Communication BA / Strategic & Digital Communication MS

Major: Communication and Strategic & Digital Communication
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science (BA) and Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 225.0
Co-op Options: One Co-op (Five years); Three Co-ops (Five years)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code:
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 11-2011

About the Program

The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most sought-after skills by prospective employers industry wide. Drexel University is committed to building this strong foundation through the Accelerated Communication degree, which enables academically qualified students to earn both a bachelor's and master’s degree—graduating sooner than they would in traditional programs. Graduates of the accelerated degree enter the workforce one year sooner with the benefits of a master’s degree in Strategic and Digital Communication, using the year saved to gain full-time experience and earn a salary in the field.

The BA in Communication program requires 180.0 UG credits and is committed to helping students become broadly educated and professionally competent communicators. Students are exposed to a variety of media and are guided in the development of their interpretive and expressive skills. Students may complete the BA in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations, Journalism, or open Communication. Independent of their chosen concentration, all BA in Communication majors take a common core of courses that emphasize communication theory and methods, as well as a modern language.

Students in the Public Relations concentration take courses and pursue careers in public relations, event planning, media relations, social media, and corporate communication. Journalism students take courses and pursue careers as reporters, copywriters, editors, and media specialists. Students in the open Communication concentration have the flexibility of crafting their path through the major and thus have career possibilities in any of the areas listed here.

Drexel’s Master of Science in Strategic and Digital Communication requires 45.0 credits, and prepares students for careers in a wide range of professional activities relating to communication in both media environments and communication contexts that are characterized by advanced digitization.

With a robust core curriculum consisting of seven courses (21.0 credits), the program provides a strong foundation in theoretical approaches to communication, ethics, and media/communication policy. This theoretical basis is designed to ensure that, as the field changes, students will continue to have an intellectual framework for evaluating and implementing new technology and changing media environments. Furthermore, the program trains students in leadership skills that will help them to lead teams to be innovative communication professionals in digitized media environments and different organizational communication contexts.

The program emphasizes flexibility, encouraging each student, in consultation with a faculty advisor, to craft an individual course of study tailored to the student’s individual interests and career goals. Throughout the curriculum, students use four Communication electives (12.0 credits) to increase communication skills or to further develop areas of specialization. An additional four free elective courses (12.0 credits) can be taken in Communication or in other departments across the university, allowing students to continue to tailor their plan of study. 

The program specializes in two areas:

  • Strategic Communication (public relations)
  • Digital and Social Media Communication

Strategic Communication

Strategic Communication has much to offer for those looking to work in public relations as well as for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Students typically choose from courses such as PR Writing and Planning courses, Crisis Communication, Media Relations, Nonprofit Communication, and others.

Digital Communication

With Communication being an area characterized by ongoing digitization, the program offers courses such as Strategic Social Media Communication, Digital Publishing, Digital Media Environments, Social Media Concepts That Matter, and others.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the MS in Strategic and Digital Communication webpage.

Contact Julia May, Director of the MS in Strategic and Digital Communication program, at for additional information.

Admission Requirements

Both incoming freshmen and current Communication majors are eligible to apply for this program. Students who are already matriculated may apply after completing a minimum of 90.0 credits but no more than 120.0 credits. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and maintain this GPA throughout the accelerated program.

In addition to formally applying, applicants must provide:

  • A 500-word statement of goals that explains why they want to enroll in the accelerated degree program.
  • The name of a faculty reference who can speak to the applicant’s academic qualifications and preparedness for graduate studies.

Additional Information

For more information, contact Dr. Julia May, Director of the MS in Strategic and Digital Communication program, at

Degree Requirements

General Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
or ENGL 111 English Composition I
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
or ENGL 112 English Composition II
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
or ENGL 113 English Composition III
PSY 101General Psychology I3.0
UNIV H101The Drexel Experience1.0
UNIV H201Looking Forward: Academics and Careers1.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development1.0
Two mathematics courses 6.0-8.0
Two science courses6.0-8.0
Foreign language courses *8.0-12.0
Humanities and fine arts 12.0
Social sciences9.0
International studies 6.0
Studies in diversity6.0
Communication Core Requirements
Theory Sequence
COM 101Human Communication3.0
COM 150Mass Media and Society3.0
COM 210Theory and Models of Communication3.0
COM 400Seminar in Communication3.0
LING 101Introduction to Linguistics3.0
or LING 102 Language and Society
Methods Sequence
COM 220Qualitative Research Methods3.0
COM 221Quantitative Research Methods in Communication3.0
or COM 284 Public Relations Research, Measurement and Evaluation
Additional Core Requirements
COM 222Interpersonal Communication3.0
COM 230Techniques of Speaking3.0
COM 240New Technologies In Communication3.0
COM 247Strategic Social Media Communication3.0
COM 491Senior Project in Communication I3.0
COM 492Senior Project in Communication II3.0
PHIL 305Ethics and the Media3.0
Required Concentration Courses
Select one of the following concentrations (Communication, Public Relations, or Journalism):31.0-45.0
Introduction to Journalism
Public Relations Principles and Theory
Advanced Journalism
Public Relations Writing
Technical Communication
Two COM Electives at 300 level or higher
Six COM Electives
Public Relations
Public Relations Principles and Theory
Introduction to Journalism
Public Relations Writing
Public Relations Strategies and Tactics
Digital Publishing
Modern Desktop Publishing
Public Relations Campaign Planning
Introduction to Marketing Management
Three COM Electives
Introduction to Journalism
Public Relations Principles and Theory
Advanced Journalism
Copy Editing for the Media
Investigative Journalism
Journalists, the Courts, and the Law
TV News Writing
Six COM Electives
Free Electives38.0
MS Strategic & Digital Communication Requirements
Required Core Courses
COM 500Reading & Research in Communication3.0
COM 574Organizational Communication in Project Management3.0
COM 610Theories of Communication and Persuasion3.0
COM 613Ethics for Professional Communication3.0
COM 615Media Environments in a Digital World3.0
COM 651Media and Communication Policy in a Digitized World3.0
COM 698Managing Communication Professional Identities in a Digital Age3.0
Program Electives12.0
Choose four of the following courses:
Campaigns for Health and Environment
Communicating Health and Risk in a ‘Fake News’ World
Science Writing
Document Design and Usability
Modern Desktop Publishing
Digital Publishing
Strategic Social Media Communication
Foundations of Public Relations
Public Relations Writing
Public Relations Planning
Media Relations in a Digital Age
Creative Content Production
Fundamentals of Journalism & Newswriting
International Negotiations
Event Planning
Technical, Science and Health Editing
Grant Writing
Nonprofit Communications
Communication for Civic Engagement
Focus Groups
Strategic International Communication
Graduate Seminar in Communication
Social Media Concepts that Matter
Investigative Journalism
Medical Writing
Medical Journalism
Independent Study in COM
Independent Study in COM
Special Topics in Communication
Special Topics in Communication
Graduate Electives **12.0
Total Credits225.0-247.0

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Program. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term.

Sample Plan of Study

4+1, 1 co-op (Accelerated program completed in 5 years)

Students complete undergraduate requirements in four years, then convert to graduate status in the fifth and final year.

First Year
COM 1013.0CIVC 1011.0COM 181 or 1603.0VACATION
COM 1503.0COM 181 or 1603.0COM 2303.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0ENGL 103 or 1133.0 
PSY 1013.0(UG) Math Course3.0-4.0(UG) Humanities Elective3.0 
UNIV H1011.0(UG) Foreign Language Course*4.0(UG) Math Course3.0-4.0 
(UG) Foreign Language Course*4.0(UG) Free Elective3.0  
 17 17-18 15-16 0
Second Year
COM 2103.0COM 2203.0COM 221 or 2843.0COOP 101**1.0
COM 2223.0COM 2473.0(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0PHIL 3053.0
(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0LING 101 or 1023.0(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0
(UG) Science Course3.0-4.0(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0(UG) International Elective3.0(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0
(UG) Humanities Elective3.0(UG) Science Course3.0-4.0(UG) Social Science Elective3.0(UG) Free Elective2.0
(UG) Free Elective3.0(UG) Free Elective3.0(UG) Free Elective3.0(UG) Diversity Elective3.0
 18-19 18-19 18 15
Third Year
UNIV H2011.0(UG) International Elective3.0 COM 5743.0
(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0(UG) Free Electives6.0  
(UG) Humanities Elective3.0COM 6103.0  
(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0   
COM 5003.0   
 16 15 0 3
Fourth Year
COM 4003.0COM 4913.0COM 4923.0Student converts to Graduate Status
(UG) Diversity Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective3.0 
(UG) COM Elective Course3.0(UG) Humanities Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0 
(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0(UG) Social Science Elective3.0(UG) Free Elective4.0 
COM 6133.0COM 6513.0COM 6153.0 
(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0  
 18 18 16 0
Fifth Year
(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0COM 6983.0 
(GR) Graduate Electives6.0(GR) Graduate Elective3.0(GR) Graduate Elective3.0 
 9 6 6 
Total Credits 225-229

5+0, 3 co-op, Co-terminal (Accelerated program completed in 5 years)

Students take graduate courses in the third, fourth, and fifth years, while finishing their undergraduate requirements. They receive both BA and MS at the end of the fifth year.

First Year
COM 1013.0CIVC 1011.0COM 181 or 1603.0VACATION
COM 1503.0COM 181 or 1603.0COM 2303.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0COOP 101**1.0ENGL 103 or 1133.0 
PSY 1013.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0(UG) Humanities Elective3.0 
UNIV H1011.0(UG) Math Course3.0-4.0(UG) Math Course3.0-4.0 
(UG) Foreign Language Course*4.0(UG) Foreign Language Course*4.0(UG) Social Science Elective3.0 
 (UG) Free Elective3.0  
 17 18-19 18-19 0
Second Year
COM 2223.0COM 2473.0  
(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0LING 101 or 1023.0  
(UG) Science Course3.0-4.0(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0  
(UG) Humanities Elective3.0(UG) Science Course3.0-4.0  
(UG) Free Elective4.0(UG) Free Elective3.0  
 19-20 18-19 0 0
Third Year
(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0COM 5743.0
(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0  
(UG) International Elective3.0(UG) Free Elective3.0  
COM 5003.0(UG) Diversity Elective3.0  
 COM 6103.0  
 15 18 3 3
Fourth Year
UNIV H2011.0(UG) Social Science Elective3.0COM 6153.0(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0
(UG) Humanities Elective3.0(UG) International Elective3.0  
(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0COM 6513.0  
(UG) COM Concentration Course3.0(GR) Graduate Elective3.0  
(UG) Free Elective2.0   
COM 6133.0   
 18 18 3 3
Fifth Year
COM 4003.0COM 4913.0COM 4923.0 
(UG) Diversity Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective3.0 
(UG) COM Elective3.0(UG) Humanities Elective3.0(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0 
(UG) COM Elective or Free Elective3.0(UG) Social Science Elective3.0(UG) Free Elective3.0 
(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0(GR) SDC Program Elective3.0COM 6983.0 
(GR) Graduate Elective3.0(GR) Graduate Elective3.0(GR) Graduate Elective3.0 
 18 18 18 
Total Credits 225-229

Communication Faculty

Ronald Bishop, III, PhD (Temple University). Professor. Investigative reporting, sports journalism, journalism history, journalism sourcing patterns, textual narrative and ideological analysis, cultural history of fame.
Karen Cristiano, MS (Temple University) Assistant Department Head of Communication. Teaching Professor. Journalism, medical writing, feature writing, copy editing, mass media and society.
Richard Forney Assistant Teaching Professor. Broadcast journalism technology and the effects of new technologies on personal and corporate communication skills.
Ernest A. Hakanen, PhD (Temple University) Director, Graduate Programs in Communication, Culture & Media. Professor. Telecommunications policy, adolescent media use, communication theory and history, global media, and semiotics.
Barbara Hoekje, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Professor. Sociolinguistic theory, discourse analysis, applied linguistics (language teaching, learning, and testing).
Alexander Jenkins, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Digital games, video games, emotion, morality, online fan communities, emerging media, convergence.
Hyunmin Lee, PhD (University of Missouri) Director, Undergraduate Programs in Communication. Associate Professor. Social media strategies for relationship and reputation management in public relations; media messages of public health issues and its psychological and behavioral effects on the public.
Susan Magee, MFA Director Online Teaching. Instructor. Digital Publishing, Content creation, Blogging, Strategic Social Media, Public Relations, Business and Technical Communication
Julia May, PhD (Drexel University) Director, Strategic and Digital Communication MS Program. Associate Teaching Professor. Political communication; international politics and its news coverage; public opinion; transatlantic relations; war, torture and human rights; debate in the public sphere.
Alexander Nikolaev, PhD (Florida State University). Associate Professor. Public relations, political communication, organizational communication, mass communication, international communications and negotiations, communications theory.
Rakhmiel Peltz, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Judaic studies, Yiddish culture and linguistics, ethnography of communication, immigrant cultural studies.
Douglas V. Porpora, PhD (Temple University). Professor. War, genocide, torture, and human rights; macro-moral reasoning in public sphere debate; contemporary social theory moral and political communication; religion.
Rachel R. Reynolds, PhD (University of Illinois). Associate Professor. Sociolinguistics, ethnography of communication and discourse analysis; violence against women in mass media; political economy of migration; semiotics including the textual, the visual and multimodal.
Rosemary Rys, MA (Rowan University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Public relations and marketing.
Wesley Shumar, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Digital media and learning; culture of higher education; entrepreneurship education; craft culture; semiotic of consumer culture.
Allan Stegeman, MA (University of Houston). Teaching Professor. Communication, technology and mass media, video.
Scott Tattar, BA (York College of Pennsylvania) Faculty Advisor, Drexel PRSSA, Communication Department Recruitment Liaison. Instructor. Public relations
Hilde Van den Bulck, PhD (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) Department Head of Communication. Professor. Political economy of media structures; media policies for digitized media ecologies; stakeholders and coalitions in media policies; digitization; convergence and legacy media; public (service) media; celebrity culture and industry; fandom and anti-fandom.
Asta Zelenkauskaite, PhD (Indiana University). Associate Professor. Social media; user-generated content; computer-mediated communication; interactivity; active audience analysis; mobile communication; gender and online identity; prosumer culture; internet of things; quantitative/qualitative research.

Emeritus Faculty

Alexander Friedlander, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University). Associate Professor. Rhetorical theory and practice, document design, writing and technology.
Lawrence Souder, PhD (Temple University) Director, Drexel Edits. Teaching Professor. Science and technical writing, communication ethics, nonprofit communication.
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