Online Degree in Strategic Communication

The Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication program combines the study of human communication with a focus on the ways individual organizations can develop a cohesive and purposeful communication strategy. Students learn theories of communication while gaining practical skills—writing, data analysis, leadership—that will help advance their career and meet organizational needs.



Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to:

  • Define and demonstrate principles of ethical and effective strategic communication
  • Apply methods for research and analysis to understand, interpret, and respond to complex organizational needs
  • Use communication skills to solve problems and respond effectively and ethically to complex situations with multiple stakeholders
  • Demonstrate behaviors and attitudes that reflect deep cross-cultural competence
  • Create, implement, and execute comprehensive communication plans that leverage diverse media and platforms to meet strategic goals


To prepare graduates for diverse career paths in a range of fields, the Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication program offers an interdisciplinary and customizable curriculum. Students take eight core courses and choose a major concentration in Corporate Communication and Branding, Research and Analytics, or Leadership. Strategic Communication students also select an elective certificate comprised of four courses from outside of the major.

The Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication degree requires 45 units total, including the major, concentration, elective certificate, and elective and distribution courses.

Core Courses

Complete All Eight

  • COMM ST 205-DL Theories of Persuasion
  • COMM ST 225-DL Communication & Culture
  • COMM ST 250-DL Team Leadership and Decision Making
  • COMM ST 360-DL Organizational Communication
  • COMM ST 392-DL Global Culture, Commerce, and Communication
  • COMM ST 394-DL Research Seminar
  • COMM ST 395-DL Topics: Digital Media & Society
  • COMM ST 398-DL Capstone

Major Concentrations

Choose one


Corporate Communication and Branding

  • COMM ST 261-DL Introduction to Corporate Strategic Communication
  • COMM ST 395-DL Topics: Crisis Communication
  • MKTG 320-DL Brand Management
  • MKTG 370-DL Public Relations


  • ORG BEH 301-DL Organizational Behavior
  • ORG BEH 307-DL Leadership Principles and Practices
  • ORG BEH 310-DL Organizational Change
  • ORG BEH 391-DL Cultural Competencies & Global Leadership

Research and Analytics

  • COMM ST 201-DL Research Methods in Communication Studies
  • COMM ST 352-DL Social Network Analysis
  • MKTG 350-DL Market Research
  • SOCIOL 226-DL Sociological Analysis

Elective Certificates

Choose one

Elective certificates provide students with the opportunity to build skills in a wide range of areas to meet career objectives and earn a stand-alone credential to demonstrate expertise in the professional arena.

Artificial Intelligence

  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 360-DL Artificial Intelligence with Deep Learning
  • CIS 361-DL Natural Language Processing for Artificial Intelligence

Biology for Health Sciences

  • HS BIO 201-DL Introduction to Chemical and Physical Sciences
  • BIOL SCI 217-DL Physiology
  • BIOL SCI 313-DL Human Anatomy
  • BIOL SCI 328-DL Microbiology
Begins Fall 2025

Business Essentials

  • ACCOUNT 201-DL Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • ECON 201-DL Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • FINANCE 202-DL Introduction to Finance
  • MKTG 201-DL Principles of Marketing

Data Science

  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 325-DL Enterprise Data Science
  • CIS 326-DL Data Science Engineering

Health, Science, and Society

  • BIOL SCI 312-DL The Evolutionary Biology of Human Anatomy, Health, and Disease
  • HLTH SCI 317-DL Culturally Responsive Healthcare
  • PHIL 269-DL Bioethics
  • PUB HLTH 343-DL Healthcare Disparities, Inequities, and Social Determinants of Health

Human Resources

  • ORG BEH 309-DL Human Resource Management
  • ORG BEH 311-DL Conflict Resolution
  • ORG BEH 312-DL Managing Diversity and Inclusion
  • ORG BEH 321-DL Employment Law

Law and Policy

  • POLI SCI 230-DL Introduction to Law in the Political Arena
  • SOC SCI 320-DL Social and Public Policy
  • SOC SCI 322-DL Identity and US Policy
  • SOCIOL 318-DL Sociology of Law


  • CIS 212-DL Intro to Object-Oriented Programming
  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 385-DL Programming

Public Health

  • PUB HEALTH 341-DL Public Health Principles and Practice
  • PUB HEALTH 342-DL Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • PUB HEALTH 343-DL Social Determinants of Health
  • PUB HEALTH 344-DL Health Program Development and Evaluation
Begins Fall 2025

Social Justice

  • SOC SCI 330-DL Human Rights and Social Institutions: A Global Perspective
  • SOC SCI 331-DL Social Justice Movements
  • SOC SCI 334-DL Social Justice and the Commercial Sector
  • SOC SCI 335-DL Social Entrepreneurship and the Non-profit Sector

Strategic Management

  • ORG BEH 307-DL Principles of Leadership
  • ORG BEH 310-DL Organizational Change
  • ORG BEH 367-DL Strategic Planning and Management
  • ORG BEH 368-DL Project Management


Degree Requirements

Degree requirements for Strategic Communication
Distribution Major Electives Total
14 units Core courses: 8 units
Concentration: 4 units
Certificate courses: 4 units
Other electives: 15 units
45 units

In addition to the core courses, major concentration, elective certificate, and elective courses, students complete 14 units of distribution courses that includes a writing requirement and courses from three areas. Two distribution courses apply perspectives on power, justice, and equity: one course within the United States and one course focused globally. Students complete a philosophy course on professional ethics for one of the four humanities distribution courses.


  • English 111 Writing Seminar and 205 Intermediate Composition (2 units)
  • Humanities (4 units)
  • Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (4 units)
  • Social Sciences (4 units)

More about the Online Strategic Communication Degree


Online Strategic Communication Degree Admission & Transfer Policy

Application to Northwestern University School of Professional Studies bachelor's degree programs is completed online. Once admitted, many students create a shorter path to degree completion by applying transfer credit. View detailed application instructions and transfer credit policies on the Admission & Transfer Policy page.

Online Strategic Communication Course Schedule

Explore Strategic Communication Degree course descriptions and schedules.


Strategic Communication Degree Tuition & Financial Aid

The School of Professional Studies offers competitive tuition rates for undergraduate courses. The Tuition & Financial Aid page lists current per-course tuition rates in addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Registration for Strategic Communication Degree

Registration for courses opens 8 to 10 weeks before each quarter and is accessed CAESAR,  Northwestern's online student records system. View course registration timelines and instructions on the Registration Information page. 


Learn more about the Online Strategic Communication Degree

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