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.

Can I Get My Master's in Communication Online?

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.

Master of Arts vs. Master of Science in Communications

Prospective students looking for a post-grad communications program often have two pathways to choose from: a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) / Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Communications. While both degrees will prepare students for advanced roles in the communications field, there are some differences between them, and students may want to fully understand these differences before deciding which one suits their needs.

Generally speaking, an MA and an MS/MASc in Communications will differ in their coursework and educational approach. More specifically, an MA Communications program will place emphasis on liberal arts courses and focus the curriculum on practical and/or social applications of theories. MS and MASc Communications programs will incorporate more scientific theories and processes within the communications field, focusing more on complex frameworks. For example, those interested in communications data, analysis, and strategy may want to consider a Master of Science program, while those leaning more toward writing, media relations, and global applications may prefer earning a Master of Arts. While MA communications programs are typically more common, MS/MASc programs are sometimes considered more academic, and may hold more weight within certain professions, than their MA counterpart. In either case, a professional with a master's in communications is poised to ascend to higher levels in the industry.

Is an Online Program Right for You?

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.

Choosing an Online Master's in Communication 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.

Application & Admission Process

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. Learn more about No GRE master’s in communication programs.
      • 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.

Colleges That Offer Accredited Online Master’s in Communication Programs

Select Your State:

Arizona

SchoolContact Information
Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ 85281
(866) 683-0298
Northern Arizona University
701 S. Osborne Dr.
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(800) 426-8315

California

SchoolContact Information
California Baptist University
10370 Hemet Street, Suite 200
Riverside, CA 92503
(951) 343-3900

Idaho

SchoolContact Information
Boise State University
Communication Building, Room 103, Mail Stop 1920
Boise, ID 83725
(208) 426-2450
Idaho State University
921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2150

Illinois

SchoolContact Information
Northwestern University
2240 Campus Drive, Rm 2-118
Evanston , IL 60208
(847) 467-3668

Indiana

SchoolContact Information
Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN 47907
(877) 497-5851

Iowa

SchoolContact Information
Drake University
2507 University Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50311
(844) 254-4221

Kansas

SchoolContact Information
Washburn University
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621
(785) 670-1010

Kentucky

SchoolContact Information
Asbury University
One Macklem Drive
Wilmore, KY 40390
(859) 858-3511

Louisiana

SchoolContact Information
University of Louisiana at Monroe
700 University Avenue
Monroe, LA 71209
(318) 342-1400

Massachusetts

SchoolContact Information
Bay Path University
588 Longmeadow Street
Longmeadow, MA 01106
(888) 364-6578
Lasell College
1844 Commonwealth Ave.
Newton, MA 2466
(617) 243-2400
Western New England University
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
(413) 782-1517

Minnesota

SchoolContact Information
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN 56001
(507) 389-2213
Walden University
100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 900
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(866) 956-9284

Mississippi

SchoolContact Information
Mississippi College
200 S. Capitol Street
Clinton, MS 39056
(601) 925-3229

Missouri

SchoolContact Information
Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave
Springfield , MO 65897
(417) 836-4423
Park University
8700 NW River Park Dr.
Parkville, MO 64152
(816) 584-6263
University of Central Missouri
108 W. South Street
Warrensburg, MO 64093
(877) 729-8266
Webster University
8300 Big Bend Blvd.
St Louis, MO 63119
(314) 968-7154

New Hampshire

SchoolContact Information
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106
(888) 387-0681

New Mexico

SchoolContact Information
Eastern New Mexico University
1500 S Avenue K
Portales, NM 88130
(575) 562-2140

New York

SchoolContact Information
Marist College
3399 North Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 575-3650
Syracuse University
Newhouse School - 215 University Place
Syracuse, NY 13244
(844) 797-2666

North Carolina

SchoolContact Information
Queens University of Charlotte
1900 Selwyn Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28274
(866) 313-2356
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carroll Hall, CB 3365
Chapel HIll, NC 27599
(919) 962-1204

Pennsylvania

SchoolContact Information
Drexel University
3001 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(877) 215-0009
Duquesne University
340 College Hall, 600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
(412) 396-6446
Notre Dame of Maryland University
3624 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19014
(888) 300-8414
Point Park University
201 Wood Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(888) 495-4144

Tennessee

SchoolContact Information
Austin Peay State University
601 College Avenue
Clarksville, TN 37044
(931) 221-7378

Virginia

SchoolContact Information
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 424-9595

Washington

SchoolContact Information
University of Washington
102 Communications, Box 353740
Seattle , WA 98195
(206) 543-6745

Washington, DC

SchoolContact Information
Johns Hopkins University
1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 452-1940

Wisconsin

SchoolContact Information
Concordia University Wisconsin
12800 N. Lake Shore Drive
Mequon, WI 53097
(877) 391-5835