The rise in the number of accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications degrees that have become available over the last few years is a good sign that the field is being heard by colleges and universities all around the country. This degree is a gateway for media professionals who wish to earn top positions in their field and industry and provides them with not only the education they need but also work opportunities that they can then put on their resume. And as more companies and employers are seeking qualified candidates, having a degree in this field on a resume is a good way for professionals to get a fair shot at some of the most exciting careers available.

Because media communications professionals often work long hours and travel, traditional programs are not a great fit for them. These students need degrees that can be earned wholly online or are low-residency programs with live or on-demand courses and a course of study that can be completed in two years or less. The schools on this ranking have all of these features and more, making an updated version of the ranking necessary for the coming school year.

Methodology

Each school listed below was thoroughly researched prior to the writing of this ranking. All information was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics website and its College Navigator database, both of which are free and publicly available tools. A group of 30 schools was initially pulled together by searching for the term “accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications.” After the initial group was identified, schools were then individually reviewed and ranked based on several factors, including tuition costs and time to completion for the program. The final 20 schools, which are listed below, were chosen based on the school’s total estimated in-state graduate tuition cost for the entire program.

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Media Communications

20. Webster University

St. Louis, Missouri

Online Master of Arts in Media Communications

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Media Communications requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $28,080

The accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that is delivered by Webster University was designed to be completed online and in two years. The program is open to students with an education or work background in communications; other students may be considered for the program but must complete prerequisite courses prior to commencing the program. This program is offered fully online and is completed through the school’s virtual portal. Courses are offered live or on-demand in sessions that are 16 weeks long. Students who pursue a full-time plan of study will be eligible for graduation in two years or less. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Seminar in Media Communications, Media Organization and Regulations, and Media Production Management.

19. Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington

Online Master in Communication and Leadership Studies, Concentration in Digital Media Strategies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online Master in Communication and Leadership Studies is a low-residency program.

Website

Tuition: $28,200

Gonzaga University is home to an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that focuses on the relationship between communication and leadership. It was designed as a low-residency program; students will need to take the Communication Practicum, which is a three-day immersion on campus. Students will be able to complete this degree in two years or less. This program comes with five concentrations: College Teaching, Digital Media Strategies, Global Leadership, Servant Leadership, and Strategic and Organizational Communication. All courses for this degree can be found online through the school’s learning management system and are offered as asynchronous or synchronous courses that are held in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete 33 credit hours of coursework, one on-campus immersion, a capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Masters Level Writing, International and Intercultural Communication, and Communication and Leadership Ethics.

18. Quinnipiac University

Hamden, Connecticut

Online Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MS in Interactive Media and Communications has no residency requirement.

Website

Tuition: $27,600

Students enrolled at Quinnipiac University will have the opportunity to complete the school’s accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications. This degree was designed to provide working professionals with an in-depth look at digital media and new media strategies. The program is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will instead take all of their courses online through the school’s virtual portal; sessions are either held live or on-demand and in sessions that last 16 weeks long. It is possible for a full-time student to complete this degree in two years or less. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Social Media Practice and Techniques, Understanding Your Audience, and Principles of User Experience Design.

17. St. Bonaventure University

Allegany, New York

Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MS in Integrated Marketing Communications offers courses in both asynchronous and synchronous formats.

Website

Tuition: $27,180

St. Bonaventure University confers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that has a stated focus on integrated marketing communications. This degree is offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will find that the entire curriculum is housed through the school’s learning management system; sessions can be found either asynchronously or synchronously and all follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will find that it is possible to complete this degree in two years or less when they pursue a full-time plan of study. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone course, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Creative Message Strategy, New Media: Digital Communications for Integrated Marketing Communications and Principles and Practices of Integrated Marketing Communications.

16. Clarion University

St. Clarion, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Mass Media Arts and Journalism

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MS in Mass Media Arts and Journalism can be completed in 18 months of study.

Website

Tuition: $24,322

Clarion University offers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications. The department offers an integrated program that is focused on busy adults looking at distance education options to fit their lifestyle. This program can be completed in as little as 18 months of online study. The 36-credit program sets a strong foundation for students who are interested in seeking a future doctoral program. This MS program gives students a degree based in theoretical research and professional experiences that will open many future carers in the communication field.

15. Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Online Master of Arts in Communication, Specialization in New Media and Marketing

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA  in Communication requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $22,572

Southern New Hampshire University is home to an exceptional accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that was designed for working professionals who need an online program that can be completed in 18 months. Students will note that this degree is currently only offered online; hybrid pathways are not available. All courses for this degree are found through the school’s learning management system and are delivered asynchronously or synchronously in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Full-time students who take advantage of the summer session will graduate in 18 months. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Management of the Communication Process, Advanced Public Relations Writing, and Journalism Foundations.

14. Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, Concentration in New Media and Marketing

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Strategic Communication can be completed in 15 months of study.

Website

Tuition: $21,814

Students enrolled at Michigan State University are offered the opportunity to complete an accelerated online master’s in media communications that is focused on new media. This program was designed for working professionals who need to have access to an online program that can be completed in two years or less. This school provides all of its live and on-demand courses through the school’s virtual program in 10-week accelerated terms. This means that students will be able to complete this degree in just 15 months when they choose to study full-time. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, the Communication Capstone, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Communication for Leadership, Communication with Media Technology, and New Media Campaign Design and Marketing.

13. The University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Digital Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Digital Communication is a low-residency program.

Website

Tuition: $21,156

The University of North Carolina confers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that focuses on digital communication, the new frontier of this ever-expanding field. This is a low-residency course of study that is best taken as a part-time plan; it is possible to graduate within two years. While courses are available mostly online, students will need to attend the Chapel Hill campus twice during the program in order to meet the requirements for graduation. Students will take all of their courses online through the school’s learning management system and will find that the program is made up of a sequential curriculum as well as immersions. The degree was designed only for part-time students; full-time students will need to attend campus. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Information Visualization, Writing for Digital Media, and Research Methods and Applications.

12. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online Master of Arts in Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Communication can be completed in 18 months of study.

Website

Tuition: $20,340

The accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that is offered by Liberty University is an 18-month program that was designed to be completed 100 percent online with no residency requirements. This program is designed to combine theory with practical applications and is ideal for in-service professionals. Students will never need to step foot on campus and will instead complete their degree through the school’s virtual portal. Courses are held asynchronously in accelerated eight-week terms, making it possible to study part-time and still graduate in 18 months. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Effective Social Media, Strategic Storytelling, and Event Planning and Donor Relations.

11. Austin Peay State University

Fort Campbell, Tennessee

Online Master of Arts in Communication Arts

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Communication Arts requires 34 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $18,700

Austin Peay State University is home to an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that can be completed in less than 18 months while studying online. The degree has two tracks available: Professional and Fast-Track. The Professional track will take longer than the Fast-Track, but students can still complete the degree in two years. All courses for the program are found through the school’s learning management system and are held in live or on-demand sessions that follow the accelerated eight-week term format. Students have a lot of flexibility when it comes to this curriculum; nearly half of the courses required are directed electives so that students can choose courses that are of interest to them and their career goals. This degree requires a minimum of 34 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or research paper, and a comprehensive written and oral final exam. Sample courses include Communication Law, Applied Communication Theory, and Communication Research Methods.

10. Tiffin University

Tiffin, Ohio

Online Master of Humanities, Concentration in Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MH in Communication has no residency requirement.

Website

Tuition: $18,000

The accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that is offered by Tiffin University is housed in the humanities field and was designed for in-service and pre-service professionals who are interested in becoming leaders in the field. This is an academic degree; the curriculum focuses on the history and philosophy of the field, from ancient times to new media. The program is offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will be able to complete their courses through the school’s virtual portal and are held in live or on-demand sessions that last 16 weeks in length. It is possible to complete this degree in less than two years when students choose to study full-time. This degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework and a capstone project or comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Transmedia Storytelling, Issues in Cyberspace, and Philosophers and Philosophies of the Axial Age.

9. The University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Mass Communication requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $17,441

The University of Florida is home to a great accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications degree. This program is offered fully online and can be completed in two years or less. There are seven concentrations, including Public Relations, Political Communication, and Digital Strategy. All courses for this degree can be found online through the school’s learning management system. Students will take on both asynchronous and synchronous courses that follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. The curriculum for each specialization is different and will provide students with a strong foundation in that area of media communications. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of courses, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Global Activism and Change, Public Affairs Communication, and Intercultural Communication.

8. Mississippi College

Clinton, Mississippi

Online Master of Science in Applied Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MS in Applied Communication offers seven degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $16,492

Students at Mississippi College will have the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Media Communication that was designed to be completed in two years by working professionals. This school has seven concentrations, including Public Relations and Corporate Communication, Professional Communication in Sports, and Applied Communication – Journalism. All specializations are available online and courses are held asynchronously or synchronously through the school’s virtual portal. Sessions last approximately 16 weeks, making it possible for a full-time student to complete the degree in two years. Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. More information on this degree and its requirements can be found by contacting the school’s communication department.

7. Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Online Master of Science in Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MS in Communication requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,600

Purdue University delivers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that is perfect for working professionals who want to work in strategic communication and need a flexible degree. This is a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. Students can choose to complete a concentration in strategic communication or come up with a tailored concentration to help them reach their goals. All courses for this degree can be found online through the school’s learning management system; the school utilizes both live and on-demand sessions throughout the traditional 16-week academic terms. It is possible to complete this degree in two years or less. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Seminar in Communication Research Methods, Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication, and Persuasive Communication.

6. The University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Strategic Communication has no residency requirement.

Website

Tuition: $15,000

The accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications from the University of Iowa was designed to be a flexible alternative to on-campus programs for working professionals. This is a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. Students will instead complete all of their coursework through the school’s virtual portal, which delivers live or on-demand sessions in 16-week terms. Students will benefit from tailoring this curriculum to their needs; over half of the coursework requirements come from free electives that students pick out with the help of an academic advisor. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, the Capstone Project in Strategic Communication, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Strategic Communications Research, Digital Strategic Communication, and Foundations of Strategic Communication.

5. South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

Online Master of Mass Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online Master of Mass Communication can be completed in 15 months of study.

Website

Tuition: $14,429

South Dakota State University is home to an exceptional accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications. This degree is fully accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. This is a cohort, sequential, 100 percent online course of study that was designed to prepare students for graduation in about 15 months. This program utilizes live and on-demand courses in eight-week sessions, using an accelerated term format to intensify courses so that students graduate faster. Students will also be able to choose their own culminating experience as well, giving them the opportunity to complete their degree with a final product that they can show to potential employers. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours, a culminating experience, and a comprehensive final exam. More information on this program, graduation requirements and a list of course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s admissions office.

4. Stephen F. Austin State University

Nacogdoches, Texas

Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Mass Communication requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $13,238

Students interested in earning an accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications will be happy with the offering at Stephen F. Austin State University. This degree was designed for working professionals with a background in the field. The program is held entirely online with no residency requirements and was designed to be completed in two years or less. Students will be able to take all of their courses online through the school’s virtual portal; courses are held asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. There are several options for the culminating experience; these include thesis, media project, or coursework-only options. The degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework and a culminating experience. Sample courses include Broadcast Sales, Media History, and Independent Study in Mass Communication.

3. Texas Tech University

Tyler, Texas

Online Master’s Program in Strategic Communication and Innovation

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online Master’s in Strategic Communication and Innovation requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $12,941

Texas Tech University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that was designed to prepare working professionals to become leaders in the field. This program is offered exclusively online; there are no residency requirements. Students will be able to complete their coursework through the use of the school’s learning management system; courses are offered asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. The degree was built to be completed in less than two years when students take just two courses every term, including one summer session. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, the Master’s Report Final Project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Strategic Communication Planning and Writing, Strategic Communication in a Global Environment, and Communication in Organizations.

2. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Little Rock, Arkansas

Online Master of Art in Mass Communication

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Mass Communication offers two degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $12,639

Students enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will be provided with the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications. This degree was designed for working professionals who are interested in the research or leadership aspects of the field. There are two concentrations that are available with this degree: Media Research or Professional Mass Media. Students will find that courses for both of the options are available online through the school’s virtual portal. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or professional project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Public Relations Cases, New Media Writing and Producing, and Media Criticism.

1. The University of Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies, Specialization in Organizational Leadership

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019
The online MA in Communication Studies offers courses in 16-week sessions.

Website

Tuition: $11,820

The University of Alabama confers an accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications that was designed for in-service and pre-service professionals. This is an exclusively online master’s program; there are no residency requirements. Students will find that the entire curriculum is found through the school’s learning management system and are held in live and on-demand sessions that are held in 16-week sessions. It is possible to complete this degree in two years when a student chooses to pursue a full-time plan of study. This degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a professional project or capstone portfolio, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Gender and Political Communication, Human Communication Theory, and Relational Communication.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Community Relations Manager
  • Web Content Manager
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Senior Market Researcher
  • Film Producer
  • Marketing and Advertising Strategist
  • Multimedia Specialist
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Director of Corporate Communications
  • Magazine Journalist
  • Public Information Officer
  • Communications Consultant
  • Advertising Accounting Executive
  • Event Manager

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The average salary for media communications professionals is about $85,000. The salary range, however, is wide and is between $44,000 to $250,000. This range includes positions ranging from entry-level to top-level careers. It does not include additional forms of compensation such as commissions, overtime, and shares in their company.

What are the Various Disciplines of Media Communications?

Media communications is a vast field that communicates necessary information to different populations. The main disciplines are media studies, communication, and marketing. Professionals use all three disciplines daily in their career, regardless of the actual industry they end up working in.

Professionals in media studies are generally found in the entertainment, business, and political industries. However, they are also found in the technology, academic, research, and science fields as well. This means that the industry they work in will serve as a secondary discipline; knowing the vocabulary and how the field works is imperative for media communications professionals.

One thing to note about media communications is the importance of both verbal and written communication. Since the field is about sending a message across to the different populations that will see the message, professionals must become fluent in both written and video production in order to build a cohesive marketing plan.

There are also concentrations within media communications. Some professionals work as public relations advisors, others may focus on speech writing and others may choose to manage political campaigns for state or federal officials. The specialized field will be influenced by a professional’s interests and even their undergraduate degree, enabling them to tailor a career that best fits their needs and goals.

Media communications is a field that is focused on how most people engage with brands, companies, and public personas. From actors to businesspeople to politicians and creators, the field is crucial to creating a cohesive brand and image that communicates a singular message to an audience. While not all media communications professionals will find it necessary to earn a master’s degree in the field, an accelerated online Master’s in Media Communications degree is a great way for in-service and pre-service professionals to earn an education that will open up career opportunities for them upon graduation.

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