2022 Best Online Master's in Communication Programs
Communication is the study of how information is created and shared in interpersonal and organizational domains. Below, we rank the best online master's degrees in communication based on alumni salary for each program. The aim of this graduate degree is to enhance students' communication skills. Expertise in this field is transferable across a variety of platforms and nearly all industries. Perhaps for this reason, the demand for media and communication occupations is projected to increase by 14% through the end of the decade, significantly surpassing the U.S. average.
2022 Best Online Master's in Communication Programs
|Rank||School||Salary Score||Median Starting Salary|
|# 1||Northwestern University||$75,297|
|# 2||Johns Hopkins University||94||$74,230|
|# 3||Temple University||90||$66,594|
|# 4||Northeastern University Global Network||88||$63,842|
|# 5||University of Southern California||88||$63,499|
|# 6||Purdue University - Main Campus||88||$62,884|
|# 7||Gonzaga University||86||$61,001|
|# 8||Lasell College||86||$60,269|
|# 9||American University||85||$59,305|
|# 10||Washington State University||83||$57,410|
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2022 Online Colleges Offering Master's Degrees
#1 Northwestern University
Northwestern University (NWU) is a medium-sized, non-profit institution that offers an online Master of Science in Communication with a Customer Leadership Program or a Hybrid Leadership Program. The curriculum aims to provide students with a broad understanding of workplace leadership and strategic communication. Some core courses for this major include Leading Collaboration, Understanding and Leveraging Network and Communication, Management, and Ethics. Alternatively, the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications requires 13 credits and can be completed in less than two years. Graduates of these programs may go on to explore careers in politics, business, media or marketing.
At NWU, students use Canvas to access their online coursework, which is part-time with the option of hybrid or fully online classes. Students have access to academic advising, enrichment tutorials, and capstone connections.
#2 Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a private, non-profit institution that offers several educational pathways in communication studies at the master's level. First, a Master of Arts in Communication is available, which includes the option for six concentrations ranging from applied research to digital communication. The coursework combines writing, research, technology, and strategy to prepare students for entering a dynamic industry. There's also a Master of Arts in Government, with the option to specialize in political communication. For the ambitious, two dual master's programs are available in this field as well: (1) Business Administration / Communication and (2) Communication with Certificate in Non-profit Management.
#3 Temple University
Temple University (TU) is a large, public institution that offers an online Master of Science in Communication Management requiring 31 credit hours. The curriculum focuses on effective communication campaigns and workplace conflict resolution. Some core courses for this major include Data Driven Insights, Organizational Communication, and Communication Theory for Professionals. To graduate, students must complete all program requirements, such as four core classes, six electives, and a capstone project, which can take one year with a full-time schedule. Graduates of the program may go on to explore careers in public/government relations, political advocacy, or the corporate/non-profit sectors.
At TU, students use Ed2Go and Gatlin Education Services to access their coursework, which is fully online. Online students have access to digital library services, career center and student success center.
#4 Northeastern University Global Network
Northeastern University (NEU) is a medium-sized non-profit that offers an online Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication requiring 45 credit hours. The curriculum aims to teach students about various social technologies and communication patterns in the workplace. Some core classes for this major include Ethical Issues in Organizational Communication and Strategic Communication Management. To graduate, students must complete all program requirements, such as six core classes, two electives, and a 12-week capstone course, which can take 18 months with a full-time schedule. Graduates may go on to explore careers in public and media relations or human resources.
At NEU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is fully online. Online students have access to the Experiential Network for digital business sponsorship.
#5 University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is a large, private non-profit offering an online Master of Communication Management that helps equip students for diverse communication occupations in business. Enrollees can choose a generalist track or select one of three focus areas: (1) marketing communication, (2) strategic and organizational communication, or (3) market research and analytics. Full-time students typically complete this program in 16 months, while part-time students may need up to three years.
USC's program is fully online and does not require any fieldwork or internships. Online students use the Blackboard system to interact with peers and instructors, access course materials, and complete assignments.
#6 Purdue University - Main Campus
Purdue University is a large, public institution that offers two master's degrees in communication. The Master of Science in Communication is designed to teach students to utilize external branding and messaging strategies in one of four concentration areas: (1) public relations, (2) advertising, (3) healthcare, or (4) leadership. The Master of Science in Corporate Training and Communication focuses on communication within organizations by training students to use strategic communication and technology to enhance employee performance. Both degrees require the completion of 30 credit hours, and most students graduate in 12-20 months. The corporate training program also requires a capstone project or practicum.
At Purdue, students use the Desire 2 Learn platform to access course materials and interact with classmates and instructors.
#7 Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University is a private, medium-sized non-profit with a Roman Catholic emphasis. This Jesuit institution offers a fully online Master of Arts in Communication & Leadership Studies requiring 30 total credit hours. The program curriculum is designed to help students develop advanced skills in "persuasion and influence," such as effectively communicating change. This is achieved through core classes on audience analysis, message impact, and presentation, to name a few. Graduates of the program may go on to explore careers in a range of industries, including corporate spheres, public relations, marketing, and journalism.
Gonzaga's graduate program in communication gives students access to an online classroom that's available at all times, allowing for maximum flexibility for working professionals and those with other responsibilities.
#8 Lasell College
Lasell University (LU) is a small non-profit that offers an online Master of Science in Communication requiring 36 credits. The curriculum covers business challenges and strategic communication, and some potential concentrations for this major include Corporate Communication, Digital Media, and Public Speaking, to name a few. To complete the degree program, students must finish 12 courses, which can take up to two years with a full-time schedule. Alternatively, students may decide to pursue a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication, which is a program that focuses on developing brand experiences. Graduates may go on to explore careers in public relations, social media, or traditional media.
At LU, students use Canvas to access their online coursework, which is fully online with an option for hybrid studying. Online students have access to mental health support services, digital libraries, and online graduate orientation.
#9 American University
American University (AU) is a private non-profit that identifies as United Methodist. Its online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication takes eight more months to complete than the in-person equivalent, allowing students more flexibility. The program generally focuses on optimizing students' messaging and marketing strategies across various types of media. To apply, students do not need a communications background but must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school.
AU describes their master's degree in strategic communication as the "longest-standing program of its kind in Washington D.C." As such, it features a faculty with real-world expertise in the field. AU's program page also claims that 95% of graduates with this degree are working communication professionals within six months.
#10 Washington State University
Washington State University (WSU) is a large, public institution offering a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication. The program is focused on building communication skills that can be applied in PR, advertising, sales, and more. Throughout the program, coursework projects are designed to help enrollees create a portfolio of work. Those who want to establish a communications career in the healthcare field may also be interested in the Master of Arts in Health Communication and Promotion. Students must complete 30 credit hours, including a capstone course, to graduate from either program.
Graduate students use the Canvas platform to work collaboratively with classmates and complete assignments. WSU offers a number of student resources, including tech support, tutoring, and career services.