Media & Strategic Communication

Students sitting around a conference table in discussion

The M.A. in Media and Strategic Communication is geared toward aspiring media and political communication experts. The program blends analytical and applied skills, giving students a grounding in the function and influence of the media. The most comprehensive strategic communication program in the heart of Washington, D.C., this graduate program prepares students to achieve advocacy goals in today's fast-paced media environment.

In this program students will learn to design and implement campaigns, develop messaging to target audiences, support campaigns, and encourage action. You will perform analytics and data analysis and learn how to apply insights from media effects, public opinion and persuasion. You will gain the knowledge to advance your career in fields of public and non-profit management, government media relations, academia or even public relations and communications consulting. 

The flexible curriculum allows students to focus their studies on sustainability, science, public health, peacebuilding, or other public affairs issues.

Please contact Student Services Specialist Anna Camp with any questions at [email protected].

"My time as a graduate student at SMPA has ignited and cultivated my affinity for research. The world-class faculty at SMPA were instrumental in providing me the tools, skills, and support needed to conduct high-quality research on topics I found interesting. SMPA also provided me the opportunity to work with scholars from other major research universities and to present my research at academic conferences in Seattle, Washington and Paris, France. I am thankful that my experience at SMPA opened the door to a career in academia for me - something that I never thought was possible before."

Lorcan Neil 

SMPA Graduate Student

Recent Employers 

  • Pew Research Center
  • Politico
  • Department of State
  • Fleishman Hillard
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • CNN
  • NowThis
  • Deloitte Digital
  • Finn Partners
  • Eckel & Vaughan
  • SKD Knickerbocker
  • NBC News
  • Widmeyer Communications Inc


Students take notes in a lecture class

Course & Curriculum Requirements

The program consists of a total of 36 credits, and students can enroll part-time or full-time. Students enrolled full-time complete their degree in two academic years.

Degree Requirements

Capstone Options

6 credits to be taken over the last two semesters in the program (3 credits per semester) in one of three options, selected in consultation with the advisor.

  1. Thesis Research (taken twice for a total of six credits) (SMPA 6999)

  2. Strategic Communication Project and Strategic Practicum (SMPA 6220 and 6298)

  3. Media Capstone Project (taken twice for a total of six credits) (SMPA 6297)




Admissions Overview

Admission to the M.A. in Media and Strategic Communication is organized by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), of which the School of Media and Public Affairs is a unit. Basic admissions requirements are addressed in the Graduate Program finder. All application materials need to be sent directly to the Columbian College as do all questions about your application. You can reach the Columbian College Admissions Office at [email protected].

The GRE general is not required. However, if you feel as though submitting scores for the GRE will strengthen your application, you are welcome to submit them.

Process & Requirements



Application Deadlines 

Fall Semester

  • To be considered for merit-based funding: February 1
  • Regular admission: April 1

Spring Semester

  • International students requiring a student visa: September 15
  • Regular admission: October 1


Fellowship Opportunities 

We know that attending graduate school can be a big decision, especially when it comes to financing your education. The Media and Strategic Communication program offers competitive merit-based award packages to admitted students and a variety of scholarship options for current students. Prospective students may also contact the CCAS graduate student funding website to explore additional funding options. The Office of Student Financial Assistance administers financial aid to graduate students.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the SMPA Student Services Specialist at 202-994-1124 or email us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns!