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Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership

Department of Communication Studies

The College of Arts and Sciences

The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership (MASCL) is delivered 100% online in an asynchronous format allowing for flexible schedules. Students can study at their convenience, minimizing the sacrifice of time dedicated to job and family. The program is designed to be completed by working professionals in 16-20 months. The MASCL will prepare students with theory, data, and skills that will be applicable to a wide range of cultures and people. The role of communication within organizations and on behalf of organizations to formulate message strategies, to communicate strategically, and to analyze communication practices are core principles of the program. These principles can be applied to internal and external communication efforts, training and development opportunities, risk and crisis situations, and public relations campaigns.

Mission Statement

The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership (MASCL) program is dedicated to serving its students through excellent educational experiences leading to professional transformation, intellectual growth, and a culture of life-long learning.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Clearly describe the growing fields of Strategic Communication and Leadership. 

  2. Describe the complexity of human communication as an ongoing transaction between communicators and various audiences.

  3. Analyze and develop communicative messages that utilize the power and influence of human communication.

  4. Plan, develop, and create corporate and strategic messages using professional oral and written communication skills.

  5. Demonstrate social scientific research skills by synthesizing research to create written and oral projects.

  6. Adhere to the accepted social, legal, ethical, and justice seeking responsibilities of communication professionals. 

  7. Analyze and create effective communication plans predicated on evidence-based data and theory for various organizational structures.


Katherine T. Brown, College of Arts and Sciences


Ashland University Graduate Faculty

Olga Monacell, Director of Strategic Communication and Leadership, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Cory Hillman, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership Admission Procedures

An applicant possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.00 scale may be accepted for admission to the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership on an unconditional basis. Students with a GPA higher than 2.25, but lower than 2.75 are eligible for conditional admission to the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership. Students with a GPA less than 2.25 may be considered for conditional admission after submission of all transcripts from all postsecondary institutions, submission of a letter of explanation, and review by the Graduate Program Director.

How to Apply

The following materials must be submitted to finalize the application process:

  1. Completed Ashland University Application.

  2. Submit a $30 application fee.

  3. Submit official academic transcript(s) from accredited institutions of higher education documenting all undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded.

Transcripts, application fees paid by check or money order, or other correspondence should be mailed to:

Ashland University

Attn: Enrollment Services

401 College Avenue

Ashland, OH 44805

Official Electronic transcripts should be submitted to:

Curricular Structure

Each course in the program is offered in a 8-week format for three (3) semester credit hours, with the exception of the exit options, which are offered for 1-3 credits each. Courses are offered in an online format only. The program is delivered in an asynchronous format. The degree requires a total of 30 semester credit hours and may be completed in as little as 16-20 months.

Transfer of Credits

Students in the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership are limited to six hours of transfer credit.

  1. The course work should have been completed within six years prior to application at Ashland University.

  2. Course work must be comparable with the Ashland University program course work. Comparability of transfer credit is determined by the program director.

  3. The final grades in the courses to be transferred must be “B” or higher.

  4. Transfer credit does not affect the cumulative grade point average established with Ashland University.

  5. Quarter hours transferred into the university will be converted to semester hours.

Program Time Limits

The minimum length to complete the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership is 18 months. The maximum length to complete the program is five years. Once the maximum allotted time has passed, students must reapply for admission. Any credits earned prior to readmission cannot be used toward the fulfillment of the degree.

Exit Option

Students will be required to complete 3 credits of exit option (capstone, academic research, or internship) to be eligible for graduation from the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership program. Credits from the three options may be combined for a total of at least three credits to graduate.

Grade and Course Repeat Policy

Any student receiving a B- or lower grade in a course may choose to retake that course in an attempt to raise their grade point average. Both grades will appear on the student's transcript. However, only the second grade will be used in calculating the GPA.

All students take 15 hours of required courses. The remaining 15 credits are elective credit.

Course of Study

Course Number and Title



COM 510 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication



COM 520 Data Informed Decision-   Making


COM 510

COM 620 Strategic Communication


COM 520

COM 670 Leadership and Communication


COM 520

3 credits of any combination of:


COM 775 Academic Research in Communication Studies


21 credits completed toward MASCL

COM 780 Capstone in Communication Studies


21 credits completed toward MASCL

COM 798 Internship in Communication Studies


21 credits completed toward MASCL


Elective Courses (15 credits):


COM 590 Public Relations


COM 520

COM 630 Interpersonal Communication


COM 520

COM 640 Organizational Communication


COM 520

COM 650 Risk and Crisis Communication


COM 520

COM 660 Professional Speaking


COM 520

COM 680 Social Media Strategies


COM 520

MBA 552 Training and Development




Total Hours

30 hrs.


Courses and Descriptions

See COM Courses