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Organizations across all sectors depend on strategic communications to control their brand’s message and maximize exposure. Whether you want to pursue a career in advertising, marketing or public relations, a strong background in strategic communications will be an invaluable asset personally and professionally.

Program Overview

Master your ability to communicate efficiently and effectively.

Strategic communication encompasses all aspects of public relations, advertising and marketing. In the Strategic Communication program at Western Colorado University, you’ll acquire the ability to communicate consistently and effectively to a target audience. In the process, you’ll develop skills in analytical thinking, writing, presentation, multimedia, and production. Through comprehensive coursework and hands-on experience in Western’s state-of-the-art media production facilities, you’ll have the knowledge and experience to become a charismatic and decisive communications leader in the professional world.

Developing leaders

Western’s Strategic Communication program teaches students to build critical thinking skills, hone their writing and develop strong presentation skills on their way to becoming charismatic and decisive leaders in the professional world.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 51 credits is required including the 9-credit Communication Arts Nucleus:

Communication Arts Nucleus
COM 205Communication Arts I3
COM 305Communication Arts II3
COM 405Communication Arts Seminar3
Total Credits9

And the following:

ART 173Foundation Design: Digital Art and Design3
BUAD 270Principles of Marketing3
COM 151Introduction to Mass Media (GT-AH2)3
COM 241Media Writing3
COM 264Introduction to Media Production I3
COM 274Public Relations Communication3
COM 323Media/ Arts Management3
COM 346Multimedia Communication3
COM 351Media Theory and Research3
COM 371Small Group and Conflict Management3
COM 375Social Media Skills3
COM 474Campaign Planning in Advertising and Public Information3
COM 499Internship in Communication Arts3
Select one of the following:3
COM 371
Small Group and Conflict Management
COM 377
Intercultural Communication in the Digital Age
Select one of the following:3
BUAD 333
Organizational Behavior
BUAD 335
Marketing Communications
BUAD 345
Consumer Behavior
PSY 258
Introduction to Personality
SOC 380
Social Inequalities
Total Credits45

Capstone Course Requirement

The following course fulfills the capstone course requirement for the Communication Arts Major: COM 405 Communication Arts Seminar.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
COM 151 Introduction to Mass Media (GT-AH2) 3
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area II) 4
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 105
or MATH 140
Mathematics for the Liberal Arts (GT-MA1)
or College Algebra (GT-MA1)
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area II) 4
Gen Ed General Education (Area III) 3
Year Two
COM 205 Communication Arts I 3
COM 241 Media Writing 3
COM 274 Public Relations Communication 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area III) 3
ART 173 Foundation Design: Digital Art and Design 3
COM 264 Introduction to Media Production I 3
BUAD 270 Principles of Marketing 3
Elective Elective or minor course 6
Year Three
COM 305 Communication Arts II 3
COM 346 Multimedia Communication 3
COM 371
or COM 377
Small Group and Conflict Management
or Intercultural Communication in the Digital Age
Elective BUAD/PSY/SOC elective course 3
Elective Elective or minor course
COM 375 Social Media Skills 3
COM 499 Internship in Communication Arts 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Elective Upper Division Elective course 6
Year Four
COM 405 Communication Arts Seminar 3
COM 351 Media Theory and Research 3
Elective Upper Division Elective course 9
COM 323 Media/ Arts Management 3
COM 474 Campaign Planning in Advertising and Public Information 3
Elective Elective or minor course 6
 Total Credits114


Strategic Communication

Christian Saez


“Receiving hands-on experience in the fields I was interested in and getting one-on-one training necessary to succeed opened so many doors and opportunities.”

Strategic Communication

Caitlin Gleason


“I wanted to know my professors by name and feel like I could go to them.”


Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

Ready to apply or learn more about Western today?

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Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • KWSB Radio: On air since 1968, KWSB is student driven, student staffed and open to anyone who wants to have their own radio show.
  • Mountaineer Media: A student-run media production group specializing in short films, screenings and storytelling abilities.
  • Taylor Media Center: Houses film production studios, audio production studios and more.
  • Top o’ the World Newspaper: Monthly paper composed by students offering opportunities in newswriting, photography, editing, designing and advertising sales.
  • Western Theatre Company: A co-curricular program and student-run producing board that oversee and provide quality live performance to the campus and Gunnison community.

Making connections

Strategic Communication students have access to Western’s state-of-the-art media production facilities and get connected with off-campus organizations searching for innovative students.

News & Research

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Finding the Right University: Kinlee Whitney

Read More about Finding the Right University: Kinlee Whitney
Western students first in program history to present at Research Conference

Western students first in program history to present at Research Conference

Read More about Western students first in program history to present at Research Conference
Western adding new minors, emphases to curriculum for 2018-19

Western adding new minors, emphases to curriculum for 2018-19

Read More about Western adding new minors, emphases to curriculum for 2018-19

Department Chairperson

Jack Lucido, MFA

Professor of Communication Arts, Director of Film Studies, Chair of CALL Department

Administrative Assistant

Cindy Petito

Administrative Assistant II

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Taylor Hall 216
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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