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Applications for 2024 Columbia Summer Session programs are now open!

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New Part-Time Hybrid M.S. Available

The part-time Master’s degree in Strategic Communication has moved to a primarily-online format for working professionals based in or outside of the New York City area.
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Curriculum & Courses

Full-Time On-Campus

  • 36 points (credits) for degree completion
  • On-campus instruction; online instruction possible for some courses
  • Fall intake only 
  • 16 months with the opportunity to complete in an accelerated 12-month time frame
  • Capstone Project

Curriculum for Incoming Fall 2024 Students (12-Month Path)

Curriculum for Incoming Fall 2024 Students (16-Month Path)

Curriculum for Incoming Fall 2023 Students (12-Month Path)

Curriculum for Incoming Fall 2023 Students (16-Month Path)

The Master’s Program in Strategic Communication embraces a scholar-practitioner approach to learning where you will learn both classical and modern approaches to communication and apply them through simulated and real-world scenarios.

The program’s wide and varied range of electives gives students the opportunity to take classes at the School of Professional Students outside of the program and elsewhere at Columbia. Through their elective selections, students can craft a path of study aligned with specific interests and objectives. Many electives bring together students from all formats of the Strategic Communication program, providing additional opportunities for networking and relationships. Please note not all electives are offered every semester, and not all electives are offered in all formats.

International Students

International students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understand the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. Please note that it is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. In addition, if studying on a student visa, you must enroll full-time (12 points/credits per term, with the exception of the summer semester an your final semester) and study on campus. International students are not permitted to take more than one online course a semester.

As a result of the application and interview process, some students will begin their program of study with a six-week summer course, Advanced Academic English for Graduate Students. 

These courses are offered through Columbia University’s American Language Program and are designed to strengthen English skills and prepare students to better meet the demands of SPS’s rigorous curriculum and achieve success in the professional world. Participants will hone their discussion and presentation skills, build their writing skills, and explore different topics by reading and listening to a variety of content.

International students have specific guidelines that they must follow to work for an organization for the Practicum elective. To be considered a full-time student, an international student must be registered for at least 12 points (credits) per semester, with the exception of their final semester.

Expectations and Time Demands

Typically students spend 15 - 25 hour a week outside the classroom to complete assigned readings, work on assignments, and participate with work groups.

Courses take place mainly during the day, with some electives in the evenings or other time formats. Most classes are 2 hours in length.

In order to receive the master's degree in Strategic Communication, you must complete all requirements of the degree within 3 years with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better.

Required Full-Time Pathway

Accelerated Path (3 consecutive terms)

Practicum Path (4 consecutive terms)

Full-time students may complete the program in three consecutive terms, or they may decide to spread out their coursework across four consecutive terms, including a Practicum (graduate-level internship). Some courses may be available online. The course sequence below outlines the accelerated three-term pathway.

Accelerated Path


First Term: Fall (12 Points/Credits)

Second Term: Spring (12 Points/Credits)

Third Term: Summer (12 Points/Credits)

Elective Courses

Full-time students are required to take 4 electives. Students have the opportunity to take up to 6 credits through other programs in the School of Professional Studies or other schools at Columbia, subject to the approval of the Program Director. Electives may be offered as semester-long courses in Spring, Summer and Fall, online, or through a select number of one-week block intensive courses.

Note: Electives are not always offered in the same modality each year. Please double check the current modality before enrolling. Not all electives are available in every semester and registration is based upon availability.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.