to reach them. The course also covers communication with investors to facilitate informed investor decision-making.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60711 — Strategic Communication and Fundraising

    This course looks at approaches for designing fundraising campaigns. It will review major theoretical approaches related to fundraising, overview best practices in fundraising management, discuss implications for message design and mediums when creating fundraising campaigns, primarily in the nonprofit sector.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60811 — Leadership and Global Strategic Communication

    This course provides students with theoretical background in leadership and global strategic communication, as well as the opportunity to apply what they learn to strategic communication cases and their own professional experiences. It also encourages them to handle leadership challenges and articulate theoretically-informed analyses and evaluations of leadership in action.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60911 — Strategic Public Relations

    Strategic communication is composed of integrated marketing communications (IMC), advertising, and public relations. As such, it builds on the general strategic communications course by providing an in-depth understanding of public relations. Specifically, the class will cover public relations theories, ethics, concepts, principles, and applications.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 62111 — Strategic Communication and Social Media

    This course provides an overview of social media and its relationship to strategic communication. Students will learn about the available forms of social media (e.g., Blogs, Social Networks and Wikis) and they can help build and manage relationships with stakeholders. Students also analyze social media metrics as a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of social media strategies as tools for developing corporate, nonprofit, and governmental images and brands.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 62411 — Focus Groups and Interviewing for Strategic Communication

    This course provides students with an overview of qualitative research in public relations with particular emphasis on focus groups and interview methodologies. Students will consider practical applications of these protocols in strategic communication contexts. Prerequisite: COM 60400 — Seminar in Communication Research Methods.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 62511 — Survey Design, Analysis and Reporting for Strategic Communication

    This course provides students with an overview of quantitative research in public relations with a particular emphasis on survey design and analysis. Students learn the practical applications of design and delivery of questionnaires, the use and interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistical methods, and reporting of quantitative results. Prerequisite: COM 60400 — Seminar in Communication Research Methods

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 64011 — Seminar In Advertising

    This course provides an overview of the strategic planning process for advertising including identifying the target audience, determining a positioning strategy and developing a communication media strategy. The course will provide information on theory and best practices that inform the planning and implementation process for successful advertising campaigns.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 64100 — Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication

    Developing cohesive and integrated external and internal communication initiatives across traditional and social media channels is becoming increasingly important for strategic communication professionals. Traditionally, Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising/Promotion have had separate functions; increasingly the role of strategic communication practitioners is to ensure the consistency of the brand story and message across all channels of communication.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 64200 — Persuasive Communication

    This course focuses on the creation of persuasive messages in a variety of contexts from interpersonal to mass media. Specifically, students will review several of the prominent persuasion theories and models and examine the message, audience, and situational characteristics that influence the success of persuasive efforts.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 65000 — Communication and Leadership

    Communication is the essence of leadership, and this course aims to identify how communication can fuel productivity, drive consensus and push the organization to a leadership position within a market.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 67600 — Healthcare Communication

    The healthcare environment is increasingly complex, and poses many challenges for communication professionals seeking to improve communication with key health industry stakeholders, including patients, providers, payers, government agencies, and others.

    Total Credits: 3

Strategic Communications/Public Relations Concentration

Take all 3 if you select this concentration.

  • COM 60211 — Seminar in Global Strategic Communication

    This course provides students with a global perspective in strategic communication issues with international audiences. The class emphasizes such questions as how strategic communication plans can be successfully implemented in other countries and how plans can be measured and evaluated.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60311 — Seminar in Crisis Communication

    This course focuses on how to communicate in a time of crisis in order to manage threats to organizational identity, reputation or financial security.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 60911 — Strategic Public Relations

    Strategic communication is composed of integrated marketing communications (IMC), advertising, and public relations. As such, it builds on the general strategic communications course by providing an in-depth understanding of public relations. Specifically, the class will cover public relations theories, ethics, concepts, principles, and applications.

    Total Credits: 3

Integrated Communication and Advertising Concentration

Take COM 64011 and COM 64100 and choose a third course.

  • COM 62111 — Strategic Communication and Social Media

    This course provides an overview of social media and its relationship to strategic communication. Students will learn about the available forms of social media (e.g., blogs, social networks and wikis) and they can help build and manage relationships with stakeholders. Students also analyze social media metrics as a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of social media strategies as tools for developing corporate, nonprofit, and governmental images and brands.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 64011 — Seminar In Advertising

    This course provides an overview of the strategic planning process for advertising including identifying the target audience, determining a positioning strategy and developing a communication media strategy. The course will provide information on theory and best practices that inform the planning and implementation process for successful advertising campaigns.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 64100 — Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication

    Developing cohesive and integrated external and internal communication initiatives across traditional and social media channels is becoming increasingly important for strategic communication professionals. Traditionally, Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising/Promotion have had separate functions; increasingly the role of strategic communication practitioners is to ensure the consistency of the brand story and message across all channels of communication.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 64200 — Persuasive Communication

    This course focuses on the creation of persuasive messages in a variety of contexts from interpersonal to mass media. Specifically, students will review several of the prominent persuasion theories and models and examine the message, audience, and situational characteristics that influence the success of persuasive efforts.

    Total Credits: 3

Healthcare Communication Concentration

Take COM 65500 and COM 67600 and choose a third course.

  • COM 65500 — Health Advocacy

    This course considers how federal, state, and local policy influence health status and health improvement. Through this course, students gain an understanding of the role of health communication campaigns in health advocacy efforts. To engage their understanding, students will apply an advocacy campaign model to address a relevant health issue.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 67600 — Healthcare Communication

    The healthcare environment is increasingly complex and poses many challenges for communication professionals seeking to improve communication with key health industry stakeholders, including patients, providers, payers, government agencies, and others.

    Total Credits: 3

  • CSR 68700 — Public Health Administration

    An introduction to the principles of management as applied to public health organizations, particularly local health departments. Topics include the organization of the U.S. public health system, legal and ethical obligations of public health administrators, the public health workforce and human resource issues, public health budgeting and finance, and leadership in the public health agency. The course is designed to introduce master's level students in public health to the management skills necessary to successfully implement a public health program.

    Total Credits: 3

  • HK 57601 — Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior

    Coursework examines the theoretical foundations of health behavior. Students explore the development of a conceptual framework for understanding and facilitating behavior enhancement, elimination and/or maintenance in health promotion and education. Topics include current theories regarding health-related behaviors.

    Total Credits: 3

  • HK 67500 — Design and Analysis of Public Health Interventions

    This course addresses professional competencies in design, implementation, evaluation and diffusion of health interventions in community settings. Program planning paradigms, determinants of health behavior and behavior change strategies serve as a basis for analyzing health interventions.

    Total Credits: 3

  • HSCI 54700 — Fundamentals of Epidemiology

    This course is an introduction to epidemiology, the study of the patterns, causes, and impact of disease in populations. Epidemiology comprises an important part of public health and medical surveillance and research, and is a key tool for health policy development. This course will discuss the basic principles and methods of epidemiology, including measurements of disease occurrence and association, study designs, and determination of causality. Contemporary examples will be used to illustrate the application of these concepts. 

    Total Credits: 3

Leadership and Communication Concentration

Take COM 60811 and COM 65000 and choose a third course.

  • COM 60811 — Leadership and Global Strategic Communication

    This course provides students with theoretical background in leadership and global strategic communication, as well as the opportunity to apply what they learn to strategic communication cases and their own professional experiences. It also encourages them to handle leadership challenges and articulate theoretically-informed analyses and evaluations of leadership in action.

    Total Credits: 3

  • COM 65000 — Communication and Leadership

    Communication is the essence of leadership, and this course aims to identify how communication can fuel productivity, drive consensus and push the organization to a leadership position within a market.

    Total Credits: 3

  • CSR 68700 — Public Health Administration

    An introduction to the principals of management as applied to public health organizations, particularly local health departments. Topics include the organization of the U.S. public health system, legal and ethical obligations of public health administrators, the public health workforce and human resource issues, public health budgeting and finance, and leadership in the public health agency. The course is designed to introduce master's level students in public health to the management skills necessary to successfully implement a public health program.

    Total Credits: 3

  • ENGT 50700 — Fundamentals of Collaborative Leadership and Agile Strategy

    Acquire foundational skills in collaborative leadership and agile strategy. The course brings together theories and insights from a variety of disciplines including engineering, management, psychology and social science. Increasingly, manufacturing management is being called upon to apply their technical skills in collaborative environments that cut across organizational units and inter-organizational boundaries.

    Understanding how to design and guide collaborations and apply agile approaches for meeting strategic objectives is an important skill set and knowledge base in the 21st century economy, defined more by open networks than the rigid hierarchies of the past.

    Total Credits: 3

  • HTM 51200 — Leadership in Hospitality and Tourism

    Focus on the knowledge and skills required for effective leadership. Topics will draw upon an extensive body of research on leadership theory and practice and cover organizational behavior and team dynamics, business communication, decision making, motivation, and change management. In addition to specific skill development in the areas of problem-solving, written and oral communications, leading teams, and goal setting, it will include models for examining personal career paths, ethical decision-making, and the role of organizational change-agents. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach and analyze leadership through different lenses, showing how leadership insights can be effectively applied to hospitality organizations. You will examine leadership examples where individuals moved an organization from normal to exceptional.

    Total Credits: 3

Get Started Today

To learn more about the online MS in Communication from Purdue University, request more information or call 877-497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor.