Professionals often consider an accelerated online Master’s in Communication degree, but many people are not sure why. The professionals in this industry, from public relations to marketing, know that the field has changed significantly with the rise of technology. This has meant that there is an incredible need for additional education to understand how the internet now informs the communications field.
Employers are now requiring that their employees have a comprehensive understanding of the field. This means that working professionals need programs that are not only affordable and flexible but easy to move through at a quick pace. This has led to a rise in accelerated graduate programs in the field, allowing professionals to advance their education while focusing on their career. But with so many programs available, professionals also need a ranking that shows them the information they need, such as degree time to completion rates as well as what they can expect from the degree. This is what this ranking endeavors to provide for all interested professionals.
A massive amount of research was conducted in order to create this ranking. Using the National Center for Education Statistics website, and its publicly available database known as College Navigator, it was possible to identify 45 schools who offered accelerated online master’s degrees in communications. From there, several factors were considered, including accelerated degree options and tuition rates. The final 15 schools found below were chosen for their in-state graduate tuition rates.
Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Communications
15. Austin Peay State University
Online Master of Arts in Communication Arts
Austin Peay State University is home to a brilliant accelerated master’s online in communications degree that comes with four concentrations: Corporate Communication, General Communication, Marketing Communication, and Media Management. These concentrations are built for professionals who need specialized education in one of these areas, providing them with the knowledge they need in order to become highly qualified candidates for their career goals. This degree is conferred 100 percent online with no residency requirements; courses are delivered asynchronously and synchronously. Term length can vary and is usually between 12 to 16 weeks, with summer terms being shorter than fall and spring terms. Courses are also taught by practitioner-professors, meaning that the faculty at this school have years of experience as communications professionals. Students can expect to complete 34 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Marketing Communication Strategies, Applied Communication Theory, and Communication Research Methods.
For more information: Austin Peay State University
14. Park University
Online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership
Students at Park University offers students an accelerated online Master’s in Communications that is perfect for students who are interested in advancing in the communications field or who are looking to pursue doctoral study. This is a 100 percent online degree that has courses that are delivered both live and on-demand; students can choose which format works best for their needs, although some courses must be taken live with no exceptions. This curriculum has a strong focus on communication theories, concepts, and research methods; the majority of the core curriculum focuses on the theoretical and academic aspects of the field. Students will also find that they have options when it comes to their final project; they can choose from a graduate creative project, a thesis, or a research paper. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone course, and three comprehensive written exams that are spread throughout the plan of study. Sample courses include The Epistemology of Communication, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Human Communication Perspectives.
For more information: Park University
13. National University
Los Angeles, California
Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications
National University offers students the chance to participate in a one year Master’s in Communications online program. This is a degree that is designed for professionals who wish to work in complex organizations or businesses as part of a team that oversees all communications for that entity. The curriculum focuses on providing students with the necessary practical skills to become effective communications experts; this includes learning how to build a campaign, running marketing and public relations recovery plans, working with inside and outside allies, and more. This is a 100 percent online degree that can be delivered entirely as an asynchronous course load. Students will find that even with 16-week terms, they can still complete all the necessary requirements within one year. Students can expect to complete 40.5 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exit exam prior to graduation. Sample courses include Communications in a Global Environment, Crisis Communications in Business, and Campaign and Program Management.
For more information: National University
12. Sam Houston State University
Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies
The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Communications program is built to provide professionals with an academic and evidence-based program that will both help them pursue doctoral study or be ready to move into the workforce. This degree is also extremely flexible, providing students with half of the curriculum in the form of free electives; this enables them to create their own specialization which may help them once they enter the field. This is a 100 percent online degree that utilizes both live and on-demand courses. Courses are generally offered asynchronously while seminars are synchronous and require live participation by students. This is a non-thesis program, making it a great choice for those who are interested in finishing a two-year degree without having to dedicate a large portion of their time to creating a presentation and preparing for an oral defense. Students will be required to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and two program assessments in the form of proctored exams. Sample courses include Statistical Methods for Communication, Communication Studies Methods and Research, and Advanced Interpersonal Communication.
11. California Baptist University
Online Master of Arts in Communication
California Baptist University is home to a one year online Master’s in Communications degree that was built for journalism and communication professionals who have at least one year’s worth of work experience in this or related fields. The program’s curriculum is focused on the research and communications skills that are needed in the field, especially by large businesses and corporations who require competent leaders. This is a 100 percent online degree; there are no residency requirements. Students will find that courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously; students are advised to pay attention to the delivery format of each course prior to registering, as synchronous courses do require live participation in order to pass the class. Students who study part-time will be able to complete this degree in six semesters or two years. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a graduate communication project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Rhetorical Criticism and Contemporary Culture, Media Effects on Communication Behaviour, and Communication in the Digital Age.
For more information: California Baptist University
10. Notre Dame of Maryland University
Online Master of Arts in Contemporary Communication
Students at Notre Dame of Maryland University are treated to an accelerated online Master’s in Communications that has rolling admission and multiple start dates throughout the year. This program focuses on contemporary communication, such as Internet marketing or digital public relations; it is taught by professors who have several years of experience in the field as professionals. This degree is best taken on by individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree in communications or in a related field as this is an advanced degree that does not offer a cursory introduction to communications theories, concepts, or strategies. This program is 100 percent online; courses are delivered asynchronously and synchronously with delivery formats clearly displayed during the registration process. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a research project, a graduate capstone project, and a comprehensive written and final exam; this degree can be completed in two years if a student chooses to study full-time. Sample courses include Research Methods for Professionals, Media Criticism and Theory, and Managing Information in a Web-Based World.
For more information: Notre Dame of Maryland University
9. Washington State University
Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
Washington State University’s Global Campus is home to the school’s accelerated online Master’s in Communications. This program was designed for professionals who are interested in entering into public relations or strategic marketing after they have completed the degree. This is a multidisciplinary degree that focuses on providing students with both new media concepts and real-world case studies on how to build communications campaigns that work. Students are provided with a 100 percent online cohort program that sees students advance through the curriculum with the same group of classmates. This program also offers students the chance to chat live with their professors during scheduled office hours as well as meet with classmates in online forums during group projects. Courses are delivered live for the most part, although some courses are on-demand; this degree can be completed in two years should students decide to study full-time. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project or a portfolio presentation, and a comprehensive written final exam. Sample courses include Crisis Communication in Global Contexts, Professional Marketing Communication Management and Campaigns, and Professional Multimedia Content Creation.
For more information: Washington State University
8. Asbury University
Online Master of Arts in Communication: Digital Storytelling
The affordable accelerated Master’s in Communications online degree from Asbury University is an incredible offering that blends communications with digital storytelling. Students who are interested in this degree will no doubt be aware of the necessity of storytelling for marketing and public relations; earning a degree with this as a stated focus will bode well for those who wish to work in large corporations or brands. This program is hybrid in nature, meaning that students will be required to attend campus every term for a short duration while the rest of the courses are available online in either the asynchronous or synchronous format. The face-to-face meetings were built to ensure that students can demonstrate competency for important interpersonal or communications skills. There is also an experience component that requires either television production, film production, or an apprenticeship. This experience will generally take place in a student’s area of residence. Other requirements for the degree include 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or creative project, a field experience, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Feature Film Screenwriting, Sundance: A Study of Independent Cinema, and Directing for Film and Television.
For more information: Asbury University
7. Drury University
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Drury University provides students with the chance to complete a 12 month online Master’s in Communications program that is built to help students specialize their knowledge of the field. This degree comes with two concentrations: Marketing Communication and Organizational Leadership and Change. Both concentrations have the same program requirements, but the curriculum options may differ slightly. In either case, all students are taught through a 100 percent online program; students never have to attend campus. Students will find that an internship is strongly encouraged for this degree but it is not required; this experience, if chosen, will take place in a student’s community upon the approval of the department. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a creative final project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Advanced Social Media Strategy, Grant Writing for Social Impact, and Public Relations and Corporate Writing.
For more information: Drury University
6. Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Online Master of Science in Communication
Students at Purdue University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Communications that can be completed in just 20 months. This degree is built to help students master the new and traditional communication strategies that still play a large role in the field. This degree comes with two concentrations, which includes Strategic Communication and Public Relations as well as Integrated Communication and Advertising. It is also possible for a professional to create their own specialization based on the free electives that are part of the curriculum. This is a 100 percent online degree, which requires no on-campus residencies at any time, that is built with on-demand and live delivery formats in mind. Students will find that all of these courses follow a 12-week format; this makes it possible to complete the degree in less than two years. Students will find that this degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication, Strategic Communication and Professional Writing, and Leadership and Global Strategic Communication.
For more information: Purdue University
5. Texas Tech University
Online Master’s Program in Strategic Communication and Innovation
Texas Tech University provides students with the chance to complete a 12-month master’s online in communications if they choose to study full-time. This program comes with the ability to earn a separate graduate certificate in advanced digital and social media, which can be immediately put to use while a professional is still in the program. This curriculum is designed for seasoned communications professionals and therefore only students with an undergraduate degree in the field will be admitted into this program. Students will find a comprehensive curriculum that is conferred 100 percent online; all courses are delivered as either an asynchronous or synchronous offering. Students will find that it is possible to complete all the requirements in one year with year-round study. This degree requires 30 credit hours, a final project, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Special Topics in Strategic Communication, Strategic Communication in a Global Environment, and Media Management, Entrepreneurship, and Consulting.
For more information: Texas Tech University
4. Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Students who study at Eastern New Mexico University are offered the chance to earn an accelerated online program that can be completed in less than two years. This degree provides several resources for online students, including a writing center, a tutoring service, an online bookstore, and an online library. This is a 100 percent online degree that is taught by professionals who have years of experience in the field. All courses necessary for the completion of this degree are delivered as asynchronous or synchronous courses through the school’s virtual portal. Full-time students will be able to complete this degree within 20 months; part-time students can expect to complete this degree in 30 months. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or a creative project, and a comprehensive written and oral final exam. Sample courses include Communication Research Methods, Mass Media Criticism and Analysis, and Directing for Television and Directing for Television Lab.
For more information: Eastern New Mexico University
3. Southern New Hampshire University
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Southern New Hampshire University is home to an excellent accelerated online Master’s in Communication that comes with two concentrations: Public Relations and New Media and Marketing. This degree was built for pre-service and in-service communications professionals who are ready to take the next step in advancing their careers. As a fully online degree program, students will find that this curriculum is updated annually, reflecting the changes in the field as they happen in the real world. The courses available for this program have been specially designed to be offered online both as asynchronous and synchronous offerings. Students will find that with full-time study, this degree can be completed in 18 months. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a communications capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Second Self: Identity and Personal Brands, More Than Words: Communication by Design, and Strategic Communication in a New Age.
For more information: Southern New Hampshire University
2. East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Students at East Carolina University can prepare themselves for a long career in the communications field with an accelerated online Master’s in Communications. This is a degree that can be earned as either a 100 percent online degree or a hybrid program; the choice is up to the student. In fact, much is up to the decision of the student, including the majority of the curriculum requirements; there are only two required core courses while the rest of the degree is made up of free electives. All courses can be found on the school’s virtual portal and are offered as either on-demand or live classes. Students also get to choose whether they complete a master’s thesis or take on a coursework-only graduate program, enabling them to make a choice that best reflects their personal and professional obligations. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral final exam. Sample courses include Media and Health Communication, Communication Approaches to Health Advocacy, and Communication Theory.
For more information: East Carolina University
1. Lasell College
Online Master of Science in Communication
Lasell College has designed an excellent accelerated online Master’s in Communications that can be completed in as little as one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. There are three concentrations: Public Relations, Health Communication, and Integrated Marketing Communication. Students will find that even though this is a 100 percent online degree, classes are capped at 23 students each to facilitate a better professor-student relationship. Students will have the option to choose between courses that are offered live or on-demand, allowing them to make a choice that best reflects their study needs. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a final project or thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Principles of Public Relations, Writing for Public Relations, and Negotiations and Conflict Resolution.
For mor information: Lasell College
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Accelerated Online Master’s in Communication Degree?
- Social Media Communications Manager
- Public Relations Manager
- Director of Public Relations
- Director of Marketing
- Digital Marketing Coordinator
- Strategic Communications Manager
- Crisis Intervention Manager
- Marketing Communications Specialist
- Content Manager for Brands
How Much Can You Earn in This Field?
The average salary range for a communications professional is between $35,000 to $135,000. The reason for this range is based on the fact that this accounts for entry-level to senior-level and C-level positions as well as years of work experience. The range also accounts for different specializations within the communications field. It does not account for bonus forms of compensation, such as yearly bonuses and shares in brands and companies.
It is important to note that communications professionals may make more or less than this salary range if they choose to become freelancers or consultants. These professionals can build their own firms and, depending on the industry they work for, can make hundreds of thousands of dollars; this is especially true for crisis communications firms in politics or business.
What are the Various Disciplines of Communications?
The communications field involves several disciplines. This includes communications, interpersonal skills, conflict negotiation, social media, new media, transmedia, storytelling, Internet, technology, leadership, management, human resource management, marketing, advertising, psychology, color theory, art, and sociology.
Some professionals may find that some of these disciplines may be more apparent in their career than others; this is especially true for professionals who focus on one industry, such as entertainment or business. Students will want to do research based on their career goals to see what disciplines that will be required in their workplace; this may make it easier to choose free electives that will give them the knowledge and skills that they need in order to be in demand by employers.
The communications field plays a large role in how the public views brands, businesses, and individuals. With the advancement of technology, the field has expanded to include digital marketing and narrative branding, enabling the public to communicate with the entities they interact with the most. Professionals in this industry will be helped by earning an accelerated online Master’s in Communications, which provides them with the flexibility they need to continue their education while also continuing their important work in the field.