Credits and costs
Understand the Strategy Behind Communications — 100% Online Degree Program
The Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications explores a number of disciplines needed for developing and delivering effective content. These include generating an impactful and relatable message, selecting the best communication channels for proper message distribution, and evaluating communication efforts against established goals and benchmarks. You'll have the opportunity to study psychology, statistics, law, research, and other disciplines that can be used to build a strong foundation for effective communication for any company or organization.
If you're a professional who wants to advance your career in strategic communications or you are looking to change to a communication-related career, this program is designed for you. It's an ideal course of study if you want to work in a dynamic environment, gathering and analyzing information to create targeted, comprehensive communication strategies to advance your organization's objectives.
Your Strategic Communications Courses
In this 120-credit interdisciplinary program, you can develop and enhance these skills to help you become a strategic communicator:
- complex problem-solving
- oral, visual, and written communication
- research and analytic techniques
- goal-setting and evaluation methods
- creative thinking
- cultural and social awareness
The curriculum includes 35 required credits, plus an additional 3 credits of Strategic Communications course work that you will choose to personalize your education. You must also successfully complete 24 credits of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements and 45 General Education credits.
Your Opportunities as a Strategic Communications Graduate
As a successful graduate, you can expand your career opportunities in a wide variety of fields involving communications and may have the opportunity to:
- analyze and manage advertising, public relations, and integrated marketing communications efforts to ensure a positive public image of a company or brand
- develop and maintain relationships and communication with an organization's stakeholders
- cultivate an organization's image and reputation based on analysis of the political, economic, technological, media, and social environment to increase its revenues and foster goodwill
- set goals and plan projects to help an audience retain your message
- conduct organized communications campaigns to influence the public image of a person or an organization, or to promote a product or initiative with maximum efficiency
The Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications program requires you to complete a minimum of 120 credits.
A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better in all prescribed, additional, and supporting courses required for the major.
Students can earn up to six (6) COMM credits through the credit-by-portfolio process. However, it is important for students to know that completing the credit-by-portfolio process does not guarantee that the credits will be awarded.
If you are a transfer student, the number of credits you must take will vary according to the courses that transfer into the program. Once you are admitted to the program, your assigned academic adviser can help you select courses to fulfill the remaining requirements.
Prescribed Courses (29 credits)
Additional Courses (select 3 credits)
Supporting Courses (select 3 credits)
Select 3 credits of COMM courses other than COMM 100 or COMM 120.
Electives (26 credits)
Students should choose 26 additional credits to satisfy the electives requirement.
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
- Integrative Studies: 6 credits
This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
Some Bachelor of Arts requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major, General Education courses, or electives. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Foreign Language: 0–12 credits
Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language.
- B.A. Fields: 9 credits
Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (cannot be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
- Other Cultures: 0–3 credits
Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
This degree program can make you a valuable asset for businesses, corporations, government, and nonprofit organizations. You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications, offered in partnership with the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
Michelle Baker, Ph.D.
Assistant Teaching Professor & Director of Online Programs in Strategic Communications
Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications
The Pennsylvania State University
115 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email: [email protected]