35 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Communication

Those who have studied Communication are desired for their understanding of how to apply critical analysis into innovative, creative, and stimulating projects and solutions. Graduate programs in Communication recognize the importance of these skills and take students even further. 

Communication is a diverse and ever-changing field, and it's important that those aspiring professionals in its related industries are as prepared as possible. Many students who earn their undergraduate degree in Communication return to school and work towards a Master's degree, as it's a strong way to ensure that one will continue to receive opportunities for career growth.

In an ever-changing global society, many industries rely on the skills and knowledge of those from Communication backgrounds and are looking to hire those with the highest credentials and most experience. Those who have studied Communication are desired for their understanding of how to apply thought and research into innovative and creative projects.

Graduate programs in Communications also recognize the value of these skills and look to build off of the undergraduate-level education to prepare candidates with a holistic and dynamic understanding of the field and its prior theories and subsequent research methods. Finding an online Master's in Communication program is not that difficult either, as many prospective students are already employed in the professional field and need a curriculum that is flexible and accommodating. With this in mind, many universities offer fully-online programs or programs that take place mostly online with minimal on-campus experience. Graduate-level capstones and dissertations are also the perfect final projects to have completed right before entering the professional field. Capstones showcase a student's culminated knowledge of the field and relevant skills.

Earning a Master's degree in Communication is a good option for those who want to transition into the professional field as competitive candidates or those who are looking to return post-graduation, ready for promotions and higher-level careers.

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one's higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%)
  • Academic Success (15%)

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself!

Here are the 35 Best Online Master's Degrees in Communication for 2020!

35. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania – Edinboro, PN

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

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The Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania prepares students for careers in a variety of fields, as the curriculum recognizes how communication is a discourse important to virtually every career that engages with people. Students have four communication-based emphases to choose from: Managerial and Leadership; Integrated Marketing; Intercultural & International Comm; and Public Communication. Regardless of the chosen emphasis, students complete nine credits of core courses, three dedicated to types of research and theory, and one ethics course. Twenty-seven credits are fulfilled by electives, either in the chosen emphasis or in addition to it.

Net Price: $15,513
Score: 79.3

34. Gonzaga University – Spokane, WA

Master's in Communication & Leadership

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Gonzaga University's Master's in Communication & Leadership is an online program with a dynamic curriculum. Through elective choices from both the MIC and the close Master's in Organizational Leadership program, students can customize their degree to suit their interests in the field. All students must complete one on-campus immersion course in addition to the online coursework. There are also study abroad options available to those enrolled in the online graduate program. The 30-credit program takes approximately two years to complete, and graduates will enter the field with advanced skills and knowledge that has readied them for higher paid opportunities.

Net Price: $34,085
Score: 79.3

33. Missouri State University – Springfield – Springfield, MO

Master's in Communication

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The Master's in Communications from Missouri State is offered in both a traditionally paced route or an accelerated route. The traditional master's program is 32-credits with most courses being offered online or in the evenings as the program has been designed to accommodate working professionals. Students benefit from the experience of faculty members who are published experts in the field. Research opportunities are also available. Students may opt to complete a thesis based on original research, or complete a seminar paper and presentation. There's a required exam prior to graduation for all students. All applicants are required to hold an undergraduate degree in Communication or a related discipline as well as submitting GRE scores.

Net Price: $15,173
Score: 80.4

32. Western New England University – Springfield, MA

Master of Arts in Communications

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The Master of Arts in Communications at Western New England University prepares students with an in-depth understanding of the field and how to use publicity to enhance the success of an organization. The 30-credit program can be completed in as few as 15 months, and all coursework is completed online. The program's curriculum sets students up to earn a concentration in Public Relations. The focus on PR gives students knowledge and intuition which becomes vital in the age of globalization. This program teaches students how to strategize PR matters in an age of online presence and media. Course topics include Crisis Management, Principles and Practices of Public Relations, Strategies for Social and Digital Media, and more.

Net Price: $30,305
Score: 80.5

31. California Baptist University – Riverside, CA

Master of Arts in Strategic Communication

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California Baptist University designed their Master of Arts in Strategic Communication to prepare students with advanced knowledge of the historical, cultural, social, global, and political aspects of the field. CBU is also proud to challenge students to integrate biblical thought into their contemporary studies and contexts. Graduates are candidates for careers in management, public health, community relations, public affairs, conflict mediation, market research, and law. The curriculum takes students through not only the theory behind communications but its application in a variety of contexts. The program is a total of 30 credits that are typically completed in a year as coursework is completed entirely online. Applicants should have at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA.

Net Price: $25,714
Score: 80.8

30. Northern Arizona University – Flagstaff, AZ

Master of Arts in Communications

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Northern Arizona University offers students a Master of Arts in Communication program which can be taken either with a general Communication emphasis, or a Documentary Studies emphasis. The Documentary Studies emphasis is recommended to students interested in journalism or media studies. Regardless of the emphasis chosen, students take courses that discuss communication theories, concepts, and constructs, and current research methods in the field. Graduates are ready for a variety of careers or further education. The curriculum prepares students with the necessary understanding of how relationships are mediated by technology and influenced by global and social conditions. The 36-credit program requires applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better.

Net Price: $14,901
Score: 81.1

29. Washington State University – Pullman, WA

Master of Arts in Strategic Communication

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WSU's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication is a highly competitive program designed for those already working professionally in advertising, public relations, corporate communication, and communication management. The curriculum focuses on the use of advanced media tools, data-based communication plans, and project design and development, and more to prepare graduates for career growth and opportunity. Coursework reflects on the importance of research methods and how they influence practice in the field. The 30-credit program requires courses in Ethics, Professional Multimedia Content Creation, Marketing Communication Management and Campaigns, as well as a final capstone project.

Net Price: $17,885
Score: 81.6

28. Marist College – Poughkeepsie, NY

Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication

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Marist College's Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication has the goal of training marketing professionals in the creation and implementation of strategic marketing plans. The curriculum is designed to be cohesive, teaching students all of the ways in which communication is multifaceted and how all of its aspects must be analyzed holistically. With this understanding at the core of the program, course topics include advertising, public relations, social media, marketing research, analytical tools, and more. The 30-credit program is entirely asynchronous and can be completed at either a full or part-time pace. At full-time, the degree can be earned in a year.

Net Price: $36,576
Score: 82.8

27. Troy University – Troy, AL

Master of Science in Strategic Communication

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Troy University's program, the Master of Science in Strategic Communication, is designed to prepare graduates who are interested in a variety of careers, as the curriculum recognizes the role of communication in nearly all areas of expertise. Graduates are also readily prepared for doctoral studies in many fields. The 30-credit program can be completed in one year and entirely online. The core curriculum is made up of only five courses, and students then fill in their degree with electives that suit their interests. Electives may be in Leadership and Media Strategies, Contemporary Issues, Global Communication, Media Management, and more.

Net Price: $12,146
Score: 82.9

26. Queens University of Charlotte – Charlotte, NC

Master of Arts in Communications

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The Queens University of Charlotte designed its Master of Arts in Communication degree to prepare students for vital information analysis and the application of communication theory and frameworks to solve current issues and questions in the field. A concentration in Integrated Digital Strategy is available as well, which focuses on the application of communication specific to digital and social media platforms. Coursework is completed online and gives students knowledge of human behavior in the context of communication and organization dynamics. All students complete a capstone project which can cover an array of topics as they related to communication including social justice movements, ad campaigns, social media influence, and more.

Net Price: $24,512
Score: 83

25. Austin Peay State University – Clarksville, TN

Master of Arts in Communication Arts

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Austin Peay State University designed their Master of Arts in Communication Arts for both working professionals in pursuit of career growth and full-time graduate students. Classes last eight weeks and are taken entirely online, equipping students with the skills necessary to go onto successful careers in public relations, human resources, strategic planning, management, and even non-profit work. Concentrations are offered in Marketing Communication, Media Management. There are specializations in Corporate Communication or just General Communication. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 and a verbal and quantitative GRE score of 140.

Net Price: $13,045
Score: 83.3

24. University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, AL

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

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The University of Alabama offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. The online program is a total of 30 credit hours and prepares students with an in-depth understanding of the theories behind communication. The Organizational Leadership curriculum then focuses in on the skills necessary to apply that theory and research to practice. Specific topics include the theory and applied aspects of public discussion, negotiation, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 in their undergraduate degree or previous master's degree. GRE scores or MAT scores are required.

Net Price: $19,993
Score: 84.1

23. American University – Washington, D.C.

Master of Arts in Strategic Communications

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American University's Master of Arts in Strategic Communication gives students the opportunity to learn from a dynamic faculty team of accomplished writers, documentarians, correspondents, PR experts, politicians, and social change advocates, all in preparation for the pursuit of careers like those and more. Students are equipped with strategic tools and insights that allow them to enter the professional field with creative and innovative ideas and solutions. The online program can be completed in less than two years and admits students on a rolling basis. American also offers an MA in Political Communication. Both programs require a statement of purpose, which should prove a student's serious dedication to the field.

Net Price: $32,732
Score: 84.2

22. South Dakota State University – Brookings, South Dakota

Master of Mass Communication

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South Dakota State University's Master of Mass Communication is an advanced and professional program, designed for those who consider themselves mid-career professionals in journalism or mass communication. The program is intended to make these individuals more marketable candidates for career growth and opportunities. Courses take place over eight weeks and can be completed entirely online. The required courses lay the foundational topics, theories, and research of the field which prepares students to complete a research or design paper. Some may opt-out of the research paper and complete more electives. Elective topics include Women in Media, International Media, Health Journalism, and more.

Net Price: $18,204
Score: 84.4

21. Webster University – Webster Groves, MO

Master of Arts in Communications Management

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The Master of Arts in Communications Management from Webster University is a flexible online program designed for working professionals. Core courses make up 21 of the required 36 credits in the curriculum, consisting of topics that cover all aspects of the field. These courses include Media and Culture, Organizational Communications, Media Production Management, and more. Electives allow students to dedicate time to an area that particularly interests them. The program builds towards a holistic understanding of communications that allow graduates to enter or return to the field with innovative ideas and solutions. All accepted students must meet with an academic advisor prior to course registration.

Net Price: $23,835
Score: 85.1

20. Mississippi College – Clinton, MS

Master of Science in Communication

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The Master of Science in Communication program from Mississippi College allows students the flexibility of studying their specific interests in the field. Graduates are prepared both for career opportunities in a variety of fields as well as doctoral programs. The online program is a total of 31 credits, made up of six core courses and 15 credits of electives. Elective courses can cover topics like Intercultural Communication, Negotiation, and Science Communication. Within the communication program, students may select a concentration in Journalism, Theatre, Generalist Studies, Sports Communication, or Corporate Communication. The on-campus program requires students to complete a thesis and field placement, while the online degree program does not.

Net Price: $17,098
Score: 85.6

19. Colorado State University – Fort Collins – Fort Collins, CO

Master of Communications and Media Management

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Colorado State University's Master of Communications and Media Management is a hybrid program, combining on-campus courses with online electives. The curriculum is designed for those who are already in the field with further in-demand skills and knowledge, preparing them for a higher level of success. Students will be trained in the use, diffusion, and impacts of new communication technologies, as well as skills necessary to write and deliver content using digital media. There's also emphasis placed on the importance of ethical decision-making, and courses will equip students with those values as well. The degree is meant to be earned within six semesters. On-campus classes take place once a week.

Net Price: $17,191
Score: 85.7

18. Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA

Master of Arts in Communication

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Liberty University's Master of Arts in Communication is a completely online, 33-credit program meant to take under two years to complete. The program gives students the tools necessary to maximize leadership and impact on a business, through training in decision-making, critical thinking and analysis, and more. As Liberty is a proud Christian university, students will participate in courses that encourage analysis through a biblical lens. Course topics may include Strategic Storytelling, Effective Social Media, and Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Graduates will enter the field having completed a professional portfolio throughout the program, designed to prove their expertise.

Net Price: $26,954
Score: 85.8

17. University of North Texas – Denton, TX

Master of Science in Digital Communication Analytics

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The Master of Science in Digital Communication Analytics from the University of North Texas is an accelerated online program, offering courses that last eight weeks with five available start dates each year. The program is designed for professionals in communications, marketing, advertising, and public relations who are looking to learn data analysis abilities in order to increase their career opportunities. The curriculum focuses on achieving the knowledge necessary to extract, report, model, and analyze communications data. The degree can be earned in only two years, but students may choose to take breaks in-between courses.

Net Price: $12,053
Score: 86.1

16. Ball State University – Muncie, IN

Master of Arts in Journalism

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The Master of Arts in Journalism at Ball State can be earned entirely online or in a hybrid format. The program is designed for both recent college graduates and those who are in the midst of their professional career. The 36-credit program offers two specialization areas, either Media Analytics or Management, Reporting, and Storytelling. The core curriculum is only made up of three courses, ensuring students have the time and space to study their more particular interests in the field. Both specialization areas require a Research Methods course to prepare students to create their own Capstone Project or thesis. Some may opt to complete a practicum or internship to fulfill their thesis.

Net Price: $13,535
Score: 86.3

15. University of Missouri – Columbia – Columbia, MO

Master of Arts in Communications

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The University of Missouri-Columbia is proud to offer an online Master of Arts in Journalism from the world's first journalism school, allowing students to select a concentration in Health Communication, Interactive Media, Media Management, or Strategic Communication. Faculty members have been consistently recognized as practicing and accomplished journalists, so students have the benefit of learning from those with professional experience. The core courses make up ten to 12 credits, while the remaining credits are dedicated to the student's concentration courses and a capstone project. The core courses consist of Mass Media Seminar, Media Ethics, Quantitative/Qualitative Research Methods, and a Professional Seminar. These courses provide a foundation for students to thrive in their concentration area.

Net Price: $17,762
Score: 86.4

14. The University of Iowa – Iowa City, IA

Master of Arts in Communications

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University of Iowa's Master's in Strategic Communication program is designed for both those who are already working in the professional field and those aspiring to enter post-graduation. The professional-level curriculum prepares students with foundational and conceptual knowledge and the necessary skills to succeed in a variety of careers including crisis communication, political campaign development, social media communication, and more. The core courses focus on professional principles while electives give students the opportunity to dedicate time to a particular area in the field. Students complete a capstone project rather than a thesis, meant to prepare them for similar work once they've transitioned into the professional field.

Net Price: $14,845
Score: 86.6

13. Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX

Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation

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Texas Tech University's Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation is a 30-credit program meant to prepare students for careers as strategic communicators. Most students in the program are already working professionals in the field, so the program is offered entirely online and scheduling is very flexible. The curriculum is made up of nine courses and a final project. All students complete core courses before moving onto their choice of electives, which can include topics like Advanced Social Media Practice, Multimedia Storytelling, Interpersonal Communication, and more. Applicants must have had an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. They'll also have to submit a writing sample.

Net Price: $15,820
Score: 87

12. Florida International University – Miami, FL

Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications

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The Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications from Florida International University is designed to provide working professionals with the knowledge and skill set to propel their careers forward. The fully online program focuses on the importance of entering the field globally-minded and with an understanding of their social responsibilities as communication leaders. Students take courses on reputation management, social media, professional ethics, and more, ending their time in the program with a professional project. It is expected that students in the program take two courses a term. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better.

Net Price: $12,219
Score: 87.9

11. Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI

Master of Arts in Strategic Communication

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Michigan State University's Masters of Arts in Strategic Communication is designed to empower those already working in the field, and who are now looking for ways to increase their marketability and career opportunities. The program is entirely online and consists of 30 credits and a capstone project. Students may complete the program on a one-, two-, or three-year track. Core courses make up 15 credits, and electives fulfill the remaining 15. The core topics prepare students with knowledge on the persuasion and evaluation techniques that make up the professional field. The electives build off of this with topics like Digital Media Strategies, Catalyst Thinking, Social Media Storytelling, and more.

Net Price: $16,684
Score: 87.9

10. University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

Master of Communication Management

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The Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California is an online program that equips students with the tools to combine theory and research into real-world professional success. Students may enter the program at varying levels in their professional careers. The curriculum is grounded in evidence-based decision-making, teaching students how to think critically in a data and analytics-centered setting. Faculty in the school have both undergone extensive academic training themselves and have had professional experience in the field. Because faculty come from well-qualified backgrounds, students are guaranteed to hear examples of how to implement communication theory and research into their own lives.

Net Price: $32,892
Score: 88

9. East Carolina University – Greenville, NC

Master of Arts in Communication – Health Communication

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East Carolina University's Master of Arts in Communication with an emphasis on Health Communication is designed to prepare students for careers in the field or professional-level programs post-graduation. The 30-credit program consists of only two required courses: Communication Theory as well as Research Methods. From there, students take electives that fulfill their particular interests in the field. This may include Media and Health Communication, Family Communication and Health, or Intercultural Health Communication. The program's curriculum is dedicated to giving students the knowledge and tools necessary to combat health issues today through a lens informed by communications. All students have the option of completing a thesis, but if they opt out they'll take comprehensive exams.

Net Price: $13,327
Score: 89.6

8. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD

Master of Arts in Communication

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The Master of Arts in Communication from Johns Hopkins University uses practical and applied knowledge to prepare graduates for successfully using their earned skills to offer informed solutions in the many professional communication-based settings. Students may choose to concentrate in Public and Media Relations, Political Communications, Health Comm., Digital Comm., Corporate/Non-Profit Comm., and Applied Research in Communication. The core courses equip students with an understanding of primary research, and later courses offer the knowledge of how to implement that research and technique. The degree often takes about two years to complete and can be earned entirely online.

Net Price: $29,066
Score: 90.1

7. West Virginia University – Morgantown, WV

Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications

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The Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University is offered entirely online, consisting of 30 total credits and only ten courses that can be completed in only a year and a half. However, students may take courses part-time as well, as the program is designed with working professionals in mind. Those already in the field benefit from learning how to apply foundational knowledge and analysis in practice, yielding successful results in the professional field. With over 25 available elective options, students are guaranteed to have a degree tailor-fit to their specific interests. Applicants are accepted on a case-by-case basis, where the years of relevant professional experience, personal statements, and academic records are considered.

Net Price: $11,486
Score: 90.1

6. Arizona State University – Tempe – Tempe, AZ

Master of Arts in Communication

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Arizona State University's Master of Arts in Communication is designed specifically for business and nonprofit professionals looking to increase their skill level in preparation for further career growth and opportunity. The 30-credit program is made up of ten courses that last seven-and-a-half weeks each, all of which can be completed online. Core topics include conflict management, persuasion and social influence, global communication, and development. Certificates are available in Conflict Management and/or Civil Dialogue. Graduates may go onto careers as corporate managers, human resource specialists, marketing managers, public relations specialists, and more. Applicants must have earned at least a 3.0 in their undergraduate studies.

Net Price: $12,947
Score: 90.1

5. Northeastern University – Boston, MA

Master's of Corporate & Organizational Communication

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The Master's of Corporate & Organizational Communication from Northeastern University offers students six concentration areas: Public and Media Relations, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Social Media, just to name a few. The program is designed to prepare students with the tools necessary to craft and deliver messages through digital media and other platforms, with the goal of influencing attitudes of internal and external audiences. Graduates will be well-versed in field research and theories and will be able to apply those concepts to lead successful real-world projects. Students complete a core curriculum, consisting of courses like Ethical Issues in Organizational Communication and Intercultural Communication. Prior to graduation, students also complete a capstone project.

Net Price: $30,784
Score: 91.1

4. Columbia University – New York City, NY

Master of Science in Strategic Communication

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Columbia University's Master of Science in Strategic Communication is a 36-credit program that most students complete on a part-time schedule. While a good majority of the program is completed online, there are required in-person intensive study and weekend sessions required of all students. The program is rigorous, preparing students with knowledge on both classical and modern approaches to communication as well as how to apply them to real-world scenarios. The program must be completed within 16 months to be awarded a degree and it must be completed with a 3.0 GPA or better. All students complete a capstone project prior to graduation.

Net Price: $22,824
Score: 94.8

3. Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN

Master of Arts in Communications

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Purdue University's Master of Science in Communication equips students with an understanding of both qualitative and quantitative communication methodologies, preparing them for success in all aspects of the field. The program is entirely online and flexible in schedule, as 86% of students in the program work full-time. Students may choose from two concentration areas: Strategic Communication/Public Relations, or Integrated Communication and Advertising. The degree takes 20 months to complete, with courses covering ethics, research methods, crisis communication, public relations, and more. Students have the ability to design a curriculum that best suits their interests, which can consist of only three core courses as well as seven electives.

Net Price: $12,117
Score: 97

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC

Master of Arts in Digital Communication

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The University of North Carolina designed their online Master of Arts in Digital Communication specifically for working communications professionals who would benefit from a flexible and accessible program. The degree from UNC has consistently ranked as one of the top online MA in Communication programs. The program gives those in the field the tools necessary to enter into leadership roles or other forms of career growth in their industry. The curriculum is made up of nine courses and a semester-long comprehensive project, all taking place over two years. There are two required residencies: an on-campus orientation at the beginning of the program, and a week-long summer term residency after completion of the first year.

Net Price: $11,100
Score: 98.6

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL

Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication

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The Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a fully online program that can be completed in only 15 months. Consisting of 32 credits, the curriculum is designed to equip working professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary for them to push forward in their field. Students will become well-versed in many aspects of global and media-centered societies. Sixteen credits are taught by faculty in advertising and media, while the remaining 16 are taught by those in business administration. The capstone provides the platform for students to combine their newfound interdisciplinary knowledge in a project showcasing their developed skills.

Net Price: $16,638
Score: 100