An online media communications degree can lead to exciting careers in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, and digital marketing. While pressure from digital markets may spark a decline in jobs at some media outlets, such as newspapers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) still projects 6% growth in media and communications employment by 2026.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Media Communications Programs
Online Bachelor's in Media Communications Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
1. University of Memphis - UM Online
The University of Memphis is a major research institution in Tennessee. The school's online media communications degree encompasses several objectives surrounding message production and evaluation, ethical and diverse contexts, historical and contemporary communications, and media forms.
In this 120-credit program, distance learners take courses in communication inquiry, oral communication, listening, and dialogue. Students can choose a communication studies or film and video production concentration. Students develop a solid understanding of communications in social and professionals situations.
Distance learners at UofM access course materials through eCoursework. Instructors post course materials to discussion boards and encourage students to journal, blog, and create a professional portfolio. Online tutoring is available to students through Smarthinking. There are no on-campus participation requirements, so students can complete this degree entirely online.
The University of Memphis is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
2. Webster University
Saint Louis, Missouri
Webster University is a nonprofit school located in St. Louis, Missouri. The school's bachelor's in communication and media studies provides students with foundational knowledge in writing, production, and media theory. The degree focuses on analyzing media messages and strategizing media usage.
Webster's 128-credit program consists of 39 core credits, including coursework in ethics in the media, media literacy, the law and the media, and the university global citizenship program. Students must pass a portfolio review during their junior year, declare a 12-credit concentration, and complete a senior thesis and research methods class.
Distance learners at Webster access classes through WebNet+ and complete coursework in a real-time synchronous format. There are no on-campus requirements for this program. Online students should apply for admission the semester before they intend to enroll. Students are admitted on a rolling basis.
Webster University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
3. Arizona State University - Skysong
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the greater Phoenix area. The school offers an undergraduate degree in media communication studies that focuses on media influence. ASU's 120-credit program includes a total of 41 classes, including American pop culture, political communication, visual communication, and history of mass communication.
Online students as ASU access coursework via Blackboard, although the university is transitioning to Canvas over the next year. Instructors and students can engage in discussion boards during the 7.5 week courses. Students have access to technical support, academic advising. and a success coach.
Applicants must have either a 3.0 GPA, be in the top 25% of their high school class, or have a minimum ACT score of 24 or SAT score of 1110.
Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
4. SUNY College at Oswego
Oswego, New York
SUNY Oswego is a public school located in New York. The school's online media communications degree focuses on broadcasting through radio, television, cable, film, and the internet. Students explore copywriting and media management, audio and video production, and broadcast journalism. Students can take classes in critical thinking and public speaking; mass media and the law; electronic media sales and marketing; and American government and politics. Students are encouraged to participate in internships.
Webster's communication program is designed for students who hold an associate degree in media studies, broadcasting, radio, TV, and mass communications. Students without associate degrees must complete on-campus coursework at Oswego or another accredited college.
Online learners access coursework via Blackboard. Incoming freshman must have seven units of college preparatory mathematics and science at minimum. It is recommended that applicants have completed a foreign language.
State University of New York Oswego is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of College and Schools.
5. Granite State College
Concord, New Hampshire
Granite State College is a public institution located in Concord, New Hampshire. The school's communication media studies degree focuses on the media-driven culture and information-based economy.
In this 120-credit program, students take courses in website development, digital media, research methods, and media and strategic communication. Coursework covers analytical skills and the ability to create media messages. Students can begin courses in the fall, winter, spring, or summer terms.
The school offers a transfer pathway, designed for applicants who hold an associate degree in a related field with a "C" average or higher. Students must transfer coursework from interpersonal communications and group dynamics, the media and its messages, and introduction to ethics. Transfer students must take a minimum of 30 credits at Granite.
Granite State College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
6. Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
SNHU is a private, nonprofit institution located in Manchester. The school's entirely online media communications degree concentrates on new media. Distance learners gain skills in computer and graphic design, public speaking, public relations, and journalism. Coursework includes social media research and marketing, print media, new technology, multimedia journalism, and content production.
SNHU's bachelor's program is a total of 120 credits. Students can transfer up to 90 credits towards their undergraduate degree. Transferred coursework must have a "C-" or higher. Distance learners have access to technology assistance, and academic and career advisers.
There is no application fee for SNHU and applicants are not required to submit SAT scores. The school boasts affordable tuition, plus a 30% tuition deduction for military service members and active duty military spouses.
Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
7. DePaul University
Located in Chicago, Illinois, DePaul University is the largest private Catholic university in the United States. The school's bachelor's in communication and media covers communication topics, including health communication, intercultural communication, journalism, public relations, television production, and advertising. In this program, students learn fundamental communication and critical thinking skills that apply to a variety of careers.
DePaul's programs run on quarter hours. The online media communications degree consists of 192 quarter hours. Online students access coursework through Course OnLine, a technology developed through DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media.
Years three and four of this program are available entirely online, which is only offered to transfer students. To be eligible, students with a minimum 2.0 GPA must transfer at least 30 semester credit hours from a previous school. Students without transfer credits must take the first two years of the degree on campus.
DePaul University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
8. Brenau University
Brenau University is a liberal arts school located in Gainesville, Georgia. The school divides its education requirements into four learning objects: world understanding learning; scientific and analytic curiosity; artistic and creative imagination; and communication and language fluency.
The school's media communication studies degree consists of three foundational courses in film appreciation, fundamentals of speech, and persuasion. Electives include principles of leadership, conflict resolution, and principles of project management. A total of 120 credits are needed to complete this degree.
Online students access coursework through Canvas. Coursework is delivered in accelerated seven-week sessions. Incoming freshman must hold a 2.5 GPA at minimum and transfer students must hold a 2.0 GPA at minimum. Admitted students can begin in fall, spring, or summer terms.
Brenau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
9. Loyola University New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
Loyola University New Orleans is a private Jesuit institution. The school's online media communications degree focuses on technical competency and creativity. Students learn ethical and visionary communication and journalism professionalism.
Students in the 120-credit hour communication studies program complete a sequence of courses in a subfield. Subfield options include advertising, public relations, visual communications, or journalism. Students can focus their electives on sports, environmental, nonprofit communication, or photography. This program also includes a professional internship. Online students access coursework and interact with classmates and instructors through Blackboard.
Applicants under 22 years of age must submit ACT or SAT scores. Before students can enroll in classes, they must take the ALEKS assessment. Students can transfer up to 64 credits from previously attended regionally accredited institutions.
Loyola University New Orleans is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
10. Point Park University
Point Park is a private university located in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school's communication and media studies degree focuses on screen and media writing.
This program is beneficial for students interested in creative careers. Classes emphasize storytelling in various formats such as radio, TV, animation, movies, videogames, and the internet. Courses include business communication and research, journalistic writing and editing, public relations, and social media practices.
The program consists of 120 credits. Online classes run for eight weeks. Students can complete coursework at their own convenience. Online learners have access to a student success coach, who assists in all aspects of the digital learning experience. Applicants must have a 2.0 GPA at minimum and are required to submit a creative portfolio and complete a faculty interview.
Point Park University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
11. Montana State University - Billings
MSUB is a public college located in Billings, Montana. The school's online media communications degree is divided into two majors: organizational communication and mass communication.
The mass communication major is grounded in theory and applied knowledge of mass media. The program teaches students to construct and deliver media messages. Specific courses include reporting, public speaking, media and society theories, and history and theory of persuasion. Students in this program must complete a final capstone project.
Online students at MSUB access coursework through Desire2Learn. Some courses require specific login times for weekly discussions. Other classes are self-paced. MSUB students have access to an academic adviser and tutoring services.
Applicants who graduated high school fewer than three years prior to applying are required to submit SAT or ACT scores. Students are admitted on a rolling basis.
Montana State University Billings is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
12. The University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, Texas
UTEP is a public institution that emphasizes biculturalism and bilingualism. The school's communication media studies degree covers advertising theory, media planning, and consumer behavior.
The program requires 120 credits. Specific coursework includes methods of research in communication, creative strategy and copywriting, and new media advertising. Students take courses in advertising design, graphics, and layout, and have the option to complete a final capstone project.
The school's media advertising degree is entirely online. Online students participate in practical simulation exercises and case studies, and access coursework through UTEP Connect.
SAT or ACT scores are required for applicants who do not have a high school diploma. Applicants must have a 2.0 GPA at minimum. Coursework in math, English, and reading are not available online, so incoming students without credits must take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment Test.
University of Texas at El Paso is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
13. Fisher College
Fisher is a small, independent nonprofit college located in Boston, Massachusetts. As an interdisciplinary program, the school's 120-credit hour online media communications degree covers journalism, advertising, writing, speaking, video shooting and editing, and public relations.
Students gain critical-thinking, problem-solving, curiosity, and intellectual risk-taking skills. Notable courses include public speaking, media writing, and media criticism. Students at Fisher must complete an internship.
Courses run for eight weeks. Online learners access class work through Blackboard. There are no regularly scheduled class times.
Fisher admits students on a rolling basis. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED, and submit SAT or ACT scores. Homeschooled students should contact the school's admissions office.
Fisher College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The School of Management and Communications' business programs are accredited through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
14. Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Regent University is a Christian school located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The school's media communication studies degree is centered on the internet and social media.
Students learn to write effective blog posts, articles, and social media campaigns, such as tweets. The program teaches interactive content theories. Notable classes include marketing principles, public speaking, interpersonal communication, communication theory, and narrative concept and development. Students complete a final capstone project. Courses run for eight weeks.
Distance students access courses through Blackboard. Online learning at Regent is designed for students at least 24 years of age. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and complete an admissions questionnaire with their application. Students can transfer a maximum of 90 credits toward their bachelor’s degrees.
Regent University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
15. Mid-America Christian University
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Mid-America Christian University is a private nonprofit university located in Oklahoma City. The school's communication media studies degree examines media theory and practice, digital media literacy, and social persuasion.
In this program, students learn online engagement. Coursework includes media law and ethics; communication and cultural change; creating social media presence and cultural movements; and writing for mass and social media.
There are no on-campus requirements for this program. Online students access coursework via Desire2Learn at MACU. Students must complete 122 credits. Courses run on accelerated bases anywhere from five to eight weeks in length. Courses begin each month.
As a college dedicated to working adults, MACU offers college credit for professional work, life, and military experiences through its prior learning program.
Mid-America Christian University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
16. Lynn University
Boca Raton, Florida
Lynn University is a small school located in Boca Raton, Florida. The college offers an online media communications degree for students to gain a foundation in communication theory, production, and trends. Courses include persuasion and propaganda, communication law and ethics, and advertising and public relations. The degree requires 120 credits for graduation.
Students at Lynn University have the opportunity to participate in an internship and work with industry experts, such as network producers, product managers, actors, and former reporters. The program ensures students gain strong interpersonal communication skills and key leadership qualities.
Lynn University applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, but must submit a personal statement. Students can begin in spring, summer, or fall semesters. The school encourages applicants to transfer volunteer community service experiences, military service, and employer trainings into academic credit through the LearningCounts program.
Lynn University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.
17. Johnson & Wales University
Providence, Rhode Island
Johnson & Wales is located in Providence, Rhode Island. The school's media communication studies degree focuses on digital marketing and social media. The program explores mobile advertising, CRM strategy, online research, and content management. Specific courses include marketing analytics, search engine marketing, database concepts, and digital media planning.
Students gain the ability to develop websites, optimize user experience, and create effective social media and digital marketing campaigns. Students must complete two senior capstone courses and an internship or experiential education.
Online courses at JWU run for 11 weeks. Students access classes via the online learning management program, ulearn. Classes start year round in September, December, March, and June. Students are required to hold two years of full-time work experience beyond high school, or have earned college credit. Applicants must submit a resume with their applications.
Johnson & Wales University-Providence is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Choosing an Online Media Communications Degree Program
Though media specialists today are expected to be conversant in modern technologies, writing and communication remain at the core of their duties. Communication media studies teach students about diverse writing styles, including journalistic writing and internal business communication. Students assess media's impact on culture and society while completing a general education curriculum that develops critical thinking and analysis through diverse perspectives. Overall, a bachelor's in media communications requires 120 credits for completion, about four years for a full-time student. Some schools may offer accelerated class formats and asynchronous online courses that provide more flexibility in course scheduling.
Many schools include specializations within the communication and media studies program, such as film and video production, professional communications, technical writing, or digital media. Expect to complete hands-on learning projects that demonstrate an understanding of communication aesthetics, visual communication, and the use of new tools and industry-standard software. Students learn professional ethics and the legal questions of privacy rights, libel, and intellectual property. Often, programs include course credit for internships and may require a capstone thesis project prior to graduation.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Media Communications Program?
Schools may offer either a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts online media communications degree. While either option provides a solid foundation for communications studies, you may find differences in the general curriculum requirements, such as more emphasis on science or math over humanities. The courses below demonstrate some of the media communications core curriculum.
Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Media Communications
Students learn to critically examine media and other information with a focus on assessing credibility and identifying possible bias. This course includes a variety of traditional and online media resources.
Media and Society:
As society becomes more influenced by news organizations, popular films, social media, and politics, students explore the impact of communication in these areas.
In this course, students learn the basics of reporting, from recognizing a newsworthy story to interviewing sources and finding information. Coursework focuses on grammar, spelling, and Associated Press style.
Learners examine landmark court decisions about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the privacy rights of individuals, and the legal questions emerging from the rise of social media and online communications. Students also study the Freedom of Information Act and applicable state laws regarding public records, public meetings, and journalist shield laws.
This course examines the use of visual images -- photography, animation, or video -- to help communicate a message. Students explore how images can add impact to written communication, usage in various platforms, and the basics of visual design, such as composition, color selection, spacing, and typography.
Careers with a Bachelor's in Media Communications
With an online media communications degree, you can enter the workforce in many industries. The skills you acquire can secure your employment with traditional news organizations, growing digital publications, and broadcast stations. With this degree, you can work in social media marketing, inbound content marketing, or public relations.
Reporters inform their audience by researching and gathering information from sources and records. They may cover a variety of topics or specialize in areas like education or healthcare. Many organizations seek reporters with multimedia skills who can use mobile reporting tools.
- Median Annual Salary: $40,910
Public Relations Specialist:
These professionals work with clients to create messages that improve the public's opinion of an organization or raise awareness of their services. Specialists write press releases, coordinate special events, field inquiries from the press, or write speeches for top-level management.
- Median Annual Salary: $59,300
- Projected Growth Rate: 9%
Film and Video Editor:
Film and video editors use cameras, videos, and sound equipment to capture interviews or events. These professionals organize their footage and edit the final piece, working with a producer or director to capture relevant images.
- Median Annual Salary: $58,210
- Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics