Degree Requirements

To earn a master’s degree, students must complete a minimum of 45 credits. These include:

Four core requirements totaling 20 credits:

  • COM 546: Communication Through Digital Media and Networks (5 credits)
  • COM 536: Leadership Through Story and Communities (5 credits)
  • Law and/or Ethics (5 credits)
  • Research Methods (5 credits)

Students have multiple choices to meet the Law & Ethics and Research Methods requirements. Classes meeting these requirements are indicated as such on the Comm Lead website list of courses.

Elective courses in chosen degree emphasis, totaling 25 credits:

  • 10 credits may be taken outside of chosen degree emphasis, including a maximum of 5 credits taken outside of the Communication Leadership program
  • Electives may include COM 593 internship (max 15 credits), COM 591 independent research (max 10 credits), or COM 600 MC project (5 credits)

Double Degree Option

In accordance with Graduate School policies, students do not have to retake the core cohort classes COM 536 and COM 546 (10 credits), but are required to take 35 additional credits focused in their secondary area of interest, for a total of 80 credits for both degrees.

Students must submit a Graduate School application for the second degree.

Earning The Degree

Course Format

Comm Lead offers classes at the main Seattle campus and core classes at the downtown UW classrooms on evenings and Saturdays to suit the schedules of working professionals.


All students start as a cohort in autumn quarter. It is possible to take up to two courses (10 credits) prior to autumn quarter, either on a space available basis as a GNM (Graduate Non-matriculated) student or by applying to begin a quarter early in summer.

How long does it take to complete a Comm Lead degree?

Part-time students enroll in five credits per quarter and therefore take between two and three years to complete the program. However, students may decide to register for 10 credits during a certain quarter in order to take advantage of an elective offering.

Full-time students enroll in 10 credits per quarter and therefore take 15 months to complete the program, including summer quarters. International students must attend full time and maintain a minimum of 10 credits per quarter.

NikaDegree Requirements