2020 Best Online Master's in Communication Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Communications Badge

With low tuition rates and high average alumni salaries, the following 5 schools offer the best online master's in communication programs. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, Johns Hopkins University, earn a median salary of $98,900 after earning their Dual MA in Communication - Research/Flexible MBA. West Virginia University, ranked #2 on the list overall, offers an annual tuition of only $12,300.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Johns Hopkins University $36,593 $98,900
# 2 #2 West Virginia University $12,300 $84,500
# 3 #3 Webster University $13,260 $84,300
# 4 #4 Franklin University $20,770 $78,700
# 5 #5 Southern New Hampshire University Online $11,286 $66,400
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Communications Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Johns Hopkins University

  • Annual Tuition: $36,593
  • Median Salary: $98,900
  • Locations: Baltimore (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Johns Hopkins University offers an online Master of Arts in Communication and an online Master of Science in Research Administration. The communication MA consists of 10 courses in areas that include public affairs communication, digital political strategy, and managerial communication. Students can earn this degree in 12-24 months. Graduates may find or advance a career in marketing, promotion, or advertising. The MS in Research Administration is designed to develop educated and proficient professionals for research management roles. The 12-course curriculum is designed to take 16-24 months to complete and includes coursework in organization and leadership, laws and ethics, project management, grant writing, finance, statistical analysis, and program development and evaluation. The Blackboard learning management system supports the online coursework for both degrees; students can study on their own schedules with 24/7 access to materials and class announcements. Start dates are available in the fall, spring, and summer. The program application can be submitted online and requires a statement of purpose, resume, a writing sample (not required for the MS degree), two recommendations, and official transcripts. GRE scores are also required for those whose undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0 and who have fewer than five years of professional experience. Virtual library access and career services are available to all students.

#2 West Virginia University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,300
  • Median Salary: $84,500
  • Locations: Morgantown (WV)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Students at West Virginia University can pursue an online Master of Arts in Communication Studies, a Master of Science in Data Marketing Communication, and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. The MA in Communications is a 36-credit hour program that includes coursework in interpersonal communication, instructional communication, and theory and language research. The MS in Data Marketing Communication requires 30 credit hours of coursework in social media optimization, data management platforms, and audience segmentation. Students in the MS in Integrated Marketing Communications receive instruction in market research and analysis, audience insight, and creative strategy through 30 credit hours of coursework. The two MS degrees are delivered in a synchronous format, while the MA is delivered asynchronously. WVU students use eCampus, powered by the Blackboard course management system, to submit assignments, watch lectures, network and collaborate on discussion boards, and check grades. In addition to eCampus resources, online graduate students can take advantage of virtual tutoring centers and library services, IT support, and 24/7 counseling. To apply, prospective students must submit an official application, along with a resume, personal statement, and undergraduate transcripts for review. GRE scores and letters of recommendation may be submitted but are not required.

#3 Webster University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,260
  • Median Salary: $84,300
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Webster University offers an online Master of Arts in Advertising and Marketing Communications and a Master of Arts in Media Communications. Though the curriculums vary, mastery of clear, concise, and effective communication is a core learning objective shared by both degree programs. The programs require 36 credit hours and aim to prepare graduates to begin or advance careers in business, marketing, media, or education. Online degrees use the Webster learning management platform, WorldClassRoom, to deliver coursework that is identical to the traditional, on-campus programs. The WorldClassRoom system allows for both asynchronous and synchronous learning formats and helps students stay organized with calendars, email, syllabi, assignments, and grades available at all times. Other interactive technologies, such as Zoom, may be used in order to create an interactive learning environment. Specific admission requirements may differ, but all students must submit a formal application, their academic transcripts indicating at least a 2.5 GPA, and a CV or an essay. Distance learners have access to professional development resources, library databases, and student health services.

#4 Franklin University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,770
  • Median Salary: $78,700
  • Locations: Columbus (OH)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Master of Science in Marketing and Communication at Franklin University aims to prepare students with the advanced education, tools, and techniques they need to become proficient and skilled professionals in the communications field. The program curriculum includes classes in marketing fundamentals, behavioral research, and metrics and analytics. Graduation requires the completion of 36 credit hours, including a capstone research project. The degree can be earned in as few as 14 months. Students work asynchronously using the Canvas learning management system to attend classes, work on assignments and projects, and communicate electronically with peers and instructors. In addition to a flexible schedule, students can benefit from hands-on, interactive learning. A number of virtual resources are available, such as writing support and tutoring, career services, and personalized academic advising. Prospective students must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Those who qualify can apply online by submitting a 500-800 word essay, a resume, and previous academic transcripts. The GRE is not required but may be requested of students with a GPA lower than 2.75. Upon program completion, graduates may find career opportunities in the government, private, or nonprofit sectors.

#5 Southern New Hampshire University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $11,286
  • Median Salary: $66,400
  • Locations: Manchester (NH)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The online Master of Arts in Communication-New Media and Marketing program at Southern New Hampshire University is designed to prepare students for modern media marketing careers. In addition to core instruction in effective communication, the New Media and Marketing degree includes courses in social media outlets, writing, graphic arts, editing, media technologies, and video production. Students work through the 36-credit hour program at their own pace, in as few as 15 months. Instead of scheduled class times, students use the Desire2Learn learning management system to watch video lectures, read source materials, and access and turn in assignments according to set weekly deadlines. Depending on the course, students can expect to write papers, give presentations, and participate in group discussion forums. A capstone experience is included in the curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to complete an optional internship. SNHU’s graduate school application can be found and completed online at any time, as they are accepted year-round. Required additional documentation includes official transcripts (a GPA of at least 2.75 is required for full admission) and a statement of purpose. GRE scores are not required. A number of resources are available to SNHU’s online students, such as technical support, an online accessibility center, 24/7 tutoring, and career services.

Online Master's in Communications Overview

Program Requirements

While most communications master's programs accept applicants from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, strong writing skills are required. Programs may also require a high undergraduate GPA and standardized test scores. The majority of master’s programs in communications are two-year degrees, though they range in length from one to three years.

Curriculum

The curriculum in a communications master's program requires study in a variety of communications and leadership strategies. Students learn about various methods of written and oral communication, such as public relations, mass communications, and digital communication. Many programs require foundational coursework in quantitative and qualitative research methods for social science. These courses teach students how to develop a sound research project, which is key for thesis-based degrees. The thesis requires students to draft a lengthy paper around a particular question or problem in communications.

Certain communications master's programs offer concentrations in communications management or professional communications. These degrees require more business-oriented coursework, such as classes in organizational behavior, team management, and international business.

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