Master of Communication Leadership

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Master of Communication Leadership

Meredith Hall (Bungert)Take charge. Now.

Turn your leadership dreams into reality and build the future you envision through the Master of Communication Leadership (MCL) program at Drake. In the MCL, you’ll craft your professional and personal development plan through:

  • interaction with a dynamic cohort of your peers
  • project-based assignments
  • case studies
  • communications and business analysis
  • practical workshops and topical seminars
  • networking with local professionals
  • personal reflection

Our emphasis is on:

  • leadership and communication problem-solving, self-discovery, and group dynamics
  • the application of evolving communications industry media and business models
  • ethical decision-making
  • the integration of business and the media.

The MCL is a 36-hour practical and applied program offered jointly through Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) and College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA). It is designed for part-time study on campus, with courses in the evening or on weekends; it can be completed in two years, including summers. Some coursework can be completed online.

Required Courses

MCL 201: Communication Leadership Strategies (3 credits)
 — The distinction between management and leadership; the role of leaders in society, particularly in communication; communication leadership models.

MCL 202: Communications and Social Responsibility (3 credits)
 — The ethics and policy of information management, including the legal and philosophic aspects of the Information Age.

MCL 203: Applied Communication Theory and Research (3 credits)
 — What research tells us about how to communicate effectively to employees, employers, and publics outside of the organization; how to use research to gain insight into the organization; practical data analysis.

MCL 204: Innovation and Change in Contemporary Communication (3 credits)
 — Innovation as a tool for thoughtful change; communications problem-solving; how the successful leader takes advantage of opportunities to move the organization and its message ahead.

MCL 205: Financial Fundamentals for Communication Leaders (1.5 credits)
 — How a communications leader prepares, implements, and maintains a budget; understanding cost controls and income generation; modifying financial needs based on economic change.

MCL 206: Emerging Media Strategies (1.5 credits)
 — Leading online and digital staffs into a future of unknown technology and change.

MCL 207: Communication Leadership Capstone (3 credits)
 — Application of all course material to a communications problem.

MBA 240: Sustainable Decision-Making
 (3 credits) — How values and ethics play a role in the decision-making process and their impact on the multiple roles played by organizations.

Students can choose between MBA 254 and PADM 221. NOTE: Students can also take both courses, as part of their electives in CBPA.

MBA 254: Leadership and Human Capital Development
 (3 credits) — Applied human resources management designed to improve leadership skills and the development of an organization’s workforce. Ethics and the successful long-term operation of organizations in today’s pluralistic and diverse society.

PADM 221: Organizational Process & Administrative Systems
 (3 credits) — The management of individuals and groups in the ethical pursuit of organizational effectiveness, with an emphasis on theories and contemporary issues surrounding behavior of organizational members as individuals and as members of work teams.

Suggested Courses

MCL 299: Special Topics (1.5 credits each): A mix of courses offered on a revolving schedule, on topics such as Women and Leadership; Write Like a Leader; Crisis Communication; Organizational Management; The Mentor Gap; Reinvention Strategies; Employee Communications; Leading Diverse Populations; Creativity Seminar; Small Group Dynamics; Preparing Written Reports and Oral Presentations.

BUS 212 Executive Leadership; BUS 298 Creativity in Business; MBA 242 Evaluating Organizational Performance; MBA 251 Creating Customer Value; MPA 215 Changing Environment and Management of Public and Nonprofit Organizations; MKTG 291 Services Marketing; MKTG 275 Sales Management; MGMT 286 Project Management; PADM 282 Comparative Management in a Global Environment


MCL students come from large organizations and small companies from throughout Central Iowa that value quality communications and leadership development —multinational corporations, non-profit groups, the government, public relations and advertising agencies, media outlets, and small businesses. These have included:

  • Des Moines University
  • GuideOne Insurance
  • Hubbell Realty
  • Innova Ideas and Services
  • Integer Group
  • KCCI Channel 8
  • Kemin Industries
  • Lessing Flynn
  • Meredith Corporation
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Principal Financial Group
  • The Des Moines Register
  • Strategic America
  • Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Wells-Fargo & Company
  • West Bank, Inc.
  • World Food Prize