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.
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.
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!
#30 – University of Alabama
Master of Arts in Communication Studies, specialization in Organizational Leadership
The University of Alabama offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. The online program examines the role communication plays in organizations, relationship dynamics, and successful leadership. The 30-credit curriculum includes core courses in Gender and Political Communication, Human Communication Theory, and Relational Communication. Specialized Organizational Leadership courses include Conflict and Negotiation and Group Leadership. Each student must also take a course in research methods. Students can choose to culminate the program with an academic or professional option. The academic option involves the completion of a comprehensive exam and an additional elective course. Those who choose the professional option must complete a professional project and capstone portfolio.
Established in 1820, the University of Alabama is the oldest public university in Alabama. It is the flagship institution of the University of Alabama System. The school is noted for its role in training Confederate cadets for the American Civil War, which led to Union troops burning down much of the campus. Located in Tuscaloosa, the university maintains the University of Alabama Arboretum, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the Alabama Museum of Natural History. As a research university with a very high level of research activity, UA operates centers such as the Alabama International Trade Center and the Center for Advanced Public Safety. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 129 in National Universities, No. 87 in Best Value Schools, and No. 61 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780 in-state; $29,230 out-of-state
#29 – Ball State University
Master of Arts in Journalism
Ball State University offers a Master of Arts in Journalism. The 36-credit degree program can be completed in a fully online or hybrid format. Students can choose to specialize in media analytics and management or reporting and storytelling. The Media Analytics and Management specialization includes courses in content strategy, data management, and social media engagement. The Reporting and Storytelling specialization covers emerging technologies, reporting and research methods, and social media storytelling. The core curriculum is comprised of three courses: Journalistic Judgments and Sociology of News, Media Audiences and Content Strategy, and Studies in Journalism and Communication Theory. Each student will also take a specialized research methods course and complete a capstone creative project, practicum or internship, or master's thesis.
Ball State was established in 1917 by industrialists the Ball brothers. Formerly a teacher training school, BSU is now a public research university. It operates three learning locations in Indiana: the main campus in Muncie, and satellite facilities in Fishers and Indianapolis. The university publishes the Ball Street Daily News student newspaper and the Ball Bearings student magazine. It also supports Cardinal Communications, a student-run advertising and public relations firm, and Cardinal Metrics, a student-run media analytics agency. U.S. News & World Report ranks BSU at No. 171 in National Universities and No. 91 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,730 in-state; $21,666 out-of-state
#28 – University of Florida
Master of Arts in Mass Communication, specialization in Global Strategic Communication
The University of Florida offers a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Global Strategic Communication. The online program focuses on preparing graduates to communicate effectively across cultural and geographic boundaries. The 37-credit curriculum consists of three core pillars: Communication, Culture, and Messaging. Core courses include Global Activism, International Issues & Crisis Communication, and Video Storytelling. Students can choose from several specialized tracks, including Audience Analytics, Political Communication, Social Media, and Web Design. The curriculum culminates in a three-credit capstone course, which involves working with a client to solve real-world problems in communications.
Established in 1853, UF is a senior member of the State University System of Florida and the state's flagship university. The public state university is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. UF has a main campus in Gainesville, Florida, and additional facilities throughout the state. It also operates the Beijing Center for International Studies in Beijing, China. As a research university with very high research activity, it conducts significant research in areas such as astronomy, biotechnology, and diabetes. Notably, the sports drink Gatorade was named after the school's sports team, the Florida Gators. U.S. News & World Report ranks UF at No. 55 in Most Innovative Schools and No. 35 in National Universities.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,770 in-state; $27,335 out-of-state
#27 – California Baptist University
Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
California Baptist University offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication. Applicants should have a relevant undergraduate background, or a bachelor's degree in any field plus at least five years of managerial work experience. The degree program integrates biblical thought into its study of contemporary communication. The 30-credit curriculum includes required courses in Communication Ethics, Media Effects on Communication Behavior, and Social Influence and Persuasion. Students can expect to work on developing communication campaigns and programs relating to media, public relations, and strategic communication. The degree program is typically completed in 12 months.
Cal Baptist was established in 1950 and is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. The private university's academic programs are rooted in the liberal arts and a Christian worldview. Its campus is located in Riverside, California, and is known for its Mission Revival-style architecture. The university's extensive Annie Gabriel Library houses special collections and resources in areas including hymnology and the Holocaust. The school offers summer International Service Projects, which involve three weeks of overseas ministry service. U.S. News & World Report ranks CBU at No. 32 in Regional Universities West, No. 20 in Best Value Schools, and No. 7 in Most Innovative Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,420
#26 – Spring Arbor University
Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership
Spring Arbor, MI
Spring Arbor University offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership. The program is unique in that it pairs students with faculty mentors who are experienced in strategic communications. The curriculum integrates a Christian worldview in its approach to communications and media. Featured courses include Communication Theory and Worldview, Communication as Vocation and Calling, and Digital Media Strategies. Students complete the program with an electronic portfolio of their work. The degree program is designed to be completed in 18 months.
Spring Arbor was founded as a theological seminary in 1873 by leaders of the Free Methodist Church. It has since developed into a private Christian university. Located in Spring Arbor, Michigan, it is the second-largest evangelical Christian university in the state. It operates 12 additional learning locations throughout Michigan and one in Ohio. The university publishes The Pulse, a student-run news magazine; holds an annual student film festival called Lumenocular; and has two radio stations. U.S. News & World Report ranks SAU at No. 53 in Regional Universities Midwest and No. 32 in Best Value Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,467
#25 – East Carolina University
Master of Arts in Communication, emphasis in Health Communication
East Carolina University offers a Master of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in Health Communication. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree, though it does not necessarily need to be in a field related to health communication. The 30-semester-hour program includes two core courses: Communication Theory and Research Methods. Elective offerings include Health Communication Campaigns, Intercultural Communication in Health Contexts, and Media and Health Communication. Students can choose to pursue a master's thesis or take additional electives instead.
ECU was founded in 1907 as a teacher training school. It has since grown into the fourth largest university in North Carolina. The public research university operates four campuses in Greenville, the Field Station for Coastal Studies in New Holland, and an overseas campus in Italy. The space-grant institution also participates in research at the Coastal Studies Institute in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Its additional research centers and institutes include the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute, the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center, and the Pediatric Health Weight Research and Treatment Center. U.S. News & World Report ranks ECU at No. 194 in National Universities and No. 106 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,749 in-state; $17,898 out-of-state
#24 – University of Missouri
Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
The University of Missouri offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication through its School of Journalism. The online program is rooted in theory and research. The 37-credit curriculum is built on five principles: a communications toolbox, a global/multicultural perspective, relationship building, strategic planning, and technology. The School of Journalism core curriculum includes courses in Media Ethics and Research Methods and seminars in Mass Media and Professional Skills. The Strategic Communication major core includes courses in Changing Media Business Models, Digital Strategy, and Public Relations. Students can culminate the program with a master's thesis or professional project.
Established in 1839, Mizzou was the first public institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. Located in Columbia, Missouri, it is the flagship campus of the University of Missouri System and the largest university in the state. A pioneer in media and communications, MU is home to one of the nation's first schools of journalism and the first university network TV affiliate. A land- and space-grant institution, the university is a member of the Association of American Universities. Mizzou notably hosts the world's most powerful university research reactor in its Research Reactor Center. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school at No. 129 in National Universities, No. 78 in Best Value Schools, and No. 61 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,822 in-state; $24,156 out-of-state
#23 – Stevenson University
Master of Science in Communication Studies
Baltimore County, MD
Stevenson University offers a Master of Science in Communication Studies. Designed for working adults, the degree program can be completed entirely online, with courses offered in eight-week sessions. The 36-credit curriculum builds communication skills applicable to any field. Course examples include Crisis Communication, Cultures and Communication, and Nonverbal Communication. Students can choose to culminate the program with a Communication Architecture Project or master's thesis.
Stevenson was established in 1947 by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Named for Saint Julie Billiart, it was initially a training school for medical secretaries called Villa Julie College. To reflect its expansion and shifting structure, the university changed its name to Stevenson University in 2008. It is now a private university and is no longer affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. It operates two campuses in Baltimore County, Maryland: one in Stevenson and another in Owings Mills. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 81 in Regional Universities North and No. 47 in Best Value Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,040
#22 – Quinnipiac University
Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications
Quinnipiac University offers an online program leading to a Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications. The degree program prepares students to think creatively, lead visually, and create a wide variety of content. Aside from the capstone, the 30-credit curriculum includes two core courses: Foundations in Graduate Studies and Writing for Interactive Media. Elective offerings include Data Visualization, Motion Across Media, and Visual Storytelling. Students have options to complete an internship or independent study, though neither is required. The program culminates in the creation of a practical online capstone portfolio, which graduates can show to future employers. The program can be completed in 21 months if students take two courses each semester, including the summer. Full-time students can complete the program in 16 months.
Quinnipiac was founded in 1929 as the Connecticut College of Commerce at the beginning of the Great Depression. The college closed temporarily in the early 1940s, as almost every student enrolled was drafted into World War II. In 1951, the school was renamed Quinnipiac College to honor the region's Quinnipiac Native American peoples. Today, Quinnipiac is a private university with three campuses in and near New Haven, Connecticut. Its main Mount Carmel campus is located at the foot of the Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Connecticut. It is home to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, a prominent public opinion polling center. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 48 in Best Value Schools, No. 13 in Regional Universities North, and No. 3 in Most Innovative Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,630
#21 – West Virginia University
Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications
West Virginia University offers a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. Ideal for working professionals, the online degree program integrates information that can be immediately applied to workplace challenges. The 30-credit plan of study consists of 10 required courses that can be completed at students' own pace. Core courses include Audience Insight, Brand Equity Management, and Marketing Research & Analysis. Specialty course offerings include Advanced Creative Concepts, Global Brand Communication, and Political Marketing. The curriculum culminates in a capstone course that involves developing a real-world client campaign. Each academic year consists of five terms that add up to year-round study. The degree program can be completed in two years.
Established in 1867, WVU is the flagship university of West Virginia. In addition to its main campus in Morgantown, the public university operates the Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser and the West Virginia Institute of Technology in Beckley. It also operates a clinical campus in Charleston at the Charleston Area Medical Center. WVU is a land- and space-grant institution with very high research activity. The university partners with the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute for research in Alzheimer's and other brain diseases, and with the FBI in leading biometrics research. U.S. News & World Report ranks WVU at No. 205 in National Universities and No. 112 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,990 in-state; $25,776 out-of-state
#20 – South Dakota State University
Master of Mass Communication
South Dakota State University offers an online program leading to a Master of Mass Communications. The degree program has theoretical underpinnings and a primary purpose of enhancing students' professional skills. It is designed for mid-career professions in media and communications. Students can choose to take a 36-credit coursework-only route or to take 32 credits and culminate the program with a research paper. Core course requirements include Cross-Platform Campaigns, Cross-Platform Storytelling, and Media Law Case Studies. Elective offerings include Health Journalism, Opinion Writing, and Women in Media.
Founded in 1881, SDSU is South Dakota's oldest continuously-operating university. It is also the largest university in the state. Located on three campuses in Brookings, the public university is home to an extensive library; the McCrory Gardens and South Dakota Arboretum; the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum; and the South Dakota Art Museum. SDSU is a land-, sun-, and space-grant institution with high research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks it at No. 129 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,825 in-state; $15,044 out-of-state
#19 – Mississippi College
Master of Science in Communication, concentration in Integrated Communication
Mississippi College offers a Master of Science in Communication with a concentration in Integrated Communication. This concentration allows students to explore a wide range of interests in the communications field. Required courses for the online program include Communication Research, Persuasion, and Process and Effects of Communication. Elective offerings include Intercultural Communication, Negotiation, and Science Communication. All students culminate the 31-credit curriculum with a convocation paper.
Founded in 1826, MC is the oldest college in the state of Mississippi. It is also the second-oldest college affiliated with the Baptist Church in the United States. Located in Clinton, MC is the largest private university in Mississippi. It did not hold classes during the Civil War. Instead, U.S. Union General Ulysses S. Grant is reported to have used the campus as a troop hospital and horse stable. Today, the university integrates the liberal arts and sciences, professional skills training, and Christian foundations into its curriculum. U.S. News & World Report ranks MC at No. 32 in Regional Universities South and No. 16 in Best Value Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,962
#18 – Loyola University Maryland
Master of Arts in Emerging Media
Loyola University Maryland offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Emerging Media. The 33-credit degree program consists of nine courses and a capstone project. Course offerings include Exploring Digital Culture; Media Innovation; and Social, Political, Economic and Cultural Issues in Emerging Media. Students may also choose to complete an internship in the field. The program also includes annual week-long summer residencies. Each residency involves hands-on learning, expert panels, and field trips. Part-time students can complete the program in 44 months, while full-students can complete it in 12 months. All students must take at least one course per semester.
Established in 1852, Loyola University Maryland is one of the oldest Jesuit colleges in the United States. Although multiple universities in the nation are now named after St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola Maryland was the first. The private research university is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Located in Baltimore, the university's campus features Collegiate Gothic architecture and a pedestrian bridge. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school at No. 49 in Best Value Schools and No. 5 in Regional Universities-North.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,460
#17 – American University
Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
The American University offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication. The 30-credit program consists of 10 courses spanning eight weeks each. Core required courses include Communication Theory, Research for Strategic Communication, and Writing for Strategic Communication. Online students may choose a concentration in Advocacy & Social Impact, which provides course offerings such as Documentary Storytelling for Social Change, Political Communication, and Speech Writing. Each student culminates the curriculum in a research study and project in their area of interest. Part-time students taking at least two courses per semester can complete the program within two years.
American was established by an Act of Congress in 1892. The establishment was due primarily to the efforts of a Methodist bishop who aimed to create a school built upon internationalism, pragmatic idealism, and public service. Today, the private research university maintains its affiliation with the United Methodist Church, though religious affiliation is not required of students. The university's main campus is located near Ward Circle in Washington, D.C. U.S. News & World Report ranks AU at No. 78 in National Universities and No. 64 in Best Value Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $30,744
#16 – Florida International University
Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications
Greater Miami, FL
Florida International University offers an online program leading to a Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications. The professionally focused degree program builds globally-minded, socially responsible communication leadership and innovation skills. It consists of six eight-week terms, with students taking two courses per term. Core courses include Applied Research Methods in the Mass Media, Ethics and Social Responsibility, and Global Strategic Communication Management. The curriculum culminates with a Mass Communication Professional Project. Students also have the option to pursue an additional Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Consensus Building. The degree program can be completed in one year.
Established in 1965, FIU has since grown into the largest university in South Florida, the second-largest in the state, and the fourth-largest in the United States. The public university is a member of the State University System of Florida. It operates two primary campuses in the Greater Miami area, including the main campus in University Park. It also operates facilities throughout South Florida as well as in China and Italy. The university is home to the International Hurricane Research Center, the only university research facility focusing on tropical storm damage. U.S. News & World Report ranks FIU at No. 187 in National Universities and No. 100 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,912 in-state; $21,393 out-of-state
#15 – Arizona State University
Master of Arts in Communication
Arizona State University offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Communication. Designed for working professionals, the degree program enhances students' communication, leadership, and strategic planning skills. The 30-credit curriculum consists of 10 classes, each spanning seven and a half weeks. Online learning tools include interactive lecture and seminar videos. Required courses include Communication and Gender, Negotiation Theory & Practice, and Social Influence and Persuasion. The curriculum culminates in a three-credit capstone experience tailored to individuals' interests. Students also have the option to pursue a certificate in Conflict Management and Civil Dialogue.
ASU was established as a teacher training school in 1885. Today, it is one of the largest public universities in the United States in terms of student enrollment. It operates five campuses throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area and four learning locations throughout Arizona. A space-grant institution, ASU operates interdisciplinary research facilities including the Biodesign Institute, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and the McCain Institute for International Leadership. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 115 in National Universities, No. 52 in Top Public Schools, and No. 1 in Most Innovative Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,406 in-state; $25,160 out-of-state
#14 – Texas Tech University
Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation
Texas Tech University offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation. The online degree program is aimed at working communications professionals. The 30-credit curriculum prepares graduates for leadership positions in strategic communications. Students can enter the program in any semester and can take one to three courses per semester. Required courses include Communication in Organizations; Media Management, Entrepreneurship & Consulting; and Strategic Communication in a Global Environment. Elective offerings include Advanced Social Media Practice, Interpersonal Communication, and Multimedia Story Telling. The curriculum culminates in an applied research project.
Established in 1923, Texas Tech is the primary institution of the four-campus Texas Tech University System. The public research university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as having the highest level of research activity. The university has conducted significant research in areas such as atmospheric sciences, grid computing, and wind energy. Located in Lubbock, Texas, the campus is noted for its Spanish Renaissance-style architecture, excellent grounds-keeping, and highly-ranked public art collection. U.S. News & World Report ranks TTU at No. 187 in National Universities and No. 100 in Top Public Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,832 in-state; $13,302 out-of-state
#13 – Queens University of Charlotte
Master of Arts in Communication
The Queens University of Charlotte offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Communication. The 36-credit, 12-course degree program studies both long-proven communication theory and new media. Required courses include Communicating Mindfully; Leadership, Empowerment, and the Management of Meaning; and The Social Creation of Organizing. Students have the option to concentrate in Integrated Digital Strategy, which focuses on digital and social media tools. The concentration requires an additional three-credit course, Digital Experience Design. The curriculum culminates in a hands-on capstone project that examines a communication issue of the student's choice.
The Queens University of Charlotte was founded in 1857 as the Charlotte Female Institute. Today, it is a private, co-educational university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It is located in the historic Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina. Most students are enrolled in the university's Business and Marketing or Communications and Journalism programs. Its Knight School of Communication is the nation's only communications school to be endowed by the Knight Foundation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 32 in Best Value Schools and No. 18 in Regional Universities South.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,608
#12 – Northwestern University
Master of Science in Communications
Northwestern University offers a Hybrid Leadership Program leading to a Master of Science in Communications. The curriculum is tailored to working professionals with management experience. The degree program is structured in five-week sessions, with students taking one course at a time. Courses include Collaboration & Technology, Information Design, and Leading Collaboration. While most courses are offered online, the program also requires four in-residence seminars. Seminar topics include Crisis Communication Management' Cultural Intelligence and Managing Inclusion; Executive Presence and Elegant Communication; and Leading Collaboration. The curriculum includes a three-part capstone project that students work on throughout the program, which serves as the culminating assessment.
Northwestern was founded in 1851 by businessmen, lawyers, and Methodist leaders, to serve the Old Northwest Territory. Today, it is a private research university with the ninth-largest university endowment in the nation. In addition to its main campus in Evanston, Illinois, NU operates schools in Chicago and Doha, Qatar. It also has learning locations in Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. It is noted for its programs in journalism, law, management, medicine, music, and more. A member of the Association of American Universities, NU is home to research centers including the Argonne/Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center and the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 15 in Best Value Schools and No. 10 in National Universities.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $54,120
#11 – Marist College
Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication
Marist College offers an online program leading to a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication. The degree program focuses on contemporary digital media and strategic communication. The curriculum consists of 10 courses totaling 30 credits. All courses are offered online asynchronously, meaning students can study at any time at their convenience. Courses include Advertising Management, Brand Management, Global Consumer Insights, and Public Relations Management. Part-time students generally take two courses each semester and complete the program in six semesters or three academic years. Full-time students tend to take four courses per semester and complete the program in three or four semesters.
Marist College was founded in 1905 by the Catholic Marist Brothers. Today, it is a private liberal arts college no longer affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Its main campus is located in Poughkeepsie, New York, on the east banks of the Hudson River. The college also has a branch campus in Florence, Italy, and learning facilities in 26 countries. The school is home to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which operates the Marist Poll, one of the nation's first college-operated public opinion polls. The college also partners with IBM and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. U.S. News & World Report ranks Marist at No. 38 in Best Value Schools, No. 8 in Regional Universities North, and No. 2 in Most Innovative Schools.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,400
#10 – Columbia University in the City of New York
Master of Science in Strategic Communication
New York, NY
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $46,216
#9 – Johns Hopkins University
Master of Arts in Communication
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,740
#8 – Webster University
Master of Arts in Communications Management
Webster Groves, MO
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,500
#7 – Gonzaga University
Master's in Communication and Leadership Studies
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,725
#6 – University of Southern California
Master of Communication Management
Los Angeles, CA
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $44,712
#5 – Purdue University
Master of Science in Communication
West Lafayette, IN
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,208 in-state; $28,010 out-of-state
#4 – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Master of Arts in Digital Communication
Chapel Hill, NC
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,243 in-state; $27,454 out-of-state
#3 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication
Champaign and Urbana, IL
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,068 in-state; $28,221 out-of-state
#2 – Northeastern University
Master of Science in Corporate & Organizational Communication
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.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,027
#1 – Liberty University
Master of Arts in Communication
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.