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Hybrid Leadership Program

Gain a competitive advantage with a hybrid online/in-person Masters degree program designed for the seasoned professional.

Get Your Northwestern Masters Degree on Your Own Schedule

Leverage a hybrid format with 4 in-residence seminars.

Strengthen your leadership skills and advance your career in the hybrid leadership program at Northwestern University.

Develop applicable skills and frameworks to take your career to the next level. Academic content is delivered online through our innovative learning platform.

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Discover how the hybrid leadership program at Northwestern gives students a competitive workplace advantage.

1-Course Every 5 Weeks

Focus and accelerate your degree with a virtual deep dive into the concepts one class at a time, along with four in-residence seminars.

Lifelong Career Services​

Whether you're thinking about career evolution or revolution MSC Career Services will partner with you anytime in the course of your journey.

NU Alumni Network​

Join an extensive, elite network of Northwestern University alumni — and build the career you’ve always desired.

Building Confidence & Knowledge to Take on a New Career Challenge

Ivan Jaime discusses his experience in the HLP.

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
Course Every Five Weeks
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Professors & Industry-Leading Faculty

MS In Communication HLP Curriculum Overview

Embark on a fast-paced, ambitious program to earn your MS in Communication.​

In the Hybrid Leadership Program, MS in Communication students take one pre-set course every 5 weeks with four in-residence seminars.

Core Courses

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 of these forces.

Read Professor Michelle Shumate’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 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.

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 >>

As we enter into 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.

Read Professor Eric Patrick’s  Biography >>

Decision-making in organizations is increasingly delegated to formal models, algorithms, and big data. These information resources are dangerously close to replacing the dialogue between human beings. This course defines dialogue in an organizational context and examines the interactions that bring about effective, satisfying collaboration. Students will study the “Conversational Firm” and find connections between dialogue and the modern organization, as well as develop dialogic skills and learn to recognize the threats to dialogic unity.

Read Professor Randy Iden’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 these 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 for 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 specify how it should be rewired 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 >>

Elegant communication is one of the three foundational areas of the MSC program. In this hybrid class, students are trained in key communication skills necessary for effective leadership: cultural intelligence and managing inclusion, crisis communication management, informative and persuasive public speaking, facilitating open dialogue, mindful listening, and executive presence. In this full credit course that is spread throughout the year in both online and in residence sessions, students work closely with some of the world’s leading academics and industry experts to accelerate advancing their personal expertise through deliberate praxis.

In-Residence Seminars

For those experiences that cannot be honed or refined online. While the majority of your Northwestern MS in Communication degree takes place online, there are four in-residence seminars that take place at the Northwestern Evanston campus. Get the flexibility of an online Masters degree without compromising exceptional experiences with the hybrid leadership program.

Embrace diversity and gain new cultural intelligence by collaborating with a diverse cohort committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Learn to respond confidently with strategic crisis communication management skills in our crisis simulations and seminars that develop proactive leadership.

Discover the power of collaborative decision-making and learn to leverage the diversity of your teams to identify, form and implement better strategies and policies.

Find out how to craft and deliver messages that resonate and prompt action. Create an executive presence that leads with empathy and resilience — and guide yourself and your organization to new heights.


Your MS in Communication 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.

Compenent 1

Visual Portfolio

Your Visual Portfolio is a website you will create, designed to showcase you and your work. It provides a multi-media platform where assignments are reflected upon, synthesized and presented to demonstrate and substantiate your learning as an MSC student.

Component 3

Professional Identity

You will elegantly communicate your professional identity by creating thoughtfully branded collateral, often called a media kit. You will also use the items you create here as content for your website.

Component 2a

Case Interview

Use the things you have learned to solve a problem. If you choose to conduct a Case Interview, you sign up for a time, and will receive a case 24 hours in advance of your interview. The case will be closely related to your coursework. You are expected to present a brief diagnosis of the case’s problem as well as a suggested solution, and you'll receive immediate feedback.

Component 2b

Applied Research Project

Use data and the skills you have learned to solve a problem. If you choose the Case Development path, you'll use data and experiences from a real-life situation to conduct an in-depth study of the underlying causes of a problem and present a recommendation. You'll receive feedback to strengthen the knowledge you have gained throughout the program.

Stephanie Santos

“This degree gave me a real confidence boost in the workforce, which left a positive impact on my day-to-day interactions inside and outside of work.” 

Stephanie Santos ’19

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A Masters In Science in Communication Built For Experienced Professionals

Earn your masters. Strengthen your leadership. Transform the future.

The Hybrid Leadership Program is tailored to those with management experience.

Take your classroom learnings and immediately apply them in your workplace. You’ll see the transformative power of your degree program in real-time.

Northwestern MSC News & Events

Connect with Northwestern Master of Science in Communication students, alumni, and faculty with our latest stories, insights, and events.

Northwestern’s MS in Communication Admissions Information

Explore the HLP 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.