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Online Leadership Program

Lead with confidence, command value, and advance change in your workplace

Balance your work-study life with an online program

Earn your degree with ease and convenience

With a flexible schedule, students may complete the program in as little as 1 year or as long as 5 years.

Our program comprises 5-week courses, with students taking one class at a time, culminating in a total of 2 classes per quarter. Most students complete the program in 1 year.

Academic content is delivered online through our innovative learning platform. 

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Discover how the Online Leadership Program (formally known as the Hybrid Leadership Program)  at Northwestern gives students a competitive workplace advantage.

1-course every 5 weeks

Immerse yourself with our deep dive approach, where you'll explore the concepts one class at a time, and participate in three live virtual practicums.

Advance your career

Unlock your full potential with the MSC Career Services team. Whether you're looking to take your career to the next level or embark on a new professional path, Career Services will partner with you at any point in your journey.

NU Alumni Network​

Learn with and from your cohort. As a Northwestern student, you will be joined by experienced professionals from a wide range of fields, industries, and experiences.

MS In Communication OLP Curriculum Overview

Academic Year 2022-2023

Core Courses

This course explores the new foundations of strategic communication, beginning with stakeholder identification and assessment. It then explores cases that demonstrate the ways the ways that external stakeholders can and should influence organizational processes and practices. Next it turns to cases that demonstrate how internal organizational processes and practices impinge on traditional public relations strategy. Finally, this class uses authentic corporate social responsibility communication as an ideal case that unites both forces.

Read Professor Randall Iden’s Biography >>

This action-oriented course builds participants’ collaborative leadership skills. Through a series of case studies, activities, and projects, students learn how to effectively lead collaboration among diverse and often distributed teams. The course explores the specific challenges associated with leading teams, including: building and designing teams, managing information exchange within and across teams, structuring effective group decision processes, igniting creative thinking, enabling complex problem solving, and managing team conflict.

Read Professor Leslie DeChurch’s Biography >>

In this course, students study the use, collection, analysis, and application of information in organizational planning and decision-making. Particular attention is given to sampling methods, survey methodology, social media/website analytics, and focus groups. The goal is to produce students who make informed decisions when presented with organizational and market research.

Read Professor Olga Kamenchuk’s Biography >>

Information design is an emerging discipline that tells us the stories of data, helping us understand our complex world and share our conclusions with others. In this class, students will gain a solid knowledge of how to secure and prepare data for visualization, choose a relevant visual framework to represent that data, and employ principles of visual design to maximize comprehension, retention, and appeal of those designs.

Read Professor Eric Patrick’s  Biography >>

Erik Nisbet

The course provides a general introduction to the social scientific study of persuasive message design, emphasizing message, source, receiver, and contextual factors that either enhance or attenuate the effectiveness of strategic messaging. The course covers key factors that underlie human behavior change and discusses the ways in which behavioral change can be measured, analyzed, and validated. The larger purpose of the course is to provide a toolkit for thinking about how to influence behaviors through effective messaging. Additionally, students will put knowledge into practice, by completing an original research project that tests the effectiveness of a particular persuasive message.

Read Professor Erik Nisbet’s Biography >>

This course provides students with the concepts, insights, and techniques that will give them a competitive edge as they discover, diagnose and design networks. The course offers a set of strategic principles for students to create, maintain and dissolve network ties. These principles vary depending on a student’s desire to explore innovations, engage in entrepreneurship, exploit existing resources, implement change, or mobilize strategic partnerships. The course will identify the optimal principles in these diverse contexts using a set of case studies, review articles and computer-based visual-analytic demonstrations. By the end of the course, students will have the conceptual tools and techniques to assess an existing network and rewire them to achieve any desired individual or organizational goal.

Read Professor Noshir Contractor’s Biography >>

This course is an exploration of the ways in which communication can be more effectively used to exert influence and to exercise power — bringing together a variety of disciplines including rhetorical analysis, leadership theory, composition, speechwriting, and public speaking. The goal is to help students understand how the beliefs and behaviors of decision-makers and publics can be influenced by effective communication.

Read Professor Jason DeSanto’s Biography >>

Virtual Practicums

This seminar rests on an understanding that our own knowledge and experiences have important limitations, and that cross-cultural engagement is an active, life-long learning process that will never be entirely completed. Instead of developing expertise or competence in another culture, the focus of cultural humility is on self-evaluation, self-critique, and developing awareness of one’s own culture. Cultural humility also gives weight to the institutional context in which a relationship exists. Learning from cultural differences is more likely once leaders have created trust, begun to dismantle systems of discrimination and subordination, and embraced a range of styles. Topics will include social identity construction, psychological safety and trust, and giving and receiving feedback specific to inequity.

Read Professor Anne Marie Adam’s Biography >>

Read Professor Susan D Carver’s Biography >>

This seminar introduces students to the field of conflict analysis and management. Potential topics include how to describe conflict accurately, how to assist parties in resolving it, how to negotiate and to conduct mediation, and how to manage anger, aggression, and bullying that leads to destructive conflict developments. The class materials also cover important approaches for successful conflict resolution. The student will learn skills that will be useful for application in a variety of settings: workplace, family, media, elections, business, etc.

Read Professor Anne Marie Adam’s Biography >>

Read Professor Olga Kamenchuk’s Biography >>

At its core, organizational change management is about implementation of new ideas and practices. Because organizational change requires individuals and units to change, this seminar examines both how an individual’s attitudes and behavior might be altered and how an organization’s policies and practices might change. Consequently, topics will include persuasion, bargaining and negotiation, and organizational campaigns. This practical hands-on seminar will contain stories, tools, diagrams, cases, and worksheets to help you develop your skills as a change leader, able to take people outside their comfort zones and assess and address the toughest challenges.

Read Professor Anne Marie Adam’s Biography >>

Read Professor Michael Roloff’s Biography >>

Concept of Online Education. Man uses Online education.

Increase your earning potential

Secure your future with your Northwestern MSC degree

Studies have shown that individuals with advanced degrees tend to earn more on average than those with only a Bachelor’s degree. Investing in your education will equip you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in your field.

MSC students take classroom learnings and immediately apply them in day-to-day projects. You’ll see the transformative power of your degree program in real time with the support of the MSC community.

Dennis Patrick Duquette

“The MSC program was at once edifying and enlightening, beefing up existing skills and challenging with new approaches. This has had an immediate impact on how I do my daily work and it also has provided me with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to embrace more specialized pursuits when I leave corporate life and set out on my own.”

Dennis Patrick Duquette  ’22

Head of Community Responsibility/President & CEO
MassMutual Foundation

Course Every Five Weeks
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Professors & Industry-Leading Faculty
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Building Confidence & Knowledge to Take on a New Career Challenge

Ivan Jaime discusses his experience in MSC.

Ivan Jaime ’20 believes in putting in hard work, no matter the situation. As he earned his diploma and went on to study marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, he was also working his way up at supermarket chain H-E-B. Starting out as a bagger, he had risen through the ranks to central checkout manager by the time he received his undergraduate degree in 2005.

Ivan Jaime

Northwestern’s MS in Communication Admissions Information

Explore the OLP program requirements and application details before applying.

MSC Degree Requirements

Find out what you need to submit an application to the MSC program.​

Tuition and Financial Aid

Learn more about the MSC program tuition and financial aid.

How to Apply

Begin your online application, save your progress, and return to complete at any time.

Discover New Skills. Lead With Confidence.

Embrace change and advance your career with your Master of Science in Communication from Northwestern.