The curriculum for the Master of Arts in Corporate Communication was strategically crafted to provide the knowledge, skills and tools needed to practice corporate communication in a globalizing environment. The courses are offered in a flexible format open to working professionals anywhere in the world.

Program Format

Courses in this program are delivered in 7-week terms with two 7-week terms comprising the standard academic semester. Students focus on just one course at a time (i.e., one course per 7-week term), which usually helps working professionals juggle the competing demands of their personal, professional and academic lives. By taking one course per term (two courses per semester), students usually complete the program in five semesters (including summers), or around 19 months.

The program consists of a 10-course, 30-credit curriculum of core and specialized courses:

  • Five core courses (3 credits each)
  • Five specialized courses (3 credits each)

The courses are designed to provide you with a blend of conceptual and practical knowledge and skills that can immediately be applied in your day-to-day work.

Courses

Students must complete Strategic Corporate Communication Management and Corporate Communication and Ethics before they can enroll in subsequent core and specialized courses.

Core Courses (15 credits)

The five core courses are required of all students because they cover the conceptual foundations of sound corporate communication. These courses orient students to theories and frameworks in public relations and corporate communication. Each course is three credits.

This course orients students to corporate communication as a strategic activity that helps organizations manage their relationships with key stakeholder publics. Students are exposed to the basic concepts and theories of the field that should help them link these concepts to corporate communication practice. They are oriented to the different needs, values and functions of for-profit corporations, not-for-profit organizations, governments and government agencies as a prelude to communication choices by these different types of organizations.

Corporate communication practitioners face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. Information is power and as purveyors of information through communication, practitioners should be sensitive to ethical dilemmas in the field and have an understanding of relevant ethical principles. This course provides a foundation in ethics and trains students to apply these ethical principles in their communication practice.

Globalization is the 21st century’s reality. Corporate communicators must adapt to the demands of communicating with diverse publics from different countries and cultures. This course orients students to the diverse political, economic, cultural, media and activist environments they will need to operate in to be effective in building relationships with diverse audiences.

Research is integral to strategic corporate communication and the ability to conduct research is at the core of an effective communicator. Students in this course are exposed to research design and the fundamentals of both qualitative and quantitative research methods and their application in practice.

This course seeks to educate students on the various ways they can measure the quality of relationships their organizations have built with various strategic publics. Such measurement is key to establishing the “ROI” for corporate communication in the eyes of senior managers (C-Suite). Research tells us that trust, control of mutuality, satisfaction and commitment are key to good relationships. Students are exposed to the operationalization of these indicators, as well as ways of measuring them so they can justify the investment that organizations make to public relations departments.

Specialized Courses (15 credits)

Corporate Communication is a diverse practice with many specialties often divided based on the stakeholders involved: employees that are internal publics and key to an organization’s success, investors that often invest in for-profit corporations or donors to not-for-profit organizations. The specialized courses are designed to expose students to the variety of work handled by corporate communication practitioners. Each course is three credits.

Employees are an organization’s primary reputation managers and brand ambassadors in their social and business networks. An organization must therefore strategically manage communication and relationships with this critical internal public. This course highlights the importance of internal communication in building a strong organizational culture, developing an internal communication strategy that aligns with the overall public relations strategy and the vehicles (traditional, digital and social) available to practitioners to implement two-way internal communication, etc.

With the onslaught of social media, business conduct is under more public scrutiny than ever before. Simultaneously, organizations are increasingly aware of their part in influencing the public policy and legislation conversation. As policies create both threats and opportunities for corporations, it is critical to incorporate this into the company’s communication strategy. In this course, students define an issue and learn various strategies (environmental scanning, organizational positioning, platform building, assessing periodic pulse checks, etc.) to identify and plan for emerging issues and manage them ethically through their life cycle, checks, etc.) to identify and plan for emerging issues and manage them ethically through their life cycle.

This course helps students perceive the components of risk and understand the prevalent principles of crisis management such as risk/benefit analysis, managing fear and uncertainty and responding to crises. Using case studies and practical applications, students investigate the media and channels available to conduct two-way symmetrical communication with an organization's publics in a crisis.

This course introduces students to communication in the digital and social landscape. It distinguishes between digital and traditional/analog media and demonstrates how a strong strategic communication plan must include elements of both to be effective. It helps students identify the advantages, shortcomings and risks of digital communication and the significance of evaluating and reporting the impact of digital communication. Students are also introduced to standard digital vehicles used in organizational communication.

This course supplements the strategic approach of the core courses by introducing the techniques practitioners can use to implement strategy. This ground-level, hands-on course has students examine persuasive communication in written, verbal and digital formats including white papers, position statements, opinion pieces, senior executive speeches and emails, newsletters, magazines, blogs, news releases (traditional and social), media conferences, issues advertising, etc. It explores the evolving nature of the tools and platforms available to communication practitioners, as well as the converging of techniques across communication, advertising and marketing.

Visit the University Catalog for a complete summary of the program as well as its requirements, course descriptions and learning outcomes.

Learn From Master Practitioners

The Master of Arts in Corporate Communication brings together world-class faculty—both scholars and practitioners—who have extensive experience in corporate communication. Professional instructors have worked in various industries as in-house practitioners or as agency consultants, and most have international experience to provide students with a global perspective on corporate communication.

Hear from Master of Art in Corporate Communication faculty members and CU alumni, Kelly Ladyga and Richard Khleif, on the program's structure, who is a good fit for the program and what skills and knowledge students will gain in the program. You can also read more about their perspectives on the program.