30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communications 2020

| Staff

Advertisement GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

As the saying goes, communication is key. With one of the following 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communications, graduates can unlock the tools for successful messaging and business interactions.

Best Online Badge

In the age of information, effectively communicating with one another is challenging as ever. Technological advances make it easier to reach a broad audience, but the volume of information out there, and the speed at which it’s presented can cause messages to get lost. The following 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communications are designed to enhance graduates’ ability to present information in a way that stands out.

The following programs integrate a variety of media platforms and technologies as well as practical interpersonal and professional communication skills. Some of the programs cover specific areas of the communications industry, such as journalism, public relations, and social media marketing. Others focus on a broad scope of professional communication skills such as crisis control, negotiation, and persuasion. In any case, graduates will leave their program knowing how to get their point across.

Each program listed can be completed either fully or partially online, which allows for maximum convenience, flexibility, and affordability. While many of the programs are targeted toward working professionals, they provide skills that will help individuals advance in their careers or effectively take on a new one. Individuals with a master’s degree in Communications may go on to pursue a career as an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager. Individuals in these roles strategize and plan campaigns and communications materials to generate public interest in goods and services.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for these positions was $132,620. Employment for individuals in these roles is growing at a projected rate of 10 percent, which is faster than average. In the hyperconnected modern world, advertising and marketing play increasingly dynamic and prominent roles in everyday life.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communications 2020

Rank School Location
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
2 Northeastern University Boston, MA
3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
5 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
6 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
7 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
8 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
9 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
10 Columbia University in the City of New York New York City, NY
Advertisement GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communications for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20%
  • Continued Enrollment: 20%
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.

Here are the 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communications for 2019 – 2020!

  1. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Liberty University's Master of Arts in Communication is Grad School Hub's top-ranked online master's degree in Communications. Designed for working professionals, the fully online degree program combines communication theory with professional practice and problem-solving. The 33-credit curriculum is comprised of 11 eight-week core courses. These courses include Conflict Analysis & Resolution, Effective Social Media, Event Planning & Donor Relations, and Strategic Storytelling. Students must culminate the program with a master's thesis or a comprehensive assessment. The degree program takes a year and a half to complete on average.

    Founded in 1971, Liberty has since grown into one of the largest Christian universities in the world. It is also the largest private non-profit university in the nation in terms of student enrollment. While thousands of students are enrolled on campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, most Liberty students are enrolled in an online capacity. The school is home to the National Civil War Chaplains Museum, the nation's only museum dedicated to the religious activity of the Civil War era. The university plays an active role in American Republican politics. As an evangelical Christian institution, Liberty offers academic programs rooted in conservative Christianity.

  2. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northeastern University offers a Master of Science in Corporate & Organizational Communication. Offered through the university's College of Professional Studies, the online degree program incorporates modern trends, interactive learning, and case studies. Students can choose from eight concentrations, including but not limited to Cross-Cultural Communication, Leadership, and Public Relations. Core courses include Intercultural Communication, Ethical issues in Organizational Communication, and Writing Lab. Elective offerings include Crisis Communication, Personal Branding, and Prototyping. Students also have the option to participate in an International Field Study Experience. The curriculum culminates in a professional capstone project. The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

    Northeastern began in 1898 as the Evening Institute for Younger Men in Boston's Huntington Avenue YMCA. It is now a private research university with a main campus that spreads through Boston's Back Bay, Fenway-Kenmore, Roxbury, and South End neighborhoods. It also operates satellite campuses in California, North Carolina, Washington, and Canada. The university features a cooperative education program that fuses classroom study and professional experience. It is also consistently ranked among the Princeton Review's "Best Schools for Internships." The university's research centers include the Center for Communications and Digital Signal Processing, the Center for Emerging Markets, and the Institute for Global Innovation Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks Northeastern at No. 72 in Best Value Schools, No. 44 in National Universities, and No. 8 in Most Innovative Schools.

  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication. Offered through the university's College of Business and College of Media, the interdisciplinary program can be completed entirely online. Designed for working professionals, the 32-credit curriculum covers emerging technologies, techniques, and strategies in communications. Courses include Essentials of Business Management, Messaging Strategy, Promotional Strategy, and Strategic Branding: Global Perspectives. Students may choose to pursue a Strategic Brand Communication Certificate in Essentials, Insights, Media & Analytics, or a custom field. The degree program can be completed within 15 months.

    Founded in 1867, U of I is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois System. It is a public land-grant research university and member of the Association of American Universities. Located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, the university operates the nation's second-largest university library in terms of holdings. Its National Center for Supercomputing Applications is noted for housing the world's fastest supercomputer on a university campus. The university also operates the Prairie Research Institute and a Research Park with facilities used by several Fortune 500 companies. U.S. News & World Report ranks U of I at No. 46 in National Universities and No. 13 in Top Public Schools.

  4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Digital Communication. Designed for working communications professionals, the program emphasizes applied research and critical thinking for modern media and communication. The 30-credit curriculum is structured in a nine-course sequence that culminates in a final thesis project. Courses include Digital Data and Analytics, Information Visualization, and Media Law for the Digital Age. The program is designed to be completed in two years and one summer term, with students taking two courses per semester and one in the summer. Students are required to attend a two-day on-campus orientation and a five-day summer residency.

    Chartered in 1789, UNC-Chapel Hill is the flagship institution of the University of North Carolina system. Located in downtown Chapel Hill, the campus includes Morehead Planetarium and surrounds the busy Franklin Street. The university's student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, has been nationally recognized for its excellence. The UNC student radio station was the first to broadcast on the internet.

  5. Purdue University
    Location

    West Lafayette, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Purdue University offers an online program leading to a Master of Science in Communication. The degree program is designed for working professionals. The 30-credit curriculum consists of 10 courses, including three core courses: Strategic Communications and Ethics, and seminars in Communication Research Methods and Strategic Communication. Students can choose to concentrate in Integrated Communication and Advertising or Strategic Communication and Public Relations. Integrated Communication courses include Persuasive Communication and an Advertising seminar. Strategic Communication courses include seminars in Crisis Communication and Global Strategic Communication. While no residencies are required, students are offered opportunities to study abroad. The degree program can be completed in 20 months.

    Purdue was founded in 1869 and named after its benefactor John Purdue. The public research university is the flagship institution of the Purdue University system. Located in West Lafayette, the university has the largest student enrollment in the state of Indiana. Purdue is a member of the Association of American Universities. Nicknamed "Cradle of Astronauts," the university is noted as a pioneer in aviation and spaceflight. It is also noted for its Online Writing Lab. Purdue has conducted significant research in areas such as manufacturing, nanotechnology, and veterinary medicine. The university's independent student newspaper, the Purdue Exponent, has the most extensive college newspaper circulation in Indiana. U.S. News & World Report ranks Purdue at No. 56 in National Universities, No. 17 in Top Public Schools, and No. 6 in Most Innovative Schools.

  6. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Southern California offers a Master of Communication Management through its Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The online degree program is offered on a year-round basis with 15-week semesters. The curriculum integrates data-driven research and contemporary communication trends. It consists of eight courses totaling 32 credit hours. Course examples include Audience Analysis; Foundations of Effective PR Writing; Global Marketing Communication; and Principles of Public Relations. Students culminate the program with a capstone practicum project in their area of interest. The program takes an estimated 16 months to complete, with students expected to enroll in two courses per semester.

    Established in 1880, USC is the largest private employer in Los Angeles and a member of the Association of American Universities. USC developments and innovations include DNA computing, the Domain Name System, and image compression. Its research facilities include the Center for Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems, the Integrated Media Systems Center, and the Southern California Earthquake Center. The university's student newspaper, The Daily Trojan, notably featured the first post-resignation interview of President Richard Nixon. The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has a news website called Neon Tommy. U.S. News & World Report ranks USC at No. 37 in Best Value Schools, No. 28 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 22 in National Universities.

  7. Gonzaga University
    Location

    Spokane, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Gonzaga University offers an online program leading to a Master's in Communication and Leadership Studies. The 30-credit degree program builds skills in areas such as audience analysis, cultural awareness, data interpretation, negotiation, presentation skills, and problem-solving. Courses include Digital Storytelling, Mindful Leadership and Communication, and Social Media Engagement and Analysis. Students may choose from optional six concentration areas, including College Teaching, Digital Media Strategies, and Global Leadership. Students may also want to study abroad in Belgium, Colombia, the Czech Republic, or Italy. Domestic immersion opportunities are also available, including a required on-campus three-day practicum. The degree program takes an average of two years to complete.

    Gonzaga was founded in 1887 by Father Joseph Cataldo and named after the Jesuit Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. It was established as a Catholic school to serve local Native American students. Today, the private university maintains its Roman Catholic affiliation. Located on grassland along the Spokane River in Spokane, Washington, the campus includes two large libraries, a theater, and unique religious artworks. The university's student newspaper, The Gonzaga Bulletin, has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists. U.S. News & World Report ranks Gonzaga at No. 7 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 6 in Best Value Schools, and No. 4 in Regional Universities West.

  8. Webster University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Webster University offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Communications Management. The degree program is designed for working professionals in communications-related fields. The 36-credit curriculum prepares graduates for advanced management positions in their field. It includes seven core courses, such as Media and Culture, Organizational Communications, and Strategic Communications. Students must also take both a course and seminar in Media Communications, as well as courses in Media Organization and Regulations and Media Production Management. Each student must also choose five approved electives totaling 15 credit hours.

    Webster was founded in 1915 as a Catholic women's college by the Sisters of Loretto. It began accepting male students in 1962 and is now a private co-educational university. In addition to its main campus in suburban Webster Groves, Missouri, the school operates multiple branch locations across the nation. It also has international campuses in countries including Austria, China, Ghana, and Switzerland. Webster has a student newspaper called The Journal, a student magazine called The Ampersand, and a student radio station called The Galaxy. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 56 in Best Value Schools and No. 23 in Regional Universities Midwest.

  9. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Johns Hopkins University offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Communication. The degree program prioritizes practical learning, real-world communication issues, strong writing skills, and digital technology. Core courses include Changing Behavior through Communication, Introduction to the Digital Age, and Persuasion. Elective offerings include Branding by Motion Picture, Political Communication Campaigns, and Social Media's Impact on Popular Culture. All students must take a Research & Writing Methods course and culminate the program with a master's thesis. The curriculum consists of 10 courses and can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. The average time to completion is two years.

    JHU was founded in 1876 and named after its benefactor, Johns Hopkins. It is considered the nation's first research university. The private institution is divided across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with the main campus in Baltimore, Maryland. It also operates international locations in China, Italy, and Singapore. The university is home to the oldest continuously running university press in the nation. It is also one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities and the leading recipient of NASA research funding. U.S. News & World Report ranks JHU at No. 18 in both Best Value Schools and Most Innovative Schools, and No. 10 in National Universities.

  10. Columbia University in the City of New York
    Location

    New York City, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Columbia University in the City of New York offers an Executive Master of Science in Strategic Communication. The degree program is designed for working professionals. The program includes on-campus weekend sessions throughout each semester and intensive study residencies. When not meeting on campus, students are expected to spend 20 to 25 hours online working on readings, projects, and group activities. The 36-credit curriculum studies both classical and modern approaches to communication and allows students to apply lessons to real-world scenarios. Courses include The Compelling Communicator, Principles in Persuasion, and The Reflective Leader. The curriculum culminates in a real-world Strategic Communication capstone project. The degree is designed to be completed on a part-time basis in four consecutive terms.

    Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest higher education institution in the state of New York. It is also the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of the nation's nine colonial colleges, which were founded before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A private Ivy League research university, Columbia is often ranked among the top universities in the world. Its campus is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Notable research breakthroughs include the laser, evidence for continental drift and plate tectonics, and an experiment considered to be the genesis of modern genetics. Several of the nation's most significant politicians have graduated from Columbia, including Alexander Hamilton and Barack Obama. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 6 in Best Value Schools and No. 3 in National Universities.

Latest Posts

See All Posts
10 Best Master’s Degrees in Archaeology 2020

10 Best Master’s Degrees in Archaeology 2020

August 6, 2020   |   Staff

The field of archaeology uncovers the artifacts and materials that speak volumes about the human species and the societies we build. Studying these materials deepens human understanding of our cultural...

5 Best Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology

5 Best Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology

August 12, 2020   |   Staff

Child and Adolescent Psychology examines the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of children and adolescents. Master's degree programs in Child and Adolescent Psychology can equip students with significant insight into both the...

Advertisement GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.