Strategic Communication

The major in Strategic Communication prepares students for communication- and media-related careers in a range of corporate, non-profit, and public service fields. Students specialize in analyzing and influencing cultural trends and crafting messages on behalf of organizations, policies, brands, products, and social causes. This major equips students with the essential skills in communication, research, and campaign design to thrive as independent thinkers and creative and ethical problem solvers in a rapidly changing industry. Students explore strategic communication as dynamic arrangements of technologies, institutions, and individual practices, understanding how campaigns circulate alongside diverse cultural forms, across media platforms, and in a global and multicultural society.

Program Requirements

(39 semester hours; plus a minor, co-major, or second major)

The Strategic Communication major requires students to choose and complete a minor (Fall 2021 and after) or a co-major/double major (before 2021). Double majors are always encouraged. See specific catalog years for your individual requirements.


What are the features of the Strategic Communication major?

Interdisciplinary approach

The program's interdisciplinary approach brings together various disciplines to foster intellectual competency, cultural fluency and to enlarge student perspective. Students study how human communication has changed through technology. They also practice skills that use that technology effectively to reach audiences and negotiate personal and organizational relationships. Strategic Communication includes themes also found in other majors and disciplines, including Marketing, Analytics, Digital Branding, Advertising, Psychology, Political Science, Professional Writing/English, Diversity and Intercultural Studies, and others.

Hands-on experiences

The program is augmented by numerous opportunities for practical experience, including real-world client projects, student media opportunities and intensive study away/abroad programs (Inside Chicago, Hollywood, London, New York, Washington and coming in 2023, Beijing).

All students complete their studies with a capstone where students work to create an integrated marketing communication plan for a real-world client for corporate or non-profit organizations.

In addition to the many student media opportunities, Miami's chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSSA) provides professional leadership experiences and networking. It sponsors a student-run public relations firm providing actual services to PR and advertising clients such as the City of Oxford.

Internship opportunities

While not required, our majors have held internships are numerous and individualized. Students have served with local, regional, and national public relations and/or advertising agencies, political offices, and a wide variety of business, non-profit, and social issues groups across the nation and abroad. Students acquire materials for a professional portfolio that allows them to showcase their strong liberal arts and theoretical background within applied experiences, demonstrating broad based skills and capabilities to employers. Students may earn academic credit in the major for an officially recognized STC-related internship.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We welcome and respect students of diverse backgrounds, values and identities. The study of media representation and intercultural communication are at the heart of the STC major. Students have a wide array of opportunities to study, discuss and create multi-cultural experiences here.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no admission requirements. However, students entering Miami in Fall 2021 or later must complete a minor in addition to the STC major. Students entering Miami before Fall 2021 must complete a second major or co-major outside the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. For more information and options about these requirements, see the Strategic Communication Curriculum page.

What courses would I take?

In addition to those required by the Global Miami Plan and the College of Arts and Sciences, students study communication history, theory, technology and practice. The STC program is grounded in studying the disciplines of Public Relations, Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communication.

Strategic communication is at its heart is a written, visual and spoken discipline. Our students become strong writers in a variety of contexts and create professional and real-world written assets. In addition, human communication – interpersonal, public, and mass communication – is honed in all its form. Students will practice human communication working in teams and negotiating workplace relationships.

All students will learn to analyze, critique and create messages that are relevant and necessary for audiences targeted through research and analytics. All STC students receive a foundation in communication technology as they create video, audio and digital assets.

Students may pick from a broad range of elective courses based on their particular interests. Some themes include advertising and consumer culture, journalism, political branding, social media marketing, crisis and representation management as well as media law and ethics.

What can I do with this major?

Because it is a broad and interdisciplinary major, students with an STC Bachelors of Arts degree from Miami have a broad career field to choose from. Specifically, this degree is for those who choose careers in public relations, marketing/advertising communications, sales, public affairs, or project management in corporate and non-profit environments. It is also strong training for and prepares students to enter graduate school or attend law school.

Who can I contact for more information?

Hongmei Li, Area Director
153 Williams Hall

Christe McKittrick, STC Chief Departmental Advisor
143A Williams Hall


Major in Strategic Communication (39 Credits)

Required courses:

JRN 102. Precision Language for News Writing. (3)
A practical laboratory for English-language writing in the news style. The goal of the course is clear written communication for media writers and for other creative and business professionals. Key formal concepts can include the news lead and the inverted pyramid, differences in writing across platforms, writing about particular kinds of news or events, and attributing information to reliable sources. 

MJF 105. Introduction to Media and Culture. (3) (MPF, MPT)
Introduction to the analysis of global media industries, texts, and audiences with a focus on their relationship to culture. IIB. CAS-B.

STC 135. Principles of Public Speaking. (3)
Develops fundamentals of analyzing, organizing, adapting, and delivering ideas effectively in public contexts. Special emphasis placed upon informative and persuasive discourse.

MJF 146. Foundations of Production. (3)
This course introduces concepts and practices central to video production work across MJF areas. Students learn the basics of graphic design, sound, image composition, editing, and story through lectures, hands-on workshops, and assignments in which students make short films. Prerequisite: major status (MAC, STC, JRN, FST) or permission of instructor.

MJF 205. Introduction to Comm & Tech. (3)
This course introduces students to the critical study of informational media and persuasion-oriented communication technologies such as newspapers, magazines, books, advertising, broadcast media, and social media. Students will learn to think critically about the relationship between technology, information, and communication in their daily lives and future careers, using lenses such as affordances and constraints, the political economy of media; framing, bias, and objectivity; materiality and infrastructure; privacy and surveillance; technology and inequality; and the public sphere. Tracing the historical and contemporary development of communication and information technologies in and outside the United States, students will explore how media operate as forms of power, meaning-making, and influence through their production, interpretation, and use.

STC 259 Introduction to Strategic Communication and Public Relations (3) MPT. Introduction to the use of communication to influence societal issues and the field of public relations. Focuses on the history and development of the discipline and analyzes the influence of strategic communication on society. Covers theory and research foundations as well as broad contexts of application such as social activists, corporate stakeholders, media, community, and political groups.

STC 262 Empirical Research Methods (3). Examination and application of concepts and contexts of contemporary communication research and methods of research that facilitate investigation of human communication processes. Emphasizes experience in data collection and using the computer as a research tool. Prerequisite: ISA 205 or STA 261 or STA 301.

STC 359. Advanced Strategic Communication Writing. (3)

Intermediate study of public relations, advertising and integrated marketing communication strategy, writing and presentation. Students will practice and develop advanced professional writing skills while creating communication assets for communication campaign implementation. Emphasis on paid, earned, owned and shared strategy. As an advanced writing course, students participate and collaborate in peer review and multiple drafts of professional writing. CAS-W. Prerequisite: STC 259.

STC 459. Advanced Public Relations. (3) (MPC)

This seminar course emphasizes public relations case study analysis. Students critically analyze issues drawn from social, political, business, and nonprofit cases. Student teams apply principles learned in this course and prior courses to work with clients using research and strategic analysis to create solutions to public relations challenges. Course format involves discussion, team work, and extensive written work. Prerequisite: STC 359, or permission of instructor.

In addition, students must choose: 

  • One course (3 credits) in Communication Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Three elective courses (9 credits) from an approved list of relevant media and communication courses from inside and outside Media, Journalism & Film
  • And complete a minor, major or co-major in a field of their choice, including majors inside MJF. (A major or co-major is recommended. It is required for students entering Miami before Fall 2021.)