MSU StratCom Prospective Students Guide


Michigan State University's Strategic Communication Online Master’s Program was built specifically with the working professional in mind. The world of communications is not slowing down and neither should your career. Continue your path to becoming a leader and student in strategic communications with our award-winning 100% online master's and certificates program.

According to a recent Forbes article, digital communication is one of the in-demand skills employers are looking for this year. The MSU StratCom program helps meet this skill and more marketplace demands with courses in areas of organizational communication for leadership, media analytics and digital media. 

The best part is that the content of our courses are immediately applicable for your work, so there is no time wasted. 

Since the Strategic Communication Online M.A. program began in 2017, we’ve been crowdsourcing insight, tips and advice from students on their experiences with the program. Here's information from current students and alumni on what to expect, as well as key program insight. If you want more personalized information about the program relating to your particular circumstance, please schedule a call with us!

What to expect

Application deadlines

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: April 1 *The summer semester is divided into two, shorter summer sessions
  • Fall: August 1

Application requirements

  • Web application form
  • Resume
  • Transcripts from four-year undergraduate institution and any degree certification documents for all college work
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Academic statement

More on the application process:

Course time commitment

Students say it takes about 10 to 20 hours of work per course per week. 

Course offerings

Course descriptions and the semester courses are offered can be found at *All MSU StratCom courses are for MSU StratCom M.A. or certificate students only.

Sample academic plans

Students can choose a one-, two- or three-year timeline to complete their MSU StratCom degree. See examples of one-, two- and three-year plans here

Tuition (approx.*) and financial aid 

  • In-State Resident Graduate Tuition $24,517.50 [$817.25 per credit hour x 30 credits]
  • Out-of-State and International Graduate Tuition $48,172.50 [$1,605.75 per credit hour x 30 credits]

*For a detailed breakdown and the most updated version of tuition and cost-per-credit hour, visit the MSU CONTROLLER'S SITE.

There are currently no scholarships or assistantships connected to MSU StratCom, however, other financial aid opportunities, including employer tuition assistance, university scholarships and federal aid can be found at:

What if I have lower than a 3.0 cumulative undergrad GPA or fewer than 3 years of work experience?

The MSU StratCom admissions committee takes into account all aspects of the applicant and their application. If applicants don't meet the MSU StratCom application requirements, applicants are reviewed and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. If you have a GPA lower than a 3.0, be sure to address any bumpy aspects of your academic career in your academic statement. If you have fewer than 3 years of work experience, be sure to highlight any relevant experience in your resume.

Transfer credits

MSU StratCom may accept up to 9 transfer credits of graduate course work (excluding research and thesis credits) if they are appropriate to MSU StratCom and provided they were completed within the time limits approved for the earning of the degree desired at MSU. MSU StratCom's director must grant approval of the transfer credits. Only courses in which at least a 3.0 grade or its equivalent was received will be considered for transfer. To see if credits are eligible for transfer the syllabus/syllabi from the courses should be sent to Jennifer Trenkamp, MSU StratCom outreach coordinator, at More information on transfer credits can be found in the MSU StratCom handbook and at

Academic support and mentorship

At the start of their time in the program, each student works with our student success advisor to map their academic journey. The student success advisor enrolls students in their courses each semester and offers guidance and support throughout their time in the program. When an academic plan change is required due to a personal or professional circumstance, students should contact the student success advisor to help work out solutions. Additionally, new students can opt into the opportunity to be paired with an alumni mentor who can help offer support and insight.

Book and resource costs per course

Each course is different in what it requires. Students say it can cost anywhere from $30 to $100+ to purchase books, materials and resources for each course. 

Program software and hardware requirements

Access to a working computer and access to the Internet are basic requirements for most of the MSU StratCom courses. There may be some other, additional software requirements for specific courses that are at a reduced cost or free. 

Part-time vs. full-time student status

Part-time is 5-6 credits/semester. Full-time is 9 credits/semester. To receive federal financial aid loans, students must be enrolled part-time each semester.

Is there a thesis?

MSU StratCom is a Plan B option which does not require a thesis, but a final project (which takes place in the Capstone course).

What is the Capstone?

Because MSU StratCom is for working professionals, the final project is different from the traditional master’s project. It is intended to be a more accurate test of applicable professional skills than a traditional master’s thesis. The capstone course will simulate a real-life professional communications scenario to which students can apply the broad range of strategic communication skills they have acquired. This will involve measurement and analysis of the presented scenario, and the creation of a comprehensive communications plan (including an array of communications material) in response to the issue. The capstone is one of the last classes MSU StratCom students take. They must complete it in order to graduate. The course also requires students to complete an ePortfolio.

What is the ePortfolio?

The ePortfolio is meant to help you catalog your work in the program in order to maximize the benefits you get from completing MSU StratCom. When you graduate, you will be able to easily retrieve the work you created during your time in the program in order to demonstrate the skills you learned to your current or prospective employers.

Where do students and alumni work?

There are a variety of places. Some include: Google, General Motors, Stryker, Michigan State University, MRM//McCann, Kellogg Company, Priority Health, Munson Healthcare, E.W. Scripps Broadcasting, Ford, Whirlpool and more. Read more about our students.

What job titles do students and alumni hold?

There are a variety of job titles. Some include: Communications Coordinator, Communications Manager, Project Manager, Director of Marketing, Strategic Communications Manager, Design and Web Editor, Digital Media Specialist, Digital Marketing Specialist, Executive Director and more. Read more about our students.

What kind of impact does the MSU StratCom degree have on the careers of students and alumni?

Half of students and alumni report receiving a raise or promotion while in the program or after graduating. The average raise students and alumni report receiving is $14,348.15. *These data come from a October 2020 survey

"Connecting with StratCom Classmates"



Connecting with classmates

To help foster collaboration and connection, MSU StratCom utilizes a private Facebook group and Microsoft Teams. On Teams, each course in the program has its own channel. Students are placed in the course channels of which they are enrolled for that particular semester. Additionally, there are other more general channels on Teams that all students and alumni can be part of.


Connecting with the program 

We also send a monthly newsletter to students that contains important updates, resources and information about the program.

Class size

On average, there are about 25-30 students enrolled in each course each semester. 

Program handbook

For detailed information on MSU StratCom, check out the program handbook.

Free and discounted items available to MSU students

*The list may change. Be sure to check back.


Student Rate: