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Strategic Communication

Department of Strategic Communication

Students studying strategic communication learn to communicate creatively and persuasively to build mutually beneficial long-term relationships between organizations and their publics. Students specialize in public relations, advertising, or integrated strategic communication and graduate with concrete job skills such as persuasive writing, survey research and campaign management. Public relations majors learn how to foster beneficial relationships with key stakeholders and build and maintain a positive public image for a company or person. Advertising majors learn how to effectively appeal to consumers by designing and evaluating advertising initiatives using a variety of media platforms. Integrated strategic communication majors learn how to build win-win partnerships with key stakeholders and consumers.

Programs of Study

Locations

We offer courses and degree programs at these WSU campus locations:

Contact Information

The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
Washington State University
PO Box 642520
Pullman WA, 99164-2520
(509) 335-1556

Department Chair

Stacey J. T. Hust

Program Director, Everett ISC

Brett Atwood

Program Director, Vancouver ISC

Nanu Iyer

Program Director, Online BA

Ryan Risenmay

Program Director, Online MA

Rebecca Cooney

Quick Facts

  • Strategic communication is the largest degree program in the Murrow College with 61% of Pullman-based certified undergraduate students studying either public relations or advertising.
  • Strategic Communication also includes the Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) program at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett (WSUNPSE), which is the second largest academic program on the Everett campus.
  • The Integrated Strategic Communication program was officially launched in Vancouver in Spring 2017. The much-anticipated program was immediately able to enroll 32 undergraduate majors.
  • The online BA in Integrated Strategic Communication launched in Fall 2017.
  • The online MA in Strategic Communication is also housed in the Strategic Communication unit.  In 2016, 128 students representing multiple countries, states, and cities were registered for online MA classes.

Student Work

All programs within Strategic Communication emphasize experiential learning and hands-on professional skills application. Coursework in the program emphasizes theoretically grounded, data-based decision making to problem solve and innovate. In each undergraduate major, senior-level students complete a culminating course in which they produce a professional work product for a real-world client. In the online MA program, students create a professional, digital portfolio and complete a rigorous, culminating, applied assessment project. Therefore, students graduating from either the undergraduate or graduate programs in Strategic Communication are well-prepared to contribute meaningfully to the professional industry. Students in our culminating courses have recently worked for a variety of clients including WSU Athletics, the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning at WSU, the Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators, and the WSU Provost’s Office.

Recent Student Work

More Student Work stories

Internships and Career Preparation

We encourage strategic communication students to receive as much practical experience as possible through internships and involvement with on-campus organizations. Strategic communication students receive experience by working on Murrow College events such as the Murrow Symposium and by working for the Cougar Communicators Group, our student-run, public relations firm.

Students are also involved in professional organizations such as the Advertising Club, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Jay Rockey Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the Association for Women in Communications. Strategic Communication students also participated in The Boeing Scholars Program and The Harold Frank Entrepreneurship Institute Fellows Program. Our co-located programs in Everett and Vancouver are also offering students opportunities for career preparation.

Everett ISC students participate in the Boeing Scholars Program and complete internships in Greater Seattle area. Vancouver ISC students were encouraged to form a club, “Strategic U”, that helps local non-profit agencies with their strategic communication needs. The student club has more than 20 members and is working with five clients. The club was featured prominently in the local newspaper, which generated a lot of interest and goodwill for the program and the university from the local community.

Explore Student Clubs and Organizations

Jobs and Internships

Visit CougLink to check out the latest internship postings.

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Career Success

Our students continue to be successful in securing employment after graduation. Some of our most recent graduates are employed by: Microsoft, 206 Inc., Digital Brand Architects, Iowa Democratic Party, Amazon, Nyhus Communications, Future of Flight Center & Boeing Tour, Swinomish Casino & Lodge, CDR Fundraising Group, WE Communications, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, and WSU Economic Development.

The overwhelming majority of our online MA graduates actively work in the field of professional communications. Fifty percent hold leadership titles (i.e. manager, director) in communication roles, 10% work for national brands (i.e. Microsoft, Boeing), and 10% are active or recently retired military.

Research

Tenure-track faculty in Strategic Communication continue to publish articles in top academic journals. In 2016, Strategic Communication faculty published 11 refereed journal articles and had 20 additional articles in press. Faculty publications recently have appeared or will soon appear in a number of highly visible journals including Communication Research, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication, Public Understanding of Science, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and the Journal of Sex Research.

Many Strategic Communication faculty are leading or working on a grant-funded project. For example, Dr. Porismita Borah and Dr. Amanda Boyd serve as co-investigators on multi-million dollar grants funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition, Strategic Communication faculty are active participants in the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion Research and their research continues to generate attention. The Communication Institute for Online Scholarship ranks the Murrow College highly for its research concerning advertising, drugs, and literacy, for example.

Recent Research Stories

More research stories

Facilities and Labs

Faculty

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