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EIU Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Strategic Communication

The focus of the Strategic Communication concentration is the critical thinking and analysis necessary to develop and implement communication strategies that advance an organization’s goals and mission. The curriculum will enhance your ability to identify and develop the best communication strategy in a given situation while also instilling creative and original approaches to solving communication problems. The curriculum will also better inform you about theories that are the basis for effective public relations and organizational communication.

Graduate students finishing the Strategic Communication concentration often go on to work in various areas (public relations, advertising, etc.) for large communication agencies or smaller niche communication organizations. Students may also find work as political lobbyists, research analysts, social media coordinators, crisis or risk communicators, creating health campaigns, or as organizational consultants. Students may also go on to enjoy careers teaching community college or in organizations as leadership or training and development consultants.

The Strategic Communication concentration also provides the necessary theoretical and methodological foundation for students to continue their education and research in doctoral programs across the country.


Department Core Courses

Students will complete a core of 6 semester hours composed of the following courses:

  • CMN5020- Communication Theory. Credits: 3
  • CMN5040- Communication Research Methods. Credits: 3

Concentration Area

Students will complete 18 hours in one of three concentration areas composed of the following courses: 

  • Strategic Communication
    • CMN4919- Public Relations Campaigns. Credits: 3
    • CMN4920- Case Studies in Public Relations. Credits: 3
    • CMN4921- Seminar in Public Relations. Credits: 3
    • CMN5015- Communication Ethics. Credits: 3
    • CMN5700- Public Relations. Credits: 3
    • CMN5710- Organizational Communication. Credits: 3     
    • CMN5720- Seminar in Public Relations. Credits: 3
    • CMN5170- Seminar in Organizational Communication. Credits: 3
    • CMN5190- Leadership Communication. Credits: 3
    • CMN5240- Communication Pedagogy. Credits: 3
    • CMN5260- Communication in Science and Technology. Credits: 3
    • CMN5530- Intercultural Communication. Credits: 3
    • CMN5740- Small Group and Team Communication. Credits: 3
    • CMN5550- Special Topics in Communication. Credits: 3


Recent Research

For the Strategic Communication concentration, the following research capstone projects have recently been completed by EIU students:


"Branding Small Businesses in Small Communities"
Student: Lacey Jenkins
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

"Faith Down the Rabbit Hole: A Critical Rhetorical Interrogation of Q-Anon and Parasitic Christianity"
Student: Nate Carlson
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.


"How All In Are We Really?: An Examination of Eastern Illinois University’s “All In” Branding Campaign’s Impact on Tenured Faculty Members’ Organizational Identification and Commitment"
Student: Melissa A. Stone
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

"Using Sport Identification & Rhetorical Strategy: Evaluating an NCAA D1 Collegiate Football Team’s Social Media Presence"
Student: Maria Baldwin
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

"Boutique Branding: Televisually Signifying the Feminine Business-Owner"
Student: Payton Blakney
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.

"Representations of Africa in US Media: A Semiotic Analysis of Ebola: The Doctor’s Story and Body Team 12"
Student: Olubusola Akinpelu
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.

"Narrativizing the Holidays: Event Branding through Commodity Narrative Campaigns"
Student: Peighton Hinote
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.


"A Journey of Cross-Cultural Adaptation: An Autoethnography of a Vietnamese Graduate Student in The American Classroom"
Student: Tram Nguyen
Advisor: Angela Jacobs, Ph.D.

"Obtaining and Retaining Engagement in Nonprofit Organizations"
Student: Sierra Price
Advisor: Chigozirim U. Sodeke, Ph.D.

"Mystery Meat" and "Bulldyke": Disciplining Gender and Silencing Women Sports Reporters on Reddit"
Student: Kayla J. Peterson
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.

"Using Digital Storytelling to Create Intercultural Awareness at Eastern Illinois University"
Student: Toluwalase Solomon
Advisor: Chigozirim U. Sodeke, Ph.D.


"Race, Identity, and Communication: Experiences of College Students from Underrepresented Groups"
Student: Raya D. Petty
Advisor: Richard G. Jones, Jr., Ph.D.

"Building a Blog/Building a Brand: Public Relations Campaign for "Goodwill Hunting" Fashion Blog"
Student: Yanik Gene Flowers
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.


"Steven Avery, a case study: Making a murderer or making an identity?"
Student: Allison Grussing
Advisor: Elizabeth Gill, Ph.D.

"Modern sports public relations: Using PR to build stakeholder relationships with a collegiate athletic team"
Student: Nathan Bryant
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.


Branding a Cohesive Identity: The Case of Northern Illinois Alliance
Student: Ashely Gocken
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Whose Beer Is It, Anyway?: An Examination of the Constraints of Organizational Legitimacy with the Craft Beer Industry
Student: Audra Clodfelter
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Breaking the Chains of Trafficking: An Educational Program
Student: Amanda Feder
Advisor: Teresa Marie Linda Scholz, Ph.D.

Barriers to Communicating Sexual Orientation Identity at Work
Student: Marissa Guenzi
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Stepping out from the Crowd: (Re)branding Jamaica's Tourism Product through Sports and Culture
Student: Patrice Thelca White
Advisor: Brian Sowa, Ph.D.


At the intersections of dialogue, social media, and crisis communication: A case study of Consolidated Edison’s communicative response to Superstorm Sandy
Student: Nathan Furstenau
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Building and maintaining legitimacy online: UNICEF’s use of Facebook
Student: John Kraps
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.


Few smooth moves: Phi Rho Eta Fraternity Inc. national branding campaign
Student: Shea Brunson
Advisor: Brian Sowa, Ph.D.

“Single girl summer” enterprise: Building a successful brand using social media as a branding tool
Student: Rashida Lyles-Cowan
Advisor: Brian Sowa, Ph.D.

Inmate code: The stories lived and the stories told of men behind bars
Student: Pauline Matthey
Advisor: Elizabeth Gill, Ph.D.

Organizational identity as a promotional tool: The case of the Panther Paw
Student: Samantha Neal
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Strategic communication campaign to build effective relationships
Student: Lauren Kluge Padillo
Advisor: Melanie Mills, Ph.D.

Corporate social responsibility and team identification in professional sports
Student: Lisa Schleef
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.


International image repair: Integrating culture into image repair discourse
Student: Nicole Mangiaracina
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Dynamic crisis modifiers: BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill
Student: Catherine Bocke
Advisor: Matthew Gill, Ph.D.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Angela S. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator

Buzzard 2419

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