This is a ranking of the 30 best value online master’s in communication programs for 2017. Communications is a large field and degrees are getting ever more specific in their focus. Here you will find degrees in communication, strategic communication, mass communication, public relations, professional communication, and technical communication. Today’s networked society requires professionals in a wide variety of positions to have top notch communication skills. One never knows when a customer interaction at any level in a given organization will be live streamed on Facebook or posted to Youtube. Thus more and more companies are listing strong communication skills as one of their most sought-after traits in new hires. These online communications master’s degrees are designed to help you meet the demand for strong communicators in the modern business landscape. You can find information on our sources and methodology at the end of this article.

#30. Seton Hall University

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership

Rating: 2

Seton Hall’s online communications master’s degree is designed to be completed in just 18 months.

Seton Hall’s online communications master’s degree is designed to be completed in just 18 months.

Website

Seton Hall’s MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership was of such value to one graduate (now co-CEO of Nicholas and Company) that she refers many of her employees to the program. Students in this program will take courses like leading organizational transformation, engaging and developing followers, the leadership voice of transformation: best practices, and leading organizational diversity.

Tuition: $20,430

#29. Purdue University

Online Master’s in Communication

Rating: 4

Graduates from Purdue University's online Master's in Communications program have gone to work for top U.S. companies.

Graduates from Purdue University’s online master’s in communications program have gone to work for top U.S. companies.

Website

Graduates from Purdue’s online MS in communication program have taken positions like marketing communications strategist, corporate communications manager, community relations liaison, and organizational development officer. Graduates have gone to work for companies and organizations like UNICEF, United Way, NCAA, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Time Warner Cable News, and John Deere.

In-State Tuition: $9,208
Out of State Tuition: $28,010

#28. Washington State University

Online Master’s in Strategic Communication

Rating: 4

Washington State University’s online master’s in strategic communication is designed for people looking to go into advertising, public relations, corporate communication and communication management.

Washington State University’s online master’s in strategic communication is designed for people looking to go into advertising, public relations, corporate communication and communication management.

Website

WSU requires applicants to the online master’s in strategic communication to have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, but the GRE and GMAT are not required. Some of the courses students will take in this program are multimedia content creation, crisis communication in global contexts, creative media strategies and techniques, and consumer behavior and brand development.

In-State Tuition: $11,224
Out of State Tuition: $24,656

#27. Southern Utah University

Online Master of Arts in Professional Communication

Rating: 4

Southern Utah University recently combined their advertising and public relations clubs to create a new strategic communication club.

Southern Utah University recently combined their advertising and public relations clubs to create a new strategic communication club.

Website

Applicants to this program must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and submit sufficient GRE scores. Students in this online MA in professional communication degree program will take courses like communication ethics, qualitative applications for communication research, communication and pop culture, social media, and current issues in communication.

In-State Tuition: $7,034
Out of State Tuition: $22,088

#26. Austin Peay State University

Master’s in Communication Online

Rating: 4

Austin Peay State University offers all three of its MA in communication arts program concentrations online.

Austin Peay State University offers all three of its MA in communication arts program concentrations online.

Website

Students in the online communications graduate program at Austin Peay State University can choose between concentrations in corporate communication, marketing communication, and media management communication. Students in this program will take courses like international communication: corporate communication, e-communication strategies, politics and mass media, and sports broadcasting directing and criticism.

In-State Tuition: $8,080
Out of State Tuition: $21,680

#25. Northern Arizona University

Online Master’s in Communication

Rating: 4

Students in the NAU online MA in communication program must maintain a GPA of 3.0 per university requirements.

Students in the NAU online MA in communication program must maintain a GPA of 3.0 as per university requirements.

Website

Graduates of this online MA in communication have pursued positions like hospital public relations officer, public relations professional, speech writer, internal communications manager, and market research analyst. Students in this program can choose between concentrations in communication studies and documentary studies.

In-State Tuition: $8,691
Out of State Tuition: $17,802

#24. Ball State University

Online Master of Arts in Public Relations

Rating: 5

Ball State’s online public relations degree provides students a chance to focus on a significant subcategory of the broader communications field.

Ball State’s online public relations degree provides students a chance to focus on a significant subcategory of the broader communications field.

Website

Ball State University is the first, and currently only, graduate program in public relations certified by the Public Relations Society of America. Students may choose to specialize in business, communication studies, public affairs, or sport communication. Classes available in this program are studies in journalism and communication theory, public relations campaigns, and statistical methods in educational and psychological research.

In-State Tuition: $8,242
Out of State Tuition: $20,356
Standout Features: Certified by PRSA

#23. East Carolina University

Master’s in Communication Online

Rating: 5

The online MA in communication offers students interdisciplinary opportunities in the form of the ability to use their electives to take classes outside the communications department.

The online MA in communication offers students interdisciplinary opportunities in the form of the ability to use their electives to take classes outside the communications department.

Website

Students who take the health communication concentration will earn themselves a graduate certificate in health communication. Some of the courses available to students in the online master’s in communication program are communication theory, media and health communication, intercultural communication in health contexts, media effects, and social influence.

In-State Tuition: $4,434
Out of State Tuition: $17,036

#22. University of Florida

Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication

Rating: 6

The University of Florida is ranked #50 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

The University of Florida is ranked #50 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Website

The University of Florida’s online master’s in communications program offers concentrations in audience analytics, global strategic communication, public relations and communication management, social media, web design and online communication, public interest communication, and media sales. Among the courses students will take are international advertising, international public relations, brand management, and corporate reputation and communication.

In-State Tuition: $10,770
Out of State Tuition: $27,335
Standout Features: 8 Concentrations, U.S. News Ranked #50

#21. Johns Hopkins University

Master’s in Communication Online

Rating: 6

Johns Hopkins University is one of the top universities in the United States and is ranked #10 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Johns Hopkins University is one of the top universities in the United States and is ranked #10 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Website

Johns Hopkins University offers students the option to combine their MA in communications online with an MBA in a dual degree program or to earn a certificate in nonprofit management alongside their degree. Johns Hopkins also offers concentrations in applied research in communication, public and media relations, political communication, health communication, digital communication, and corporate and nonprofit communication.

Tuition: $19,265
Standout Features: U.S. News rank #10, 6 concentrations and dual degree programs.

#20. Troy University

Online Master of Science in Strategic Communication

Rating: 6

The online MS in strategic communication at Troy is only offered in the online format.

The online MS in strategic communication at Troy is only offered in the online format.

Website

In order to qualify for unconditional admission to the program, applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5, and have an acceptable score on the GMAT or GRE exam. Students will take courses like contemporary issues in strategic communication, strategic communication and emerging media, public relations and strategic communication, and communication law and ethics.

In-State Tuition: $7,146
Out of State Tuition: $14,292

#19. Marist College

Online Master’s in Communication: Organizational Communication and Leadership

Rating: 6

Even part-time students can earn their online MA in communications degree in just two years. Full-time students can complete the program in one year.

Even part-time students can earn their online MA in communications degree in just two years. Full-time students can complete the program in one year.

Website

Applicants are required to have completed a BA or BS degree in communications or a closely related field, and have graduated with a GPA of 3.0 in order to enter the program. Students in this online MA in communications program will take courses like communication theory, media relations, managing organizational change, leadership communication, and the role of communication in conflict and negotiation.

Tuition: $13,500

#18. Westminster College

Online Master of Strategic Communication

Rating: 6

This online master of strategic communication program can be customized to fit the individual and gives you the opportunity to work with real clients, and even do projects for your own employer if you choose.

This online master of strategic communication program can be customized to fit the individual and gives you the opportunity to work with real clients, and even do projects for your own employer if you choose.

Website

Five project sequences are the foundation of this online master of strategic communications program. The areas of focus for each project are strategic communication in action, visual branding and communication design, organizational strategy assessment, strategic marketing communications, and corporate training and capstone project. Students will also take courses like organizational strategy assessment and visual branding and communication design.

Tuition: $13,412

#17. University of Central Missouri

Master’s in Communication Online

Rating: 6

The online MA in communication program at the University of Central Missouri does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

The online MA in communication program at the University of Central Missouri does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Website

Applicants to this program must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 in 15 hours of communications-related courses. Students without this undergraduate coursework will only be admitted to the program on a conditional basis. Students will take courses like social influence, quantitative research, advanced organizational communication, and communication and crisis in organizations.

In-State Tuition: $6,683
Out of State Tuition: $13,366

#16. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Online MA in Communication Studies

Rating: 6

In addition to the online MA in communication studies students can also choose to earn a graduate certificate in conflict management.

In addition to the online MA in communication studies, students can also choose to earn a graduate certificate in conflict management.

Website

Students in Edinboro’s online MA in communication studies can choose between concentrations in managerial and leadership communication, integrated marketing communication, intercultural and international communication, and public communication. Students will take courses like negotiating intractable conflict, political communication, public relations management, and communication consulting.

In-State Tuition: $8,460
Out of State Tuition: $12,690

#15. Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Mass Media Arts and Journalism

Rating: 6

The online MS in mass media arts and journalism from Clarion can be completed in just 18 months.

The online MS in mass media arts and journalism from Clarion can be completed in just 18 months.

Website

Students in the online MS in mass media arts and journalism program at Clarion can also earn a graduate certificate in public relations online. Students in this program will take courses like mass communication theory, public relations foundations, journalism foundations, mass communication research, management of the communication process, and advanced public relations writing.

In-State Tuition: $8,460
Out of State Tuition: $12,690

#14. Webster University

Online MA in Communications Management

Rating: 6

Webster University’s online MS in communications management is taught by award winning faculty still active in the communications field.

Webster University’s online MS in communications management is taught by award-winning faculty still active in the communications field.

Website

Students without undergraduate training or professional experience in the field may be required to take six credits of prerequisites, earning a B or better, to qualify for this program. MS in communication management students will take courses like media production management, media organization and regulations, communication strategies for investors and financial stakeholders, and media and culture.

Tuition: $12,300

#13. University of Maryland–University College

Online Master of Science in Management: Public Relations

Rating: 6

This online MS in management: public relations program is designed for students who have their eye on executive communications positions.

This online MS in management: public relations program is designed for students who have their eye on executive communications positions.

Website

With the right employment background, this program will qualify graduates for positions like director of public relations, corporate communications manager, communications writer, and director of public affairs. Students in this online MS in management: public relations program will take courses like marketing management, crisis communication management, and public relations techniques.

In-State Tuition: $8,244
Out of State Tuition: $11,862

#12. California Baptist University

Master’s in Communication Online

Rating: 6

California Baptist University is a Christian university with a 100% Christian staff and classes are taught from a Christian perspective.

California Baptist University is a Christian university with a 100% Christian staff, and classes are taught from a Christian perspective.

Website

California Baptist University requires applicants to have maintained an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 but does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. Some of the courses available in this program are communication theory and application, communication research and evaluation, rhetorical criticism and contemporary culture, and global and international communication.

Tuition: $11,232

#11. National University

Online MA in Strategic Communication

Rating: 6

National University’s online MS in strategic communication program trains students to apply formative research to develop communication campaigns.

National University’s online MS in strategic communication program trains students to apply formative research to develop communication campaigns.

Website

This program requires students to have advanced-level English writing skills; students whose writing needs improvements will be required to take a writing course. Some of the classes in the online MS in strategic communication are crisis communications, persuasion, integrated marketing communications, communications in a global environment, and legal and ethical issues.

Tuition: $10,962

#10. Lasell College

Online Master’s in Communication

Rating: 6

Lasell College offers three concentrations in their online MS in communication degree program.

Lasell College offers three concentrations in their online MS in communication degree program.

Website

Students in this program can choose between concentrations in health communication, integrated marketing communication, and public relations. The online MS in communication features courses like health promotions and campaigns, organizational communication, integrated marketing communications, negotiations and conflict resolution, and persuasion and public opinion.

Tuition: $10,710

#9. Gonzaga University

Online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies

Rating: 7

The MA in communication and leadership studies at Gonzaga offers study abroad programs in places like Florence and Cagli (Italy) and Derry (Ireland).

The online MA in communication and leadership studies at Gonzaga offers study abroad programs in places like Florence and Cagli (Italy) and Derry (Ireland).

Website

Gonzaga’s online MA in communication and leadership studies offers concentrations in strategic and organizational communication, international and intercultural communication, and college teaching of communication. Students will take courses like communication and leadership ethics, international and intercultural communication, digital storytelling, and communication teaching and pedagogy.

Tuition: $14,868
Standout Features: Study abroad program.

#8. South Dakota State University

Master of Mass Communication Online

Rating: 7

South Dakota State University offers students the chance to study online in a graduate program with an average class size of just 15 students.

South Dakota State University offers students the chance to study online in a graduate program with an average class size of just 15 students.

Website

The online master of mass communication program at South Dakota State University is accredited by the accrediting council on education in journalism and mass communication. Students in this program will take classes like cross-platform storytelling, cross-platform campaigns, conducting professional research, international media, and media administration and management.

In-State Tuition: $8,310
Out of State Tuition: $14,235
Standout Features: Accredited by the ACEJMC

#7. Arizona State University–Tempe

Online MS in Technical Communication

Rating: 8

This program places a heavy focus on providing students with the technological expertise to design communications plans across multiple media and social media platforms.

This program places a heavy focus on providing students with the technological expertise to design communications plans across multiple media and social media platforms.

Website

Applicants to ASU’s MS in technical communication must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 semester hours, and submit a portfolio of writing samples 15-30 pages in length. Students will take courses like social media in the workplace, grant and proposal writing, content management and topic-based authoring, information in the digital age, and visualizing data and information.

Tuition: $9,036

#6. Asbury University

Online Master’s in Communications: Digital Storytelling

Rating: 8

This program is delivered primarily online with supplemented with short intensives on campus.

This program is delivered primarily online and supplemented with short intensives on campus.

Website

Asbury University lists the potential career fields for their online MA in communications: digital storytelling program as film production, television production, radio, public relations, journalism, and church-related media professional. Courses available in this program include audio production, multi-camera television production, viral marketing methods, project management, and media ethics in an age of relativity, agendas and advocacy.

Tuition: $9,918

#5. Mississippi College

Online Master’s in Applied Communication

Rating: 8

Mississippi College also offers a Master of Science in professional communication in health services administration.

Mississippi College also offers a master of science in professional communication in health services administration.

Website

Students graduating from Mississippi College’s online MS in applied communications program have found work as announcers, editors, photographers, public relations specialists, and reporters. Students will take courses like dynamics of group communication, communication law, intercultural communication, communication theory, and process and effects of communication.

Tuition: $9,810

#4. Liberty University

Online MA in Strategic Communications

Rating: 8

Liberty University is a Christian university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conference.

Liberty University is a Christian university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conference.

Website

Graduates from Liberty University’s online MA in strategic communication program have pursued careers in corporate communications, business marketing, communication analysis, and advertising and public relations. Students in this program will take classes like investigative storytelling, strategic media analysis, organizational communication, the transmedia organization, and effective social media.

Tuition: $7,781

#3. Queens University of Charlotte

Master’s in Communication Online

Rating: 8

The MA in communication at Queens University of Charlotte prepares students to adapt fundamental communications skills to emerging technologies.

The MA in communication at Queens University of Charlotte prepares students to adapt fundamental communications skills to emerging technologies.

Website

Graduates from the online MA in communications program at Queens University of Charlotte have pursued careers in marketing, public relations, health communication, training and consulting, human resources, journalism, and education. Students will take classes like communication fluency, communicating mindfully, communication and culture in a networked society, and organizational identity and brand.

Tuition: $7,617

#2. Minnesota State University–Mankato

Online Master of Science in Communication and Composition

Rating: 8

This program is specifically designed for students who want to teach communication and composition at the community college and technical college level.

This program is specifically designed for students who want to teach communication and composition at the community college and technical college level.

Website

Minnesota State University at Mankato’s online MS in communication and composition does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. Some of the courses available in this program are composition theory, communication for professionals, topics in rhetoric and culture, advanced interpersonal communication, and pedagogical grammar and academic English.

Tuition: $6,849

#1. Spring Arbor University

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership

Rating: 8

Spring Arbor University’s online MA in communication has six start-dates per year.

Spring Arbor University’s online MA in communication has six start-dates per year.

Website

Spring Arbor University’s online MA in strategic communication and leadership can be completed in just 15 months. The program does not require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Students will take classes like communication as vocation and calling, communication theory and worldview, mass communication culture and technology, and communication ethics and moral reasoning.

Tuition: $6,588

Sources

Tuition information was retrieved from College Navigator.

Methodology

The methodology for awarding points for schools’ ratings is as follows. Points were awarded based on the category in which the school had the highest score (in-state or out-of-state). Bonus Points were then awarded for standout features at a rate of one point per standout feature.

Ranking System

In-State Tuition
Under $25k=1
Under $20=2
Under $15=3
Under $10=4
Under $5=5

Out of State Tuition
Under $25k=2
Under $20k=4
Under $15k=6
Under $10k=8
Under $5k=10

This concludes our ranking of the 30 best value online master’s in communication programs for 2017.

CVO Staff
November 2016