Best Online Communication Programs

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published on February 21, 2022 · Updated on July 27, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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The best online communication programs offer high academic quality in a flexible format. An online bachelor's in communication can help even the busiest professionals reach their career goals.

During a communication degree, undergraduates gain a broad foundation in multiple fields along with advanced training in communication. The degree strengthens interpersonal, research, and writing abilities. After earning a communication degree, graduates can pursue opportunities in public relations, business communication, writing, and editing.

Professionals with a communication degree benefit from strong career demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), media and communication occupations reported faster-than-average growth and a median salary of over $62,000 per year as of May 2021.

Many of the best online schools offer communication degrees. Our list ranks the top online bachelor's in communication programs. Prospective students can use the ranking to find a program that fits their unique needs and professional goals.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Communication Program?

Earning a bachelor's degree online offers greater flexibility for students. Many prefer the online format because it reduces commute time and allows learners to complete courses from the comfort of their home. Working professionals often benefit from the flexible schedule of an online program.

During a communication degree, majors take a minimum of 120 credits. The graduation requirements include communication classes, general education courses, and electives. Full-time students typically graduate in four years.

Communication majors can focus their studies with a concentration. Many programs offer the following popular concentrations:

Some programs offer both a BA and BS track for communication majors. The two degrees offer similar major coursework with different general education requirements. BA majors typically take more humanities and social science courses, including foreign languages. BS majors often take more math and science classes. Students interested in more technical topics may benefit from a BS.

Communication majors benefit from strong reading, analytical, and writing skills. Online learners draw on organizational abilities and self-motivation to stay on track during their degree. The best online colleges also support students with academic advising, tutoring, and career counseling services.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Communication Program?

Foundations of Communication

In this course, students examine core concepts in the field. The course introduces learners to mass communication, business communication, and journalism. Students gain foundational knowledge for further courses in the major.

Mass Communication

Mass communication gives learners a historical perspective on the topic by examining technological innovations like the printing press, telegraph, and television. The course examines the impact of mass communication on culture and media.

Technical Writing

Technical writing requires strong communication skills. In this course, students explore key topics in the discipline, including business-to-consumer communication and technical terminology. The class prepares graduates for careers as technical writers.

Professional Communication

In professional settings, individuals communicate information through presentations and reports. This course explores professional communication in organizational settings, examining the intersection between professional and organizational communication.

Public Relations

In public relations classes, learners examine public image, PR research, and branding. The course also explores the role of social media in public relations. Students gain industry-specific training for careers in public relations.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Communication Program?

Online bachelor's programs typically ask for an application, test scores, and official transcripts. Many programs also request letters of recommendation and essays. By understanding the admission requirements for a communication degree, prospective students can plan ahead. For example, some online programs conduct interviews as part of the admissions process.

Application

Prospective students complete an undergraduate application that lists personal and background information. Most applications ask about educational history, work history, and extracurricular activities. Some may also request financial aid information. Colleges and universities generally use an online application form and give the option to submit a hard copy.

Test Scores

Many online colleges ask for test scores from the most common college entrance exams. At most schools, applicants can either provide SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students with at least one year of college experience typically do not provide test scores. Many schools also now offer test-optional admission.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants generally provide 1-3 letters of recommendation when applying to four-year colleges. These letters should come from former instructors or supervisors who can speak to the applicant's ability to succeed in college. Make sure to ask for letters of recommendation several weeks before the application deadline.

Essays

Colleges often ask for application essays. Some schools request an essay on a specific topic, while others ask for a statement of purpose that explains the applicant's reason for pursuing a communication degree. Schools may also request a writing sample. Make sure to closely review the application instructions to submit the correct essays.

Official Transcripts

Applicants provide high school transcripts when applying to communication programs. Most schools require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Those with prior college experience also provide college transcripts. Schools review these transcripts to award transfer credit. Programs with generous transfer credit policies can save students time and money on their degree.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Communication Degree?

Career Outlook

It's easy to see why communication remains one of the most popular online majors. After earning a bachelor's in communication, graduates work in public relations, journalism, marketing, and sales. The major also leads to opportunities in editing and writing, including technical writing. Some communication majors pursue careers as teachers, trainers, and public speakers.

A professional's earning potential with a communication degree depends on their job title and industry. Overall, professionals in media and communication occupations reported a median pay of $62,340 in May 2021, or more than $16,000 per year higher than the median wage for all occupations.

Media and communication professionals may also see strong demand over the next decade. According to BLS projections, the field will grow 14% from 2020-2030.

See where you can go with a bachelor's in communication. Learn more about communication careers.

Career Paths

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists help clients build a positive public image. They craft press releases, write speeches, and respond to media queries to shape the public's view of their client. Public relations specialists also help clients communicate their mission and accomplishments. With experience, public relations specialists can move into roles like public relations manager.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $62,800


Technical Writer

Technical writers create informative content that instructs users and customers on technical products and services. They write instruction manuals, documentation procedures, and how-to guides. Technical writers also conduct research on user needs and work with developers and engineers to clearly describe products. They update technical documentation based on user feedback.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $78,060


Writer

Writers create content for books, magazines, entertainment programs, and other media. They specialize in areas like biographical writing, copywriting, and script writing. Some focus on content writing, while others create works of fiction. Writers rely on their research and communication skills to craft accurate, readable, and compelling work.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $69,510


Advertising Sales Agent

Advertising sales agents sell ad space. They work with clients to provide advertising services and provide estimates on costs. Advertising sales agents act as the point of contact for clients, communicating throughout the pitch and delivery process. Like other sales fields, the career requires exceptional communication skills.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $52,340


Editor

Editors develop content ideas and work with writers to revise material for publication. They specialize in several areas, including copyediting, fact checking, and executive editing. Some editors evaluate submissions to make publishing decisions, while others focus on improving copy for publication. Editors need strong communication skills.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $63,350

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Continuing Education

With a bachelor's in communication, graduates qualify for roles in many industries. However, continuing education can help professionals enhance their skills and advance their career. For example, professional certifications demonstrate experience in specialized areas like social media management or public relations. Learners can also consider a graduate degree.

A master's in communication provides advanced training in strategic communication, brand management, or public relations. Students can also consider master's programs in fields like journalism, writing, marketing, or education. Graduate-level coursework helps professionals move into supervisory roles and take on increased responsibilities at work.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Communication Program?

Cost

According to 2021 data from the Education Data Initiative, earning a bachelor's degree online costs an average of about $51,000. Tuition at in-state colleges typically costs the least, while private colleges cost the most. In addition to considering tuition when comparing programs, make sure to factor in books, fees, and other expenses. Ask schools about the total cost of a degree.

Program Format

When enrolling in an online program, degree-seekers have several options. They can take classes full time or part time. Many schools also provide accelerated bachelor's programs. Learners choose between synchronous and asynchronous classes. Synchronous classes hold set meeting times, while asynchronous classes do not require students to login at specific times.

Location

Does location matter for an online program? Some students may prefer a program close to home. A nearby school makes it easier to meet with faculty and classmates in person. You can also attend networking events and participate in local partnerships with employers.

However, an out-of-state program might better serve your unique needs, and distance learners concerned about affordability might find cheaper options outside their local area.

Accreditation

Online students should always choose an accredited college. Accredited institutions meet high standards for academic excellence. Independent agencies evaluate colleges on their student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic standards. In addition to high-quality programs, students at accredited institutions qualify for more financial aid.

Student Support

The best online colleges provide strong student support services. These include academic advising, online tutoring, library access, and career counseling. Online learners also benefit from internship programs and mentorship opportunities. Make sure to ask prospective schools about their student services.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Communication Programs

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Best Online Bachelor's in Communications Programs

  1. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $13016

    Established in 1963, the University of Central Florida began as a regional talent supplier for the space program. Since then, the Orlando-based school has grown into a major research university of 13 colleges and almost 72,000 enrolled students.

    UFC's online bachelor of arts in communication and conflict program trains students to moderate almost any disagreement to find a mutually gratifying resolution. Whether between individuals or corporations, this bachelor's in communication offers students the conflict resolution training needed to seek a career as a lawyer, an arbitrator, a contract negotiator, or a government liaison.

    The curriculum provides foundational courses to help communication majors become knowledgeable and socially aware communicators. It features classes such as finite mathematics, gender issues in communication, and group dynamics.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor Arts in Communication and Conflict
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $179 per credit (in-state); $716 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum specified
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  2. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    With a student population of over 58,000 learners, Florida International University operates as a top research university in Miami. Additionally, FIU Online offers over 130 degrees and certificates.

    The bachelor of arts in communication arts from FIU Online presents a logical next step for anyone seeking to develop professional communication skills. By following the organizational communication studies track, students can learn to be vital role-players in government, nonprofit, businesses, and education settings. FIU Online's interactive technology allows students to get real-time responses from instructors, view lectures, and interact with classmates on projects. Courses include intercultural/interracial communication, persuasion, and conflict management.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $229 per credit (in-state); $349 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  3. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was originally established as a Daytona Beach flight school. Offered through its Worldwide & Online campus, Embry-Riddle's online bachelor of science in communication program combines communication fundamentals with science and technology to help students meet the demand for degreed communication professionals.

    With a strong emphasis on the aviation field, this online bachelor's in communication helps students develop communication expertise to pursue careers in aviation communication, technical journalism, and other tech-centric fields.

    Along with essential writing and creative communication skills, students learn aviation, technical, and aerospace vocabulary through the program curriculum. They can customize this technical-based course work by choosing from 30 aviation, business, social, and STEM-related subjects. A sample of the course load includes an introduction to computers and applications, macroeconomics, and mass communication law and ethics.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Communication
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $447 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.5 GPA
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT optional

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  4. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $21678

    Pennsylvania State University has been operating its World Campus since 1998. With over 20,000 enrolled students, Penn State's online university has the second-largest campus in the Pennsylvania State University system.

    The School of Liberal Arts and Communications at Penn State World Campus offers a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in organizational and professional communication. This online bachelor's in communication caters to individuals pursuing communication careers in specialized technical fields.

    For working adults, this program's flexibility allows students to integrate their higher education into their work and family lives. The coursework lays a framework for students to develop highly valued oral and written communication skills essential to thrive in law, media, and high-tech careers.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Professional Communication
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $576 per credit (in-state); $617 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  5. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $10491

    Located in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University traces its roots back to 1899. The school currently enrolls over 20,000 enrolled students on campus and online.

    Appalachian's online bachelor of science in communication studies program teaches students the techniques needed to influence industry and organizational outcomes. This online bachelor's in communication program is particularly accommodating to military members and their qualified dependents, granting priority admission to these learners.

    Appalachian online students have an opportunity to adjust the curriculum to suit their specific ambitions and interests. Participants take courses such as argument and advocacy, persuasion, political communication, and speechwriting.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $143 per credit (in-state); $643 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.5 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  6. Eastern Washington University
    Location

    Cheney, WA

    Tuition

    $10751

    Founded in 1882 in Cheney, Eastern Washington University now oversees more than 12,000 enrolled students on campus and online. U.S. News & World Report ranked EWU one of the top public schools in the nation in 2021.

    The Communications Studies Department at EWU offers a bachelor of arts in communication studies. The program has a mass media and journalism slant. Students become proficient at message writing, public speaking, ethical communication, and researching.

    This online bachelor's in communication features a senior capstone requirement. Coursework provides the groundwork for graduates to begin careers in various fields or extend their studies to the master or doctoral level. Some featured courses include sports and leadership, health communication, and topics in leadership and strategic communication.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
    School Status: Public
    Tuition:$199 per credit (in-state); $799 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 180 quarter credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.5 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  7. Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses
    Location

    Fort Wayne, IN

    Established in 1884 as Tri-State Normal College, Trine University currently educates more than 4,500 online and at its main campus in Angola, Indiana.

    TrineOnline hosts a bachelor of arts in communication program that is a cost-effective and flexible way for students to strengthen their professional potential in many industries. It offers four concentrations: healthcare administration, organizational leadership, information systems, and criminal justice. Students also have the option of designing a concentration that meets their goals.

    The curriculum for this online bachelor's in communication gives students a well-rounded perspective of communication studies with courses such as writing for media, media laws and ethics, web content management, and intercultural communication.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts With a Communication Major
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $399 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum specified
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT optional

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  8. University of North Dakota
    Location

    Grand Forks, ND

    Tuition

    $15374

    The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks was founded in 1883. This high-activity research university currently enrolls more than 13,600 students.

    UND's online bachelor of arts in communication program offers program customization with concentrations in public relations, strategic communication, social media strategy, digital journalism, digital analytics, and advertising. Plus, this online bachelor's in communication allows students to adjust their online class schedule to fit their schedule and mix on-campus and online classes.

    Online classes follow the same semester schedules as on-campus offerings. This program requires all communication majors to complete an experiential requirement through an internship or some other means.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Communication
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $356 per credit (in-state); $534 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.75 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  9. Indiana University-East
    Location

    Richmond, IN

    Tuition

    $7898

    From its Richmond campus, Indiana University East was founded as an educational extension center in 1946. Today, the university educates around 3,700 students who attend classes on campus and online.

    IU East's online bachelor of arts in communication studies program focuses on communication within groups, organizations, and electronic channels. Students learn how theoretical premises have real-world applications in foreign policy, business, marketing, and other fields. This degree could lead to careers as an event planner, TV producer, or media relations specialist.

    The curriculum helps students improve their interpersonal, organizational, diverse, and ethical communication skills. Some sample classes include communication research methods, interpersonal communication, and techniques in data analysis.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $236 per credit (in-state); $341 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum specified
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  10. University of Arkansas
    Location

    Fayetteville, AR

    Tuition

    $15781

    The University of Arkansas became the first public university in Arkansas in 1871. Today, U of A has about 27,000 enrolled students on its Fayetteville campus and online.

    The online bachelor of arts in communication at the University of Arkansas teaches students strategies for effective mass communications through multiple channels in the current high-tech environment. While completing this program, students develop a professional understanding of organizational power structures, effective techniques for interpersonal persuasion, and media's impact on social constructs.

    Through this program's curriculum, students can get a panoramic perspective of all forms of formal and informal communication. Course topics include interpersonal communication, introduction to mediated communication, and introduction to communication research.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Communication
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $252 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 3.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Communication Programs

Is a bachelor's in communication worth it?

Yes. A bachelor's in communication can help graduates qualify for more job opportunities and increase their earning potential. With a bachelor's in communication, professionals work as public relations and communication specialists, business communication specialists, and writers. The degree also leads to opportunities in sales, advertising, marketing, and education.

Prospective students considering whether an online degree will pay off should consider several factors. Online learners should always choose an accredited institution, and research the program's reputation and student services. If possible, contact current or former students to learn more about the program and their career prospects.

What can I do with a bachelor's in communication?

With a bachelor's in communication, you can pursue careers in business, public relations, sales, politics, and mass media. Other common career paths include journalism, writing, editing, and education. A communication degree strengthens interpersonal and writing skills, which many employers prioritize when hiring.

These transferable skills benefit professionals in diverse industries. Communication majors can prepare for specific career paths by choosing a concentration and pursuing an internship. For example, interning at a newspaper can help future journalists, while a public relations internship helps graduates pursue PR careers.

Are communication majors in demand?

Professionals with a communication degree benefit from many career options and above-average demand. According to BLS data, communication occupations will see 14% projected job growth from 2020-2030, which represents faster-than-average growth. Many career paths report strong growth, including public relations specialists and technical writers.

Communication majors also pursue careers outside of the media and communication sector. For example, they work in corporate communications, education, and the nonprofit sector. These majors stand out for their strong critical thinking, writing, and communication skills.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in communication?

The earning potential with a communication degree depends on your career path. In communication careers, professionals reported a median salary of over $62,000 per year in May 2021. That represents a higher earning potential than the national median of $45,760 for all occupations.

Within specific fields, communication majors can earn higher salaries. For example, technical writers reported a median annual pay of $78,060 in May 2021. And many fields offer growth opportunities. With experience, public relations specialists can become public relations managers. These roles reported a median pay of nearly $120,000 per year as of May 2021.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in communication?

The highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in communication include careers in writing, public relations, and branding. For example, the BLS reports that top-paid writers earn over $133,000 per year. Other high-paying jobs include managerial roles like public relations manager and advertising manager. Both of these roles require a bachelor's degree plus experience, but they report median salaries of around $120,000 and $133,000, respectively.

Communication majors can increase their earning potential by choosing a high-paying specialty area and gaining experience through an internship.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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