Lead with confidence, command value, and advance change in your workplace
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.
Discover how the Online Leadership Program (formally known as the Hybrid Leadership Program) at Northwestern gives students a competitive workplace advantage.
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.
“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.”
Head of Community Responsibility/President & CEO
Academic Year 2022-2023
The affordances of new technologies and changes in the modern business landscape have fundamentally transformed strategic communication. Where previous research and practice has separated public relations from organizational communication, the modern environment makes such a distinction not only meaningless, but dangerous. 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.
This action-oriented course builds participants’ collaborative leadership skills. Through a series of case studies, activities, and projects, students learn how to effectively lead diverse and often distributed teams. The course explores the specific challenges associated with leading teams, some of which include 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.
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.
As we enter the age of big data, we increasingly need ways to present that data to persuade, inform, educate, and understand large volumes of information. Information design is an emerging discipline that tells us the stories of data, helping us to understand and elegantly communicate our increasingly complex world and share our conclusions with others. While information design borrows from diverse fields like psychology, statistics, cartography, cognitive science, visual design and human machine interaction, there are a series of basic principles that make up the foundations of the field. At the conclusion of the class, students will have a solid understanding of how to secure and prepare data for visualization, how to choose a relevant visual framework to represent that data, and how to use principles of visual design to maximize comprehension, retention, and appeal of those designs.
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.
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.
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.
The culminating assessment of the MSC degree is a capstone project. The MSC Capstone integrates all the coursework and practical experiences of the program and is designed to help students develop the ability to monitor their own comprehension and to make their thinking processes explicit to external audiences. Students will effectively use a multiple of media to demonstrate that they have achieved all the learning out comes of the program through a personally customized three-part project that extends the entire duration of the program.
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.
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.
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.
The CAPSTONE PROJECT
A Cumulative Assessment You’ll Actually Use
Over the course of the program, you’ll create a three-part cumulative deliverable that integrates academic discoveries, a skills-based project, and the design and implementation of your own personal brand.
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.
Explore the OLP program requirements and application details before applying.
Embrace change and advance your career with your Master of Science in Communication from Northwestern.