In this article, we profile the top 30 affordable online master’s in communication degree programs for 2017.

Earning a graduate degree in communications can make leadership positions more accessible. The United States Department of Labor–Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for communication and media occupations is expected to grow 4 percent by the year 2024, which will result in approximately 27,000 new jobs. Qualifications for mid-level and advanced positions include a master’s degree in communication.

Methodology

We looked 79 accredited colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered online master’s in communication degrees, or closely related programs in public relations or journalism. We narrowed our original list of schools by choosing those with regional or national rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the 30 most affordable of these top recognized schools based on the in-state graduate tuition rates published by NCES College Navigator, with the #1 spot going to the most affordable.

Here are the resulting selections for our top 30 affordable online master’s in communication degrees for 2017.

#30 – Georgetown University

Online Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Washington, DC

Website

Georgetown University - Online Master's in Communication Degrees

Georgetown’s online master’s in communication degree focuses on PR and corporate communications.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $45,136

The online master’s in communication program from Georgetown University is not the most affordable on our list, but is offered by one of the most recognized universities in the world. From research opportunities to world-renowned faculty, Georgetown’s master’s in PR and corporate communications program provides quality education to students interested in improving their career trajectory. Ten courses (30 credits) must be completed in core and foundation classes and electives. Part-time and full-time enrollment options are available. Courses include communications research, corporate communications, crisis communications, digital analytics and measurement, public relations and corporate communications, and public relations writing. Georgetown is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report as a best national university and top value school. Also, the graduate communications programs have earned recognition.

#29 – Northeastern University

Online Master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communication

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Northeastern University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Northeastern’s a top-ranked school that offers an online master’s in communications (corporate).

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,166

One of the best online master’s in communication programs on our list is offered by Northeastern University. Distinguished faculty and instructors with real-world experience in private and nonprofit sectors deliver content through online courses designed to equip students for advanced communication roles. Five concentration areas are available so that students may tailor their degree to suit career goals or personal interests. These concentrations include human resource management, leadership, project management, public relations, and social media. Courses are delivered online and include core classes and electives like communication networks and managing information, ethical issues in organizational communication, and strategic communication management.

#28 – Western New England University

Online Master’s in Communication

Springfield, Massachusetts

Website

Western New England University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Western New England University’s online master’s in communication degree program is top-ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,482

The 30-credit master’s in communications online degree program from Western New England University integrates media with public relations. In fact, the degree offers a concentration in PR that allows students the opportunity to tailor their degree through courses and electives that emphasize public relations. All classes are taught by university professors and include crisis management in public relations, ethics in public communication, manufacturing and managing public, public relations for nonprofits, and strategic approaches to public relations. Western New England University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 67th best regional university in the North and 27th best value school.

#27 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master’s in Communication

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

SNHU’s online master’s in communication degree can be completed in 15 months!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

The master’s in communications online degree program from Southern New Hampshire University offers three concentrations, allowing students to tailor their degree to suit career goals or interests. These concentrations include health communication, new media and marketing, and public relations. The program is offered entirely online and taught by university professors. Students work at their own pace and have the option of completing the degree in as little as 15 months. Courses include communication for leadership, communication–media and society, law and ethics, and strategic communication in a new age. Admission to the program does not require GMAT or GRE scores, although a complete application package is needed. Southern New Hampshire University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 101st best regional institution in the North and the #1 most innovative school.

#26 – University of Illinois

Online Master’s in Health Communication

Champaign, Illinois

Website

University of Illinois - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

The online master’s in communication program at University of Illinois focuses on health communications.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,041

For individuals interested in health communication, University of Illinois offers accredited online master’s in communication programs that emphasize interpersonal and organizational communication challenges seen in health organizations. This two-year master’s program is offered 100% online with no set class times. Students work at their own pace and are not required to attend on-campus sessions. All classes are taught by university professors and include health campaigns making a difference, health communication organizations and policy, health communication research methods, introduction to health communication, and social marketing for health and behavior change. University of Illinois is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 44th best national university in the nation.

#25 – Quinnipiac University

Online Master’s in Interactive Media

Hamden, Connecticut

Website

Quinnipiac University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Quinnipiac University offers an online master’s in interactive media that may appeal to those interested in online communications programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,874

One alternative to an online master’s in communication program on our list is the master’s in interactive media offered by Quinnipiac University. This 100% online graduate program is designed for individuals who want to advance their careers in areas of journalism, marketing, public relations, publishing, or other communication-related fields. Four concentration areas are offered so that students may tailor their degree to better suit personal interests or career goals. Courses are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach on campus. These classes include issues in contemporary media, information design, media ethics and policy, web techniques, and writing for interactive media. Quinnipiac is a regionally ranked university in the North by U.S. News and World Report. Also, many of the online graduate programs have earned recognition.

#24 – Gonzaga University

Online Master’s in Communication and Leadership Studies

Spokane, Washington

Website

Gonzaga University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Gonzaga University’s online master’s in communication and leadership studies is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,090

The master’s in communications online degree program from Gonzaga University offers three concentrations, but the core of the program is rooted in communication theory. Students may tailor their 30-credit degree to better suit their career goals and personal interests in areas like college teaching of communication, international and intercultural communication, and strategic and organizational communication. All classes are delivered online with one three-day immersion required on the Gonzaga campus. Courses are taught by university professors and include consulting and training, digital and social media, media literacy, organizational communication, rhetorical criticism, and strategic corporate communication. Gonzaga is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 4th best regional university in the West and 13th best value school.

#23 – Westminster College

Online Master of Strategic Communication

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Westminster College - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Westminster College’s online master’s in communication program focuses on strategic comm.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,580

Westminster College’s School of Arts and Sciences offers a master’s in communications online degree program that lasts for five semesters and is presented entirely online. Completed over 18 months, the flexible program is highly customizable so that students can take courses that appeal to personal interests and meet career goals. Courses include communication problems, communication strategy, identity branding, problem identification, situational analysis, and strategic reflection. Admission criteria include an earned bachelor’s degree, official transcripts, and a complete application packet including any national examinations results. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as the 20th best regional university in the West and 14th best value school.

#22 – Washington State University

Online Master’s in Strategic Communication

Pullman, Washington

Website

Washington State University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

WSU’s online communication master’s degree is ranked among the top 25 programs in the country.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,745

Washington State University offers one of the most affordable communications degree programs online on our list. Designed for individuals who want to pursue advanced roles in advertising, corporate communication, management, or public relations, the degree is highly customizable so that students may tailor their degree by taking courses that appeal to personal interests or career goals. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach on campus. These classes include consumer behavior and brand development, crisis communication in global contexts, ethics for professionals, professional digital content promotion, and research methods for professionals. WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication has received rankings placing it in the top 25 graduate programs for communication.

#21 – University of Florida

Online Master’s in Mass Communication

Gainesville, Florida

Website

University of Florida - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

University of Florida’s online master’s in communication offers specializations and a mass comm focus.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737

University of Florida’s online master’s in communication program is offered through the school’s College of Journalism and Communications and requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Students may either earn a master’s in mass communication with a specialization in global strategic communication or pursue the combined MAMC and MBA degree. The MAMC degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework. Students generally take 1-2 courses per semester, and each semester is 12 weeks long. Online courses include applied strategic communication research methods, brand management, foundations of intercultural communications, global strategic communication, and strategic communication ethics and concepts. U.S. News and World Report has ranked the school as the 50th best national university and 14th top public school.

#20 – Walden University

Online Master’s in Communication

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Walden University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Walden University’s online master’s in communication requires 30 credits.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,609

Walden University’s online master’s in communication programs include the MS in communication, which requires a total of 30 semester credits. All classes are delivered online, and a wide selection of elective courses allows students to tailor their degree to better suit career goals or personal interests. Online courses include communication theory in practice, communication using social and digital media, creative strategy and execution, media effects – mass media in modern society, and public relations concepts and strategy. Walden University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, the school’s graduate communication programs have earned past recognition by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#19 – Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Online Master’s in Mass Media Arts and Journalism

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Website

Clarion University of Pennsylvania - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Clarion University offers an online master’s in mass media that appeals to those interested in an online communication degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,222

Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers a type of master’s in communications online degree program designed to prepare students for jobs in the media marketplace. This 36-credit hour program provides students with a theoretical base in communication coupled with professional experience that can be channeled toward any field of communication. Courses include advanced public relations writing, journalism foundations, management of the communication process, mass communication theory, public relations foundations, and society and media technology. Students must also complete a thesis or research study project in communication, and no comprehensive examination is required for graduation. Clarion is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the North.

#18 – National University

Online Master’s in Strategic Communications

La Jolla, California

Website

National University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

National University offers an accredited online master’s in strategic communication.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,962

National University’s online master’s in communication program is designed to prepare students for professional positions within organizations that carry out and manage communication campaigns. Classes are taught by seasoned faculty, and each student receives access and assistance from a program faculty advisor. All courses are delivered online and include campaign and program evaluation, communications in global environment, crisis communications, integrated marketing communication, legal and ethical issues, and research methods in strategic communications. National University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best regional university in the West, and several of the school’s online graduate programs have received top 100 recognition.

#17 – Lasell College

Online Master’s in Communication

Newton, Massachusetts

Website

Lasell College - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Lasell College’s online master’s in communication program offers concentrations in health and PR.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,870

Located approximately ten miles from Boston proper, Lasell College offers an accredited master’s in communications online degree program designed for working adults and students looking to balance life’s obligations with graduate school. Admissions to the program does not require a GRE or GMAT. All classes are delivered online, and the entire program may be completed in just 12-24 months, depending on the desired course load. Three specialized concentrations are available so that students may tailor their degree to better suit career goals and personal interests. These concentrations include health communication, integrated marketing communication, and public relations. Lasell is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 131st best regional university in the North.

#16 – Mississippi College

Online Master’s in Communication

Clinton, Mississippi

Website

Mississippi College - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Mississippi College offers an online master’s in communication program that’s accredited and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,302

Mississippi College offers one of the most affordable communications degree programs online. This versatile degree program is designed for students who want an advanced degree that improves their marketability in media, journalism, and communications. The program may be tailored to suit career goals and personal interests that the students might have by choosing a concentration like journalism, health services, sports, or theater. All classes are delivered online and include communication research, persuasion, process and effects of communication, and public relations. Electives may include communication law, intercultural communication, rhetorical communication practice, and television workshop. Mississippi College is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 31st best regional university in the South and 22nd best value school.

#15 – University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Communication Studies

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

University of Alabama - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

University of Alabama’s online master’s in communication studies is a 30-credit hour program taught entirely online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,170

The communications degree programs online like the ones available at University of Alabama are both accredited and affordable. University of Alabama offers a master’s in communication studies with a specialization in organizational leadership designed to prepare students with a deeper understanding of theory and strategy in decisive communication. This 30-credit hour program is taught entirely online and includes courses like conflict and negotiation, gender and political communication, human communication theory, relational communication, and technology and communication. The institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 103rd best national university.

#14 – Purdue University

Online Master’s in Communication

West Lafayette, Indiana

Website

Purdue University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Purdue’s online master’s in communication degree program is top-ranked and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,002

Purdue University’s master’s in communications online degree program is designed to build on already existing critical thinking and strategic communication skills. The program is ideal for working professionals who want to obtain a deeper understanding of communication to provide upward career mobility. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same professors that instruct on campus. Courses include communication research methods, crisis communication, global strategic communication, leadership and global strategic communication, strategic communication and ethics, and strategic communication and social media. Purdue is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 60th best national university.

#13 – University of Iowa

Online Master’s in Strategic Communication

Iowa City, Iowa

Website

University of Iowa - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

University of Iowa’s master’s in communication degree can be completed entirely online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,693

University of Iowa’s accredited online master’s in communication program serves aspiring and current communication professionals by providing an online graduate program in strategic communication that mirrors its on-campus counterpart. All courses meet online once a week in the early evening. Courses are taught by university professors who teach or have taught on the main campus. Courses include foundations of strategic communication, digital strategic communication, risk communication, strategic communication writing, and strategic political communication. The University of Iowa is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 82nd best national university, and its social sciences graduate schools have earned various rankings.

#12 – Quincy University

Online Master’s in Communication

Quincy, Illinois

Website

Quincy University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Quincy University’s online master’s in communication is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,600

Quincy University’s master’s in communications online degree program is a 30-credit hour program designed for working and busy individuals who are currently gaining experience in various areas of communication like marketing or public relations. The curriculum emphasizes a strong writing ability across media platforms. All classes are delivered online and include advanced technical communication, crisis communication, ethics in strategic communication, integrated communication and social media, and introduction to graduate studies in communication. Admission to the program includes a complete application, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and personal statement. Quincy is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 74th best regional university in the Midwest and 25th best value school.

#11 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in Organizational Communication

Athens, Ohio

Website

Ohio University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Ohio University’s communication programs include the online master’s in organizational communication.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,510

One of the more affordable online master’s in communication programs on our list is the master of arts in organization communication offered by Ohio University’s School of Communication Studies. Designed for working professionals seeking career advancement, the program is flexible, with classes taught in a way that allows students to work at their own pace. This format provides a flexible completion time of approximately 15 months to two years. Online courses include communicative practices in organizations, cross-cultural communication, gender and communication, instructional training and development in communication, and measurement methodology in communication. Ohio University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 146th best national university and 74th top public school.

#10 – West Virginia University

Online Master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communication

Morgantown, West Virginia

Website

West Virginia University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

West Virginia University’s online master’s in communication emphasizes corporate and organizational comm.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,568

One of the most affordable and accredited communications degree programs online is offered by the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University. The program is offered entirely online with classes taught by the same professors who teach in the graduate and PhD programs on campus. Most students complete the program in two years (36 credit hours) by taking two classes each semester. Courses may include case studies in organizational communication, communication in the organization, communication campaigns, diversity in the workplace, organizational communication, organizational culture, and social and digital media management. Admission does require a bachelor’s degree and letters of recommendation, but does not require GRE or GMAT scores. West Virginia University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 183rd best national university and 99th top public school.

#9 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communications

Lincoln, Nebraska

Website

University of Nebraska - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

The online master’s in mass communications from University of Nebraska is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,556

University of Nebraska’s master’s in communications online program offers three specialization areas so that students may tailor their graduate degree to better suit career goals and personal interests. These specializations include integrated media communications, media studies, and professional journalism. Requirements vary depending on the selected specialty. For example, the media studies focus requires 30 semester hours with a 6-hour thesis, whereas the integrated media communications specialization requires 36 credit hours and no thesis. In addition to university accreditation, the program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Also, the institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 111th best national university and 51st top public school in the country.

#8 – Concordia University

Online Master’s in Strategic Communication Management

St. Paul, Minnesota

Website

Concordia University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Concordia’s online master’s in communication management degree is a highly affordable program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,550

Concordia University’s master’s in communications online degree program is one of the most affordable programs on our list. Designed for busy adult students interested in acquiring an advanced degree, this program allows individuals to attend class entirely online and on their own schedule. Courses run seven weeks in length and include communication inquiry and measurement, communication strategies for conflict management, innovative communication, intercultural communication, leadership communication, media strategies, and strategic communication management. Admission to the program requires official transcripts, a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and a personal statement and resume. Concordia is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 103rd best regional university in the Midwest.

#7 – South Dakota State University

Online Master of Mass Communication

Brookings, South Dakota

Website

South Dakota State University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

The online master’s in mass communication program from South Dakota State is accredited and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,329

South Dakota State University offers one of the most affordable communications degree programs online that is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The program is designed for working journalists and professional communicators as well as those aspiring to improve and develop their communication skills. All classes are delivered online and include conducting professional research, cross-platform campaigns, cross-platform storytelling, introduction to mass communication, media administration and management, media law case studies, and social marketing for health and behavioral change. South Dakota State is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school #202 among the best national universities and #110 among top public schools.

#6 – Queens University of Charlotte

Online Master’s in Communication

Charlotte, North Carolina

Website

Queens University of Charlotte - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Queens University’s online master’s in communication degree program requires a capstone project.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,147

Ranked among the top regional colleges in the South, Queens University of Charlotte offers an accredited online master’s in communication degree program designed to prepare students with the skills needed to succeed across multiple communication platforms. Coursework is delivered online and includes communication fluency, creativity and networks, expanding communication boundaries, leadership and the management of meaning, strategic communication for global audiences, and the mediated self and changing relationships. In addition to courses, a capstone project is required, which allows students to put to practice all they’ve learned in class. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 22nd best regional university in the South and 28th best value school.

#5 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Communication

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Liberty’s online master’s in communication degree offers a Christian worldview.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,000

Liberty University’s online master’s in communication programs are designed to provide affordable and flexible educational options that integrate Christian worldview in the practice of communication theory. The program is ideal for those seeking teaching positions or planning to pursue doctoral studies. Courses include communication and conflict, communication theory and practices, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication theory and practice, leadership communication, listening and nonverbal communication, and strategies and tactics of persuasion. Admission to the program includes an accredited bachelor’s degree with 3.0 GPA, official college transcripts, statement of purpose, and a faculty member recommendation. Liberty University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top tier national universities.

#4 – Minnesota State University

Online Master’s in Communication and Composition

Mankato, Minnesota

Website

Minnesota State University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Minnesota State’s online master’s in communication degree program is affordable for in-state students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,547

One of the top most affordable master’s in communications online degree programs on our list is found at Minnesota State University. The program is available on campus or online and takes approximately two years to complete when attending full time. Online students enjoy the same program and instruction as their on-campus peers. Courses include advanced intercultural pedagogy, communication pedagogy, modern rhetorical criticism, perspectives in culture and communication, and quantitative research methods. An internship paper is also required towards the end of the program. Minnesota State University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 103rd best regional university in the Midwest and 29th top public school.

#3 – Spring Arbor University

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership

Spring Arbor, Michigan

Website

Spring Arbor University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Spring Arbor University’s online master’s in communication emphasizes leadership and strategy.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,878

The master’s in communications online degree program at Spring Arbor University is a top-ranked and affordable program that requires no GRE or GMAT and offers six start dates per year. The program is entirely online with classes taught by university professors. These online courses include communication as vocation and calling, communication theory and worldview, group and public communication, mass communication–culture and technology, and writing for results. Spring Arbor is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the institution as the 63rd best regional university in the West and the 19th best value school.

#2 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Communication Sciences

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

East Carolina University offers one of the most affordable online master’s in communication programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,857

East Carolina University offers one of the most technical and allied health science-related online master’s in communication programs on our list. The master’s in communication sciences and disorders program emphasizes specific areas of speech-language pathology and communication sciences. This is a professional program that prepares individuals for immediate placement with public schools or in clinical environments. Students take courses and complete 250 clinical clock hours to satisfy degree requirements. While the program is considered to be online, some campus visits may be required. East Carolina is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 210th best national university and 118th top public school.

#1 – Missouri State University

Online Master’s in Communication

Springfield, Missouri

Website

Missouri State University - Online Master’s in Communication Degrees

Missouri State University is our #1 pick for most affordable online master’s in communication programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,500

Missouri State University offers the most affordable of the communications degree programs online that we’ve reviewed. This program offers an online master’s in communication with three areas of specialization, including conflict, organizational communication, and public relations. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same instructors who teach on campus. Classes include applied communication research methods, quantitative analysis in communication research, rhetorical analysis and theory in communication research, and theory and research in communication. During the fourth semester, students must complete a master’s thesis along with independent research connected with the preparation of the thesis paper. Missouri State University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 71st best regional university in the Midwest and the 16th top public school.

BMD Staff
February 2017

This concludes our ranking of the top 30 affordable online master’s in communication degree programs for 2017.