Master of Science (MS)

Communication & Information: Strategic & Digital Communication

College of Communication & Information

Program Overview

Are you looking to start a new career or advance your current communication skills in the workplace? In the Strategic and Digital Communication concentration of the Communication and Information Master of Science (MS) program, you will gain the real-world skills you need to take your career to the next level. Asynchronous delivery allows you to complete your degree on your schedule.

Credit Hours


Cost Per Credit Hour*

In-State $700

Out-of-State $775



Admission Terms

Fall, Spring, Summer

*Cost per credit hour is an estimate based on maintenance and university fees. Some programs may have additional course fees. Please contact your department for additional information on any related fees, and visit Tuition and Fees in Detail at One Stop.

young white female student studying with pen and paper

Curriculum From Four Communication Disciplines

The College of Communication and Information Online Strategic and Digital Communication concentration offers an interdisciplinary curriculum of digitally-focused skills and trends in advertising, public relations, journalism, information sciences, and communication studies.

The Strategic and Digital Communication concentration is grounded in research about the skillsets needed to be an effective communicator in the ever-evolving digital landscape and is built on the latest methods and knowledge from all four schools in the College of Communication and Information. Courses were selected by each school to prepare students to both start or advance their career in the Communication field with the same academic quality and rigor as our residential programs.

Throughout your master’s degree journey, you will research communication strategies, explore trends, and apply your knowledge to solve complex business challenges.

  • Receive training in writing for direct, online, and mediated communications.
  • Learn skills to create, evaluate, and execute effective social media campaigns.
  • Examine the relationship between organizational culture, ethics, leadership, and
  • Study treatment of intentional, message-driven attitude and behavior change.
  • Explore organization, navigation and labeling of website elements and user experience.
  • Gain hands-on experience creating websites using the latest design techniques.
  • Explore distinct and overlapping attributes of media culture in the global media environment.
  • Identify frameworks and measures to understand audience preferences and behaviors.

The courses are fully online and asynchronous, meaning that lectures are pre-recorded and assignments, discussion posts, and evaluations can be completed when it best fits your schedule, making this an ideal degree for working professionals and balancing family needs.

There are no prerequisites or set curriculum path for the Strategic and Digital Communication MS degree. This program allows you to choose the courses each semester based on your personal and professional interests best suited to your career plans. This master’s degree is course only; no thesis or final project required. Taking two courses per semester, you can earn the degree as quickly as 18 months.

Featured Courses

The Master of Science (MS) in Communication and Information with a concentration in Strategic and Digital Communication offers diverse courses to fit your personal interests and professional goals. These are just a few examples of the interdisciplinary courses offered.

ADPR 562: Social Media Strategy & Tactics

Provides students with practical knowledge and analytical skills necessary to create, evaluate and execute social media campaigns. Course will include lectures, case studies, assignments and engaged activities that will help in the development of a strong social media skill set. State-of-the-art social listening software will be used for social listening assignments and provide a hands-on learning experience for enrolled students. 

JREM 513: Audience Analysis

Provides an overview of the main theoretical frameworks and measures used to understand audience preferences and behaviors in relation to traditional forms of media. Students will learn and apply analytic tools to track and analyze audience visits to media-related websites and social media activity. Insight will be provided on factors driving engagement with sites. Implications in terms of audience diversity and inclusion will also be covered. 

INSC 589: Web Design

Provides hands-on experience with creating websites using latest website design tools and techniques, as well as a theoretical insight into emerging trends and techniques. Emphasizes understanding the basics of web design, website creation and evaluation. Covers basics of usability testing and search engine optimization. 

CMST 526: Social Influence Persuasion & Compliance Gaining

Examination of social influence theory and practice.

woman with glasses and curly hair holding a pug while studying on computer

Unique Interdisciplinary Focus

The MS in Communication and Information with a Strategic and Digital Communication (SDC) concentration is one of the only programs in the country that offers course curriculum from professional disciplines selected from four different university-wide colleges. Program curriculum for the SDC program includes courses from:

Advertising & Public Relation

Communication Studies

Information Sciences

Journalism and Electronic Media

Strength of Gold Star Wife Leads to Multiple Job Offers Upon Graduation

A single mother of three launches digital communication career at a top PR agency after earning an online Master of Science in Communication and Information, Strategic Digital Communication degree.

gold star wife and mother graduates with ms

“The University of Tennessee’s Master of Science in Communication with an emphasis in Strategic and Digital Communication offered the perfect collection of courses that I was looking for. The title of the program reflected the industry’s needs, and no GRE was required.”

Carrie Kelley, ‘22, MS, Communication and Information, Strategic Digital Communication 

Student Testimonials

“I am active-duty military and can have a chaotic schedule. DE [Distance Education] allows me to work towards my goals regardless of deployments.”

Lawrence L., SDC Student

“Between my career and love of travel, distance learning allows me to work at my own pace to fit my schedule while also achieving my goal to progress in my education and career advancement.”

Kelsey W., SDC Student

“I work a full and a part-time job. If I was not a distance learner, I would not be able to continue. I am able to apply skills I am learning in my studies to experiences in my current roles to make me the best possible candidate for the positions I am applying for.”

Kelsie B., SDC Student

“My favorite thing about distance learning is enhancing my education from home, but I feel I am part of a more extensive program. I know I have the entire university of Tennessee’s support and resources”

Kelsey W., SDC Student

Ready to Take the Next Step to Advance Your Knowledge & Career?


100% Online Program Empowers Students

Stories from current students and graduates of UT’s MS Communication and Information, Strategic Digital Communication concentration reveal the strengths of the program and inspire prospective students.

UT Alum First to Graduate From New Online Strategic Digital Communication Concentration

UT Online Student Balances Online Master’s Program While Serving in Tennessee National Guard