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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Gonzaga’s M.A. in Communication and Leadership Studies not only prepares you to advance your career, but to positively impact the world. You will find answers to our most frequently asked questions below.  Call or text additional questions to (866) 380-5323.

General Questions about COML

Why choose a Jesuit education?

Jesuits have been educating people since 1540. Gonzaga was founded in 1887 and continues to pursue a mission of educating leaders with the capacity for reflective and critical thought. Gonzaga’s graduate programs offer you the opportunity to pursue a degree that strives to educate the whole person: intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Is Gonzaga's COML Program accredited?

Yes, Gonzaga is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Schools (NWCCS). Gonzaga is also member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

How long does it take to complete a program?

The average student completes the program in 2-2.5 years. If you are able to add additional credits in any given period, you can accelerate your graduation.

How many classes will I take?

You will take eleven classes to complete the degree. Five core classes to set the foundation of your communication and leadership education along with four elective courses that can be customized to your interests and goals, plus the two capstone courses.

What is a concentration, do I have to choose one?

There are three optional concentrations you can choose to declare. They will be noted on your transcripts as an additional specialty. They are a way to structure your elective courses to dive further into a special area of study. You do not have to choose a concentration, but you have the option to choose from:

  • College Teaching of Communication
  • Strategic & Organizational Communication
  • International & Intercultural Communication

Do I need to have a communications undergraduate degree?

No, students come from all industries looking to make an impact by learning effective and intentional communication practices paired with the most effective leadership skills.

What is the difference between Gonzaga’s COML and ORGL programs?

Gonzaga’s M.A. in Communication & Leadership and Organizational Leadership programs are sister programs; this allows you to take elective courses within either program to fulfill your elective credit requirements. The theories and emphases of each program’s core courses and curriculum are very different. The COML program approaches leadership through the lens of interpersonal and intrapersonal communication and allows students to delve into such topics as communication ethics, international and intercultural communication, and strategic and corporate communication. The ORGL program challenges students to study advanced leadership practices and to manifest a leadership style that will allow them to thrive in an ever-changing, global industry. ORGL students focus on topics like leadership foundations, organizational behavior and theory, and leadership and diversity.

Can I transfer credits into the program?

You may transfer credits with the approval of the Department Chair, the Dean of your program and the Registrar’s Office. A maximum of 1/5 of program credits (usually 6 semester credits for graduate level students) may be transferred.

Coursework must be distinctively graduate level by the transfer institution and must have been taken within the last five years. A minimum grade of a B (P grades must be defined as B or better) must be earned. Courses previously applied to a completed degree are not transferable to the student’s current program.

The Course Experience

Online or on-campus?

The majority of our classes are online, but you do have the opportunity to take courses on campus with our short term immersions.  Our immersions are a hybrid of online and on-campus coursework that involve coming to campus in Spokane for a few days.  We also offer other immersions that include travel to Mt. Adams in Washington and St. Andrew’s Abbey in California.  There is one required 3-day on-campus immersion.

Is an online degree from Gonzaga the same as the campus degree?

Yes, your final degree will read “Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies” from Gonzaga University.

How many students are in a class?

15-20 students are in a course, which is often split into smaller discussion groups. Class sizes are kept small to allow professors more one-on-one time with you.

Who will be teaching my classes?

Every class is designed by our Gonzaga faculty. Most classes are taught by faculty who have a PhD, or Master’s degree or have achieved distinction as a practitioner of communication.

How much time is required per week to be successful in the COML Program?

This will vary, depending on the courses you are taking, your learning style and your course load. However, most students dedicate approximately 10-15 hours per week towards coursework. This may fluctuate up and down. During a week with a major paper or project due, you might spend more time on coursework than other weeks. What remains true is that you will get out of this program what you put into it.

Why is there a required visit to Spokane for an Immersion?

We believe the best learning is experiential and occurs in the context of community. The immersion is designed to be taken early in your graduate degree journey so that you can come to campus, meet fellow classmates, get to know faculty and ground yourself in the sense of what it means to be a Zag. All of our students say that this experience is one of the best parts of the program.

What type of support services are available?

We are all here to help you succeed.

Scholarships, Tuition Discounts & Reductions

What is the cost of tution?

Tuition is the same for both online and on-campus courses.  Cost per credit is competitive at $940. See what our students and alumni have to say about the cost and the return on their investment of a Gonzaga graduate degree.

How can I pay for my graduate degree?

We have a number of resources to help you fund your education.

As a graduate student you qualify for Federal Student Aid. This funding is not need based, follow the link to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Gonzaga also offers payment plan options and other financial resources. For more information contact Admissions at 1-866-380-5323.

Are graduate student scholarships available?

The M.A. in Communication & Leadership Studies program offers new student scholarships every semester, funds permitting. Contact with the admissions department at 1-866-380-5323 for an application.

Gonzaga’s Financial Aid Office maintains a database of scholarships for students to access, search and apply for awards.

Do you offer a military discount?

We offer a 10% discount to active members of the military and their spouses, as well as to veterans. View complete information here.

What other types of tuition discounts do you offer?

Gonzaga University offers the following:

  • Diocese of Spokane – a 50% tuition discount to qualified full-time teachers, principals and Pastoral/Diocesan Ministers working in schools or parishes under the auspices of the Diocese of Spokane – click here for more details.
  • Federal Employees – eligible for a 10% tuition discount.
  • Tuition discounts are also available for employees of the following organizations:
    • Boeing
    • Bank of America

For further questions, please inquire with the admissions department at 1-866-380-5323.

Program information subject to change.

At a Glance



Average completion time

2 years

Cost per credit



Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities



5 Start Dates a Year

January, March, May, September, October


One 3-day on-campus immersion required


"#4 Best Regional University in the West” by U.S. News & World Report, 2018

“#7 Best Value Among West Regional Universities” by U.S. News & World Report, 2018

“#3 Best Colleges for Veterans in the West” by U.S. News & World Report, 2018"

“#13 Best Alumni Network” by Princeton Review, 2015

"Best Campus Immersion" by Ragan's PR Daily, 2015.

“#1 Best Value Among Private Colleges and Universities in the State of Washington” by Money Magazine, 2014

Study Abroad & Domestic Immersion Opportunities

Military, Federal Employee, Boeing and Bank of America Discounts

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