Strategic Communication

Strategic Communication is the study of how individuals and organizations use communication and media to negotiate their role in highly mediated societies. Public relations is a central aspect of strategic communication and involves the study of how organizations influence opinions and the behavior of key publics (e.g., employees, consumers, government, community, media) and how they try to respond and adapt to the concerns of these publics. The curriculum emphasizes an ethical approach to public relations and analyzes the impacts strategic communication practices have on societies.

Students explore communication contexts, theories, and processes as a means of understanding and critically analyzing social influence. In addition, students learn to evaluate challenges and engage in strategic communication to respond to them. This degree is for those planning to enter graduate school in communication and related disciplines, including law school, and/or to apply this knowledge to their chosen career (e.g., corporate, nonprofit, governmental, social issues, public relations, public affairs, or related areas that call for a strong liberal arts background).


What are the features of the Strategic Communication major?

Interdisciplinary approach

The program's interdisciplinary approach brings together insights from various disciplines to foster intellectual competency and enlarge perspective. Hands-on experience: The program is augmented by numerous opportunities for competition and practical experience including an intensive Inside New York City program as well as a featured capstone, PRISM, where students across disciplines work to create an integrated plan for area non-profit organizations. Miami's chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSSA) one of the largest in the country and sponsors a student-run public relations firm.

Internship opportunities

Our majors have held public relations internships 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. Students acquire ample 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.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no admission requirements. However, students must complete a second major or co-major outside the Department of Media, Journalism and Film.

What courses would I take?

In addition to those required by the Global Miami Plan, students study communication theory and research, media theory and practice, comparative media studies, media aesthetics. Many students take off-campus internships in media-related industries.

What can I do with this major?

This degree is for those who plan to apply this knowledge to their chosen career (e.g. public relations, public affairs, marketing/advertising communications, in corporate and non-profit environments) as well as those planning to enter graduate school or attend law school.

Who can I contact for more information?

Hongmei Li, Area Director
153 Williams Hall


Major in Strategic Communication (39 Credits)

The Strategic Communication major requires a second major or co-major outside the Department of Media, Journalism and Film.

Course Descriptions

STC 132 Forensics (1-2; maximum 6 credit hours). Practical experience in intercollegiate forensics; requires travel to intercollegiate forensics tournaments; may not be counted for credit toward major in communication. Course may be repeated for up to six hours. Permission of instructor is required.

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

STC 136 Introduction to Interpersonal Communication (3) MPF, MPT. Introduction to major theories and empirical research regarding the role of interpersonal communication and related personal, contextual, and cultural variables in the development of various types of dyadic relationships. IIC. CAS-C. (Non-majors only. Does not count toward any communication degree.) Credit not granted to students who have earned credit in COM 134. Cross-listed with ENG. IIC.

STC 231 Small Group Communication (3). Theoretical issues that affect communication between members of work teams, discussion groups, and decision-making bodies. Students study these theories and related research studies and work as members of student teams to analyze critically both the theoretical and practical implications of the theories and research studies.

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 336 Advanced Interpersonal Communication (3) MPT. In-depth examination of interpersonal communication theories and research. Particular emphasis placed on the role of communication through the life cycle of relationships, from their initiation and maintenance to their deterioration or escalation. Prerequisite: COM 134 or COM 136 or permission of instructor. CAS-C.

STC 339 Introduction to Organizational Communication (3). Focuses on how communication affects organizational systems and performance. Introduces theories and issues central to the study of organizational communication. Emphasis given to the interrelationship of task performance, human interaction, and the improvement of communication within organizations.

STC 359 Strategic Communication Planning (3). Introduction to the study of public relations and its influence on society. Analysis of the communication functions, theories, and processes of public relations and the publics involved in societal, political, business, and nonprofit contexts. Prerequisite: COM 259.

STC 428 Communication in Conflict Management (3) MPT. Examination of the role of communication in the management of conflict in various contexts. Stresses relevant theories and research as a basis for analyzing and understanding diverse types of conflict.

STC 431 Persuasion Theory and Research (3). Examines the formation, change, and functions of attitudes and the link between attitudes and behavior. Emphasis placed on understanding relevant theory and research.

STC 434 Nonverbal Communication (3) MPT. Examination of theories and research regarding the nature and functions of nonverbal communication. Emphasizes the roles of context, individual and cultural differences, and accompanying verbal messages in interpreting nonverbal behavior.

STC 436 Intercultural Communication (3) MPT. Examines similarities and differences among cultures and subcultures with regard to norms, values, and practices in verbal and nonverbal communication. Barriers, such as prejudice and ethnocentrism, to effective intercultural communication addressed.

STC 437 Advocacy in Contemporary America (3) MPC. Analyzes post-World War II public persuasion, including messages from a broad variety of media contexts.

COM 439 Advanced Organizational Communication (3) MPC. Interpersonal, small group, and public communication are discussed within organizational context. The effects of personal and organizational values and behavior on communication and organizational activity are linked to the broader community. Course includes class discussion, team work, student presentations, and writing projects. Prerequisite: STC 339 or permission of instructor. Offered infrequently.

COM 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: COM 359 and 431 or 437, or permission of instructor.