Best Online Master's in Communication

Updated November 17, 2022

Find the best online master's in communication degree with our list of top-rated schools that offer accredited online programs.

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Online Communicaton Master's Programs

An online master's in communication program covers topics like fundraising and political campaigns, marketing, political advocacy, and public relations.

Graduates of master's in communication online degree programs can work in fields like advertising, administration, and public relations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average job growth for many communications careers, including advertising, promotions, and marketing managers; public relations and fundraising managers; and postsecondary education administrators.

Featured Online Master's in Communication Programs

The Best Online Master’s in Communication Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Northwestern University

  • Evanston, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in communication can earn their degree from Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois. Enrollees train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new careers.

The curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in communications. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants with a background in communication typically meet the admission requirements.

Online degree-seekers work with the program to find local internships. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Northwestern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 9%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: Master's in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $56,067

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $56,067

Average Tuition
In-state
$56,232
Out-of-state
$56,232
Retention Rate
98%
Admission Rate
9%
Students Enrolled
22,448
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University hosts a top-rated online MBA/MA in communication. Students train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree. A master's can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in communications. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants without a communications background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll.

Online degree candidates work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Johns Hopkins University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 11%

Total Online Master's Programs: 30

Program Name: MBA/MA in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $55,350

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $55,350

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,350
Out-of-state
$55,350
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
27,079
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Online Master’s in Communication

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online communications degree can enroll in the master of communication management program at University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles. The program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. Master's degree-holders may also move into a new career.

The curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in communications. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in communications or a related field.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

University of Southern California at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 11%

Total Online Master's Programs: 55

Program Name: Master of communication management

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,272

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,272

Average Tuition
In-state
$57,256
Out-of-state
$57,256
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
48,321
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s in Communication

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located in Champaign, enrolls master's students in its online master of science in strategic brand communication program. The rigorous curriculum prepares graduates for advanced roles in the field. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career or advance in their current field.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a degree in communications or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 59%

Total Online Master's Programs: 30

Program Name: Master of science in strategic brand communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $14,997

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,404

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,188
Out-of-state
$33,127
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
51,605
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Master’s in Communication

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Monroe, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of arts in communication at University of Louisiana at Monroe offers high academic quality. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of communications. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in communications before applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. These and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

University of Louisiana at Monroe at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of arts in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,490

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,590

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,788
Out-of-state
$17,888
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
8,673
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Purdue University-Main Campus

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in communication at Purdue University-Main Campus, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, uses a flexible distance learning format. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. Master's degree-holders can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in communications.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Purdue University-Main Campus at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 60%

Total Online Master's Programs: 20

Program Name: Master's in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,208

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,010

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,208
Out-of-state
$28,010
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
45,500
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Mississippi College

  • Clinton, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master of science in healthcare communication at Mississippi College, located in Clinton, offers a flexible online format. Degree candidates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous program. A master's degree can also prepare graduates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum emphasizes the best practices in communications. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. Applicants with prior experience in communications or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Mississippi College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 42%

Total Online Master's Programs: 23

Program Name: Master of science in healthcare communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,250

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,250

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,550
Out-of-state
$17,550
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
42%
Students Enrolled
4,733
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Sam Houston State University

  • Huntsville, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston State University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online master of arts in communication studies program. The program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new careers.

The curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to communications. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused careers. The master's program recommends a background in communications or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Sam Houston State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 27

Program Name: Master of arts in communication studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,765

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,361

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,856
Out-of-state
$15,984
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
21,558
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Marist College

  • Poughkeepsie, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in integrated marketing communication can earn their degree from Marist College, located in Poughkeepsie, New York. The program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career.

The curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of communications. Learners prepare for focused careers by choosing electives and concentrations. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in communications.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved local sites. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Marist College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 49%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master's in integrated marketing communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $15,300

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $15,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$39,925
Out-of-state
$39,925
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
6,738
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#10 Best Online Master’s in Communication

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of arts in communication degree at East Carolina University, located in Greenville, North Carolina, offers high academic quality. The program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. With a master's degree, graduates can advance their current career or move into new careers.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. Applicants without a communications background may need to complete prerequisites.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

East Carolina University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 79%

Total Online Master's Programs: 41

Program Name: Master of arts in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,749

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,898

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
28,651
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#11 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Webster University

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in communication management at Webster University, located in Saint Louis, offers high academic quality. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career.

The curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in communications. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The admission requirements include a background in communications or a related field.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Webster University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 57%

Total Online Master's Programs: 31

Program Name: Master's in communication management

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,500

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$28,500
Out-of-state
$28,500
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
57%
Students Enrolled
9,860
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#12 Best Online Master’s in Communication

West Virginia University

  • Morgantown, WV
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online communications degree can enroll in the master of arts in communication studies program at West Virginia University, located in Morgantown. The program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new careers.

The curriculum emphasizes current research in communications. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program builds on prior communications experience.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

West Virginia University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 84%

Total Online Master's Programs: 18

Program Name: Master of arts in communication studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,134

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,154

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,976
Out-of-state
$25,320
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
26,839
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Eastern Illinois University

  • Charleston, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Charleston, Eastern Illinois University hosts a top-rated online master of arts in communication studies. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants with prior experience in communications or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Eastern Illinois University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 53%

Total Online Master's Programs: 15

Program Name: Master of arts in communication studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,356

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,654

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,875
Out-of-state
$11,045
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
7,806
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#14 Best Online Master’s in Communication

University of Central Missouri

  • Warrensburg, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master of arts in communication can earn their degree from University of Central Missouri, located in Warrensburg. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. The program recommends a background in communications before applying to the program.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

University of Central Missouri at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 65%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: Master of arts in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,524

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $15,048

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,128
Out-of-state
$14,256
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
11,229
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 Best Online Master’s in Communication

University of Denver

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Denver enrolls students in its online master's in marketing communication program. The program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. After earning a master's degree, candidates can also pursue careers in new industries.

The curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants without a background in communications may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of Denver at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 59%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master's in marketing communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $51,336

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $51,336

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,336
Out-of-state
$51,336
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
12,931
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#16 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Lynn University

  • Boca Raton, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Boca Raton, Florida, Lynn University hosts a top-ranked master of science in strategic communication. Students train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree. Master's degree-holders can also pursue careers in new industries.

The curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in communications. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants without a background in communications may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Lynn University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name: Master of science in strategic communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,320

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,320

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,680
Out-of-state
$36,680
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
3,247
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#17 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Morehead State University

  • Morehead, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Morehead State University, located in Morehead, Kentucky, enrolls students in its online master's in marketing communications. The rigorous curriculum prepares graduates for advanced roles in the field. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The program blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of communications. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a background in communications may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Morehead State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 78%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: Master's in marketing communications

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,260

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $10,260

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,970
Out-of-state
$13,556
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
9,654
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#18 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Southern Utah University

  • Cedar City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of arts in professional communication at Southern Utah University, located in Cedar City, offers high academic quality. The program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to communications. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in communications or a related field.

Online degree-seekers gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Southern Utah University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 78%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of arts in professional communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,574

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,784

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,006
Out-of-state
$19,822
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
11,224
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#19 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Northern Arizona University

  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online communications degree can enroll in the master of arts in communication program at Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff. Learners train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to communications. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in communications.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

Northern Arizona University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 85%

Total Online Master's Programs: 25

Program Name: Master of arts in communication

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,305

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,522

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,018
Out-of-state
$16,613
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
30,733
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#20 Best Online Master’s in Communication

Stevenson University

  • Stevenson, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in communications studies degree at Stevenson University, located in Stevenson, Maryland, prioritizes flexibility. The rigorous curriculum prepares graduates for advanced roles in the field. A master's degree allows graduates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to communications. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The program recommends a background in communications before applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Stevenson University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private nonprofit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name: Master's in communication studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,040

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,040

Average Tuition
In-state
$34,528
Out-of-state
$34,528
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
3,579
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Best Online Programs - Master's in Communications

Online Master's in Communication Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

What Is a Master's in Communication Degree?

Communication master's degree programs explore advanced topics such as branding, strategic communication management, persuasion, political communication, and multimedia writing. Most communications programs also include writing courses in areas such as writing for public relations, speeches, opinion writing, and promotional writing. Many programs emphasize digital media, which prepares students to manage online marketing and social media accounts.

Communications curricula vary widely by program, especially when it comes to concentrations and electives. When selecting a program, consider your specific interests and career goals. Research requirements can also vary by program. While advanced research topics are part of nearly every master's in communication online program, some programs require additional research in the form of a thesis or practicum.

Online Master's in Communication Programs

Online classes meet the same standards as traditional classes but offer much more freedom and flexibility. Students submit homework, take tests, and engage in class discussions online. Some online programs move in a synchronous format, meaning students must log on at a set time each day to watch live lectures or chat with peers. Asynchronous programs allow students to complete classwork and participate in discussion boards on their own time as long as they meet a set deadline.

Organized, self-motivated students thrive in online communication master's programs, which prepare graduates to work under minimum supervision. However, some online programs do have in-person components, like monitored exams or annual three-day seminars. Pay attention to in-person requirements when researching programs and keep in mind that most colleges don't pay for transportation costs. If you attend an online school in California but live in Missouri, plan accordingly.

The Advantages of a Master's Degree in Communication

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in communication tend to find jobs as communication coordinators or specialists. While these entry-level jobs are a valuable career starting point, earning an online communication master's degree means more opportunities. Even if you work your way up within a company, some companies set salary limits for employees without master's degrees.

Meanwhile, graduates with master's degrees in communication earn jobs as managers or directors, or work in the higher education sector as college professors, where they can teach the next generation and enjoy a flexible schedule. If you're unsure about whether you should continue your education, consider the average salary differences between professionals with bachelor's and master's degrees below.

Average Salary by Degree Level

$62,140
Bachelor of Arts in Communication

$65,430
Master of Arts in Communication

Source: Payscale

Choosing an Online Communications Graduate Degree Program

When choosing an online master's in communication program, take your time. Being selective saves you trouble in the long run. With so many quality online programs to choose from, you can definitely find one that fits your needs and budget. Make a list of what criteria you value in a school, including program cost, transfer policies, and school size and type. Keep these criteria in mind during your search.

Accreditation for Online Communication Master's Degrees

For students pursuing a communication master's online, accreditation should be a top consideration. If a school is accredited, it means it's regularly evaluated by an accrediting agency to ensure high educational standards. Although the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) don't grant accreditation, they do oversee accrediting agencies. You can visit CHEA's accreditation agencies database to verify accreditation for individual schools.

There are three types of accreditation: national, regional, and programmatic. Schools with national accreditation are usually vocational or trade schools, and the agencies that oversee them work nationally. These universities are generally considered less prestigious than regionally accredited schools, which tend to offer more traditional liberal arts curricula. Schools with regional accreditation also have more transferable credits.

Universities can also receive programmatic accreditation in communication. The American Communication Association grants accreditation to specific programs rather than a school. Watch out for online programs that don't hold national, regional, or programmatic accreditation, as these programs lack outside oversight and likely don't meet educational standards.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master in Communication Degree Program?

Both private and public universities typically require about 60 credits for a master's degree. When researching online programs, pay attention to whether a school uses an asynchronous or synchronous format. Asynchronous programs allow students to complete work at their own pace, while synchronous formats have specific time requirements, like live discussions and lectures. Synchronous formats are ideal for students who need structure to keep them on pace.

Most universities set minimum and maximum credit standards for both part-time and full-time students, meaning those enrolled are limited in their course load options. If you want to finish in less than two years, you should look for an accelerated program, where the maximum credit load allows you to double up. If you must balance a full-time job with your studies, look for part-time options. Full-time students usually complete their degrees within two years, while part-time students take 4-5 years.

Courses in an Online Master's in Communication Program

Advanced Public Speaking

Regardless of your specialization is, public speaking is an important component in any communication program. Online public speaking classes often require students to record and submit speeches, sometimes given in front of an audience. Typically, the audience consists of just family members and friends.

Interpersonal Communication

Communication directors and managers must have excellent communication skills in order to manage employees. It's also important to communicate well in one-on-one conversations with important company stakeholders. This class teaches those interpersonal communication skills, helping students improve their listening as well as their speaking.

Organizational Communication

Often, communication professionals must oversee organization-wide communication. In an organizational communication course, individuals learn to enhance interdepartmental and employee communication through internal newsletters and company events. For example, students learn to ensure that employees receive notifications about important company changes before presenting those changes to the general public.

Ethics and Legal Issues in Communication

In courses like this one, students examine case studies and learn about laws and regulations that affect communication professionals. Learners also get the chance to develop their own ethical frameworks and learn how to make educated ethical decisions on behalf of an organization.

Communication Theory

In this class, students examine popular communication theories and learn how to apply them in practical situations. This course typically includes a term paper that requires students to choose a theory and explain how it relates to a communications-related current event. Communication theory courses encourage students to take a stance on each theory and incorporate their favorites into their professional practices.

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Communication?

Senior positions in marketing and advertising often require supervisory skills, critical and creative thinking, and the ability to coordinate departments. Graduates with an online master's in communication have these skills and can secure these positions.

Marketing Director

Marketing directors manage all marketing efforts within an organization, overseeing the planning, execution, and evaluation of marketing campaigns. These professionals usually work as supervisors, designing and delegating tasks for SEO specialists, social media coordinators, graphic designers, writers, photographers, and advertising coordinators.

Median Salary: $90,752

Public Relations Director

These professionals help organizations and corporations cultivate positive public images and maintain relationships with important stakeholders. They do this by responding to social media inquiries, hosting events, creating marketing campaigns, and working with media professionals to obtain media coverage. PR directors often juggle several projects simultaneously.

Median Salary: $89,646

Social Media Director

Social media directors use online platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, to communicate with target audiences. These professionals often work with photographers, videographers, copywriters, and graphic designers to produce content. Social media directors work closely with public relations directors to ensure that the company's social media presence matches its brand.

Median Salary: $75,745

Communications Manager

These professionals oversee an entire communication department. They evaluate public messages, manage crisis communications, maintain relationships with the media, and organize internal communications. Communication managers must have excellent public speaking and interpersonal skills. The ability to multitask is also essential.

Median Salary: $66,468

Managing Editor

Individuals who love to write often find higher-paying positions as managing editors. These editors collaborate with other editors and journalists to produce publications. They handle big-picture issues, like how stories complement one another or conflict with adjacent advertisements. They also have the final say on whether or not a story gets published.

Median Salary: $64,349

Common Questions About Master's in Communication Degrees

Is a Master's in Communication Worth It?

A master's in communication can lead to fulfilling careers that earn above average salaries. According to Payscale, the average salary of individuals with a master's degree in communications is over $65,000.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Communication?

Graduates with a master's degree in communication can work in marketing, public relations, and advertising, and administration.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's Degree in Communications?

GA master's degree in communications typically takes two years to complete, though students in part-time or accelerated programs may take more or less time.

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