The 10 Best Online Masters in Communication Degree Programs

best schools for masters in communication
Mass Communications is an quintessential part of how we engage in information, entertainment, government policies, and safety. There are many facets to Mass Communications, and the new millennia begs for individuals with innovative, bright approaches to communicating in this global environment. Whether you are looking to market through online social media, persuade individuals to get involved in local community organization, or are looking to divert global crisis, you will need a Master’s degree in Mass Communications. The focal point of mass communications is information and its format for dissemination in today’s world is incredibly versatile. If you are a professional looking to bolster the work you are doing within your organization, someone who is passionate about creating awareness with regards to man made and natural disasters, or looking to increase public relations, or is interested in journalism, media and entertainment, there are the top 10 degrees that will help you meet your personal goals and take a further advance your career.

  • Affordability (1/3): Combined analysis of overall tuition of the program, financial aid or scholarship assistance programs, and estimated cost per credit hour for out-of-state students.
  • Flexibility (1/3): The number of flexibility-enhancing elements specific to the degree program including teaching philosophy concentrations, degree specialties, prior learning or life experience crediting options, accelerated or self-paced courses, personalized student advisement/guidance, and competency-based credit options.
  • Academic Prestige (1/3): The academic prestige of the parent institution operationally defined through the analyses of the rankings/reviews of prominent education review entities such as US News & World Report and The Princeton Review.

1. University of Alabama

The University of Alabama is a public research flagship university with a sea and space grant. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. There are over 37,000 students enrolled in their on-campus and online programs. Relatively speaking, the student-to-faculty ratio is low at just 24:1. According to U.S. News the University of Alabama is the 103rd best school in the nation 66th best college for veterans, and the 98th best school for high school counselor programs, 10th best law school for a public university and one of the best library science schools in the nation. Did you know the University of Alabama has a nickname “The Capstone” as coined by UA President G.G. Denny in 1913- they have long been known as the pinnacle of education in the state of Alabama. The University of Alabama is known for more than just academic excellence- if you’re ever heard of anyone say “roll tide” than you are aware the “Bama” football team has a running tradition of being the best in the nation. In terms of distance learning, The Univeristy of Alabama offers undergraduate degrees, certificates, graduate degrees and doctoral degree. Their distance degrees may be taken from the comfort of your own home, are flexible and structures for the non-traditional learners.

We selected the M.A. in Communication at the University of Alabama for it’s fantastic affordable prices, and incredible flexibility afforded in the number of specializations. The specializations include organizational leadership, communication studies, and method requirement. The Master of Arts in Communication studies consists of 30 credit hours of course work including the 12 hours within each specialization. The aim of the course is to ensure that student understand the roll communication plays in organizational leadership, and how to apply that knowledge when fostering effective group dynamics and interpersonal skills. The organizational leadership specialization includes a look into conflict and negotiation, and organization communication theory. Those selecting communication studies will look at gender and political communication, relational communication and human communication theory. Students may also elect to focus on qualitative research methods. This program culminates with a capstone portfolio, is 30 credit hours long and costs $367 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $367
  • Flexibility-granting components: Number of specializations

2. University of Nebraska

The University of Nebraska is a public research flagship university with a land grant. It’s the state’s oldest university as well as the largest in the Nebraska system. Currently, there are over 25,200 students enrolled where 53% of the student body is male and 47% of the student body female. The student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1 and the majority of classroom sizes accommodate between 20-49 students. According to the U.S. News the University of Nebraska is ranked 111th in the nation, and 51st best public school. One of the most outstanding programs are in the field of agriculture. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University of Nebraska to offer comprehensive education. Lincoln is a fantastic place to get educated as it is ranked as the one of America’s healthiest small cities, #1 U.S. city for quality of life, and 7th best city for college students according to American Institute for Economic Research . The Distance Learning program regularly rank highly as well according to U.S. News and all students engage with their curriculum through the web, email, videoconferencing, CD-ROM and blackboard which is their online management system. Whether on campus or online, the University of Nebraska in a fantastic option for furthering your education.

The University of Nebraska Lincoln made it to the top of our list for it’s unique offerings, top academic ranking, affordable price, and flexibility expressed in three specializations. The Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications is offered in the following three specializations: Integrated Media Communication, Media Studies, and Professional Journalism. Those who are media professionals looking to enhance their areas of expertise, advance in the field, fulfill personal and professional goals should all consider this program. The Integrated media specialization focuses on advertising and public relations, where media studies is more customizable so that students may elect an area to fit their interest such as digital journalism, print, broadcast, and advertising. Those who are looking to take the professional journalism focus will learn to produce and analyze news across multiple platforms. This 36 credit hour program costs $325 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $325
  • Flexibility-granting components: Number of specializations

3. University of Florida

The University of Florida is a public flagship research university with a land sea and space grant. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the Florida Gators are an academic and athletic powerhouse. According to U.S. News the University of Florida or UF is the 50th best school in the nation, 14th best public school and a top school for finance, real estate, business, engineering, quantitate analysis, accounting and so much more. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits UF to offer comprehensive to its students. Currently, there are over 52,000 students enrolled representing all 50 states and well over 120 countries in both the on-campus and online programs. In many ways, the University of Florida is a public ivy university as it ranks the same as schools like Pepperdine and Penn State. In terms of research, the UF is also a heavy weight and is currently looking at ways to grown food on Mars. The student body at UF is among the top Peace Corps producers. There are also over 100 programs available online. In terms of quality of education, students, faculty and more, the University of Florida is a fantastic choice for higher education.

Not only is University of Florida one of our top ranking public schools but UF offers perhaps one of the most flexible Mass Communications program online. There are 10 areas of specialization available!! Though one of our more expensive picks, the areas of focus are so broad that this program would be a fantastic option for anyone looking to gain more insight, improve media skills, or simply advance their career in mass communications. Students may choose from the following programs: Audience Analytics, Digital Strategy, Global Strategic Communication (a joint MBA and MAMC program), Media Sales, Political Communication, Public Interest Communication, Public Relations and Communication Management, Social Media, Web Conversion, and Web Design & Online Communication. Programs require a minimum of 30 credit hours and cost $519 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $519
  • Flexibility-granting components: Number of specializations

4. South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University is a public research university located in Brookings with a land space and sun grant and is the largest higher-education institution in the state. Currently, there are over 12,500 students enrolled in the on-campus and online programs where the student-to-faculty ratio is just 17:1. The student body represents 49 states, and 85 countries across the globe. The Higher Learning Commission accredits comprehensive degree programs. There are 73 majors, 36 specializations, 33 master’s degrees, and 15 Ph.D programs offered at South Dakota State University. According to U.S. News SDSU is ranked 202nd in the nation, 110th top public school and extremely high for their engineering program. There are nine academic schools offering programs: college of arts and sciences, education, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, university college, honors college, the college of agriculture and biological sciences, and the graduate school. In addition to academics SDSU offers an outreach extension through their land-grant including rural and urban initiative, Native American programs, food and families, community development, agriculture and more. For a fantastic school that has its mind on academic and social impact, SDSU is a great opportunity.

South Dakota State University understands the needs of non-traditional learners which is one of the many reasons we selected this university for our top ten in mass communications. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications accredits this accelerated program. Classes are 8-weeks in length and run back-to-back. This full-time program may be completed in just under two years when following that pace of study. Class size is small with typically just 15 students and more than half of the material learned online is skills-based. We also love the convenience of a program that is available 24/7 meaning you can participate at any time- really great for parent students. Students may tailor their studies to meet their interests from courses like mass communications teaching methods, journalism, social marketing for health and behavioral change, and more. The cost of this program is $445 per credit hour and requires a minimum of 30 credit hours for completion.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $445
  • Flexibility-granting components: Accelerated courses

5. Ohio University

Ohio University is a public research university located in Athens, Ohio and founded in 1804. The Carnegie Foundation ranks Ohio University as a research university with the high activity, and the Center for World University Rankings places Ohio University in the top 3 percent of higher education. Fiske, and Policy Mic regularly rank OU as one of the best value schools in the nation. Their national ranking according to U.S. News is 146th and 74th for public schools. The number of accolades and recognitions speak for the vast range of high ranking programs offered. There are over 10 academic schools offering degrees to nearly 30,000 students across the globe. Regardless of high enrollment numbers, the student-to-faculty ratio is still just 18:1. When it comes to online and distance learning there are over 30 degrees offered from an associate to master’s degree including an associate in science, a RN to BSN, and an MS in scion in civil engineering and more! We like Ohio University for it’s highly ranking academic programming, great value, and flexible online options.

We love the program from Ohio University as this is our most affordable option that allows for part-time or full-time learning. There are also only 36 credit hours required for completion. Students who are taking two classes per semester may complete this degree in as little as 15 months and those taking one per semester may complete this program in two years. This program is comprised of two core courses: communicative practices in organizations, and measurement methodology in communication, instructional training and development in communication, communication and information diffusion, cross-cultural communication, gender and communication, and communication in social conflict. Every student competes a 6 credit hour capstone experience either in the form of a comprehensive examination, applied project, or a master’s thesis. This cost for this degree is $243 per credit hour totaling $8,748 for tuition costs.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $243
  • Flexibility-granting components: N/A

6. University of Denver

The University of Denver is a private coeducational university founded in 1864 just a few years after the city of Denver. There are over 11,500 students enrolled in the over 100 undergraduate and 120 graduate programs where the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. The North Central Association Commission accredits programs from the bachelor’s to the doctoral level. According to U.S. News The University of Denver is ranked 86th in the nation, 53rd as the best college for veterans and 60th for best value schools. The school’s impact is both local and global with its vibrant study abroad programs in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Students engage in world-class experiences like archaeological digs, medical implementations abroad, and environmental studies. In fact, according to the “Open Doors” report DU ranks 4th in the U.S. among doctoral and research universities for the number of undergraduate students studying abroad. Further accolades according to the Princeton Review include the 8th most popular study abroad program, 18th best college city, 18th best college library, and 19th best school for its impact. For a world-class education , the University of Denver is a phenomenal choice.

The University of Denver was an obvious choice due to the number of degrees offered in the field of Mass Communications. There are six separate degree programs students may choose from including: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Learning and Development, Marketing Communication, Organizational Communication, Organizational Development, and Public Relations. The Master’s in Communication Management in Alternative Dispute Resolution teaches you to determine how conflict can arise and be resolved, and perform ethical conflict resolution though hands-on experience in conflict resolution and mediation. Those interested in learning and development will learn to meet the needs of adult learners by elucidating key adult learning theories to organizations who require professional development. The other programs focus on marketing and communicating for and with educations. These degrees require 48 credit hours and cost $628 per credit hour. Though our most expensive pick, this is one of the highest ranking institution on our list.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $628
  • Flexibility-granting components: Number of degrees in the field

7. Missouri State University

Missouri State University is a public university located in Springfield, Missouri. Forbes listed Missouri State University as one of America’s Top Colleges and The Princeton Review ranks it as one of the Best in the Midwest. Currently, there are 26,000 students enrolled representing all 50 states, and over 100 countries. In fact, there are 1,600 international students enrolled. U.S. News ranks Missouri State as the 71st best university in the region and 16th best public school in the nation! “Mind’s Eye,”, the University of Missouri’s research initiative examines a range of topics including the restorative properties of music, banking industry, curriculum development, statistics and examines issues that impact the local community and the world. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Missouri State to offer comprehensive degrees to all kinds of students. When it comes to non-traditional learners, Missouri State’s online education systems is a fantastic option as there are over 300 online bachelor’s, master’s, and certifications offered completely online inlacing a Master’s in communication, graduate certificate in cybersecurity, or a bachelor of science in professional writing. There’s something for everyone at Missouri State.

Students who select the Master’s in Mass Communications at Missouri State have the option of taking this program at a traditional or accelerated pace. Those who are a junior in college may combine with their bachelor’s degree to complete this program at an accelerated rate. All other students may complete this program over two years as full-time students. As a Master’s Communications graduate you are required to complete at least 32 credit hour to graduate those many students add 19 additional hours to coincide with their professional, educational or personal objectives. Students completing additional certification are granted a lot of flexibility and may select from programs across academic disciplines. The core course material includes rhetorical theory, researching in communication, qualitative analysis in communication research and applied research methods. Students are also encouraged to complete an internship, independent study or master’s level thesis to graduate. This program costs just $285 dollars per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $285
  • Flexibility-granting components: Accelerated and non-accelerated options

8. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is a flagship public flagship research university with a space grant located in Iowa City- a “city of literature” according to UNSECO and one of the best small towns for business according to Forbes . Founded as what we would call a liberal arts school, today the University of Iowa is one of the most involved research schools in the nation. Currently, the UI-built Voyager 1 Plasma Wave Instrument has travelled 11 billion miles to reach interstellar space In fact, according to U.S. News it ranks as the 82nd best school in America. It’s not difficult to see what as over 25 of its graduate programs are listed as some of the best in the country! Some of the top program include speech and language pathology, social psychology physical therapy, pediatric nurse practitioner, family medicine, and many other. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited the University of Iowa since 1913 and offers hundreds of degree programs for undergraduate as well as graduates. Online they offer 9 bachelor’s and 9 master’s degrees in fields like liberal studies, sports recreation, learning sciences, an MBA and others.

We selected the University of Iowa for it’s high academic standards and quality of programming. As one of the best schools in the nation, the University of Iowa provides a fantastic Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication that prepares students with concepts, and skills that work in a variety of careers in communication including crisis communication, event planning, public affairs, social media-based communication among others. This online program mirrors the world-class education you would earn on-campus. All classes meet in the evenings with the availability for Iowa City or Des Moines residents to study in the classroom if desired. This degree program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours to complete including 15 credit hours of core material and 15 electives. Some elective courses include financial and budget fundamentals for communications, risk communication, health care communication, web video communication, media management and others. Students may also take part in a strategic communication externship. This is a high value school and the cost per credit hour is just $492.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $492
  • Flexibility-granting components: N/A

9. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is a public research university that is a trail blazer when it comes to online education and has five campuses across the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area. U.S. News ranked Arizona State #1 for Most Innovative School above Stanford and MIT! Additionally, it ranks 61st for top public schools and 129th in the nation and among the best graduate schools. This public school is also filled with Fulbright scholars and Fulbright scholar student awards. Other accolades include their top accounting, international business, high school counselor, management, and undergraduate engineering programs just to name a few We love ASU for it’s incredible nobel prize winning faculty, great value, and endless flexible online opportunities. The online degrees are unique and include fields of study like anthropology, communications, global leadership, social policy, and geography just to name a few. A degree from Arizona State University also means qualified graduates according to The Wall Street Journal .

Arizona State University provides some of the best online education programs in the country and the very reason we love this program is for its incredible academic standard and affordable prices. This 36-credit Master of Science in Technical Communication provides comprehensive understanding of the cultural, ethical and political principals that form technical communication and is open to applicants from any field. You will be ready to work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. All students will learn about applied rhetoric and technical communication, research in technical and applied communication, and are given 24 credit hours in electives to choose from- meaning you can further tailor your degree to meet your professional needs. This program culminates with either a 6-credit thesis or applied project. The cost for this program is just $502 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $502
  • Flexibility-granting components: N/A

10. Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, Northeastern University is a RI (doctoral university with the highest level of research activity). The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits Northeastern to provide bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. According to U.S. News Northeastern is the 39th best school in the nation, 7th most innovative school, 10th best school for international business, and one of the best schools for undergraduate engineering programs. This academic powerhouse is very selective and currently enrolls over 19,000 students. Regardless of high enrollments the student-to-faculty ratio remains low at just 14:1. Northeastern features several research initiatives and is currently looking at psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “synchrony” or chemical levels in which humans bond as well as how emotions are made. The innovative programming uses a cooperative education approaches for its 90 undergraduate majors and 158 graduate programs. All student create their own academic path either on campus, online or though hybrid programming. Experiential learning is at the heard of an NU education- merging the classroom and the real world through professional work, research and service across the globe.

The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management is an accelerated 36-credit hour program offered in 7-week course increments. All course material may be accessed completely online. We selected this program for it’s academic quality and accelerated course material. The program is ideal for students who already possess corporate communication or public relations experience as well as those interested and experiences in strategic planning or general management. Those who graduate will learn about emerging technologies, innovation in the industry and intercultural communication. Innovative communication looks at communicating in the new millennium and are addressed in research. Other core programs include persuasive communication, intercultural communication, crisis prevention, strategies in conflict and so many other. A degree from Northeaster University means a degree from one of the best schools in the world. The cost for this program is $646 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Out-of-state Tuition: $646
  • Flexibility-granting components: N/A

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl