Texas Tech University

Strategic Communication & Innovation M.A. Requirements

Program Requirements

Students must complete nine courses (27 hours) and a final project (3 hours).
This includes seven required courses and three electives as described below.

Required Courses

MCOM 5366 Seminar in Mass Communication Theory

This course offers a survey of theories common in mass communication research with an emphasis on theories of persuasion. There is a specific focus on current research and application of theory in the practice of strategic communication.

MCOM 5364 Research Methods

This course provides a survey of research approaches commonly employed in fields relevant to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of strategic communication (e.g., public relations, advertising, journalism, and electronic media). The course covers basic components of research practice, with an emphasis on how to use a variety of methodological approaches to design studies useful for improving strategic communication efforts.

MCOM 5310 Strategic Communication Planning & Writing

The course utilizes a case method approach to examine best practices across a variety of contexts offering students hands-on experience in developing a strategic communication plan. The course will examine strategic communication practices across a variety of contexts. We will review best practice approaches to integrated communication of advertising, promotional and marketing messages, and public relations across multiple channels. The culmination of the course is the development of a strategic communication plan that can be deployed to advance strategic communication goals across any type of organization (nonprofit, corporate, advertising, government, etc.). Plans will include the identification of goals, setting objectives, segmenting target publics, developing messages, and selecting sources and channels of communication, as well as focus on the logistics of message delivery including timing and budget.

MCOM 5312 Media Management, Entrepreneurship & Consulting

This course explores the management needs and entrepreneurial efforts occurring in the traditional and digital media industries, as well as the role that consultants and freelancers play. The course will explore business strategies, business models, key issues, careers, and future considerations in media sectors. Students will also learn principles of media entrepreneurship and management strategies and the ways they are applied, including an examination of market competition, technological innovation and value creation, and pragmatic aspects of media startups, such as developing a business model and pitching ideas to executives and investors.

MCOM 5314 Strategic Communication in a Global Environment

This course is designed to introduce students to the complexities of communication practice in an international setting and help them understand the challenges and opportunities of working with multicultural publics. It introduces students to the global, local, and theories that guide the practice of international public relations. Students will learn about effective global strategic communication, the major dimensions on which global cultures differ, and understand the importance of tailoring public relations efforts to local cultures.

MCOM 5316 Communication in Organizations

Examines contemporary organizational practice and organizational communication theory, along with current research and applications of issues related to human communication in workplace settings and other organized institutional structures (e.g., nonprofit, government).

MCOM 6350 Master's Report Final Project (Applied Research Project)

The final project serves as a capstone opportunity for each graduate student to expand his/her skills and gain new insights into the field of mass communication. These projects require students demonstrate mastery of concepts from their graduate coursework. Students will be expected to apply mass communication-relevant skills, theory, and research within applied contexts.


Elective Courses (Choose 3)

MCOM 5318 Advanced Social Media Practice

Social media has become pervasive in public relations, advertising, and work in electronic media more generally. This course will review best practices and current trends in the use of social media as a tool for strategic communications. It will provide an overview of strategies and tactics for integrating social media into a company or organization's paid, earned and owned media strategy.

MCOM 5321 Production of Digital Media Content

Introduces students to fundamental web design in the context of human-computer interaction with a focus on design principles, aesthetics, usability, and interactivity. This course takes a top down approach to content creation and requires students to evaluate, create, manage, and modify multi-platform content, design, and publication. These requirements must follow established brand guidelines, digital strategies, audience needs, and usability guidelines. Students will become familiar with the processes, complexities, and best practices essential in producing effective digital content.

MCOM 5322 Multimedia Story Telling

Course focuses on a multimedia approach to storytelling in strategic communication practice. Students will learn the techniques of high-quality storytelling with photos, audio and video with an emphasis on mobile technology, social media, select apps and with production techniques currently in use in strategic communication.

MCOM 5324 Audience/Data Analysis & Reporting

Increasingly, strategic communication decisions are being driven by data gathered through social media use, search engine utilization, and a variety of media ratings measures. Students in this course will learn how collect, use and analyze data and metrics as a means to understanding reach, target audience opinion/attitude/behavior, and message effectiveness. The class will also focus on how to write up statistics/data for executive summaries, press releases, advertising copy, and presentations.

MCOM 5334 Interpersonal Communication

Students in the course will gain a basic understanding of interpersonal interactions both personally and professionally. The course will explore the positive and negative aspects of multiple forms of interpersonal communication. The course will explore the strategies, models, key issues, and effects of interpersonal communication, while learning principles of interpersonal communication strategies and the ways they are applied.

MCOM 5332 Special Topics in Strategic Communication

A rotating topics course examining best practices in areas related to strategic communication. Recent special topics courses have included Advertising and the Consumer, Contemporary Issues in Communication Technology, Design & Branding for Organizations, Health Communication, Journalism: Diffusion of Innovations, Podcasting: Principles, Practices and Production, and the Team USA, Olympic Sports Media Experience.