A master's in media and communication open doors to careers in marketing, radio, television, journalism, and public relations. The annual salary potential can exceed $60,000, depending on occupation. Opportunities for graduates with an online media and communication master's degree will increase as media industries continue to grow. Below is information on universities, graduate programs, and careers to help you make an educated decision for your future.

What are the best media communication programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 American University Washington, DC
3 University of Georgia Athens, GA
4 Florida International University Miami, FL
5 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
6 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
7 The New School New York, NY
8 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
9 Washington State University Pullman, WA
10 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Media Communication Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

The University of Florida offers an online master of arts in mass communication with eight specialization options. Designed for busy professionals, the flexible, asynchronous format of this program allows students to maintain their work schedules and still graduate in two years.

Coursework differs based on which track a candidate chooses. For example, the audience analytics specialization teaches students to understand and segment consumer types in traditional and digital media, while the web design track helps learners develop the ability to create branded messages for online platforms.

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and adequate GRE scores. They must also submit a statement of purpose, a current resume, and three recommendation letters.

2

American University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Based in Washington, D.C., American University offers over 15 graduate certificates and degrees to distance learners, including an online master of arts in strategic communication. While completing this 30-credit program, students learn the skills needed to capture the attention of diverse audiences with compelling multimedia messages.

Required coursework consists of communication theory and research methods. Participants can personalize their degree plan by choosing electives like grassroots advocacy and social marketing. Online students can also pursue a concentration in advocacy and social impact or digital community strategies and analytics.

Application materials include a statement of purpose, a resume or CV, and 2-3 letters of recommendation. AU funds merit scholarships specifically for online students.

3

University of Georgia

Athens, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Chartered in 1785, the University of Georgia offers over 70 undergraduate, graduate, and specialist degrees, including a master of arts in journalism and mass communication. This program contains eight concentration options, one of which students can complete entirely online.

Distance learners at UGA interested in this MA can pursue an emerging media concentration. Participants conduct user research that fosters product ideation and strengthens brand identity; this track culminates with a research-intensive capstone project and presentation.

To qualify for enrollment, applicants need to score at least 153 and 144 on the verbal and qualitative sections of the GRE, respectively. They must also submit a statement of purpose, a resume or CV, and three recommendation letters.

4

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Florida International University offers a fully online master of science in global strategic communications. While completing this 30-credit program, students prepare to occupy leadership positions in public relations and advertising.

Similar to master's in media communication programs, the FIU track covers topics like multimedia production/design and strategic storytelling. Students also learn to use social media metrics to analyze the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns. They can further expand their education by pursuing an optional graduate certificate in conflict resolution and consensus building.

Distance learners can begin degree work in the fall or spring. Through accelerated classes, they can graduate in 12 months. In addition to a minimum 3.0 GPA, prospective students must hold stellar GRE scores and relevant work experience. Applicants should submit a resume and recommendation letters.

5

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Texas Tech University has provided off-campus academic programs since 1966. Today, the institution offers comprehensive distance learning degree options, including an online master of arts in communication studies that centers on the theory of engaged living. Students learn to analyze and impact human interactions in public, mediated, and face-to-face settings.

The 36-credit degree plan contains classes on theories of rhetoric, quantitative research methods, and instructional communication. Candidates fill out their remaining credits with advanced electives. Students enrolled in this master's in media communication program complete a capstone experience, which can consist of a thesis, a praxis report, two publishable papers, or a comprehensive exam.

In addition to GRE scores, applicants need to send in three recommendation letters and a 250-word personal statement. They can also submit relevant samples of academic or professional work to bolster their application.

6

Webster University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Webster University's distance learners can choose from more than 50 academic programs, including an online master of arts in media communication. Through a flexible curriculum, candidates develop the research and analysis skills necessary to evaluate media as process, product, and commentary in diverse contexts.

Webster enables students to complete fully remote classes or create a hybrid learning experience by taking certain classes on campus. Required topics consist of production management, media organizations and regulations, and international communication. The remaining credits funnel into guided electives.

To enroll in this master's in media communication program, applicants must possess a minimum 2.5 GPA. They also need to submit a 300-word resume/CV and a recommendation letter from a professor or an employer.

7

The New School

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

The New School's School of Media Studies combines theory and research with practical training in production and management, preparing students to succeed in an interconnected communications landscape. Available programs include an online master of arts in media studies that full-time students can complete in two years.

Totaling 39 credits, this degree plan contains coursework in media analytics, sound studies, and transmedia and digital storytelling. Students also examine the full breadth of media history, philosophy, and criticism. They have the option to complete a graduate media management certificate or complementary minor.

Master's in media communication applicants should submit a 750-1,000-word statement of purpose, a current resume, and two recommendation letters. The New School recommends that candidates also send in an 8-12-page writing sample. Students can access a variety of financial aid, like merit scholarships that cover up to 75% of tuition costs.

8

Arizona State University-Tempe

Tempe, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Arizona State University is a longtime leader in distance education. Distance students can enroll in the school's online master of arts in communication program. By completing a 30-credit degree plan, candidates develop the strategic planning, leadership, and project management skills needed to succeed as music producers and digital marketers.

Coursework covers communication models and conflict transformation. Students explore communication theories with respect to gender, workplace settings, and global contexts. They round out their graduate training with a research-focused capstone project.

This program operates accelerated, 7.5-week classes, allowing students to obtain their credentials in 12 months. Applicants need to possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. Application documents include GRE scores, a personal statement, and an up-to-date resume.

9

Washington State University

Pullman, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Washington State University enrolls about 31,000 students annually. Learners can access remote academics through the university's Global Campus, including a fully online master of arts in strategic communication. The multidisciplinary curriculum of this program covers traditional and new media, enabling graduates to qualify for leadership roles in advertising, corporate communication, and public relations.

The 30-credit degree plan explores crisis communication in global contexts, professional digital content promotion, and creative media strategies. Candidates also learn to assess consumer behavior to develop and strengthen brand recognition. Participants end their program with a capstone portfolio presentation.

Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, although applicants do not need to send in GRE/GMAT scores. The strategic communication program prefers candidates with at least three years of professional experience.

10

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

Quinnipiac University serves over 10,000 students each year, many of whom pursue distance education. Degree options include an entirely online master of science in interactive media and communications. With a focus on contemporary media, this program teaches candidates how to design user-centered content that engages diverse audiences.

Master's in media communication students take classes in web technologies, social media practice and techniques, and data visualization. They also develop skills related to audio and video design for cross-platform usage. As part of their elective options, candidates can pursue independent research or complete an internship with a local company or university partner.

Applicants should submit a current resume, two recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a 1,000-word writing sample. They also need to provide an online portfolio of audio, visual, and/or written work.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Media Communication Degrees

As online learning gains popularity, accreditation becomes even more important. When evaluating a potential school for your online media and communication master's degree, ensure the institution is regionally or nationally accredited. Accreditation means the college or university meets and maintains certain educational and operational standards.

Regional accreditation is older and more prestigious than national accreditation. Regionally accredited schools do not not typically accept transfer credits from nationally accredited institutions, but this is rarely an issue for graduate students.

Along with investigating a school's accreditation status, students should research the accreditation agency itself. Two organizations are responsible for overseeing the quality of the nation's higher education by validating accreditation agencies: the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accrediting agencies must meet certain standards to be validated by these organizations. Both the ED and CHEA offer databases of accredited schools on their websites.

Financing Your Online Master's in Media Communication Program

One of the most pressing issues for higher education students is cost and affordability. While a master's degree can be a costly investment, students can secure funding to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to take advantage of federal grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities. Annual scholarships are available from organizations such as the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, and the Broadcast Education Association.


AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.