graduate students working together in the library

The Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication engages theoretically based strategic communication designed to influence audience behavior in a variety of contexts.

The certificate also can serve as stand-alone options for those who do not wish to pursue a full master’s degree. If you already have a master’s degree and want to enhance your education and experience, the graduate certificate may be an excellent choice.

Certificate Program Requirements

The 15-credit Certificate is comprised of two Core and three Elective courses.

Core Courses

Communication theory and research are the foundation of graduate study in the department. After being oriented to graduate study within the program, students are required to engage coursework in communication theory and one course in methodology, qualitative or quantitative research methods in communication, prior to engaging any other coursework in the program.

Elective Courses

In addition to completing COM 8008 (Orientation to Graduate Study), COM 8001 (Qualitative Research Methods,) or COM 8002 (Quantitative Research Methods), and COM 8100 (The Communication Perspective), students choose three electives:

  • COM 8301 - Strategic Public Relations

and either

  • COM 8208 - Public Communication Campaigns


  • COM 8300 - Public Relations Writing

And one of the following:

  • COM 8003 - Internship in Communication
  • COM 8004 - Communication Directed Study
  • COM 8005 - Communication Special Topics
  • COM 8101 - Performance Studies
  • COM 8102 - Persuasion & Advocacy
  • COM 8200 - Teambuilding and Small Group
  • COM 8201 - Health Communication
  • COM 8207 - Organizational Communication
  • COM 8208 - Public Communication Campaigns
  • COM 8209 - International Public Relations
  • COM 8211 - Communication & Identity
  • COM 8212 - Communication & Advocacy
  • COM 8300 - Public Relations Writing
  • COM 8302 - Advertising
  • COM 8304 - Journalism
  • COM 8305 - Media Literacy
  • COM 8306 - Media Production
  • COM 8320 - Digital Media Design
  • COM 8321 - Critical Studies in Advertising
  • COM 8322 - Audience Analysis
  • COM 8009 - Personal Promotion*
  • COM 8011 - Health Promotion Messages*
  • COM 8314 - Photoshop*
  • COM 8315 - Video Shooting Lab*
  • COM 8316 - Audio Production*
  • COM 8317 - Basic Web Design*
  • COM 8318 - Developing Crisis Communication Materials*
  • COM 8401 - Special Topics in Qualitative Research*
  • COM 8402 - Special Topics in Quantitative Research*
  • COM 8403 - Special Topics in Applied Organizational Communication*

* One-credit seminar. May take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course to fulfill degree requirements.


Kaitlin Cleary ’15 MA, Communication

“I chose Villanova because of the broad view of communication it offered. There are not many programs where you can learn media production, PR writing, audience analysis, journalism and communication theory. While my experience as a student was incredibly rewarding, it wasn't until leaving Villanova that it became clear to me what I received through my education there. The friendships I made in the program grew stronger, as we regularly connect to discuss networking, career, life and everything in between."

 - Kaitlin Cleary ’15 MA, Co-founder, Team 624 Communications

Ready for the Next Step?

Department of Communication
Garey Hall Room 28 Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085 
Tel: 610.519.6434

Director: Dr. Jie Xu
Administrative Assistant: Kelly Doyle 




February 1: For admission with funding consideration

August 1: For admission without funding for the fall

December 1: For admission without funding for the spring

If you have missed a deadline, please contact Dr. Jie Xu to discuss your options.

Begin your application.



Micki Burdick '18 MA

Passion for Social Change and Activism Drives Communication Master’s Student to Pursue Doctorate

Micki Burdick ’18 MA joined the Villanova University Master’s program in Communication with a passion for activism and aspirations to improve her writing and research skills. She is now pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy at the University of Iowa.