Graduate Certificate in Applied Political Communication 

This certificate program is a joint collaboration between the Department of Political Science and the School of Communication.  Applied political communication encompasses the interaction of political figures, political interests, governmental institutions, media, and the public in their efforts to persuade and influence political power and public policy outcomes. This certificate’s interdisciplinary nature applies the fundamentals of public communication and political science to meet the specific needs and goals of political campaigns and advocacy organizations. Topics covered include campaign leadership strategies, audience analysis pertaining to specific publics, crisis communication, effective strategic messaging campaigns targeting publics through traditional communication channels, digital communication assets, and social media platforms.

The certificate is designed for students seeking preparation for careers as:

  • Legislative Aides
  • Political Consultants
  • Campaign Managers
  • Social Media or Digital Strategists
  • Political Journalists
  • Government Press Secretaries
  • Lobbyists
  • Aides in Public Affairs Organizations

Certificate Information:

  • 18 credits
  • Open to ANY major
  • Full-time or Part-time
  • Online classes available
  • No residency requirement
  • Real-world experience with internships
  • Design course work around career interests
  • Use My Degree Progress Report (My DPR) to review your academic progress to graduation

Certificate Requirements:

  • Required Core: 6 Credits
    • POLIT:570 Fundamentals of Political Strategy (3 credits)
    • COMM:575 Political Communication (3 credits)

  • Required Internship: 3 credits
    • POLIT:695 Internship in Government & Politics (3 credits) OR
    • COMM:680 Communication Internship (3 credits)
  • Electives: 9 Credits Maximum 
    • Political Science Classes (minimum 3 credits)
      • POLIT:502 Politics and the Media (3 credits)
      • POLIT:527 Campaign Battleground (3 credits)
      • POLIT:540 Survey Research Methods (3 credits)
      • POLIT:571 Fundamentals of Electoral Messaging (3 credits)
      • POLIT:572 Campaign Finance, Fundraising, and Budgeting (3 credits)
      • POLIT:573 Voter Contact and Elections (3 credits)
      • POLIT:574 Political Opinion, Behavior & Electoral Politics (3 credits)
      • POLIT:575 American Interest Groups (3 credits)
      • POLIT:576 American Political Parties (3 credits)
      • POLIT:577 Government Relations and Lobbying (3 credits)
      • POLIT:578 Fundamentals of the Digital Campaign (3 credits)
      • POLIT:695 Internship in Government & Politics (3 credits)
    • Communication Classes (minimum 3 credits)
      • COMM:506 Contemporary Public Relations (3 credits)
      • COMM:510 Crisis Communication (3 credits)
      • COMM:516 Social Media Content Creation (3 credits)\
      • COMM:517 Social Media Platforms (3 credits)
      • COMM:531 Risk Communication (3 credits)
      • COMM:540 Strategic Social Media (3 credits)
      • COMM:542 Social Media Metrics and Analytics (3 credits)
      • COMM:557 Public Speaking in America (3 credits)
      • COMM:559 Leadership and Communication (3 credits)
      • COMM:571 Theories of Rhetoric (3 credits)
      • COMM:631 Analyzing Organizational Communication (3 credits)
      • COMM:680 Communication Internship (3 or 6 credits)

Descriptions for Political Science graduate courses.
Descriptions for Communication graduate courses.

How to Enroll

Current UA students:

  • Contact Debra Phillipp,, to complete the Graduate School Certificate Enrollment Form. 
  • Certificate information:
    • The academic plan number is: 370019GC
    • The academic plan name is: Applied Political Communication
  • Once the form has been registered, you will see the program in your DPR.

Students and professionals not enrolled at UA:

  • Apply online to The University of Akron Graduate School.
    • Students must fulfill the admission requirements of the UA Graduate School (no specific undergraduate major in required)
    • Students must submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of personal goals, and official transcripts from all universities attended
    • International students must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year
  • Contact Debra Phillipp,, to complete the Graduate School Certificate Enrollment Form (see instructions for current UA students). 


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