The Richard M. Fairbanks Center for Communication and Technology at Butler University during the spring.

Online Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication

Gain Industry-Relevant Communication Skills

Program Overview

Butler designed the online Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication for working professionals who want to advance in their organizations or pivot into a new role. Our interdisciplinary curriculum prepares students with foundational and career-relevant skills to stay current in a rapidly changing strategic communication field. This flexible, 12-credit hour certificate can be completed in as few as two consecutive semesters, and provides a pathway into the online Master’s in Strategic Communication program.


Butler University offers the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication in a flexible, online model where students take one seven-week course at a time. The 12-credit hour certificate includes three core courses and one elective course. 

This course introduces students to the foundational theories, strategies, and practices of strategic communication. The course is organized to expose students to the interdisciplinary theoretical literature on strategic communication, help them understand and embrace the relationship between theory and practice, and learn to apply theoretical frameworks to strategic communication challenges.

This course is a comprehensive examination and application of qualitative and quantitative methods and designs typically employed to plan, monitor, and assess strategic communication campaigns. The purpose of the course is to develop students’ skills to direct and develop valid and reliable research, and to analyze and apply results that lead to successful programming that addresses a variety of organizational goals.

This course will introduce students to graphic design principles and production technologies as they relate to strategic communication design. The course provides students with essential knowledge and skills for success in discriminating good design from bad, and the ability to articulate the difference. Students will also explore the most common tasks required to create and optimize media for digital and print.

Throughout this course, students will become familiar with a range of social media tools, analyze and discuss their uses and implications for strategic communication, and develop participation literacy. Students will have the opportunity to explore both the theory and practice of social media through writing assignments, reaction papers, and a final applied research paper. This course covers topics such as social media strategy and tactics for businesses, the history of social media, privacy issues and concerns, and how to use social media in moments of organizational crisis.

All organizations experience crises. This course explores theories and research related to organizational communication before, during, and after a crisis. Students examine and apply the fundamentals of crisis communication and crisis management. The course will use theoretical and applied research as well as recent, real-life organizational crises to see the need for audience-centered, research-based crisis communication to successfully navigate today’s crisis communication landscape.

The goal is to prepare students to better strategize, plan, execute, and evaluate ethical and effective crisis communication across a variety of organizational and audience contexts–including students’ current or aspirational industries.

This course focuses on the techniques by which public relations practitioners influence selected publics through mass and social media. It covers theory, best practices, and especially application of principles so that students will complete the course with the ability to create a sound media relations function for their organization that is ethical, effective, and serves to advance their organization’s goals and objectives.

This course will examine branding from an audience-centric approach to understand the interplay of audiences, the marketplace, and strategic communication in the branding of new and existing products and services. A combination of discussion, activities, case studies, and readings will provide students with theoretical and applied frameworks to understand, measure, create, and manage brands over time in a highly competitive marketplace. Specific emphasis will be placed on the role of strategic communication to communicate a clear positioning statement, value proposition, and brand personality to target audiences that contributes to strong consumer-brand relationships and brand equity.

This course is an introduction to strategic communication in the global and cross-cultural context. Students are exposed to a wide range of topics, including: the role of culture in strategic communication, intercultural communication theories, ethics and regulatory issues, history of globalization, new media technologies, cases in international strategic communication, and strategies to communicate with diverse audiences.

This course addresses the theory and practice of health and risk communication. This field considers effective ways to encourage healthy behaviors and is informed by sociological and psychological variables. Specifically, we’ll examine public health campaigns across multiple contexts—crises (like a pandemic) and general well-being (exercise, nutrition, safety, mental health, cancer prevention, etc.). Risk communication is a sub-study pondering, “Why do people differently evaluate personal risk?” Risk assessments don’t always correlate with personal behavior, making health communication a challenge. This course is for anyone interested in communicating about health to diverse stakeholders, including those managing lifestyle products.

Students in this course will examine leadership communication in the context of organizational change. Leadership is analyzed using the concept of citizenship with a focus on communication skills needed to help construct effective experiences for an organization, team, or community, whether in the role of doer, follower, guide, manager, or leader. Students will also evaluate organizational theory and practice that links to how early to mid-20th-century management theories have shaped current 21st-century organizations throughout change.


From public relations and advertising to research methods and strategic communication, our esteemed faculty bring invaluable knowledge and experience to the classroom. Get to know our faculty and learn about their strategic communication experience across a diverse range of industries, including healthcare, technology, non-profit, government, politics, and media.

Dr. Rose Campbell


Dr. Abbey Levenshus


Rob Norris


Armando Pellerano


Dr. Mark Rademacher


Amanda Stevenson-Holmes


Dr. Kevin Wang


Tuition Costs

Per Credit (12 Credits)
*Tuition is subject to change each academic year.
Application Fee
Enrollment Deposit*
*Deposit counts toward the total cost of the certificate.

Important Dates

Spring 2023

October 10, 2022

Early Application Deadline

November 7, 2022

Priority Application Deadline

December 5, 2022

Final Application Deadline

January 9, 2023

First Day of Classes

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