The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Communications 2021

| Genevieve Carlton

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An online communication degree offers a broad education that covers writing, public speaking, and interpersonal communication.

Communication majors build writing, research, and analytical skills, which often include learning to write speeches for public figures, craft press releases to shape an organization's public image, and conduct in-depth investigative reports.

A bachelor's degree in communication meets entry-level education requirements for many in-demand media communications careers. For example, public relations specialists often hold communication degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations specialists earned a median salary of over $61,000 in 2019. Communication majors can also work in fast-paced fields like journalism, reporting, and politics.

Our ranking of the best schools for communication majors can help prospective students find the right program for their career goals. This article also explores the most common communication concentrations, popular jobs for communication majors, and how to choose an online communication program.

Top 10 Affordable Online Bachelor's in Communication Programs 2021
#1 Florida International University Miami, FL
#2 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#3 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA
#4 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX
#5 Indiana University-East Richmond, IN
#6 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
#7 University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, MN
#8 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
#9 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, OR
#10 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies Fayette, MO

Featured Online Schools

The Most Affordable Online Communications Degree Programs

Florida International University View School Profile $ Miami, FL 58% 34% 65% Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

FIU currently hosts about 48,000 online students across more than 100 online degree programs annually.

FIU's College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts (CARTA) provides a completely online bachelor of arts in communication arts degree requiring 120 credits for completion. Students can apply for the spring, fall, and summer terms by submitting an online application, $30 application fee, official high school transcripts, and official SAT or ACT scores. Specific program admission requirements include a minimum 2.0 GPA and admittance to the university.

University of Central Florida View School Profile $$ Orlando, FL 73% 39% 57% The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1963, UCF currently serves almost 72,000 students annually across 13 colleges and more than 230 degree programs.

UCF Online's College of Science offers an online bachelor of arts in communication and conflict degree requiring 120 credits for completion at a cost of $180 per credit for in state students.

Students can apply to the fall, spring, and summer terms by submitting an online application, $30 application fee, official transcripts, and official SAT or ACT scores. Although not required, the institution strongly encourages submittal of an application essay.

Eastern Washington University View School Profile $$ Cheney, WA 44% 67% 28% Eastern Washington University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

EWU currently serves over 12,000 students across more than 150 areas of study.

EWU's bachelor of arts in communication studies, offered both online and on campus, requires 60 credits of concentration studies and the completion of a minor or certificate for graduation. For the culmination of studies, students will complete a five-credit capstone. Students must complete required coursework with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Applicants must complete two years of high school foreign language or one year of collegiate-level foreign language prior to graduation, and apply via online application with official transcripts. Standardized test scores remain optional.

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin View School Profile $ Odessa, TX 41% 24% 71% The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

With campus locations in Odessa and Midland, Texas, in addition to online learning offerings, UTPB reaches almost 6,000 students annually across five schools and colleges.

UTPB offers a completely online bachelor of arts in communication degree requiring 120 credits for completion at a total cost of $38,300. Students must submit official transcripts, SAT or ACT scores with minimum requirements, an online application, and a $40 application fee as part of the application process. Curriculum for the program consists of 42 credits of general education requirements, 36-45 credits of core requirements, and 48-60 credits of communication electives.

Indiana University-East View School Profile $ Richmond, IN 41% 45% 78% Indiana University East is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

IU East offers over 60 academic programs and over 800 courses with an average class size of only 17 students.

IU East's online bachelor of arts in communication studies degree requires 120 credits for completion. Students can also complete the major with a bachelor of science concentration. Prospective students will submit an online application and high school transcripts (individual requirements may vary). Curriculum focuses on communication theories, cross-cultural communication, public relations, gender and communication, propaganda and persuasion, and nonverbal communication.

Arizona State University-Skysong View School Profile $$ Scottsdale, AZ 14% 55% 97% Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Per U.S. News & World Report, ASU boasts the title of the nation's most innovative school. More than 27,000 students graduate from ASU annually.

ASU's online bachelor of science in communication degree requires 120 credits for completion utilizing 7.5-week courses. Admission requirements include a high school diploma meeting minimum competency levels, along with either a minimum 3.0 GPA in competency courses, minimum SAT or ACT scores, or a graduation rank in the top 25% of the high school class. Course curriculum highlights include advanced research methods in communication, introduction to communication inquiry, and quantitative research methods in communication.

University of Minnesota-Crookston View School Profile $$ Crookston, MN 54% 35% 44% The University of Minnesota Crookston is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Established in 1966, the four-year, public university currently serves more than 1,800 students annually and provides each student with a laptop computer.

UMC's Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education offers an online bachelor of science in communication degree with three areas of emphasis: communication studies, organizational communication/public relations, and social media. Applications must be submitted by May 15 or August 1 and must include a $25 fee, answers to short essay questions, and high school transcripts or a GED. Optional requirements include a letter of recommendation.

Appalachian State University View School Profile $$ Boone, NC 72% 48% 20% Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Considered the premier public undergraduate institution in North Carolina, Appalachian serves over 20,000 students with a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Appalachian's online bachelor of science in communication studies degree requires 120 credits for completion, with a minimum of 51-54 credits taught at Appalachian. Students can typically achieve coursework completion in six semesters, assuming 12 hours per semester and year-round studies. The degree requires a minor in either business or sociology. Admission requirements include official transcripts, official standardized test scores, and a $65 application fee.

Eastern Oregon University View School Profile $$$ La Grande, OR 33% 50% 67% Eastern Oregon University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

EOU's online course and degree offerings provide individualized attention to students through technology-infused course delivery.

EOU's online bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in communication studies program requires 180 quarter-credits for completion. Students can transfer up to 135 credit hours into the program and can otherwise typically complete the program in four years. Admission requirements include official transcripts, a minimum 2.75 high school GPA or 2.25 college GPA for transfer students, or GED scores.

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies View School Profile Fayette, MO 26% 55% Central Methodist University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1854, the four-year, private, liberal arts university currently offers courses at its campus located in Fayette, Missouri, and online.

CMU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers an online bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in communication requiring 120 credits for completion. Students can take part in hands-on learning through CMU's newspaper (The Collegian), radio station (Eagle Radio), and a variety of internship opportunities during their studies. Requirements for admission include completion of a college preparatory program with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA or GED, official transcripts, and a minimum score of 21 on the ACT or 1050 on the SAT.

Arkansas State University-Main Campus View School Profile $$ Jonesboro, AR 48% 51% 56% Arkansas State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1909, A-State currently serves more than 14,000 students across 150 fields of study.

A-State's online bachelor of arts in communication studies program requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of $258 per credit. Major core coursework highlights include principles of argumentation, communication theory, and communication criticism. Students can apply to spring, summer, and fall terms by submitting official high school transcripts with a minimum 2.75 GPA, official standardized test scores with minimum score requirements, and an online application with a $35 application fee.

University of Missouri-St Louis View School Profile $ Saint Louis, MO 56% 29% 29% The University of Missouri St. Louis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1963, UMSL currently serves almost 14,000 students both on campus and online.

UMSL's School of Communication and Media offers a bachelor of arts in communication program built around flexibility. Following the completion of the core requirements, students can choose one of four emphasis areas or tailor course selection to meet personal goals and needs. Emphasis area options are applied visual communication, interpersonal communication, mass communication, and strategic communication.

Prospective students will submit official transcripts, standardized test scores, and an application with a $35 fee as part of the application process.

University of Northwestern-St Paul View School Profile Saint Paul, MN 63% 39% 50% The University of Northwestern St. Paul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1902, the Christ-centered liberal arts institution offers more than 75 areas of undergraduate study. Today, more than 3,700 students attend UNWSP annually.

UNW offers an adult undergraduate bachelor of science in communication studies degree requiring 125 credits for completion. Offered through a hybrid online/in-person format, coursework emphasizes how to communicate messages effectively. Students will study advanced speaking and presentations, interpersonal communication, and intercultural communication. Admission requirements include an online application and official transcripts.

Lamar University View School Profile $$ Beaumont, TX 27% 47% 71% Lamar University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1923 near the Texas-Louisiana border, Lamar University currently serves about 15,000 students across more than 100 areas of study.

LU's online bachelor of science in communication with a concentration in communication studies program requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of $273 per credit. Curriculum focuses on the integration of communication theory with practical application. Prospective students will submit a completed online application with a $25 application fee, official transcripts, and verification of major-specific requirements.

Granite State College View School Profile $$ Concord, NH 23% 57% 91% Granite State College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

The 100% online institution offers associate, bachelor's, and master's programs emphasizing areas of study that are responsive to the needs of employers.

Granite's bachelor of science in professional communication degree includes the choice of three concentrations: business and strategic communication, interpersonal and organizational communication, and visual communication and social media. Curriculum covers website development, foundations of digital media, research methods of strategic data analysis, and more. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent and official transcripts.

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus View School Profile $$$$ University Park, PA 71% 48% 100% Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Penn State World Campus provides 100% online education in over 150 available programs.

Penn State World Campus offers both a bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in organizational and professional communication available completely online. The programs require 120 credits for completion at a cost of about $600 per credit. Curriculum includes 45 credits of general education courses, 27 credits of electives, and 57 credits of major-specific courses. For admission, students must submit an online application and official high school transcripts or GED equivalent.

Northern Arizona University View School Profile $$ Flagstaff, AZ 52% 45% 43% Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

With nine schools and colleges, NAU delivers world-class academic programs to almost 30,000 students annually.

NAU's online bachelor of science in communication studies program focuses on effective oral, written, and relational communication. Students can choose between two areas of emphasis: communication general or organizational communication. In order to graduate, students must complete a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applying students must submit official high school transcripts, minimum standardized test scores, and core high school coursework requirements.

University of North Dakota View School Profile $$$ Grand Forks, ND 55% 48% 49% The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1883, UND currently hosts over 13,600 students both on-campus and online.

Students can complete UND's bachelor of arts in communication degree completely online or on campus. The 120-credit curriculum requires four years for completion. Students can choose from six concentrations: strategic communication, digital journalism, advertising, public relations, social media strategy, and digital analytics.

Admission requirements include official transcripts showing completion of required core coursework, online application and fee, and minimum standardized test scores. The school recommends GPA of at least 2.75.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide View School Profile Daytona Beach, FL 62% 14% 96% Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The Worldwide and Online Campus of ERAU leverages online and face-to-face instruction alongside a network of education facilities for instruction.

ERAU's online bachelor of science in communication degree incorporates aviation, aerospace, and technical vocabulary with reading and writing skills in order to foster a technical perspective. Students will complete 36 credits of general education; 33 credits of communication core; 42 credits of aviation, science, and technology foundation; and 12-18 credits of electives.

Admission requirements include official transcripts, an online application with a $50 fee, and standardized test scores.

University of Louisville View School Profile $$$ Louisville, KY 57% 39% 23% The University of Louisville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The online campus of the University of Louisville offers over 40 areas of study.

The UofL College of Arts and Sciences offers completely online bachelor of arts and bachelor science in communication programs designed for working professionals. The 121-credit programs consist of 31 credits of core requirements, 19 credits of arts & sciences requirements, 36 credits of core communication courses, and 35 credits of supporting liberal arts courses.

Prospective students must complete an online application with $25 fee and submit official transcripts.

Affordable Online Bachelor's

Affordable Online Bachelor's in Communication Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Bachelor's in Communication Degree?

An online bachelor's degree in communication trains students to critically analyze information and communicate clearly and effectively. Coursework emphasizes skills like critical thinking, writing, and research.

During a communication degree, undergraduates study mass communication, journalism, public relations, and international communication, learning to write persuasive essays, investigative reports, and press releases. In addition to strengthening their writing abilities, communication majors also polish their public speaking skills. Some programs incorporate internship requirements to help majors apply their knowledge in professional settings.

Earning a bachelor's in communication generally takes four years for full-time students. After graduation, communication majors can pursue careers in business, the nonprofit sector, media, and politics. Common jobs for communication majors include public relations specialist, journalist, and writer.

Choosing an Online Program

When researching the best communication schools offering online degrees, prospective students must consider several factors. In addition to price, students should look into program requirements, internship opportunities, and distance learning delivery method. Check out the following resources to learn more about choosing an online degree.

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Communication Program?

While enrolled in a bachelor's program in communication, undergraduates can shape their degrees around their interests and career goals. For example, a student interested in reporting can select a concentration in journalism. Many programs also offer electives, which allow students to acquire specialty skills without committing to a full concentration. Most communication concentrations still focus on research, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Communication Concentrations

Journalism

Concentrating in journalism trains communication majors in media studies, investigative journalism, and reporting. Undergrads examine modern media, journalism ethics, and theoretical frameworks in journalism. Depending on the program, students may also complete internships to build professional experience. This concentration prepares graduates for careers like journalist, reporter, or editor.

Public Relations

A public relations concentration teaches undergraduates how to use their communication training to shape public opinion about an organization. Enrollees explore public relations, writing and storytelling techniques, digital media strategy, and social media production. Graduates can find work in public relations agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and event planning.

Digital Media

Communication majors specializing in digital media study digital technologies and methods of communication in digital environments. Coursework usually includes new media writing, film production, social media communication, and trends in digital media. Graduates pursue careers as digital media specialists, social media specialists, and digital media consultants.

Broadcast Media

A concentration in broadcast media trains undergraduates to work in television, radio, and other broadcasted media platforms. During the degree, learners explore broadcast communication, media analysis, and writing. The concentration may also incorporate video and multimedia production training. Graduates often work for television networks and nonprofit media companies.

Global Communication

A global communication concentration — commonly referred to as "international communication" — emphasizes cross-cultural and transnational communication and media strategies. Students in this specializatoin strengthen their intercultural communication skills while learning about global communication networks, mass media, and global business communication. The concentration may also incorporate foreign language training or study abroad opportunities.

Communication Curriculum

  • Writing for Media: This class helps communication majors strengthen their reporting and writing abilities. Students learn to write in different styles, apply journalistic techniques, and build communication skills through writing assignments and critiques. They also gain familiarity with Associated Press style, write news articles, and craft press releases.
  • Mass Communication: Mass communication courses introduce undergrads to mass media industries, explore the evolution of the media, and demonstrate techniques used to study the media. Coursework also examines the social and cultural contexts that shape mass communication. Many communication programs require a course in mass communication.
  • Gender, Communication, and Culture: In this class, students learn to analyze communication through a cultural lens. The course explores the relationship between gender and culture, how gender and identity shape communication, and how cultural institutions communicate theories of gender and identity. This coursework helps undergraduates strengthen their critical thinking and analytical skills and understand the role cultural bias can play in communication.

Communication Careers

Communication graduates have a lot of options when it comes to building a career in communication. For example, they can pursue opportunities in public relations, advertising, and marketing, or they can seek employment as journalists, translators, writers, or editors. Many of these career paths are in high demand and offer above-average salaries.

In addition to the following communication careers, undergrads can also pursue opportunities in business, politics, government, and tech.

Reporter
Median Salary: $46,270 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): -11%

Reporters inform people about news and current events. They work for newspapers, television news programs, websites, and magazines. Some also report their work on the radio or in podcasts. Reporters must conduct research, investigate stories, and pitch ideas to an editor. They also conduct interviews, identify relevant sources for their pieces, and present their work in articles or recorded pieces.

Most reporters hold bachelor's degrees in journalism or communication. Aspiring reporters often write for their college newspapers or intern for media organizations to gain experience while still in college.

Interpreters and Translators
Median Salary: $51,830 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 20%

Interpreters translate information from one language into another. While interpreters typically work with spoken language, translators work with written language. Interpreters and translators must both translate messages, speeches, and other materials across languages while maintaining the meaning of the message. Interpreters may also create transcripts to go along with their translations.

Roles like interpreter and translator generally require a bachelor's degree and fluency in at least two languages. Majoring in a foreign language or a discipline like communication can help interpreters and translators find employment after graduation.

Public Relations Specialists
Median Salary: $61,150 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

Public relations specialists promote organizations and build a favorable image for them, raising awareness of their achievements through press releases, social media outreach, and media interviews. Public relations specialists also help clients communicate with the media and the public, and may even draft speeches for executives. They often work closely with advertising and marketing specialists.

Entry-level jobs as a public relations specialist usually require a bachelor's degree. Most employers look for candidates with degrees in communication or a closely related field, like public relations, journalism, English, or business.

Communication Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help communication graduates transition from college into the workforce. They offer professional development opportunities, career resources, and networking opportunities. Joining a professional organization can help undergrads prepare for the job market after graduation, even if they're still earning degrees.

NCA is a professional organization for academics, students, and professionals working in communication. It offers publications and digital resources that help members stay informed about new developments in the field. NCA also hosts an annual convention, runs student organizations, and offers academic and professional resources for communication majors and professionals. PRSA has over 30,000 members, including student members. It hosts the Public Relations Student Society of America, which connects undergraduates on nearly 375 campuses. PRSA also fosters career growth through professional development programs, learning opportunities, and public relations resources. Members can pursue professional credentials. STC promotes professionals working in technical writing and other communication roles. The society publishes journals to keep professionals current with developments in the field, hosts an annual conference with networking opportunities, and offers professional certification for technical communicators. STC also hosts local chapters to help technical writers connect.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Bachelor's in Communication Program?

Earning a bachelor's degree in communication generally takes four years for full-time students. Transfer students with prior college credits and those who choose accelerated programs can complete their degrees in less time.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Communication Degree?

A communication degree prepares graduates for in-demand careers in marketing, advertising, and public relations. Communication majors can also work as journalists, writers, and editors.

Is Communication a Hard Major?

During a communication degree, undergraduates take courses in mass communication, speech writing, and public relations. The degree focuses mostly on writing assignments and generally doesn't include many math and science classes, so creative students with strong storytelling abilities will do best.

How Is a Communication Major Useful?

A communication major trains undergraduates to analyze written material, communicate their ideas effectively in writing and speech, and accurately represent their clients' beliefs. Students also learn to communicate using different styles, including technical writing, business writing, press releases, and public speaking.

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