If you have great writing and/or speaking skills, an online communication degree program may be a perfect choice for you to help launch a rewarding career. If you’re especially talented in this area, you might make a great journalist or politician, or could do well in marketing, advertising, public relations, or business. Excelling in any of these professions requires a degree in Communications, Communication Studies, Communication Arts, or a related field.
The list below of the 14 cheapest online Communications Degree Programs in the U.S. was created by first examining each and every online program in Communications in the nation and then assessing them for both cost and quality. For public institutions, cost was recalculated by averaging the in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for the purposes of creating a ranking. The programs are listed from cheapest to most expensive, and you’ll be happy to know that all these programs are high-quality, and that many have received national recognition.
1. Bellevue University
Online Communication Studies Degree – Bachelor of Arts
As the need for communications professionals continues to increase, more and more students are seeking undergraduate programs in this field. Bellevue not only recognizes this need, but has developed a program responsive to this demand. Bellevue’s cheap online communication degree allows students to explore a wide range of communication disciplines, from social media, event planning, and public affairs to journalism and customer relations. And with classes pegged at less than $400 per credit hour, Bellevue’s online program puts a quality communications degree within reach of even those most cost-focused learners. U.S. News & World Report ranks Bellevue University #18 in the category of best online bachelor’s degrees (2014).
2. Thomas Edison State College
BA in Communications Online
Tuition: $5,700/yr (In-state) $8,395/yr (Out-of-state)
Thomas Edison State College has a long, reputable history of providing excellent academic programs to adult learners. Involved faculty members push students far beyond the baseline of communications education, motivating them to seek personal enrichment as well. The course distribution looks much like that of other schools, with approximately one fourth of classes required to be within the communications area of study. This affordable online communication degree program allows learners to expand their horizons far beyond the essentials, taking elective classes in Broadcast and Cable Promotion, Oral Interpretation of Literature, Video Communication Theory, and much more. TEAD is one of the first schools in the country designed specifically for adults.
3. Colorado State University Global
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Communication
Coursework in the CSU-Global online Bachelor of Science in Communications degree covers oral and written communication, mass communications, new media, public relations, technical writing, and the leadership and management skills needed to successfully contribute to an organization. Students apply critical-thinking and strategic communication skills to a variety of scenarios. Upon graduation, they are poised to pursue a career in marketing, technical writing, public relations, and other fields that require communication skills. CSU-Global is ranked #16 for best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report and #1 for best online college by SuperScholar.
4. University of Wisconsin – Madison
Online Communication Arts: Communication Science and Rhetorical Studies or Radio, Television, & Film
Tuition: $5,183/yr (In-state) $12,167/yr (Out-of-state)
Although plenty of private, for-profit universities offer online degrees, some public institutions have also delved into the realm of distance education. This includes the University of Wisconsin, which offers degrees such as a bachelor’s in communications through its virtual classrooms. Faculty holds expertise in a wide variety of areas and allow students to concentrate in topics such as rhetoric, film studies, media, and communications science. Other areas of interest include radio/television and rhetoric, as well as an optional certificate in digital studies. While not 100% online, UW is beginning to offer some of its Communication Arts class online in Summer 2014. UW–Madison is ranked #10 among public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of America’s Best Colleges.
5. Brandman University Online
Online Bachelor of Business Administration, Organizational Communication
Brandman’s bachelor of Business Administration, Organizational Communication Program prepares students for professional opportunities and advancement in a dynamic, global business environment through innovative and career-relevant curriculum. Available online or on campus with integrated online components, the course introduces students to principles of advanced public speaking, theories of persuasion, public relations, and media. Students develop business fundamentals while focusing on their customized area of specialization. This affordable online communication degree is particularly useful for those who wish to advance in a company or prepare for entry-level to middle-management opportunities. Brandman was ranked in the top 10 among online programs in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report.
6. University of Maryland University College
Online Major in Communication Studies
Tuition: $6,552/yr (In-state) $12,336/yr (Out-of-state)
University of Maryland University College, or “UMUC” for short, is a popular public school on the east coast. The “University College” extension campus gives learners from all over the country access to its prestigious programs. The online bachelor’s degree in communications studies launches students deep into the study of journalism, marketing, professional writing, and public relations. Those looking for an especially good deal should note that in-state residents who have attended a Maryland community college can save significantly by transferring to UMUC. 88% of undergraduate degree recipients report that they would attend UMUC if they had to do it over again.
7. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Online Organizational and Relational Communication
Tuition: $6,542/yr (In-state) $12,370/yr (Out-of-state)
The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s bachelor’s degree in communications online combines aspects of organizational theory with mass communication. Students may be able to choose a concentration other than mass communication, but only with advisor approval; however, all students must take the required 33 credits in organizational/relational comm. Classes include Persuasion and Propaganda, Rhetorical Theory, Leadership Communication, and Communication Inquiry. Students should note that the university expects applicants to have completed a majority of their courses before enrolling, or at least possess an associate’s degree. UNK’s online program was rated #7 by Guide to Online Schools in 2013.
8. University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Online
Tuition: $5,250/yr (In-state) $13,674/yr (Out-of-state)
UT Permian Basin’s bachelor’s degree in communications online allows students to take all 120 credits through distance education, at a cost of just a measly $276 per credit. The school’s efficient program design allows graduates to finish in just 12 months, assuming they transfer the maximum number of credits possible. Students can choose from six different start dates and finish each course in less than eight weeks. According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, 99% of UTPB seniors stated that their professors provided prompt feedback on their academic performance. U.S. News & World Report ranks the online bachelor degree program at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin #1 among Texas public universities and in the nation’s top 50.
9. Arizona State University
Online Bachelor of Science Communication
Tuition: $7,866/yr (In-state) $11,209/yr (Out-of-state)
Any standard communication class should teach students the basics of how to interact with others, but ASU’s online communications degree goes several steps further. Students who walk away with a B.S. diploma in communications possess the skills to form identities, maintain work environments, and even transform entire communities in their professional jobs. Graduates can choose from a wide range of career fields, including sales, statistics, event planning, public relations, and even nonprofit management. U.S. News & World Report ranks Arizona State University in its top tier of U.S. universities; Forbes considers ASU among America’s best colleges.
10. University of Phoenix
Bachelor of Science in Communication Online
Tuition: $10,500/yr (On average)
Almost everyone has heard of the University of Phoenix – it’s one of the largest for-profit institutions in the nation, educating approximately 300,000 students in any given year and providing learners with access to a myriad of campuses across the country. Even those outside of traveling distance from a traditional school can enjoy Phoenix’s courses through its virtual classrooms. The Bachelor’s degree in communications online allows learners to choose from multiple concentrations. As a result, one can find Phoenix grads working in industries as diverse as journalism, public relations, and sales. U.S. News & World report ranks University of Phoenix #5 among online bachelor’s programs in terms of student engagement and assessment and in the top 40 for faculty credentials and training.
11. Franklin University
Franklin University is a popular choice for adult learners who want to take classes online while pursuing their degree. Franklin’s academic programs range from business to technology to liberal arts, and the online communications degree actually includes aspects of all those fields. Classes include Organizational Communication, Internet Marketing, Global Business Issues, E-Commerce, Grant Writing for Nonprofits, and much more. Students can also take advantage of highly specialized courses not offered at other universities, such as Social Justice, Staffing, and Persuasive Strategies. Close to 10,000 adults from across the country and around the world choose Franklin each year.
12. University of Minnesota Crookston
Online Communications Major & Degree Program
Online learners who want to benefit from the convenience of distance education while also enjoying a traditional public school experience can turn to the University of Minnesota Crookston. The bachelor’s degree in communications online allows students to gain valuable career skills and complete hands-on projects while pursuing one of three specializations: Communications Studies, Writing, or Organizational Communication/Public Relations. The Crookston campus has a reputation for maintaining a high job placement rate, and currently more than 93% for students are able to find work in their field of study within six months of graduation.
13. Walden University
Online B.S. in Communication or Business Communication
There is ample evidence that Walden University places a strong emphasis on communications programs, and as such it has positioned itself as a leader in the field. In a more general sense, Walden is also at the forefront of distance education, earning an A- in online programs and academic flexibility from College Prowler. WU offers several online communications degree options, plus related interdisciplinary programs in business and marketing. Even within the general B.S. in Communications, Walden students can choose from a whopping seven concentrations, or even design their own!
14. Indiana University East
Online B.A. in Communication Studies
Tuition: $6,639/yr (In-state) $17,778/yr (Out-of-state)
Another option for students seeking a bachelor’s degree in communications online, and a traditional public school education is Indiana University East. At IU, students start gearing up for their inevitable careers in communications from the very beginning, taking targeted general education classes that prepare them for more advanced courses in the field. Students develop competencies in written communication, speaking and listening, quantitative reasoning, the arts/humanities, social behavior, and culture all during the first two years. Major classes in decision making, advertising, and telecommunications help students pick an ultimate area of specialization. IU East is the region’s leader in baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, offering over 50 academic programs.
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About the Author:
Iris Stone got her start in writing when she began working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Check out her Google+ Profile.