Online Master’s in Communication Programs
Some of the most prestigious, accredited universities in the country now offer online master's in communication programs. These programs often allow students to complete their degree on a part-time basis while simultaneously continuing to work. Wondering how to know if an online master's program is right for your career goals, and if so, how to choose the right school? Keep reading for all the information you'll need to consider before taking the next step.
A growing number of students are choosing online master's in communications programs over traditional classroom programs. Online programs, which can be found at a number of highly esteemed and accredited institutions, offer students the flexibility to complete coursework on their own schedule from anywhere in the country. While just as rigorous an academic program as their traditional classroom counterparts, online programs may be a better fit for students who plan to continue working while in school.
Already know an online program is right for you? Click here for a complete list of online master's in communication programs.
When choosing between an online master's in communication program and a traditional classroom experience, many students feel drawn to the convenience of taking classes online whenever and wherever is convenient. And online programs do offer significant flexibility for students to complete their degree while working full- or part-time in their chosen industries.
However, besides flexibility, there are other considerations for aspiring online master's students to keep in mind, including:
- Difficulty of Program: Don't assume that just because a program is online it will be easier than an on-campus program. In fact, online programs are usually just as rigorous, if not more so, than their classroom counterparts. Make sure to read up on the required curriculum for various programs before making your final decision.
- Discipline: As opposed to a classroom environment, no one will hold you accountable for completing coursework or attending lectures in an online program. Successful online students must be motivated to succeed and committed to completing their coursework without the prodding of professors or peers.
- Cost: While online programs may be more affordable than traditional programs, it is important to compare costs among your top schools, and include one or more classroom programs in your comparison. Remember, commuting costs will add to the bottom line for a classroom or hybrid program.
You've decided an online master's program is the next step in reaching your career aspirations, but now how do you choose from among the multitude of programs out there? Before investing in application fees, here are some questions to ask when researching online programs:
- Is This School Reputable? Many programs are offered by the country's top universities and colleges, and name recognition can be a powerful tool in securing your dream job. At a minimum, schools you consider should be fully accredited and have experience offering an online master's in communication program for several years.
- Does This Program Fit My Career Goals? With a myriad of master's in communication programs out there and a number of different specializations, it is critical to choose a program tailored to your specific career aspirations. For instance, if your goal is to become a broadcast journalist you should probably consider a journalism or mass media program, and if you want to go into politics, a political communication or a global communication program would be a good fit.
- Does This Course Load Fit into My Schedule? Take a realistic look at your schedule, especially if you plan to work full-time while studying. Schools should be able to tell you how many hours of study on average are required, so make sure your schedule can accommodate the workload.
- Who Will Be Teaching Online Courses? Many online master's programs offer courses taught by the same tenured faculty as their on campus programs, while others rely mainly on part-time or adjunct professors. Either way, try to find out how experienced the faculty will be for your program. For instance, have they won any industry awards or have relevant industry experience?
- Is This Program Fully Online or Will I Need to Visit Campus? Many schools offer fully online programs with classes taught exclusively online, while others offer a hybrid format that combines online classes with classroom work. Frequency of on-campus study varies from school to school, so make sure you can commit to mandatory in-person sessions if you choose a hybrid format. One benefit to hybrid programs is that they facilitate networking with faculty and other students.
- Will I Have Access to On-Campus Resources, Including Networking with Other Students? Making personal connections can be critical to getting your dream job, so find out if your top schools help students network with faculty, students and industry professionals both online and in-person. Many schools also offer on-campus career services to their online students, such as career counseling or job fairs.
- What Jobs Do Program Graduates Get After Completing Their Master’s Degrees? Ask your top schools for job placement information for their recent graduates. These jobs should be similar to what you're looking to secure following completion of the master's program.
- What Specialties are Available? Consider the many different specializations:
Found your dream school and now you're ready to apply? The application process varies from school to school, but in general, here's what you need to know about the application and admissions process.
- What Educational Background Do I Need? Some master's in communication programs require a few years of relevant work experience before applying to a graduate program. However, others only require a bachelor's degree. While many master's of communication applicants will have attained a degree in communication, journalism or another related field, other students may come from a variety of educational backgrounds such as business, education or political science.
- Are there No GRE Master’s in Communication Programs? Do I Have to Take the GRE? For many schools, GRE scores are not required. For others, a GRE score is required as part of the application if you have a GPA lower than 3.0 on your undergraduate studies. A few schools require GRE scores for all applicants, so make sure to double check with your school of choice before beginning the application process.
- What Are the Application Requirements? Application requirements vary from school to school, but in general applicants to a master's in communication program are required to have a bachelor's degree and a GPA of 3.0 or higher on all undergraduate work. In addition to an application fee, most schools also require letters of recommendation and writing samples and/or a personal statement along with the application.
- What Kind of Technology Do I Need for Online Programs? Having the right technology is obviously critical for participation in an online course of study, so check with your top schools on their individual technology requirements and make sure you have the right tools.
- What Is the Deadline to Apply? Many schools are on a rolling admissions schedule, meaning they review applications throughout the year. However, others only enroll for fall and/or spring semester start dates, so make sure you know the admissions deadlines for your top schools.
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