If you are seeking the skills necessary to succeed in a wide variety of careers, a degree in Communications might be the program for you. In one of these degrees, you will learn how to express your ideas in a wide variety of formats – and to increasingly diverse audiences. Whether you are seeking employment as a public relations specialist or as a technical writer, a Master’s in Communications can help you achieve the skills and notoriety you need to be successful.
What kind of communications degree should you get?
If you are a strong writer and speaker, you likely already have some of the qualifications needed to be successful in the communications industry. However, finding the right program can be tricky. You should look for a degree that provides you with essential training in topics such as technology, digital media strategies, organizational leadership, and advertising, for example.
If you are already working in the communications field – or looking to change from an existing career into a communications pathway – it can be difficult to find the time to pursue a degree. An online program can provide you with the flexibility and affordability you need to be successful. Still not sure if an online degree in communications is the right choice for you? Make sure you check out our comprehensive ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities for a broader view of the best schools.
How much money do people make with a Master’s degree in communications?
Your average salary and job growth after receiving a communications degree will likely vary depending on the specific career you pursue. These jobs are expected to grow at an average pace by 2026, with an expected addition of 43,200 new jobs. The demand for these positions remains high as more professionals are needed to create, disperse, and edit new information across a variety of digital, print, and multimedia platforms.
Depending on the career you choose, you can expect to earn an average salary of about $57,530 per year. This is considerably higher than the median wage for all occupations, and many professionals earn even more. The highest paid individuals in the communications sector, those who are employed in technical writing, earn well over $70,000 per year.
What can you do with a Master’s degree in communications?
With a degree in communications, there are a wealth of opportunities available to you. You might choose to become a public relations specialist, working to maintain favorable public images for organizations or individuals, or you could go into social media marketing. You might find yourself working as a photographer, a writer, or an editor, or you could become a broadcast news analyst.
What do all of these careers have in common? They require you to think on your feet to craft favorable messages for the individuals, organizations, or ideas you represent. As a communications professional, you will constantly be innovating, creating, and broadcasting purposeful messages to a wide variety of audiences.
What are the requirements for a Master’s degree in communications?
To obtain a master’s degree in communications, you will need to first complete an undergraduate program of study. Although this degree should ideally be in a communications-related field, such as English, Journalism, or Marketing, you could easily pursue graduate studies in communications after completing an unrelated undergraduate program. You may also be required to take and submit scores from the GRE.
While enrolled, you will take classes in the humanities as well as in topics that are specific to your individual communications pathway. For example, you might take electives in technical writing, public relations, or broadcast journalism, depending on your final career goals.
What are the best online Master’s degrees in communication?
We’ve found that the best degrees are those that offer not only fair prices, but ample flexibility and convenience as well! To find the best degrees for you, we look at the best schools in the country based on reputation, student satisfaction, program quality, and return on investment. Then we review the bottom line – just how much is this going to cost? Check out our methodology page for a more in-depth description of our data.
Once we determine all of the above, we curate a list of stellar schools for you! These not only represent the best degrees you can get, but also ones that will fit your budget. Check out our picks below!
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 100
Average Grad Tuition: $19,053
Located in Gainesville, a booming city in northern Florida, the University of Florida has a massive 2,000-acre campus as well as a thriving online community. Students are welcomed with extensive support services, such as a Counseling and Wellness Center, a Career Connections Center, and even an online library. The asynchronous online degree in Communications takes most students about three semesters to complete, with 36 to 39 credit hours of full-time study required.
Choose from one of eight specializations when studying in this program. The school offers customizations in audience analytics, global strategic communications, public interest communication, social media, web design and online communication, public relations and communication management, political communication, and digital strategy. Regardless of the pathway you choose, you will take core coursework in topics such as:
- Mass Communication Theory
- Strategic Communication and Ethics
- Inbound Strategy
- Copywriting for Digital Messaging
All courses in this program are offered asynchronously, allowing students to log in at any time to complete their classes. Courses are offered via live office hours and recorded lectures. With an impressive freshman retention rate of over 96 percent, this school is dedicated to student success. All students are given an entry quiz upon enrollment that assists them in determining their ideal specializations, and most students can complete their studies in less than two years. Additional certificates in topics like media sales and web design are also available.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 94.58
Average Grad Tuition: $43,200
The University of Southern California graduated its first class in 1880, and has blossomed into a top-ranked institution of higher education ever since. A private school located in Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California offers a 32-credit master’s in communication management that is geared toward professionals and new learners alike. The degree addresses critical aspects of global business communication, as well as organizational planning, communication research, and other vital topics for career success.
This degree requires most students to take about two courses per term, allowing them to graduate in as little as sixteen months. Classes teach students to analyze audiences and determine strategies for corporate communication, as well as how to communicate effectively in the workplace. Each student must complete a practicum project related to their career focus. Required classes include:
- Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies
- Audience Analysis
- Global Marketing Communication
- Managing Communication
- Strategic Corporate Communication
The University of Southern California is ranked as one of the best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, a profound testament to the school’s dedication to student success in virtual learning. The school has an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of just 9:1, but as a large school of nearly 19,000 undergraduates is still able to offer exceptional opportunities to learners. The communications degree is housed in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and is taught by a highly respected faculty comprised of editors of leading journals, government consultants, and officers in national and international professional associations.
Columbia University in the City of New York
College Choice Score: 91.02
Average Grad Tuition: $44,864
Originally known as Kings College, Columbia University was founded in 1754 and renamed in 1896. The university is now home to over 33,000 students, offering a range of dynamic programs. Among them is the online master’s in strategic communication. This degree combines both classic and contemporary communication skills, requiring students to become experts in strategic communications. For students with less than six years of related experience, the school also offers a master of science in executive communication.
Columbia offers course waivers for students who have prior experience in strategic communications. Each student must complete a capstone project that proposes a specifically tailored answer to a common communications dilemma. Other learning experiences include group assignments, independent projects, and asynchronous online tasks. Required classes include topics such as:
- Navigating the Digital Frontier
- The Evolving Industry
- English for Communications Practice
- Active Audience
- Influencing Decisions
In this program, students benefit from learning experiences designed and orchestrated by faculty members who are academic and industry experts. They can pave a pathway to success with a range of electives and opportunities for practical study. The school offers opportunities for professional network expansion via face-to-face coursework and experiences in New York City and San Francisco and helps students achieve notoriety in the field by providing internships, resume expansion, and alumni partnerships.
College Choice Score: 90.51
Average Grad Tuition: $23,408
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern originally launched its high-quality programs in 1898. The school now offers courses on its main campus as well as in Washington, California, Canada, North Carolina, and, of course, online. The university provides students with over 60 choices for online degree completion, including the hands-on Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication. This program trains students in methods of assisting businesses through enhanced communication.
This degree is highly customizable, allowing students to choose between eight different concentrations in topics such as leading communication strategy and development, public relations, social media and online communities, usability/user experience, project management, leadership, and more. A sample schedule might include classes such as:
- Ethical Issues
- Strategic Communication Management
- International Field Study
- Crisis Communication
- Personal and Career Development
This degree can be completed in two or three years of full-time study, but there are also accelerated pathways for students with certain credentials in human resources. Additional certificate options are available for students seeking more diversified options, with pathways including social media and online communities as well as public and media relations. Northeastern has one of the most well-respected communities of alumni in the country, with graduates receiving networking opportunities with over 3,000 employers and enjoying top-ranked positions at Harvard University, Boston Globe Media, and more.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College Choice Score: 90.25
Average Grad Tuition: $21,980
Located just 140 miles south of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a master’s degree in Health Communication as well as one in Strategic Brand Communication. These programs offer pathways to students seeking employment in fields like business, media, marketing, patient advocacy, administration, public health, and more. All classes are offered asynchronously, allowing students to complete their coursework at the times most convenient for them.
This degree consists of 32 credit hours and can be completed entirely online in just 15 months. Additional certificate options are available in topics like media and analytics as well as in a self-guided and created track. All certificates require three additional online classes, with core coursework required in topics such as:
- Emerging Technologies
- Social Media Platforms
- Brand Development, Management, and Delivery
- Strategic Brand Communication Essentials
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is ranked as one of the best public and national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and it’s no wonder as to why. Despite having a large student body of over 45,000 students, the university offers extensive support services. All students have access to library resources regardless of whether they are studying online or on campus. Each student may also choose to enroll in a study abroad program. The university currently operates study abroad pathways in Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Australia, Israel, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and more.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
College Choice Score: 89.77
Average Grad Tuition: $18,549
A public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this university is just one of many campuses in the University of North Carolina educational system. It is the oldest and first public university in the country and is renowned for its groundbreaking research, innovative teaching, and compassionate public service. The school offers over 110 different master’s programs, with many available entirely online. One of the most popular programs is the Master of Arts in Digital Communication, which is offered through the School of Media and Journalism.
This degree is designed for working professionals and enables them to acquire the skillset hands-on experience necessary to become leaders in the field. It can be completed on a part-time basis by taking just two courses per semester, a pathway that allows most students to graduate in just two years. Required classes include topics such as:
- Digital Data and Analytics
- New Media and Society
- Strategic Communication
- Usability and Multimedia Design
- Research Methods and Applications
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill offers some of the best student support services in the country. Students have access to all kinds of resources, including technology support, Adobe software, and extensive libraries. All classes are small and taught by industry experts. They allow students to network with alumni, program graduates, and fellow classmates, enhancing their learning as they work among their peers in a fully online setting. Students are placed in cohorts and only 20 distance learners are admitted each fall – a setup that provides for fantastic learning experiences across the board.
College Choice Score: 89.03
Average Grad Tuition: $29,556
True to its name, American University is located in the nation’s capital and is comprised of eight schools with over 160 different programs of study. This private university enrolls over 13,000 students in high-quality degree programs. The online master’s degree in Strategic Communication is one such program, allowing full-time learners to complete accelerated degrees in just 10 months. Part-time learners can finish their studies in as little as two years.
In this program, all courses are asynchronous and last just eight weeks. Four optional concentrations are available, with topics including advocacy and social impact, corporate communication and reputation management, public diplomacy and global affairs, and digital strategies and analytics. All candidates will take classes in areas such as:
- Communication Theory
- Ethics in Strategic Communication
- Social Marketing for Social Impact
- Grassroots Digital Advocacy
- Writing for Strategic Communication
American University prides itself on small class sizes. In fact, the university upholds an average student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1. Classes are taught by a diverse body of faculty members, many of whom are politicians, PR experts, social change advocates, writers, correspondents, and more. Ninety-five percent of graduates from the School of Communication are either employed or enrolled in graduate studies within six months of graduation. As a result, the school is ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best national universities.
College Choice Score: 88.65
Average Grad Tuition: $52,239
Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, and is a private research institution with an exceptional reputation. In addition to its 240-acre Illinois campus, the school also operates campuses in Qatar as well as online. The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University houses the Master of Science in Communication. This degree is one of the university’s most popular, and it’s no wonder why. The graduate degree is available in a hybrid online/on-campus format as well as entirely online.
This degree has four in-resident experience requirements, requiring students to come to campus to learn in a more hands-on setting. Learners are taught the skills necessary to give them the competitive backgrounds they need to succeed in any work environment. Students will also take classes such as:
- Foundations of Strategic Communication Management
- Using Data to Make Informed Decisions
- Collaboration & Technology
- Information Design
- Leading Collaboration
At Northwestern, class sizes are small, with most learners enjoying an average student-to-faculty ratio of just 7:1. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and boasts a proud commitment to teaching, research, and personal and intellectual growth. Students receive access to cutting-edge virtual learning technology, enjoying a curriculum that is personally tailored to working professionals.
College Choice Score: 88.26
Average Grad Tuition: $14,400
Marist College is nestled on the shores of the Hudson River in idyllic Poughkeepsie, New York, and offers an online master’s in Communication that is designed for busy adult learners. The school offers two ways to earn an online master’s degree in communication – while one version of the program focuses on organizational communications and leadership, the other focuses on integrated marketing. This provides students with maximum flexibility as they are planning their studies and careers.
Candidates can graduate in just a single year of full-time study after making their way through short classes that only last about eight weeks at a time. Each candidate can choose between writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive examination as the degree is completed. Required classes include topics such as:
- Research Strategies and Methods
- Interpersonal and Organizational Communications
- Media Relations
Marist College is one of the most affordable options for distance learners, who pay the same per-credit tuition regardless of residency. Significant financial aid is available, and while classes only begin once a year, in August, students may submit their applications at any time throughout the year. Classes are small, with most learners enjoying a small student-to-faculty ratio of just 16:1. They receive individualized attention from faculty members who are experts in the diverse field of communication.
College Choice Score: 85.98
Average Grad Tuition: $8,217
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is a Christian university that integrates biblical teaching into all subject matter. The school offers a 36-credit Master of Arts in Communication that blends academic theory and theological underpinnings with hands-on professional practice. The school has eight potential start dates throughout the year and provides students with the opportunity to complete all coursework asynchronously in an online setting. The degree serves as an excellent pathway for candidates hoping to enter into doctoral study as well as those seeking to enhance their skills in communication.
Students must complete four core courses before moving on to select communications electives that closely meet their professional interests and career goals. Each student is also required to take a sequence of research-based courses that teach them how to think critically and engage in high-quality research. Learners may take classes such as:
- Professional Communications and Nonprofit Development
- Event Planning and Donor Relations
- Conflict Analysis and Resolution
- Problem Solving and Collaborative Communication
Liberty University is considered a pioneer in the field of distance education, offering over 550 programs of study in a completely online setting. Classes are delivered through Blackboard and most feature a low student-to-faculty ratio of just 17:1. Most learners can complete their studies in just a year and a half, enjoying a liberal transfer credit policy that allows candidates to apply prior credits to up to half of their total degree requirements. In addition, all online students at Liberty pay the same tuition rates regardless of residency.
College Choice Score: 85.28
Average Grad Tuition: $18,609
Purdue University was established in 1869 in West Lafayette, Indiana, and remains of the top public schools in the country. U.S News & World Report ranks it repeatedly as one of the most innovative schools in the country. The online Master’s in Communication is geared toward field professionals, who are given the opportunity to explore communication at both the local and global scale. The school offers virtual open houses for potential learners to find out more about the communication program at Purdue.
This degree requires 30 credits of online study. All students receive access to exceptional services like library access, the Online Writing Lab, and advising. Two concentrations are available: one in strategic communication and public relations and one in integrated communication and advertising. Each degree focus incorporates its own set of coursework, but general requirements include courses in topics such as:
- Persuasive Communication
- Communication with a Global Audience
- Ethical Principles
- Social Media Management
- Strategic Public Relations
Most learners can complete this program in just 20 months. The degree has a high student satisfaction rating, with 92 percent of program alumni indicating high satisfaction with their degrees. Eighty-six percent of all candidates work full-time in the field after graduation, with current students granted access to a large alumni network. Because alumni of Purdue are employed all over the country, current students are given the opportunity to work at large companies like the NCAA, Coca-Cola, UNICEF, and more.
College Choice Score: 84.18
Average Grad Tuition: $33,156
Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a range of high-quality online programs. The Master of Science in Communication is one such degree, priding itself on its ability to lead students to careers that “value conversation over chatter.” The program is taught by talented faculty members with extensive industry experience and prepares students to pursue work in fields such as marketing, social media, technical writing, grant writing, digital media, and more.
Three concentrations are available in this degree. The Public Communication specialty is offered full- and part-time and prepares students for careers in journalism, nonprofit communication, and public relations. The Science and Health Communication specialization is available on a part-time basis only, and allows students to work in the science, pharmaceutical, and medical fields. Finally, the Technical Communication is designed for candidates seeking work in social networking, publishing, or even health care. Sample courses include:
- Evaluation, Ethics, and Editing
- Public Health Campaigns
- Social Media Communication
- Public Relations Planning
This degree prepares students to graduate with impressive portfolios and to engage in diverse elective options. An optional six-month internship is available for students who enter the program with limited full-time professional communication experience. This hands-on experience translates directly to students careers, helping them gain a nuanced understanding of technology and the media. Over 85 percent of all Drexel faculty hold a PhD or comparable terminal degree, and online classes are both challenging and engaging – as well as convenient for working professionals.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 84.00
Average Grad Tuition: $52,170
Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 in Baltimore, Maryland, and today remains one of the nation’s most impressive institutions of higher education. The university is home to a number of faculty members who are Nobel Prize winners, along with notable alumni such as Michael Bloomberg and Rachel Carson. The online Master’s in Communication is designed to provide students with a functional knowledge of digital and written communications, but in a flexible distance learning format that is achievable for any student.
This program teaches students how to conduct quality research and assessments to improve the delivery of information. Six concentrations are available. Concentrations include topics like public and media relations, applied research in communication, digital communication, health communication, and more. Within each concentration, students may also choose between a strategic planning or research track. Required courses for either track include topics such as:
- Advanced Social Media Management
- Crisis Communication
- Communication Evaluation
- Advanced Social Media Management
- Multimedia Authoring
Most students can complete this degree in just five years, with many finishing in less than two. Dual degrees are also available, with pathways available in business administration. The school is home to the Center for Communication Programs, which houses 60 programs that promote the development of healthy communities through communication and advocacy. This center provides students with extensive professional experiences. Johns Hopkins also provides all online learners with access to the career center, where students can find top opportunities for field employment.
College Choice Score: 83.89
Average Grad Tuition: $13,140
Webster University was founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1915, and today is a private university that caters specifically to military personnel in Missouri and elsewhere. The university offers an impressive range of communications programs, including graduate majors in Public Relations, Communications Management, Media Communications, and Advertising and Marketing Communications. All degrees require 36 credit hours of study in an asynchronous format.
This program provides degree-seekers with a range of options for completing their studies. In addition to professional development experiences in digital media for writing, publicity, and advertising careers, the school also trains candidates in brand promotion and technology utilization. Required coursework includes topics like:
- Media Communications
- Media and Culture
- Curriculum Design
- Interpersonal Communication
Students in this program also have the option to pursue graduate certificates in project management, digital marketing management, data analytics, professional writing, and more. The school offers multiple international campuses to provide learners with study abroad opportunities in countries like Switzerland, Thailand, and Australia. All online learners receive access to the other exceptional support services for which Webster is famous, such as a career center, an extensive library website, and financial aid.
Arizona State University-Tempe
College Choice Score: 83.33
Average Grad Tuition: $17,780
Arizona State has multiple campuses, but its online community is perhaps its most thriving. Although the school has 200 different research-based programs, spread out among several campuses in Phoenix, Mesa, and Glendale, the distance learning option is one of the most sought-after formats of its kind. The 12-class, 36-credit-hour Master of Science in Technical Communication is a popular program, allowing students to complete their coursework in 7.5-week accelerated segments.
The curriculum of this program consists of two core courses: one in rhetoric and the other in research. Another 24 credits of restricted electives are required, as is a thesis or applied project for graduation. Other potential course options include:
- Intellectual Property and Copyright in a Digital Age
- Social Media
- Content Management
- Design and Delivery of Digital and Printed Text
This program is unique in that all students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Significant financial aid opportunities are available as well. With a retention rate of over 86 percent, the school knows how to treat its students. This number is often used to reflect student satisfaction, and Arizona State’s rate is much higher than average. As a result, U.S. News and World Report consistently includes the school as one of its most innovative campuses.
Loyola University Maryland
College Choice Score: 83.06
Average Grad Tuition: $15,210
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Loyola University has long been a respected name in the field of communication and policy. The school offers an exceptional Master of Arts in Emerging Media that provides students with training in understanding how communications and media intersect and develop. This program offers students the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to recognize important trends in communication media, as well as the strategies necessary for new media content development and social networking.
This program consists of nine three-credit courses and a six-credit capstone project. Coursework focuses on how to use and apply social media effectively, as well as how factors like race, class, and gender might impact a population’s access to various methods of communication. Required courses include subjects such as:
- Social, Political, Economic, and Cultural Issues in Emerging Media
- Copyright and Piracy
- Free Speech and Privacy
- Exploring Digital Culture
- Emerging Media in Strategic Communication
This program requires 33 credit hours of study, allowing most students to graduate in less than a year. There is an optional two-week summer residency course on the Baltimore campus, which provides students with training on content creation and ethics in emerging media. This experience features hands-on learning opportunities and field trips around Baltimore and Washington D.C. Loyola also offers an additional Health Communication Certificate program. This is ideal for candidates who wish to enter into the health field, and requires just five additional courses.
University of Denver
College Choice Score: 82.95
Average Grad Tuition: $47,520
The University of Denver was originally founded in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary. As a private, nonprofit university, the school has a large enrollment but a dedication to student success and satisfaction. Today, the school has thousands of distinguished alumni employed in industries such as theater, education, business, and communication. The Master’s in Communication Management trains students in the most effective ways to transmit messages through both written and verbal methods.
This degree requires 48 credit-hours of study, all of which are broken down into ten-week classes. Students will receive extensive training in business fundamentals, communication skills, and applied critical thinking in communication. Candidates may choose to complete a capstone or portfolio project, in addition to completing one of the following six concentrations:
- Dispute Resolution
- Marketing Communication
- Public Relations
- Organizational Development
- Learning and Development
- Leadership Communication
Most students can complete this degree in less than two years – with many graduating in just a year and a half of full-time study. Multiple certificate options are available, each of which requires an additional four to six courses. All courses are delivered asynchronously through unique Canvas technology, allowing students to communicate with other students in live discussions in order to build their communication skills and networking opportunities. The school offers extensive alumni career assistance and helps to connect students with internships as well as full-time jobs.
South Dakota State University
College Choice Score: 82.94
Average Grad Tuition: $11,037
Located in Brookings, South Dakota, South Dakota State University harbors over 200 different academic programs, including 33 different graduate degrees. The master’s degree in mass communication is one of the schools’ most popular online options. It allows students to choose between a professional project track or a professional portfolio track. This degree prepares students to work in a variety of settings, from print to advertising to broadcast.
This degree requires 32 to 36 credit hours of study, depending on whether a student chooses to complete a professional project. All coursework focuses on building hard skills such as critical thinking and technical communication. Required and elective classes include options like:
- Introduction to Master of Mass Communication
- Cross-Platform Storytelling
- Media Law Case Studies
- Cross-Platform Campaigns
- Conducting Professional Research
This degree has won multiple accolades, including the 2014 University Professional and Continuing Education Association Central Region Innovative Program Award. This recognition is a testament to the school’s attention to career-focused education. For example, at least 50 percent of all classes offered in this program must be skills-based. All classes last about eight weeks and emphasize the importance of peer interaction. Because class sizes are small, around 15 students each, the cohort is able to network and interact with each other on a personal level.
West Virginia University
College Choice Score: 82.41
Average Grad Tuition: $16,920
West Virginia University is located in Morgantown, West Virginia, and is one of the largest public universities in the state. The school offers over 340 different majors, many of which are available online. West Virginia offers a Master of Arts in Corporate and Organizational Communication as well as a Master of Arts in Communication Studies, both of which are designed for professionals who seek to improve their communication skills to help them transition or progress in their careers.
This program requires 36 credit hours of study and addresses major communication strategies as related to various technologies and organizational goals. This degree can be completed in as little as two years (or six full semesters of study). An additional graduate certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications is also available, with courses exploring topics such as:
- The Influence of New Media on Society
- Case Studies in Organizational Communication
- Social and Digital Media Management
- Conflict in Organizations
This program is unique in that it allows online students to access the same extracurricular options that are available to on-campus learners. The school has over 460 different student organizations to choose from! Distance learners are treated the same as on-campus students at West Virginia University, paying the same tuition regardless of residency. The school has alumni from over 130 countries, supporting students both before and after graduation with a range of assistive services. The school offers students access to library services, community service opportunities, internships, international study, and more.
Queens University of Charlotte
College Choice Score: 81.85
Average Grad Tuition: $11,583
Queens University of Charlotte is a private university that has a small enrollment – yet offers a larger-than-life education. Just a few miles from Charlotte, North Carolina, the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University houses the online Master’s in Communication, one of the school’s most popular majors. This degree trains students in all of the latest communications technologies, including social media and content creation. Most students can complete their degree in just two years of full-time study.
This school’s enrollment is small, at just around 2,300 enrollees and 515 graduate students. Nevertheless, the 36-credit Master’s of Arts in Communication is no joke – it provides students access to quality education in a distance learning format. All courses are delivered asynchronously through MyCourses, with optional concentrations available in topics such as:
- Strategic Design
- Multimedia Writing
- Digital Savvy
- Community Orientation
- Audience Engagement
An optional certificate in Integrated Digital Strategy is available to all students who are willing to complete an additional three credits. Each student must also complete a hands-on capstone that addresses a relevant, modern issue in the field of communication. Class sizes are small, with a student-to-faculty ratio of just 9:1, and are taught by highly respected professionals in the industry.
Michigan State University
College Choice Score: 81.69
Average Grad Tuition: $25,848
Michigan State University is located in East Lansing, Michigan, and was originally founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. A public institution, it became the university it is today in 1964 and now offers well over 200 different programs of study. The school is comprised of 17 degree-granting colleges and educates over 50,000 learners from more than 140 different countries. The online master’s in Strategic Communication is designed for field professionals who are seeking to progress to leadership positions.
This program provides candidates with training in how to research for marketing purposes, as well as how to create effective, relevant communication plans and campaigns via digital media. Nine courses are required, as is a final capstone course. Additional tracks are available, as are similar master’s degrees in areas such as journalism and advertising. Certificate options in digital media, leadership and organization, and media analytics are also available. For the stand alone major, students will take classes such as:
- Digital Media Strategies
- Strategic Message Development
- Professional Communication Ethics
- Crisis Communication
This forward-thinking degree provides students with extensive internship opportunities in areas such as public relations, advertising, journalism, media and information, and communication. Students are granted access to the same career resources enjoyed by on-campus learners, which help provide students with networking and resume assistance. All distance learners may also access library resources, such as newspapers and electronic journals – both of which are incredibly helpful as students prepare for their final research papers.
College Choice Score: 81.62
Average Grad Tuition: $18,180
Quinnipiac University was one of the first schools to launch an online campus, beginning to offer online-only programs in 2001. Today, the school, located in Hamden, Connecticut, remains one of the country’s premier universities for distance learners. The 30-credit Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications is one of the most exploratory and popular programs offered at Quinnipiac, and allows students to tailor their programs of studies almost entirely to meet their own learning objectives.
Most classes in this program are reserved for students to choose from a range of career-specific electives. In effect, this enables students to design their own programs of study based on their individual needs and career goals. All students must complete and present a professional-quality web portfolio. In addition, many students will take classes such as:
- Web Design and Development
- Social Media Analytics
- Digital Audio, Video, and Graphics
- Foundations in Graduate Studies
In addition to the main courses and electives required for graduation, students may also choose to complete one of two different graduate certificates in Social Media or User Experience Design. Either option can be easily integrated into a program. Program faculty teach using the most advanced and hands-on online learning technology, with all courses available completely online. In-person courses are available, but entirely optional. The program is designed for students from a range of career backgrounds, including music, art, design, computer programming, and journalism.
College Choice Score: 81.43
Average Grad Tuition: $16,421
Located in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga University offers 33 different graduate programs. Among them is the increasingly popular master’s in Communication and Leadership Studies. This program is designed to allow students to grow their skills in key areas like audience analysis, cultural awareness, and presentation. It includes 30 credit hours of study, and while students can complete a bulk of their coursework online, one on-campus visit is required to allow students to network with peers and faculty members face-to-face.
This online program helps train students in techniques for working with metrics, as well as for understanding how specific data can impact messaging. Five concentrations are available, allowing students to customize their studies in topics such as:
- Organizational Communication
- Global Leadership
- Servant Leadership
- College Teaching
- Digital Media Strategies
This program has some of the most successful alumni in the country. Not only do distance learners benefit from the tutelage of expert faculty, but they also receive the opportunity to work and interact with professionals with diverse work experiences. The alumni network of Gonzaga is global, with graduates working at top companies like Starbucks, Google, Microsoft, United Airlines, NBCUniversal, and more. In addition to internship and professional networking opportunities, learners may also complete study abroad and domestic immersion experiences.
East Carolina University
College Choice Score: 81.10
Average Grad Tuition: $11,324
East Carolina University originally formed in 1907 as an all-female teaching school. In 1943, the school became coeducational, and its name was changed in 1967 as it became the university that it is today. The school now educates over 28,000 students from over 40 different countries, and offers an exceptional online master’s in communication. This program emphasizes healthcare communication and is an excellent pathway for students seeking to enter directly into the workforce as well as those pursuing doctorate programs.
This program can be completed by itself or with the addition of a graduate certificate in Health Communication. Thirty total credit hours are required for this program, which also includes a choice between a thesis or a comprehensive examination. Core classes include:
- Research Methods
- Introduction to Health Communication
- Communication Theory
- Interpersonal Health Communication
- Media and Health Communication
This university is one of the most forward-thinking, working to connect students with alumni and potential job opportunities before they have even finished their studies. The school connects distance learners to internships that are relevant to their personal career and life goals, with alumni completing internships at Sirius/XM Radio, CNN, the San Francisco 49ers, and more. The affordable program features multiple scholarship opportunities to help pay for their tuition as well as optional experiences, such as study abroad. Alumni also receive discounted membership rates for CommCrew, which offers networking opportunities.
College Choice Score: 80.98
Average Grad Tuition: $36,000
The Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University is considered a pioneer in the field of communications education. The online master’s in communications helps prepare students for accessing and working within the new media landscape. Although this degree can be completed almost entirely online, it does require two in-person weekend-long immersion courses in self-selected tracks like public relations, journalism innovation, and advertising.
Depending on the track chosen, students will learn a range of strategic marketing, advertising, and reporting skills. All of these tracks center around building students’ expertise in data analysis and emerging media platforms. All students must take 18 core course credits, nine specialization credits, and a capstone project credit. Required courses include studies in topics like:
- Multimedia Storytelling
- Social Media for Public Communicators
- Digital Communications Systems
- Media law
- Introduction to Digital Communications
All students at Syracuse University are encouraged to attend the immersion experiences. These provide face-to-face networking opportunities with students and faculty, allowing students to engage with industry leaders and explore hands-on opportunities. There are on-campus immersion options as well as offerings all around the world. For example, students have studied in places like Seattle, Washington, D.C., and even Costa Rica. the school has an alumni network of over 26,000 strong – a testament to the program’s reach and quality.
Ball State University
College Choice Score: 80.97
Average Grad Tuition: $14,863
Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana, is home to a nationally-recognized School of Journalism. The program offers a welcoming community as well as multiple immersive programs in communication. There are three options available to distance learners: the online Master of Arts in Journalism, Public Relations, or Emerging Media Design. All options are designed for candidates who are seeking a communications-oriented degree that can be personally tailored toward their unique interests. This program is offered in a hybrid format, with on-campus workshops offered once a semester.
This program allows students to explore cutting-edge trends in the industry and addresses the inherent storytelling nature of social media. Students learn how to engage audiences through effective communication strategies. This degree can be completed full-time, part-time, or with low-residency requirements. Required classes include:
- Usability and Evaluation Research Methods
- Visual Communication and Design Thinking
- Transmedia Storytelling
- Theories and Frameworks in Human-Computer Interaction
- Nonlinear Storytelling
This degree is one of the most hands-on of its kind, allowing students to interact with faculty and other students in the Creative Projects and Applied Research labs. Here, students learn how to research and develop real-world solutions to problems in strategic communication design. Candidates work for actual clients in various nonprofits, state agencies, corporations, and other partnerships. In fact, half of the credits through this degree are earned through this hands-on work alone, with the other half earned through traditional coursework.
College Choice Score: 79.85
Average Grad Tuition: $20,304
Ithaca College is home to the Roy H. Park School of Communication. Here, the Master of Science in Communications Innovation is geared toward professionals with exceptional potential who want to create the designs of the future. A 24-month program, the executive-style degree is built like a collaborative cooperative environment, allowing students to study in small cohorts of just ten students each. There, they work together to advance their understanding of key communications strategies much as they would in a professional think tank.
This program is highly diverse, welcoming students from a range of professional backgrounds. Graduates have gone on to work in education, television production, organizational development, communications directing, sustainability management, and more. The focus on innovation is the cornerstone of this program, which allows students to graduate with solid foundations in topics like technology and leadership. Students will take classes such as:
- Innovation and Collaboration
- Emerging Media: Principles and Theories
- Interaction and Interface Design
- Transmedia Storytelling
- Ethics of the Media
This program is offered in a full-time hybrid format. Thirty-two credit hours of online, asynchronous coursework as well as five long-weekend intensive courses are required. Intensive courses are held all over the country, with past experiences including social networking in Portland, Oregon, and environmental storytelling in Anaheim, California. This program is unique in that although all students graduate with the credentials required to work in a variety of fields, they also leave the school with the ability and credentials necessary to teach college-level courses.
Florida International University
College Choice Score: 79.41
Average Grad Tuition: $15,153
Located in Miami, Florida, Florida International University only opened in 1972 but is home to an impressively large population of over 17,000 students. This public university makes research a priority and is ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best 100 public universities in the nation. The master’s in global strategic communications at Florida International emphasizes international business as well as management and the digital aspects of communication. Students will complete 30 credit hours, broken down into eight-week courses.
This program allows students to choose their own paths, engaging in rigorous online coursework as well as independent study projects. The independent study project allows students to explore specialized topics with faculty guidance. Research projects related to strategic communication are also required. Other core courses include topics such as:
- Applied Research Methods in the Mass Media
- Theories of Mass Communication
- Global Reputation Management
- Global Strategic Communication Management
This degree also comes with an optional graduate certificate partnership. In this certificate, students will learn how to resolve conflicts and build consensus, all while developing their problem-solving skills. In addition to this certificate, graduate distance learners have access to all kinds of career-building resources. For example, students can download free copies of Microsoft Office and McAfee Livesafe, and can access all online library materials and study services for free as well.
California Baptist University
College Choice Score: 79.30
Average Grad Tuition: $13,287
California Baptist University is consistently ranked as one of the top Christian schools in southern California. This school has campuses in Riverside and San Bernardino, and offers an online master’s degree in communications that emphasizes the effects of media, historical influences, global forces, and other factors on communication of all kinds. Students also learn the environmental, social, and behavioral relationships that intersect with modern communication. This degree requires either prior experience in journalism, public administration, or education, or equivalent undergraduate education for admission.
California Baptist has offered classic communications and public relations degrees for decades – but with a twist. These programs “integrate biblical thoughts with contemporary cultural concepts,” and while they are accredited and well-respected in the industry, they also emphasize creativity. As a result, coursework doesn’t just impart students with an understanding of critical concepts in the field, but it also teaches them how to think innovatively. Required classes include subjects such as:
- Risk Communication
- Communication Ethics
- Communication in the Digital Age
- Communication Behavior
This program is unique and affordable in that it charges distance learners the same per-unit tuition rate – regardless of state residency. Significant financial aid, in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, veterans benefits, and even employer tuition assistance, is also available. The program requires no campus visits, but does require all students to take ten core courses as well as complete a 25-page research paper as a culminating project. This paper must involve four course concepts and will be presented in front of a professorial panel.
The University of Iowa
College Choice Score: 78.98
Average Grad Tuition: $18,795
The University of Iowa is one of the country’s top public research universities. Home to nearly 33,000 students from 114 countries and all 50 states, the university is Iowa’s oldest institution of higher education. The university is home to one of the largest medical centers in the country, and also hosts the annual Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The online master’s in Strategic Communication at the University of Iowa is designed for aspiring communication professionals who seek the convenience of online coursework. Classes meet live once a week during the early evening hours.
The curriculum of this program emphasizes core professional principles, while at the same time giving students the freedom to pursue specific courses related to their career aspirations. A range of electives are available within the communication department, and students may also enroll in electives from within the university’s other departments. All students will complete a capstone project before graduation, which takes the place of a thesis and helps students connect to the professional world. Required courses include:
- Foundations of Strategic Communication
- Digital Strategic Communication
- Strategic Communication Research
- Strategic Communication Writing
- Risk Communication
This degree is incredibly affordable, with rates per course starting at just $1,500. The curriculum prepares students to pursue a wide variety of careers, including those in crisis communication, event planning, political campaign development, social media-based communication, and more.
Western New England University
College Choice Score: 78.74
Average Grad Tuition: $24,720
Western New England University is located in Springfield, Massachusetts, and offers an affordable, accessible online program in communications. The Master of Arts in Communications with a Public Relations concentration is one of the university’s most popular programs, requiring 30 credit hours of study in areas like writing and campaign management. This program is unique in that it emphasizes digital media instead of print media, yet it gives students a solid introduction into both modern and traditional platforms of communications.
Most students will take around 15 months to complete this hands-on degree. Courses cover topics like managing communication crises, improving public relations, and developing brands. Variable credit courses are available, which allow students to complete the program more quickly by pursuing independent study or thesis projects. Required and elective courses cover topics such as:
- Public Relations Strategies for Social and Digital Media
- Strategic Approaches to Public Relations
- Principles and Practices of Public Relations
- Principles and Practice of Crisis Management
All classes are offered asynchronously, housed on the learning platform Kodiak. Students enjoy small class sizes with a close knit student-to-faculty ratio of just 14:1. Courses are taught by faculty who have extensive experience in the field, having worked in a range of fields like public relations, politics, international radio, business, education, and more. They serve as both instructors and mentors, teaching students in-depth public relations skills and connecting them with influential members of the community and the industry.
Texas Tech University
College Choice Score: 78.62
Average Grad Tuition: $9,396
Located in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech originally opened in 1925 and had a small enrollment of just 914 students. Today, nearly 40,000 students attend Texas Tech, and the school offers over 300 degrees spread out among 12 schools. The online master’s in strategic communication and innovation is offered within the College of Media and Communication. It trains students in dealing with the technological and global issues that impact modern communication techniques in large companies.
This program requires the completion of 30 credits. Each student must complete six core courses as well as three elective classes that they can choose from a range of options. A final research project is also required. All coursework is delivered asynchronously, which allows students to personalize the pace at which they complete the program. An additional graduate certificate in advanced digital and social media is also available. Other required and elective courses include:
- Research Strategies
- Organizational Communication
- Multimedia Storytelling
- Issues in Strategic Communications
Students at Texas Tech receive access to exceptional support services. For example, all students may access a virtual library with a live chat feature. This feature can help students learn source analysis, source location, and format questions. The university also has an extensive study abroad program. Candidates can pursue internships and service opportunities, studying all around the world in locations such as England, Chile, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, and more.
Sacred Heart University
College Choice Score: 78.12
Average Grad Tuition: $28,114
Just an hour’s drive from New York City, Sacred Heart is a dynamic university that offers a hybrid program in strategic communications and public relations. This program is designed for busy working adults who want a blend of courses as well as innovative scheduling that works around their other commitments. As a result, this program offers face-to-face classes as well as online sessions and is designed for students who live in or around New York City.
In this program, students can choose from three different concentrations: corporate communication and public relations, political communication and multimedia production, and digital media public relations. Students are given the freedom to choose classes based on their ultimate career goals. All courses also give students the opportunity to apply their understanding about how the public absorbs and utilizes information to developing tailored communication solutions. Required courses include:
- Gender, Inequity, and Media
- Crisis Communication
- Race, Politics, and Media
This program is highly flexible and adaptable, allowing students to go on to a range of careers. Graduates have gone on to work in crisis communications, event planning, corporate social responsibility, and even nonprofit management. It requires 36 credit hours of study and can be completed with just one year of full time study. Each degree culminates in either an internship or a capstone project, and all students leave their studies with a portfolio that they can use to demonstrate their proficiency in digital media. Each student also receives a MacBook Pro upon enrolling, which helps them advance in their understanding of the platforms they will need to know for career success.
University of Missouri-Columbia
College Choice Score: 77.42
Average Grad Tuition: $16,150
Known colloquially and affectionate as simply Mizzou, the University of Missouri-Columbia was founded in 1839 in Columbia, Montana, as the first public university west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has an enrollment of over 30,000 students and hosts an alumni network of 317,000 strong around the globe. The university offers an impressive history of teaching, learning, and research, and is one of only 60 U.S. universities that is a member of the Association of American Universities. Housed within the award-winning School of Journalism is the online master’s in Strategic Communication.
The online communication degree is based on five core principles: technology, relationship building, global perspectives, communication tool boxes, and strategic planning. While the graduate curriculum emphasizes theory and research, it also trains students in critical and independent thinking, as well as how to develop key strategies for communications problems. The program includes a sequence of core courses as well as electives and a capstone. Required classes include:
- Mass Media Seminar
- Media Ethics
- Quantitative Research Methods
- Public Relations
- Digital Strategy
Mizzou graduates complete their studies much faster than graduates from the average school. Students benefit from hands-on learning experiences that incorporate community service, research, and study abroad. The university offers some of the most impressive and far-reaching online programs around, with over 101 online and hybrid degree programs currently available – and with more being added all the time. In fact, in 2016, nearly 50 percent of all Mizzou students took at least one online course. As a result, the university dedicates substantial resources to building and supporting its online population of learners.
The University of Alabama
College Choice Score: 77.04
Average Grad Tuition: $19,440
The University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was founded in 1831 as the state’s first public college. Today, the school is home to nearly 40,000 students – among them over 600 National Merit Scholars. The school offers high-caliber education to distance learners as well as on-campus residents, with a range of online degrees available. The online master’s in communication is designed for professionals who seek to move into managerial roles, as well as for candidates from other backgrounds entering into the field of communications.
This degree focuses intently on organizational leadership, as well as on the importance and role of communication in organizations. Students learn how to use communication strategies to persuade, theorize, and develop interventions for successful work environments. Thirty credit hours are required, as is a capstone portfolio, professional project, comprehensive examination, or elective. Most students can graduate in under two years after completing classes such as:
- Group Leadership
- Relational Communication
- Conflict and Negotiation
- Human Communication Theory
This degree offers an excellent pathway for students seeking to pursue doctoral studies in interdisciplinary communications. It is also an affordable option for candidates learning from afar, with distance learners receiving access to free or low-cost software such as EndNote, Microsoft Office 365 Education, ZoomText, and Jabber. Students are able to utilize the same exceptional resources as on-campus learners. The career center provides students with job training through mock interviews, career guides, virtual career fairs, and more.
Washington State University
College Choice Score: 76.55
Average Grad Tuition: $17,940
Washington State University is located in Pullman, Washington, and has a large student body of over 31,000 students. Despite this, the university manages to maintain close-knit relationships between faculty and students. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 15:1, students feel supported in their studies regardless of whether they are learning on-campus or online. Among the hundreds of programs offered by Washington State, the online master’s in Strategic Communications, housed within the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, is one of the most popular.
This degree, accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, requires 30 credit hours of study, in addition to a capstone project or portfolio. Candidates learn how to develop communications solutions as well as how to navigate visual software, social media platforms, public relations, campaign creation issues, and more. Required classes include:
- Ethics for Professionals
- Consumer Behavior and Brand Development
- Professional Multimedia Content Creation
- Crisis Communication in Global Contexts
Washington State provides online learners with the same outstanding resources as those granted to on-campus learners. For example, online learners can access all library resources, which include over 710,000 eBooks as well as other resources. The school also hosts numerous study abroad opportunities, with students studying in places like Austria, Thailand, Greece, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Ireland, and more. These resources are part of what makes Washington State graduates so successful. In addition, the school has a large alumni body of over 214,000 graduates around the world, helping to connect students with internship and career opportunities.
College Choice Score: 76.28
Average Grad Tuition: $10,242
Asbury University, located in Wilmore, Kentucky, is a Christian university that offers degree programs with a Biblical worldview. The Master of Arts in Communications emphasizes the importance of digital storytelling and trains students to craft enticing stories to serve the purpose of any audience. This degree is faith-based and encourages close collaboration among students as they master the art of storytelling through all kinds of lenses – including cinematography, editing, production, visual design, and more.
As a hybrid program, this degree does require some occasional on-campus visits. This allows students to reap the full benefits of faith-based collaboration and to receive significant feedback from faculty, industry partners, and peers. These on-campus events allow students to engage in guest speaker features and projects, and also provide them with access to media apprenticeships. Students will take classes in topics such as:
- Video Production
- Viral Marketing
- Sound Design
Graduates of hits program leave with a profound knowledge of the storytelling process, enabling them to make an impact in fields like church media, journalism, ministry, television, and film. The school offers an additional terminal degree in Screenwriting as well as one in TV/Film Production. The school offers impressive student services to on-campus and online students, and has a graduation rate that is nearly triple the rate of the average public school in Kentucky.
St. Bonaventure University
College Choice Score: 76.21
Average Grad Tuition: $13,194
St. Bonaventure offers a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications that focuses heavily on branding. Degree completion takes roughly one to two years and allows students to explore real-world case studies and engage in a fieldwork placement. This degree is a leading master’s program at the university and is well-respected among industry partners. It is incredibly hands-on, allowing students to interact with faculty members via videoconference, email, and even telephone.
This degree concludes with a marketing campaign project in which students work closely with businesses or other organizations of their own choosing. It incorporates technical training in industry tools like Facebook Ads Manager, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and more. These proficiencies help students land jobs in a variety of sectors. Required classes include:
- Finding the Path: Marketing Communications Research
- Embracing Strategic Thinking: Marketing Strategy and Planning
- Integrating Your Clients Needs; Planning Success
This degree is offered entirely online, allowing students to pursue their studies in a way that suits their busy schedules. Accelerated formats are available that make it possible for candidates to complete just one seven-week course per semester and still graduate in just two years. Graduates have gone on to work in a variety of fields, including marketing, public relations, copywriting, creative directing, and more. Alumni are distinguished members of the communications field across a variety of industry segments.
College Choice Score: 76.11
Average Grad Tuition: $10,584
Mississippi College was founded in 1826 and is the oldest university in the state. Located in the large city of Clinton, Mississippi, this university is home to just 5,000 students and is connected to the Mississippi Baptist Convention. Because of this connection, students are supported in hands-on programs that offer a practical and compassionate worldview. These principles are carried through in the online realm as well, with a range of distance learning programs available. The online master’s in strategic communication comes with multiple specializations, allowing students to customize their degrees to their particular career goals.
The online strategic communication master’s at Mississippi College comes with multiple specializations. Students can choose to study integrated communication, professional communication in health services administration, or professional communication in sports. Regardless of the program selected, all degrees require 31 credit hours of study and teach students how to research, persuade, and write effectively. Sample courses include:
- Public Relations
- Process and Effects of Communication
- Communication Research
- Dynamics of Group Communication
This school is incredibly customizable. Students may choose to complete field studies or write thesis papers, and all courses are offered via Moodle technology. This technology allows students to complete their assignments and interact with peers and professors asynchronously, when it is most convenient for them. The school also offers a graduate certificate in public relations as well as extensive internship opportunities. These are available in Washington, D.C. in both the fall and spring semesters.
College Choice Score: 74.56
Average Grad Tuition: $14,976
National University is one of the largest private schools in California, and offers small class sizes to a diverse population of students. Just 24 minutes north of San Diego in La Jolla, the university operates 28 additional locations, including a vibrant online campus. The school offers a dynamic Master of Arts in Strategic Communications that is designed for students who wish to understand issues of copyright and intellectual property, as well as public relations and marketing. This program of study teaches students how to manage public relations campaigns as well as handle crisis communications.
Applicants to this program should possess a bachelor’s degree in a related area and a GPA of at least 2.5. Students who possess lower GPAs than this may provide work experience to demonstrate their proficiencies instead. The curriculum of this program consists of 45 quarter-units. Nine core courses are required in subjects such as:
- Global Communications
- Campaign and Program Management and Evaluation
- Marketing Communications
Before graduation, each student is required to complete a capstone project that culminates in the creation of a digital portfolio. This portfolio is highly valuable, aiding graduates in their job searches. The degree encourages creative thinking and requires students to engage both globally and locally with peers and other professionals. This degree is highly affordable, charging all students the same low tuition rate regardless of where they might live. Up to 4.5 quarter-units of transfer credits are allowed.
Spring Arbor University
College Choice Score: 74.55
Average Grad Tuition: $7,187
Spring Arbor University offers one of the most affordable online master’s in strategic communication and leadership. This degree starts at just $6,000 per semester and is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. As a result, the curriculum of every program is interspersed with leadership and faith-based activities.
This master’s degree can be completed in as few as 18 months. Students graduate with ePortfolios that can be used to help them search for jobs and practice interviewing. Courses may be pursued on a full- or part-time basis. Students can take just one seven-week course at a time if that is what fits best with their schedules. Required and elective courses include topics such as:
- Communication as Vocation and Calling
- Communication Research and Application
- Digital Media Strategies
- Advertising and Public Relations
- Communication Leadership
This school offers training in communications with a leadership- and Christian-focused perspective. It is highly customizable, allowing students to incorporate their personal and professional goals in their degree plans. Students receive access to a dedicated advisor through the Student Success Coach program. This advisor works with students on all issues related to their studies as well as those that extend beyond the academic realm.
University of North Texas
College Choice Score: 73.75
Average Grad Tuition: $9,185
A tier-one research university located in Denton, Texas, the University of North Texas offers a range of online degree options. The university offers 105 bachelor’s and 88 master’s degrees spread out among 14 different colleges and schools. As a result, it is the leading university in the North Texas region. The accelerated online Master of Science in Digital Communication Analytics provides students with a broader approach to marketing, public relations, and advertising.
Designed for professionals in communication fields, as well as those in public relations, marketing, or advertising, this degree is also accessible for students interested in those professions but without any concrete experience. It is adaptable, allowing students to take just one or two classes at a time. A sample schedule might include classes such as:
- Research Fundamentals In Digital Communication
- Seminar in Digital Communications Analytics
- Marketing Metrics for Managers
- Computer Graphics for Mediated Communication
- Strategic Social Media
The University of North Texas is ranked as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys and has held this distinction for well over 23 consecutive years. Students can take one or two courses at a time, setting their pace to best meet their needs and goals. This accelerated program is the only professionally accredited program in a four-state region. Because classes are offered in eight-week formats with five potential start dates, students can choose the course scheduling that works best for their individual needs and career goals, tailoring their studies to balance their other life commitments.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 72.91
Average Grad Tuition: $11,250
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is one of the state’s largest universities, yet it offers impressively small class sizes and over 100 majors from which to choose. Located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, the school has many degrees designed specifically for distance learners. Among them is the high-quality master’s degree in Communication Studies. This degree develops students’ proficiency in managerial, leadership, and integrated marketing communication, preparing them to pursue careers in a variety of fields.
This degree comes with four potential concentrations, including managerial and leadership communication, intercultural and international communication, public communication, and integrated marketing communication. In addition to core coursework and an integrated internship, each student must also complete a comprehensive examination and project, a thesis, or a practicum. Other courses cover topics such as:
- Creating and Implementing Communication Plans
- Principles and Technologies of Communication
- Strategic Plans for Key Organizational Stakeholders
- Project and Media Management
- Marketing and Health Care
The curriculum of this program is both broad and customizable. All students must complete 36 credit hours, which includes 33 credit hours of coursework as well as an internship. As an alternative to an internship, a thesis paper or capstone project can be completed instead. An additional graduate certificate in Conflict Management is also available. This can be completed independently of the master’s degree or pursued on its own, requiring six additional classes.
Point Park University
College Choice Score: 72.71
Average Grad Tuition: $15,858
Point Park University has a main location in downtown Pittsburg, but its online campus is equally creative and career-focused. A number of communications degrees are offered through the School of Communication, including a Master of Arts in Communication Technology, a Master of Arts in Media COmmunication, a joint M.A./M.B.A., and a Ph.D. in Community Engagement. The Master of Arts in Communication Technology is among the most popular.
This program is inspired by the rapid expansion and evolution of digital technologies as they pertain to communication. It is offered both online and on-campus and teaches students to embrace technology as they expand their professional portfolios. Requiring 36 credit hours of study, this degree includes extensive training in digital journalism, graphic design, and multimedia. Sample classes include:
- Social Media Campaigns
- Global Communication
- Communication, Technology, and Culture
- Visual Communication Technology
- Web Publishing and Editing
Students learn within a unique curriculum that is designed and orchestrated by supportive, highly experienced faculty members who are dedicated to student success. In addition to the standalone major, students may also choose from two concentrations to add additional focus to their studies. The Social Media concentration requires students to take career-focused courses that explore best practice in social media, while the Applied Practices Concentration examines the impact of technology in society.
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
College Choice Score: 72.65
Average Grad Tuition: $17,115
Colorado State University was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College. Today, the university offers a range of research-based programs, with research initiatives earning around $300 million in funding each year. Among the hundreds of thousands of degrees conferred, one of the most popular is the master of communications and media management. This degree is available entirely online and is designed for field professionals who are interested in exploring digital media promotion for companies and brands.
This degree is offered through the Department of Journalism and Media Communication. It trains students in how to communicate for social media channels, as well as how to create effective communication plans. Thirty credit hours are required, including coursework in topics such as:
- Digital Media Writing and Production
- Technologies of Public Communication
- History of Media
- Digital Video Editing
- Strategic Digital Communication
It should be noted that although this is a hybrid program that does require some attendance on-campus, most students can complete their degrees in just two years of study. The degree allows students to pursue careers in education, entertainment, business, healthcare, and more. Students are supported in their classes as they are placed in small cohorts, learning within a close-knit community throughout the duration of their studies. All online students receive free access to Microsoft Office and can also receive free tutoring and other student support services.
College Choice Score: 72.59
Average Grad Tuition: $8,040
Stevenson University is located in Owings Mills, Maryland, but also offers a number of diverse, fully-online programs in topics such as leadership, Teaching, Business, Forensics, Nursing, and more. The Master of Science in Communication Studies is a 36-credit-hour program at Stevenson that provides a focus for professionals who seek to build foundations of effective communication practices within their organizations. It examines core strategies across various social, business, and cultural settings.
This degree recognizes the role that technology plays in helping us to present, disseminate, and digest new information. Students learn new communication skills in fully online courses that last only eight weeks at a time. Students learn how to evaluate and create solutions to conflicts that occur within organizations through hands-on classes in topics such as:
- Communication Theory and Applications
- Research Writing and Methods
- Cultures and Communication
- Communication Ethics in the Public Sphere
- Interpersonal Communication
In this program, students learn from accomplished faculty who have diverse and extensive hands-on experience in the field. Programs are career-focused and provide candidates with specialized skills along with personalized attention from a supportive community. The university offers affordable tuition that starts at just $536 per credit hour, and also fosters partnerships with local community colleges, organizations, and hospitals to offer a discounted tuition rate. Financial aid is also available to qualifying students.
College Choice Score: 72.28
Average Grad Tuition: $13,440
Ohio University is located in Athens, Ohio, and offers an online master’s in organizational communication that is designed for working professionals. This degree, housed within the award-winning School of Communication Studies, allows students to take just one course per term, enabling them to graduate in just two years. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 17:1, online learners are supported in close-knit classes held by world-renowned faculty members from a variety of communications-based disciplines.
This master’s degree consists of two core courses, a capstone experience, and four electives. The capstone experience is highly customizable, allowing students to choose between an applied project, a thesis, or a comprehensive examination. Students will take classes such as:
- Communicative Practices in Organizations
- Measurement Methodology in Communication
- Instructional Training and Development in Communication
- Communication and Information Diffusion
- Communication in Social Conflict
Faculty in this program are well-respected and recognized within the industry. They have served as scholars, teachers, administrators, innovators, and more. Courses integrate a wide variety of distance learning technologies, providing students with an interactive and innovative approach to online learning. Coursework exists in a blend of video conferences, class discussions, group projects, and more, all of which allow students to work at home at the times that are the most convenient for them.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 71.86
Average Grad Tuition: $15,000
Located in the Pennsylvania town that shares its name, Clarion University was founded in 1867 and is a small school of just 4,330 undergraduates and 1,000 postgraduates. The school offers a theoretically-sound program in mass media arts and journalism that can be completed in as few as eighteen months. The degree is a great choice for students who are seeking to work in mass communications, public relations, or law.
This degree is highly diverse, allowing students to take classes in a range of topics. Students may pursue thesis or research study in communication as well as a level course in a focused area of interest. Required courses include:
- Public Relations Foundations
- Society, Law, and Media Technology
- Management of the Communication Process
- Mass Communication Research
- Advanced Public Relations Writing
In addition to the mass media arts and journalism program, the school offers multiple graduate certificates that students can use to further enhance their degrees. For example, certificates in Health Communication, Public Relations, and Social Media Management can be pursued at minimal additional expense to help students gain the skills necessary to succeed in any career. Graduates of the Department of Communication at Clarion consistently receive top positions in professional media, with interns and recent graduates working at organizations such as The Zimmerman Agency, MTV, Kent State University, and more.
College Choice Score: 71.02
Average Grad Tuition: $10,800
Lasell College, based out of Newton, Massachusetts, is an online university that offers distance learners access to a flexible, supportive campus community. Distance learners can engage in customizable degree programs offered at convenient hours, as well as reap the benefits of campus services and special events that are accessible remotely and during extended hours. The school offers a master of science in communication that allows learners to create a plan of study that meets their own schedules. This degree can be completed in either 12 or 24 months, depending on a student’s other life commitments and obligations.
This master’s degree requires 28 credits of study, including 18 in the core curriculum. Multiple concentrations are available, including Health Communication, Integrated Marketing Communication, and Public Relations. Most students can complete their studies in just 12 to 24 months of study. Students will take classes such as:
- Ethics and Society
- Media Relations
- Communication Research
Tuition for this program is highly affordable, starting at just $600 per credit hour. Because all classes are capped at 23 students, learners receive access to a close-knit learning environment led by qualified, attentive faculty members. The school has no GRE or GMAT requirement, making this degree accessible to students from various academic or professional backgrounds. All candidates are able to engage with expert faculty, benefitting from the wealth of diverse professional experiences that they offer.
College Choice Score: 70.85
Average Grad Tuition: $12,726
Regent University is located in scenic Virginia Beach, Virginia, but the online campus of this university has just as much to offer students as the brick-and-mortar school. The university was established in 1978, and has a relatively large enrollment for a Christian school of nearly 11,000 students. The school is ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best National Universities and offers an online strategic communication master’s degree that prepares learners to work with audiences from all kinds of backgrounds around the world.
This program addresses several aspects of communications, from media and technology creation to relevant research to public relations. Courses are taught by faculty who are attentive and highly qualified – 90 percent have PhDs or equivalent terminal degrees in their respective fields. Thirty-three credits are required, all of which are broken down into eight-week courses. Students will complete a directed project and thesis as well as tailored coursework such as:
- Multi Platform Writing
- Leadership Theory and Communication
- Influence Through Entertainment
In addition to the master’s degree, Regent also offers a certificate in post-doctoral studies in organizational leadership. Most students can complete the master’s degree in just two years of study before going on to pursue careers in media directing, communications analysis, public relations, and social media marketing. The school offers exceptional financial assistance as well as free on-campus counseling, career advising, tutoring, and more.