Earning an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree is an incredible opportunity for pre-service and in-service professionals in the field. With so many publications demanding qualified candidates, it is imperative that a graduate education in journalism be in reach of any professional who is committed to completing it. And now with debate about biased reporting along with the mainstream use of the term “fake news,” it has never been more important to impart to these professionals the traditional theory and skills that have created some of the most respected journalists, reporters, anchors, and analysts in the country.

Journalists often work away from home, reporting on stories that take place in different parts of the country or even abroad; they work long hours, on the weekend, and never cease their reporting until the story is done. That means that their graduate degree must be flexible; online degrees with little to no residency requirements, as well as accelerated and affordable programs, make it much easier for them to complete this degree. This has created a need for an updated ranking on the best schools for students to earn an online Master’s in Journalism degree from in America.

Methodology

All of the research conducted for this ranking took place on the National Center for Education Statistics website and its College Navigator database. The initial group of 25 schools was identified by searching for online Master’s in Journalism programs. From there, each program was independently reviewed and compared against other programs; factors included the school’s estimated time to completion for the degree and tuition rates. The final 20 schools, which are listed below, were chosen based on the school’s estimated total in-state graduation tuition cost for the program.

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Journalism

20. Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

Online Master of Arts in Communications, Specialization in Journalism Innovation

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $64,812

Syracuse University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that is perfect for professionals interested in learning more about the relationship between communications and journalism. This degree has three concentrations: Public Relations, Advertising, and Journalism Innovation. This degree is offered entirely online through the school’s learning management system; this platform provides asynchronous and synchronous courses that follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students who complete this degree as a full-time plan of study can graduate in two years or less. This degree requires that students complete 30 credit hours of coursework, the Digital Communications Strategy and Entrepreneurship Capstone, and a comprehensive exit exam. Sample courses include Web and Mobile Story Production, Data-Driven Journalism, and Emerging Media Platforms.

19. Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $59,930

Northwestern University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism alternative degree that will be of personal interest to students who are interested in learning how marketing impacts multimedia communications. This degree is offered wholly online; there are no residency requirements. Students will be able to complete this degree in two years when they take just two courses every term. All courses are offered through the school’s online learning management system as asynchronous or synchronous courses. This program follows the 12-week academic term format. This degree requires that students complete 39 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Consumer Insight, Marketing Management, and Statistics and Marketing Research.

18. Emerson College

Boston, Massachusetts

Online Master of Arts in Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $50,040

Students at Emerson College are offered the chance to earn a 13-month accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that focuses on multimedia journalism. This program will prepare journalists for the changing face of journalism; mobile and web production are two focuses of this program. Students will note that this degree can be completed entirely online; courses are delivered through the school’s virtual portal and can be completed in live or on-demand sessions that run for eight weeks each. The degree requires 40 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information on this degree can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

17. Harvard Extension School

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Online Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies: Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $33,000

Harvard Extension School is the Ivy League’s continuing education program; this is where students can earn their accelerated online Master’s in Journalism in just two years. This is a hybrid program. Students will be required to complete at least three courses on campus prior to moving into online coursework. From there, students will have access to the school’s online learning management system; they will choose their courses from both asynchronous or synchronous delivery formats. All courses follow a 15-week academic term format. Students can complete this degree in two years by taking three courses every term. Degree requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, the Journalism Capstone, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Video Storytelling for Social Media, Writing About Food, and How Washington Works.

16. Full Sail University

Winter Park, Florida

Online Master of Arts in New Media Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $31,000

The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree available from Full Sail University is perfect for new media journalists. This degree focuses on the changing landscape of journalism and provides students with an entry point into how journalism works online. This degree is available wholly online; the school also provides students with the option to buy technology directly from the school so that they are always connected to their degree. All courses can be found through the school’s virtual portal; classes are always available asynchronously and are offered in four-week sessions; students can turn this into a one-year Master’s in Journalism if they take one course every month. This degree requires that students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, the New Media Journalism Final Project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Legal Aspects of Media, Multimedia Reporting, and Digital News Production.

15. Clarion University

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Mass Media Arts and Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $24,322

Clarion University offers a great accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree for both in-service and pre-service professionals. This degree is only offered online; hybrid and on-campus options are not currently available. Students will instead engage in their coursework online through the school’s online learning management system; courses are offered asynchronously or synchronously. It is possible to graduate in as little as 18 months when students commit to a full-time plan of study. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework and a thesis or research paper; a final comprehensive exit exam is not required. Sample courses include Mass Communication Research, Management of the Communication Process, and Mass Communication Theory.

14. The University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Digital Storyteller

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $21,156

Students interested in the accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree offered by the University of North Carolina will not be disappointed by this offering. This program is available to be completed in two years when studying two courses every term. The is a low-residency program that requires two visits to campus and is taught by the same professors who teach the courses on-campus. All of the courses available for this program are included on the school’s virtual portal; classes are taught either as live or on-demand classes and are held in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of coursework, the Non-Traditional Thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Usability and Multimedia Design, Leadership in Digital Media Economics, and Digital Data and Analytics.

13. The University of Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

Online Master of Arts in Journalism and Strategic Media

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $19,899

The University of Memphis delivers students an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that will help them with their goal of becoming professional journalists. This degree was created to be taken entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students will note that this degree comes with four concentrations: News and Storytelling, Integrated Strategic Media, Visual Media, and Research. All courses can be found online through the school’s learning management system. Most courses are delivered asynchronously; synchronous courses are delivered during the evening and on weekends to accommodate working professionals. Students can complete this degree in less than one year by committing to a full-time plan of study. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project of their choosing, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information on this degree can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

12. Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Online Master of Arts in Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $19,635

Students at Regent University have access to an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that is taught, among others, by Fulbright scholars and terminal-degree holding professionals. This degree is available 100 percent online with no residency requirements. All courses are available through the school’s virtual portal; courses are either asynchronous or synchronous and are held in eight-week sessions. This means that students who take two courses every term can graduate with a 12-month online Master’s in Journalism. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 33 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exit survey. Sample courses include Leadership Theory and Communication, Feature Writing and Specialty Reporting, and Multimedia Reporting and Mobile Field Production.

11. Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana

Online Master of Arts in Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $18,720

Ball State University offers an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree to professionals who are interested in taking the next step in their career. This program has a stated focus on the media industry as a whole and is perfect for industrious students. The curriculum can be taken entirely online or as part of a hybrid program; residencies are not required. There are two concentrations for this degree: Media Analytics and Management or Reporting and Storytelling. Courses are found through the school’s online learning management system and are delivered as asynchronous or synchronous courses that follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Reporting and Research Methods, Visual Storytelling, and Emerging Technologies.

10. Kent State University

Kent, Ohio

Online Master’s for Journalism Educators

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $16,665

Kent State University has become the first school in the country to offer an entirely online Master’s in Journalism geared toward educators. This degree was developed for professionals who teach journalism across the country and can prepare them for positions in high schools, colleges, and universities. This program is offered entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students will complete all of their asynchronous or synchronous courses through the school’s virtual portal. Classes run in the traditional 16-week academic term format. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of courses, the Master’s Professional Project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Ethics in Communications, Social Role of the Mass Media, and Teaching Multimedia.

9. The University of Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

Online Master of Arts in Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $13,601

The University of Missouri confers an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism that is perfect for professionals who have more than three years of experience in the field. This is one of the nation’s best-known journalism schools and has now created a degree that is offered mostly online; there are two campus residencies necessary for graduation. All courses are available through the school’s online learning management system and students will find that these classes are either asynchronous or synchronous in nature. Sessions run in the traditional 16-week academic term format. This degree requires that students complete 37 credit hours of coursework, a professional project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information on this project can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

8. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska

Online Master of Arts in Mass Communications, specialization in Professional Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $12,834

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is home to an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that was designed to be identical to the school’s on-campus offering. This program was created to help boost a professional’s reporting and research skills. Students will be able to take all of their courses online through the school’s learning management system; courses are offered on-demand or live; live courses are always held in the evening or on weekends so as to accommodate all working professionals. It is possible to complete this degree in two years or less when students take on a full-time course of study. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours, a professional project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam for graduation. Sample courses include Media Management, Mass Media Issues and Ethics, and Multimedia Journalism

7. The University of South Florida at St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Digital Journalism and Design

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $12,278

The accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree available from the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg was designed for professionals who are interested in completing a degree in just one year. This program was created to be flexible enough for all working professionals and does not require any residency requirements. Students will take all of their courses through the school’s virtual portal and will find that courses are available asynchronously or synchronously, depending on the term that they are released. This degree requires 30 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam for graduation. Students can learn more about this program, graduation requirements, and course offerings through the school’s graduate admissions office.

6. The University of Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Online Master of Arts in Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $12,214

Students enrolled at the University of Alabama are offered the opportunity to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that can be completed in just two years. This program focuses on the changing world of journalism and includes courses on research, theory, and new media. This degree was designed to be completed entirely online; there are no residency requirements. The degree is earned entirely through the school’s virtual portal; courses are delivered live or on-demand and will be held in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 31 credit hours of coursework, the Master’s Project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Communication Research Methods, Contemporary Issues in Journalism, and History of Journalism and the First Amendment.

5. Academy of Art University

San Francisco, California

Online Master of Arts in Communications and Media Technologies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $11,784

Academy of Art University is not just an art school; it also delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism that can be completed entirely online. Students will find that this degree focuses on multimedia journalism and was created to not only teach students advanced concepts and theories but also provide them with a full portfolio that they can use in interviews. All courses for this degree can be found through the school’s online learning management system; the vast majority of courses are delivered in live sessions that take place during the evenings and on weekends to accommodate working adults. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a project, and a portfolio. Sample courses include Writing for Multimedia, Communications and Storytelling, and Short Form Production.

4. Marshall University

Huntington, West Virginia

Online Master of Arts in New Media Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $11,730

The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree available from Marshall University is one that focuses entirely on new media studies. It was designed for veteran journalists who need a way to learn how new media has permeated the marketplace. This is a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. Students will find all of their courses online through the school’s virtual portal. Some courses are delivered live but the bulk of them are delivered on-demand, providing professionals with a flexible schedule for a degree that can be completed in two years. Requirements for this degree include 30 credit hours, the master’s initiative, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Depth Reporting, Design thinking, and Photojournalism.

3. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Little Rock, Arkansas

Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication, Concentration in Professional Mass Media

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $11,490

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is home to an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that is perfect for both in-service and pre-service professionals. The program comes with two concentrations: Media Research and Professional Mass Media. Both concentrations can be found entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students will engage with their schoolwork online through the school’s learning management system. Courses are often delivered as synchronous sessions; these are held in the evening and on weekends to make sure all students can participate. This degree can be completed in two years when students take three courses every term. Degree requirements include 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Mass Communication Processes and Effects, Media Criticism, and New Media Writing and Producing.

2. The University of Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma

Online Master of Arts in Communications

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $10,240

The accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree at the University of Oklahoma gives students the opportunity to complete a two-year program that will elevate their knowledge of journalism. This is a hybrid program; students will be required to regularly attend the campus throughout the course of study. Most courses are delivered online through the school’s virtual portal; many required classes do require on-campus attendance. Online courses are offered asynchronously or synchronously to ensure that students take on the delivery option that makes the most sense for them. All courses follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. This degree requires 32 credit hours of coursework, a culminating experience of their choice, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods, Qualitative Research Methods: Participant Observation, and Quantitative Research Methods.

1. Arizona State University

Tucson, Arizona

Online Master of Science in Business Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Journalism Online for 2018

Tuition: $9,594

Arizona State University is home to an accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree that focuses wholly on business journalism. This is a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. Students will complete asynchronous or synchronous courses online through the school’s learning management system; courses last seven and a half weeks each. It is possible to complete this degree in just over one year when students take two courses every term. This program requires that students complete 30 credit hours, an applied project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Better Business Reporting, Media Law, and Basics of Financial Performance Reporting and Analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Affordable Accelerated Online Master’s in Journalism?

  • Senior Correspondent
  • Screenwriter
  • Science Writer
  • Senior Writer
  • Advertising Copywriter
  • Web Content Manager
  • Director of Public Relations
  • Executive Editor
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Television News Anchor
  • Newspaper Journalist
  • Freelance Writer
  • Campaign Operations Manager
  • Magazine Features Editor
  • Public Relations Officer

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The current median salary for reporters and correspondents in print is $36,360. The median salary for tv news analysts is $65,530. The current salary range for all positions in the field ranges from $25,000 to over $145,000.

One of the things to note about the journalism field is that many positions are contract-based. This means that professionals get paid per project; this is especially common for digital journalists, such as freelance journalists and copywriters. It is also becoming commonplace for marketers, analysts, and public relations professionals. This makes it difficult to pinpoint how much a professional can expect to make in the field as contracts are based on that professional’s relationship with their potential employers and how much that employer is willing to pay for that individual’s knowledge and communication skills.

Payments for contract-based fields, such as journalism, vary based on a professional’s experience and expertise; it has very little to do with education. However, major publications and tv networks tend to prefer journalism professionals with a graduate degree in their specialty because it provides more credibility to early-service journalists.

Another thing to note about this particular field is that many journalists, particularly those who are established in their field of expertise, make income from various sources. One source that is common for these professionals is through writing books. While advancements may not amount to much, especially in the field of current events, politics or technology, the book will provide the professional with the chance to claim expertise and experience in that discipline.

What are the Various Disciplines of Journalism?

Journalism is first and foremost a discipline of writing and research. Because the field is about reporting on events such as current events, both disciplines are crucial both to verify the veracity of the reporting as well as the tone and perspective set forth by the journalist. In fact, many journalists get a degree in either communications or English to prepare themselves for this field.

Journalists are first and foremost reporters and are focused on verifying their stories prior to publication or going on television to report on the story. This means that analysis and research are primary disciplines. Professionals need to understand how to verify sources, remove bias, and report solely based on the facts put in front of them.

Journalism also encompasses other disciplines. Depending on a journalist’s chosen field, it may include history, politics, philosophy, international law, economics, finance, science, technology and more. Social sciences are also widely used in the field; some of the most common include psychology and sociology.

Most journalists will find a field of expertise, such as international relations, financial crime, or politics, to focus on for their career. In many cases, this field will be decided at the undergraduate level and may be the subject of their bachelor’s degree. It is also possible to begin a field of expertise once the journalist joins the field as a professional.

Journalism is the first way that many people find out about stories that directly impact them, their community, or the nation as a whole. It is an important part of American society and is especially critical in national politics. The fine men and women who make up this field are on the front line of holding truth to power and providing Americans with the information they need in order to make decisions about various current events. An accelerated online Master’s in Journalism degree is a great way for these journalists to cement their skills and find their place in this exciting field.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Journalism Online.