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 $36,593 $98,900
# 2 #2 $12,300 $84,500
# 3 #3 $13,260 $84,300
# 4 #4 $20,770 $78,700
# 5 #5 $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 a Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Science in Research Administration; both programs are available online. The communication MA consists of 10 courses in areas that include public affairs communication, digital political strategy, and managerial communication. Graduates of the online communication degree program are well-prepared to find or advance a career in marketing, promotion, or advertising. The MS in Research Administration is designed to meet the demand for educated and proficient professionals in research management roles. The 12-course curriculum includes coursework in organization and leadership, laws and ethics, project management, grant writing, finance, statistical analysis, and program development and evaluation.

#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 or Science in Communication Studies, Data Marketing Communication, and Integrated Marketing Communications. The MA in Communications is a 36-credit hour program that includes courses in interpersonal communication, instructional communication, and theory and research in language. The MS in Data Marketing Communication instructs students in 30 credit hours of coursework in social media optimization, data management platforms, and audience segmentation. Students in the MS in Integrated Marketing Communications are educated in market research and analysis, audience insight, and creative strategy through 30 credit hours of coursework.

#3 Webster University

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

Webster University offers several online graduate degrees in the area of communications, including (1) Master of Arts in Advertising and Marketing and Communications, (2) Master of Arts in Communication Arts, (3) Master of Arts in Media Communications, and (4) Master of Business Administration with a concentration in media communications. Though the concentration and curriculum vary, mastery of clear, concise, and effective communication is a core learning objective shared by all degree programs. Required credit hours range from 33 to 36. Depending on the degree, graduates can go on to begin or advance careers in business, marketing, media, or education.

#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 provides students the advanced education, tools, and techniques to become proficient and skilled professionals in the field of communications. The program curriculum includes classes in marketing fundamentals, behavioral research, and metrics and analytics. Graduation requires completion of 36 credit hours, which can be accomplished in as little as 14 months. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to apply their skills in clear, effective, and professional communication 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 provide students the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to begin or advance a career in modern media marketing. In addition to core instruction in effective communication, the New Media and Marketing curriculum includes courses in social media outlets, writing, graphic arts, editing, media technologies, and video production. Students complete the 36-credit hour program at their own pace, in as little as 15 months.

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.


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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