Our Students Before Profits Award was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line.
For our Online Master’s in Communication and Public Relations award winners, we selected online programs from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities offering online or hybrid programs of study leading to a master’s degree in communications, public relations, or related fields and have ranked these programs according to their affordability.
Communications degrees are versatile and can lead to employment in a wide variety of careers: journalism, advertising, public relations, internal relations, politics, and law—virtually every profession values communicators who can shape messages with technology and keep up with media as it changes. Effective written and verbal communication skills are increasingly found as the most in-demand skills in the widest range of careers available. In Forbes, 2014, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates identified communication skills as “invaluable business assets.” Thus, these degree programs will prove to be useful for both individuals who desire to advance in their current careers, and individuals who are looking to make a career change.
A master’s degree in communication will provide an excellent return on investment. The Nation Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an average difference in pay between bachelor’s and master’s degree holders in communications as $213 per week. That is over $11,000 more per year on average for those holding a master’s degree in communications vs. a bachelor’s which means some of the degrees listed here will pay for themselves in as little as a years time and will dramatically increase students’ earnings across their lifetime.
Though this ranking is primarily concerned with the affordability of the programs, many programs here have consistently been ranked among the top of their kind by other national publications and we believe they deserve to be considered among the best online master’s in communications programs available.
Note that tuition rates listed below are based on cost per credit and individual programs may include fees in addition to tuition costs.
#1. North Dakota State University
Located in Fargo, North Dakota, North Dakota State University is a public land grant university with a strong focus on agriculture and applied science. NDSU is considered a comprehensive doctoral research university with very high research activity by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. The university enrolls over 14,700 students.
The online Master of Science, or Master of Arts in Speech Communication offered by NDSU provides students with advanced knowledge in rhetoric, argumentation, risk communication, and crisis communication. The Communication Department tailors student research projects and academic programs to individual needs and interests. Students will take courses in Research Methods, Communication Theory, Rhetorical Criticism, Mass Media, Intercultural Communication and more. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: North Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#2. Quincy University
Quincy University is a small private Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition enrolling just over 1,500 students. The university is located in Quincy, Illinois and was founded in 1860 by a small group of Franciscan friars who left Germany to serve the Germany-speaking population of Illinois. Quincy University is known for its service learning model and for its strong commitment to the Franciscan tradition.
Quincy University’s online Master of Arts in Communication degree program is designed to expand students’ knowledge and skill level in a broad range of communication-related fields, including publishing, advertising, business communication and community relations. Students will gain fresh insights into new media concepts and learn to apply classic theory to contemporary communication problems through a core curriculum that enhances their ability to communicate in a fast-paced business world. This program requires 30 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Quincy University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#3. South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881 South Dakota State University is the second oldest and the largest university in the state of South Dakota enrolling over 12,500 students. The university is located in Brookings, South Dakota and is a land-grant institution with focus on agriculture, engineering, nursing, and pharmacy. SDSU is classified as an institution with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation and is ranked #181 in Best National Universities, and #102 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News.
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at South Dakota State University offers an online Master of Mass Communication degree that provides a quality professional education accessible to working journalists and strategic communicators. Whether in print, broadcast, advertising and marketing or public relations, students of this program will build administrative skills and credentials for leadership. The program requires between 30 and 35 credits for completion depending on whether or not the student completes a thesis.
Accreditation: South Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The program in communications is recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
#4. Tiffin University
Tiffin University is a private university located in Tiffin, Ohio. The university was founded in 1888 and today enrolls over 3,500 students. Tiffin overs degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels through multiple campuses located across the state of Ohio as well as online and at the University of Bucharest in Romania.
Tiffin University’s online Master of Humanities in Communication leads students students through the history and practice of media, communication, and related technology from ancient times to the digital age. Courses such as Philosophy of Communication, Politics and the News, Transmedia Storytelling, New Media, and Cyber Cultures and Issues in Cyberspace navigate students through the political, legal, and social ramifications of 21st century media practices. The program is ideal for individuals interested in teaching communications at a two-year college or continuing on to a Ph.D. program. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Tiffin University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#5. Weber State University
Founded in 1889 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Weber State University is a public university located among the Wasatch Mountains in Ogden, Utah. The school was initially named Weber Stake Academy after John Henry Weber, an early fur trader, and gained university status in 1991.
The Department of Communication at Weber State University’s Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities offers an online Master of Professional Communication degree at Weber State University emphasizes advanced communication knowledge and skills necessary to produce effective leaders, managers and team members in for-profit, government or non-profit organizations. Students of this program will receive instruction in team building and facilitation, organizational leadership, strategic communication, and communication research. You will also continue to develop your proficiency in professional writing, presenting, communicating visually, and in using new media. A minimum of 33 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Weber State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
#6. Minnesota State University—Mankato
Founded as Mankato Normal School in 1868 for the preparation of teachers in the region, Minnesota State University—Mankato is a comprehsive public university located in Mankato, Minnesota and is the second oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The university enrolls over 15,200 students and is also the second largest public university in the state. MNSU offers 140 undergraduate programs of study, 80 graduate, and 4 doctoral programs through its main campus and two satellite campuses in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina and Owatonna as well as through distance programs administered online.
Minnesota State University’s Department of Communication Studies offers a Master of Science in Communication and a Master of Science in Communication & Composition available online. The MS in Communication is a degree for students interested in gaining knowledge directly applicable to a specific career path where communications are vital while the degree in Communication and Composition is a multi-disciplinary program designed specifically for individuals with an interest in teaching communication and composition at community and technical colleges. Both degrees require 36 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Minnesota State University—Mankato is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#7. Washington State University Global Campus
Washington State University, founded in 1890 five months after Washington’s statehood, is located on 620 acres in the Palouse region of the nation in Pullman, Washington. The school is the nation’s largest, and first, land-grant university. The main campus of WSU enrolls approximately 28,000 students, and the online campus an additional 26,000.
Washington State University’s online Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication is designed for those who want to excel in advertising, public relations, corporate communication, and communication management. The program is structured around an interdisciplinary approach that offers expertise in new and traditional media, critical for today’s strategic communications and trains students to create messages that are both strategic and responsible. Students who have no prior training in strategic communications as well as seasoned professionals will benefit from this program that will advance and energize their careers. A total of 30 credits are required for completion of this program.
Accreditation: Washington State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
#8. University of Wisconsin—Stout
The University of Wisconsin-Stout was founded in 1891 in Menomonie, Wisconsin by lumber magnate James Huff Stout. Part of the larger University of Wisconsin System, the university currently enrolls almost 10,000 on-campus students. Approximately 30 of the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s on-campus degrees are also available through their distance-learning program.
The University of Wisconsin—Stout offers a Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication available online. The program is designed to facilitate the skills to survey and synthesize theoretical concepts and principles about major issues in technical and professional communication and includes coursework in technical communication theory and research, rhetorical theory, visual rhetoric, emerging media, and multilingual environments. The program consists of 30 credits.
Accreditation: The University of Wisconsin—Stout is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#9. Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay State University is located in Clarksville, Tennessee. The university evolved from a transformation of a mid-1880s Masonic academic institution to an accredited, quickly growing four-year public university. Over 10,000 students are currently enrolled.
Austin Peay State University’s online Master of Arts in Corporate Communication. The program is designed for students who are seeking a managerial role in communication careers or for those who want to advance still farther in a supervisory capacity. Both a professional track (2 years) and a fast track (1 year and 2 summers) are available for completion of the program which consists of a minimum of 34 credits.
Accreditation: Austin Peay State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#10. Concordia University—St. Paul
Concordia University-Saint Paul is a private, not-for-profit Lutheran university located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Founded in 1893 to provide a Christian educational environment for Lutheran high schoolers, Concordia University-Saint Paul became an accredited two-year college in 1921, began admitting female students in 1950, and by 1967 became an accredited four-year institution. The university is an affiliate of the ten-member Concordia University System and enrolls over 2,800 students.
Concordia University offers an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management designed to help students create solutions to communication challenges using strategic thinking and logical analysis. The program is ideal for students who have professional experience or career interests in corporate communication, public relations, strategic planning or other general management functions. Graduates will leave the program with knowledge of emerging technologies, industry innovation, leadership and intercultural communication skills. The degree requires 36 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Concordia University—St. Paul is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#11. Asbury University
Asbury University is a Christian, liberal arts university located in Wilmore, Kentucky. The university is not affiliated with a specific denomination, but does have its roots in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. The school was established in 1890 and enrolls over 1,700 students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Asbury is known for its integration of service opportunities into the curriculum in nearly every major.
Asbury University’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies offers a Master of Arts in Communications with emphasis in Digital Story Telling. The program delivery is blended with online and short-term face-to-face instruction. This degree will enable graduates to be able to better communicate their values and message, thereby helping them become more effective leaders. The program recognizes the centrality of storytelling to communication how people enable others to understand and is designed to prepare students who can engage and transform culture. Students will review and analyze media messages in light of a Biblical worldview. They will also refine their own story-telling skills by analyzing and critiquing the work of other creators of media content, and by developing their own unique story-telling content or critique. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Asbury University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#12. Arizona State University
Founded in 1885 and located on several campus across Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona State University is a national space-grant institution and the largest public university in the country by enrollment. Arizona State University’s online campus was ranked #1 in online Student Services and Technology by U.S. News & World Report and offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Arizona State University’s College of Letters and Science offers a Master of Science in Technical Communication is available fully online. The program provides a comprehensive understanding of the professional, ethical, and cultural issues within in the field of communications and the combination of theory and practice will help students develop develop their analytical abilities, technological expertise and skills necessary for success in technical communication careers. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#13. National University
Founded in 1971, National University is a private nonprofit university located in La Jolla, California and is the second largest private nonprofit institution of higher learning in the state as well as the 12th largest in the country. The university has satelite campuses located across California and in the states of Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Virginia. NU also maintains extensive online course and program offerings. The school currently enrolls over 24,400 students in over 130 degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
The online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications at National University prepares students to assume professional positions in organizations that must meet the challenges of operating in an increasingly complex and interdependent global environment. It equips graduates with both theoretical and practical approaches to developing strategic communications programs that enable organizations to meet their goals and objectives. The program fosters strategic thinking, logical analysis, and solution generation. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will have the skills to develop and implement communications initiatives using both traditional and emerging channels such as social networks, blogs, podcasts, and mobile media. A minimum of 45 quarter units (30 semester credits) are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: National University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
#14. University of Maryland University College
University of Maryland University College is a development of the University of Maryland’s evening program for adults that began in the 1920’s. UMUC is an open university and one of the largest distance learning institutions in the world. The school serves over 90,000 students worldwide in a combination of on-campus courses and online courses and has campuses located all over the world. UMUC offers face-to-face courses to deployed military at bases in Afghanistan and Djibouti, Africa.
The University of Maryland University College Department of Liberal Arts and Communication offers a Master of Science in Management with a specialization in Public Relations designed to meet the needs of both the entry-level employee and the working professional who seek a more formal grounding in the profession. The program provides students with a solid grounding in public relations theory, legal, and ethical issues confronted by practitioners, and the analytic and creative skills necessary to excel in the profession. The capstone experience provides the student with an opportunity to observe and participate in the production and assessment of a public relations campaign, providing the student with the opportunity to analyze the effects of various strategies and practices in the workplace. The program requires 36 credits for completion.
Accreditation: The University of Maryland University College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#15. Park University
Based in Parkville, Missouri, Park University was founded in 1875 as Park College and obtained university status in 2000. In 1996 the school began offering online courses, and is now recognized as a distinguished institution for those pursuing both traditional and distance education. Park University established the Military Degree Completion Program in the 1960’s and is currently recognized as one of top military-friendly colleges and universities in the nation.
The Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership degree, offered online through Park University is an innovative graduate program that combines coursework in communication studies with a special focus on transformational leadership and organizational change. The program is designed to prepare creative and skilled communicators who possess advanced interpersonal and organizational skills that can be applied to positions in corporate and non-profit organizations, the military, government, politics and more. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Park University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#16. Franklin University
Franklin University is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Other branch campuses are located in Beavercreek, Dublin, Delaware, Westerville, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Additionally, Franklin University offers degree programs with two international universities – the Wroclaw School of Banking in Wroclaw, Poland and St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola, Macedonia. The university was founded in 1902 under sponsorship of the YMCA in Columbus and acquired its current name in 1933.
The College of Business at Franklin University offers an online Master of Science in Marketing and Communication is a dual-disciplined master’s degree and is just one of a few in the nation that integrates the marketing discipline with communications, equipping students to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The program utilizes an innovative curriculum positions students to seek a leadership role in both fields, strengthening core skills in leadership and management, marketing strategy, brand management, market research and analytics, new media, and creative production. The program requires 40 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Franklin University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#17. Liberty University
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University was founded as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 by the Reverend Jerry Falwell. It has long been considered a Christian academic community, the institution’s stated intention being the development of both the intellectual and spiritual nature. When including the number of online matriculated students (90,000 as of May 2013), Liberty University is the nation’s largest private nonprofit university and the world’s largest Evangelical Christian university.
Liberty University Online’s Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program develops students’ skills in leadership and communication for work in diverse businesses and organizations. Students of this program will enhance their knowledge and understanding of communication theory, business principles, media, and best practices. Students attain proficiency through further study of research, organization, writing, and critical thinking skills. Upon graduation, students are ready for advanced careers in the field of communication. A total of 36 credits are required for completion.
Accreditation: Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#18. Bellevue University
Established in 1966 and based in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University is one of the largest private higher learning institutions in the state, enrolling over 10,000 students. The university’s mission has always been directed toward providing education for working adults.
The online Masters in Managerial Communication offered through Bellevue University will provide students with a real competitive advantage in the job market and potential for upward mobility in their careers by preparing to assess complex communication challenges and implement innovative solutions. The degree will equip students as they develop an in-depth understanding of managerial communication, hone the essential skills of critical thinking and problem solving, and build confidence for making and responding to ethical decisions. Concentration options are available in Business, Computer Information Systems, Executive Coaching, Human Resource Management, Project Management, and Transnational and Cross-Cultural Communication. 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#19. Northern Kentucky University
Located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, just seven miles outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, Northern Kentucky University is a pubic university primarily focused on undergraduate education, but also featuring some graduate programs of study. The school enrolls over 15,400 students and is the third largest university in the greater Cincinnati area.
The online Master of Arts in Communication offered by the Department of Communication at Northern Kentucky University is designed for both working students and anyone looking for an advanced understanding of communication theory and research. The program values and emphasizes service learning opportunities and coursework covers topics including: Relational Communication, Popular Culture Studies, Digital Media, Rhetorical Criticism, Intercultural Communication, Sexuality and Communication, and more. 33 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: Northern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#20. Notre Dame of Maryland University
Notre Dame of Maryland University is an independent, Catholic-affiliated university located in Baltimore, Maryland. The school was established in 1873 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame as a Preparatory School for women and in 1896 became the first four-year Roman Catholic college for women in the United States. Today the school offers coeducational degree programs for women and men while maintaining the Women’s College. NDMU enrolls over 2,900 students in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs.
NDMU’s Master of Arts in Contemporary Communication is an interdisciplinary program for students seeking graduate education in new communication approaches. The program allows students options to explore their interests and goals ranging from development of communication skills in new media to entrepreneurial communication. Through their coursework, students learn to bring critical analysis, creative insights, technological competence, and new media skills to their endeavors in communication. The curriculum prepares students for careers as effective, strategically-oriented communications professionals by providing them with a set of essential communication skills enhanced by knowledge of new communication technologies. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Notre Dame of Maryland University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#21. Murray State University
Located in Murray, Kentucky, Murray State University is a four-year public university operating extended campuses across the state of Kentucky. The school was founded in 1923 as one of two normal schools in the state of Kentucky Murray State enrolls over 11,200 students in over 120 programs of study at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.
Murray State University offers a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication and Master of Science in Organizational Communication available online. The program is designed for students who want to gain a depth of knowledge in effective organizational membership, human management, and prudent leadership in organizations and are created for working professionals as well as the traditional graduate student. The M.A. is a thesis track program requiring 33 credits while the M.S. requires no thesis and 30 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Murray State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The programs in Communication are recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
#22. Ball State University
Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University is a public research university classified by the Carnegie Foundation as an institution with high research activity. Ball State was founded in 1917 as a Normal School for the preparation of teachers in the region. BSU enrolls over 21,000 students and is ranked 3173 in Best National Universities, and #97 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News.
Ball State University’s online Master of Arts in Public Relations is the first and only graduate program in public relations accredited by the Public Relations Society of America. Students in this program will master strategic communications and planning and management skills to prepare for careers as public relations executives or consultants. The program requires between 33 and 36 credits depending on whether a thesis is completed or not.
Accreditation: Ball State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Public Relations program is recognized by the Public Relations Society of America.
#23. Missouri State University
Located in Springfield, Missouri and founded in 1906, Missouri State University is the state’s second-largest public university. Recently recognized by the U.S. News & World Report in the Midwestern category, the university was founded as a normal school in 1905 and now serves over 22,000 students on the 225-acre urban campus
Missouri State Universitiy’s Department of Communication offers a Master’s in Communication offered online and either at a traditional or accelerated pace. The program balances theory and research with service-learning and internship opportunities, preparing students for a variety of professional settings. Students will work closely with their advisors to design a program of study that meets their individual needs and professional aspirations. A minimum of 32 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: Missouri State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#24. Lasell College
Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Lasell College is a private, nonprofit, non-sectarian college offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts and professional fields of study. Lasell was founded in 1851 as seminary for women and became a coeducational institution in 1997. The college currently enrolls over 1,600 students and has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as 9th in the category of “Great Schools at Great Prices.”
Lasell College’s online Master of Science in Communications is a highly personalized degree with concentration options in Health Communication, Integrated Marketing Communication, and Public Relations. The program requires a minimum of 36 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Lasell College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
#25. Stephen F. Austin State University
Stephen F. Austin State University was founded in 1923 as a teachers college. Located in Nacogdoches, Texas, SFA is one of four independent public universities in Texas, meaning it is not affiliated with any of Texas’ six university systems. In the 2011 U.S. News & World Report edition of Best Colleges – regarding institutions located in the West – SFA ranked #71.
Stephen F. Austin University’s online Master of Arts in Mass Communication offers concentrations in strategic communication (advertising and public relations), journalism, and radio/television. Students in this program will take courses in Media Research Methods, Media Theory, Media and Society, and Media Law and Ethics to develop a well rounded education in theory and practice of mass communication as well as taking a variety of electives to hone their studies in their chosen concentration. The degree requires a total of 36 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Stephen F. Austin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#26. Western New England University
Western New England University is a private, nonprofit university located in Springfield, Massachusetts. Western New England University was founded in 1919 and recently achieved university status in 2011. The school enrolls over 3,800 students in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral programs through its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Law. The schools commitment to quality education and is evident in its instruction which is delivered entirely by university faculty not teaching assistants or graduate students.
Western New England University’s College of Arts and Sciences offers an online Master of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations designed to help communications professionals take full advantage of today’s integrated media opportunities to position, promote, and protect the image of their organizations. The program is ideal for individuals with a bachelor’s degree who are looking to further their communications or business career, gain new skills to increase their earning potential, and enhance job satisfaction, as well as career-changing professionals interested in pursuing opportunities in communications. The program requires a total of 30 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Western New England University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.
#27. Purdue University
Purdue University is a public institution located in West Lafayette, Indiana. The school was founded in 1869 under a land-grant act. Today Purdue’s agricultural and engineering programs are ranked among the highest in the world. Purdue’s online and distance education programs offer degree and credit certificate curriculums. Purdue enrolls over 38,700 students, the second largest student body of any university in Indiana as well as having the fourth largest international student population of any university in the US.
The Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University’s online Master of Science in Communication builds upon students’ critical-thinking and strategic communication skills and empowers individuals to amplify their messaging strategy across international, national and local platforms. Students of the program will not only graduate with a deep understanding of the theory and strategy behind impactful strategic communication, but are also influenced by a faculty of practitioners who bring decades of career experience into their teaching methods. Students are immersed in a variety of topics that are directly applicable to career success, such as: evaluation of communication to a global audience, methodological foundation of strategic communication, audience considerations, credibility and ethics, and more. 30 credits minimum are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Purdue University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#28. Southern New Hampshire University
Founded in 1933 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Service, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit university located between Manchester and Hookset, New Hampshire. The state granted the college its charter in 1963, and the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in 1966. Its online campus boasts over 200 regionally accredited undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, and also has specialized accreditation for some of its degrees and programs.
Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Master of Arts in Communication with concentration options in: Public Relations, Health Communication, and New Media & Marketing. The program has been newly designed for individuals pursuing a variety of exciting communication related careers, such as public relations, marketing, social media, journalism, advertising, and organizational communication, among other fields. Students in this program will build their skill set with coursework in areas, such as social media practices, reputation management, personal and corporate brand building, writing for digital platforms, ethics, and marketing campaign design. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.
#29. Spring Arbor University
Founded in 1873 as a school for Children for children Spring Arbor University is a private, Christian institution of higher education named after the unincorporated community in Michigan where it is located. The institution eventually became a four-year institution of higher learning, as well as the state’s largest Evangelical Christian university. In addition to its sprawling 100-acre main campus, Spring Arbor has 18 learning sites across the state, which include Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and two in Detroit (Dearborn and Troy). The university also has four learning sites in Ohio. Today the university enrolls over 2,900 students and offers over 70 majors and programs at the undergraduate level at its main campus as well as graduate programs through some of its regional off-site campuses and through SAUonline.
Spring Arbor University’s Master of Arts in Communication degree program weaves digital technology with proven communications strategies and strong writing skills and is constantly adapting to new digital trends. Students of this program will learn not only the solid foundations of communication, but also the latest digital implementation strategies needed to stay ahead in a profession that moves at lightning speed. Concentrations are available in: Leadership, Ministries, and Education so students can further specialize the program of study to meet their unique vocational needs and goals. A total of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Spring Arbor University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#30. Kent State University
Kent State University is a public research university that is located in Kent, Ohio with satellite campuses around the Northeast Ohio region. Established in the year 1910, it has a longstanding reputation of excellence and has produced a number of successful people throughout its history. The university is ranked by the Carnegie Foundation as one of the top 77 public research universities in the US and one of the top 76 in community engagement. Kent State is one of the largest universities in Ohio with an enrollment of over 41,200 students. In addition to its in-person programs, Kent State University offers several online degree programs so that people with full-time jobs or busy families can also have the chance of a quality education.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University offers an online Master of Public Relations degree program designed for individuals with an extensive background in the public relations field who desire to gain new competencies in the rapidly changing communications landscape. Students will study, management, strategic writing and messaging, social media, ethics, finance, law, budget management, ROI and measurement together through a multidisciplinary curriculum that weaves these competencies together to help students become a master strategist with the business acumen. The program requires a minimum of 36 credits for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Kent State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The programs in communication are recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
#31. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University is a public research university located in Lubbock, Texas and is the leading institution in the Texas Tech University System. The school was established in 1923 and was originally known as Texas Technological College. The university enrolls over 35,100 students and offers degrees in more than 150 areas of study. The university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as an institution with high research activity and has ongoing research projects in areas of epidemiology, pulsed power, grid computing, nano photonics, atmospheric sciences, and wind energy.
Texas Tech University’s online Master of Arts in Technical Communication provides a broad approach to the communication discipline by offering classes in areas such as editing, design, rhetorical theory, online documentation, publications management, and usability testing. Professionals in fields such as technical communication, human resources, consulting, software design, graphic design, engineering, and management will greatly benefit from this degree for advancement of their careers. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion.
Accreditation: Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#32. Boston University
Boston University is a private, nonsectarian research university founded in 1839 as the Newbury Bible Institute in Newbury, Vermont. The school went through a number of changes before relocating to Boston in 1847. The university boasts many notable alumni and academics including Helen Magill White, the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from an American university; Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; American Civil Rights Movement Leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; poets Robert Lowell and Robert Pinsky; Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, Holocaust survivor, activist, and Jewish-American professor; and Pulitzer Prize winner and author Jhumpa Lahiri. Seven Nobel Laureates and 35 Pulitzer Prize winners are among BU’s faculty and graduates.
Boston University’s College of Communication and Metropolitan College offers their Master of Science in Health Communication online and is the first degree of its kind to be offered in an online format and provides academic and professional preparation for students who wish to work within the important and emerging field of health communications. Graduates of this program will be able to apply basic public relations and marketing theories and principles to the practice of health communication, employ communication strategy, methods and technology to communicate information, influence audiences, or affect change on health-related topics and issues, and more. Students will build an understanding of biosystems and disease, nutrition and public health, the American health care system, and epidemiology-and the ability to communicate information in a way both the media and the public can understand.A total of 3o credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Boston University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.
#33. Marist College
Marist College is situated on the east bank of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York. Established in 1905 as a Catholic school, the college is no longer affiliated with the Catholic Church, though Catholicism plays an integral part in the lives of many students and instructors. Marist is quite selective, with an acceptance rate of new freshman at only 30%.
The Master of Arts in Communication: Organizational Communication & Leadership degree program offered online at Marist College is designed to develop and refine communication skills for multiple audiences. With a strong emphasis on theory, research, analysis, and writing, students develop a sense of the varied communication needs of organizations. Classes allow for rich discussions of how differences in organizational structure and culture impact communication. Students of the program will be introduced to leadership styles, take on leadership roles in project development, and develop strategies for dealing with conflict. Through a combination of group and individual projects, students are encouraged to develop expertise in their area of interest, connecting theory to real-world situations. The program is available on a full or part-time basis and requires 33 credits for completion.
Accreditation: Marist College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#34. Webster University
Webster University is a nonprofit, private university that was originally founded as Loretto College in 1915. The main campus is in Webster Groves, Missouri, an affluent suburb of St. Louis named after historic New England politician Daniel Webster, Secretary of State under U.S. president Millard Fillmore. The University has locations in 7 countries across Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as in North America. Webster has five schools and colleges collectively offering undergrad, master’s, doctoral degrees and certificates, licensures and accreditations. Class sizes are small, with an average of about 10 students.
Webster University’s Master of Arts in Communication Arts is available through an online format and includes 11 different areas of emphasis including: Aesthetic Education, Educational Technology, General Communication Arts, Inclusive Education, International Languages and Cultures, Language Arts, Media Literacy, Reading, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Writing. The program is designed to provide educators from diverse educational backgrounds the opportunity to study theoretical and practical developments in language, literature, media, and the arts. Students are encouraged to learn by doing and, by doing, expand those skills essential to their professional growth. Courses and experiences in communications allow students to explore career alternatives and enhance their professional standing. 33 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: Webster University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#35. West Virginia University
A public land-grant research university founded in 1867 and located in Morgantown, West Virginia, West Virginia University currently enrolls approximately 30,000 students. WVU has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal and is designated a High Research Activity University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
West Virginia University’s online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program is designed for communications professionals to learn to re-align their marketing activities to ensure a constant flow of information to consumers from a variety of media. Students earn a practical, customizable graduate education that is designed to equip them with the skills to emerge as leaders in the field. One hallmark of the WVU IMC program is its learn-it-today, use-it-tomorrow focus that is built into the curriculum. Students are able to take the knowledge they gain in the classroom and immediately apply it to the challenges in their professional lives. A total of 33 credits are required for graduation from the program.
Accreditation: West Virginia University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Communications programs are recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
#36. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University is headquartered in Flagstaff, Arizona, and was founded as the Northern Arizona Normal School in 1899. The school began offering bachelor’s degrees in education in 1925, and during WWII, briefly became a Navy V-12 program training site. NAU has 36 satellite campuses in the state of Arizona, and its main campus in Flagstaff is surrounded by the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the United States. Additionally, rumors of hauntings and other supernatural activity in two of the campus’ main dormitories have given the school extra-curricular pop-media attention.
The School of Communication at Northern Arizona University offers an online Master of Arts in Communication with two emphasis options in either Communication Studies, or Documentary Studies. In the Communication Studies emphasis, students articulate and test ideas, develop individual abilities, and gain competence in various communicative settings. Students will acquire knowledge and methods that apply to nearly every aspect of their private and public lives. The Documentary Studies emphasis provides a solid grounding in communication and the theoretical, critical, and practical traditions that inform documentary work. Students engage in intensive research and fieldwork, professional production skills in storytelling, and learn to critically analyze media in terms of both content and craft. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#37. University of Michigan—Flint
University of Michigan—Flint is a public university located in Flint, Michigan and is one of two University of Michigan satellite campuses. UM Flint was established in 1956 as a two-year college and became a four year institution in 1965. The university currently enrolls over 8,200 students in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs and is the fastest growing public university in the state of Michigan.
The Master of Arts in Applied Communication offered at the University of Michigan—Flint is designed to give future leaders the power to leverage mastery of communication theory and skills to solve problems. Students take courses in: Applied Communication Theory and Research, Group Communication and Collaboration, Communication Consulting and Training, and more, to give students an opportunity to develop and polish key communication competencies that will allow them to excel in their professional lives, regardless of the field they work in. The program requires 33 credits for graduation.
Accreditation: The University of Michigan—Flint is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#38. Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University is a private Jesuit university located in Spokane, Washington the school was founded in 1887 by the Italian priest and missionary Father Joseph Cataldo, SJ, as a school for the Native Americans in the region. Today the school enrolls over 7,600 students and offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. U.S. News ranks Gonzaga University #3 in Best Regional Universities (West) and #2 in Best Value Schools.
The Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University is offered online and is grounded in communication theory, yet combines contemporary strategies to equip students with skills they can put to immediate use. The program is designed to prepare effective and ethical communicators who use critical thinking for positive local and global change. Concentrations are available in: Strategic and Organizational Communication, International and Intercultural Communication, and College Teaching of Communication. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Gonzaga University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
#39. Queens University of Charlotte
Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Queens University of Charlotte is a private, nonprofit, comprehensive university enrolling over 2,400 students. The university was established in 1857 as a Presbyterian seminary for young women and today enrolls men and women in 39 undergraduate majors and 19 graduate programs.
Queens University of Charlotte’s Knight School of Communication offers an online Master of Arts in Communication that provides students with a greater understanding of how effective communication shapes successful strategies, structures and processes in organizations and society. Through the progressive communication curriculum, students will learn how to successfully deploy new and traditional communication tools and platforms to achieve professional and personal goals. 36 credits at minimum are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Queens University of Charlotte is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#40. University of Denver
The University of Denver is a private nonprofit university founded in 1863 and is the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. The school was founded as Colorado Seminary by John Evans, a former governor of the Colorado Territory who also established the noteworthy Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. DU enrolls over 11,800 students.
The College of Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Denver offers an online Master in Organizational Communication designed to enhance and deepen students interpersonal, organizational, and managerial communication skills by increasing the ability to adeptly manage crises, handle change, and skillfully resolve organizational challenges. By analyzing and critiquing barriers to effective communication, students will make the best use of persuasion, negotiation, and cultural awareness skills. A total of 48 credits are required for completion.
Accreditation: The University of Denver is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#41. Northeastern University
Northeastern University was founded in 1898 as the “Evening Institute for Younger Men” at a YMCA in Boston, Massachusetts. It is now an increasingly competitive and esteemed private research university. Northeastern University’s online school offers over 70 certificates and degree programs that adhere to the rigorous academic standards of the on-ground campus.
The College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University offers an online Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication designed to impart the fundamentals of writing and speaking as well as more advanced communication skills such as interviewing, intercultural communication, and crisis management. Incorporating best practices, case studies, and classroom learning, courses address complex communication challenges and leave graduates better prepared for demanding careers in business, government or the nonprofit sector. Students may choose from a variety of concentrations to further hone the program to meet specific personal and career goals. Concentrations include: Human Resource Management, Human Services, Leadership, Leading and Managing Technical Projects, Project Management, Social Media and Online Communications, and Sport and Social Change. The online format is ideally suited to preparing students to communicate clearly in an environment shaped by digital technology and media. The program requires between 45 and 47 quarter hours (about 30 semester credits) for completion.
Accreditation: Northeastern University is regionally accredited by the Northeastern Association of Schools and Colleges.
#42. Loyola University—Maryland
A private, Roman Catholic, Jesuit university, Loyola University—Maryland is located within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The school was established as Loyola College in 1852 by the Society of Jesus and is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the ninth oldest Jesuit college in the US, and the first college in the United States to be named after St. Ignatious of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Loyola University—Maryland enrolls over 5,800 students in bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs.
Loyola University—Maryland’s online Master of Arts in Emerging Media program is a communications degree focusing on digital and emerging media which offers students the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to recognize trends in communication media, to develop strategies to apply new media in real-world applications, and to recognize how new communication platforms affect the way we live, act, and understand the world. The program requires 33 total credits for graduation.
Accreditation: Loyola University—Maryland is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#43. University of the Incarnate Word
The largest Catholic university in Texas, the University of the Incarnate Word is located in San Antonio, Texas. The school was founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word who came to San Antonio in the late 1860’s to aid in treating a cholera outbreak. UIW obtained university status in 1996, and began offering online instruction in 2000.
The University of the Incarnate Word offers an online Master of Arts in Administration (MAA) in Communication Arts designed to equip students with the knowledge in their chosen degree field, but also prepare them to serve as ethical and accountable administrators who are able to conceptualize, and critically analyze complex organizational issues and who are able to persuasively communicate toward a course of action that is in the best interest of those they serve. A minimum of 39 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: The University of the Incarnate Word is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#44. University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee is a public research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded in 1885, UWM is one of two doctoral doctoral degree granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin. UWM has a total student enrollment of 27,813 It is located in Milwaukee’s upper East Side close to Lake Michigan, and is home to the only graduate school of freshwater science in the U.S., the largest School of Architecture, College of Nursing, and College of Health Sciences in the State of Wisconsin. The university offers a total of 181 degree programs, including 94 bachelor’s, 53 master’s and 33 doctorate degrees and is categorized as a Research University with High Research Activity) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
The Department of Communication at University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee’s College of Letters and Science offers an online Master of Arts in Communication designed to provide breadth and depth of study in the following areas: Interpersonal Communication, Rhetoric and Public Communication, and Organizational Communication. The program provides initial and advanced preparation for a variety of careers including continued study leading to a PhD. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: The University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#45. Montana State University—Billings
Montana State University Billings is a public university. Its main campus is located on a 110 acres in downtown Billings, Montana. The school was founded in 1927 as Eastern Montana Normal School and was established for the preparation of teachers in the region, it was then renamed in 1949 to Eastern Montana College before being renamed to its present name in 1994. Currently, the university offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees through the University’s five colleges. It has the third largest campus population in the Montana State University System enrolling around 5,000 students.
The online Master of Science in Public Relations offered through Montana State University—Billings is designed to provide students with the essential theoretical and practical tools they need to develop their careers in public relations and public communication. Students graduating with the MSPR leave with an enhanced understanding of the processes of facilitating and negotiating communication between individuals, groups, and organizations. The program is designed to be valuable to students with a variety of public relations experiences; we welcome students who bring diverse perspectives on the practice of public communication. Concentrations are available in: Public Relations Theory, Health Communication, Public Communication, and Media and Society Communication. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Montana State University—Billings is regionally accredited by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools.
#46. Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University was founded in 1849 as the first normal school operating outside the original 13 colonies. Located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the university is 35 miles west of Detroit and 8 miles east of Ann Arbor. EMU currently enrolls over 23,000 students.
Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business offers an online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications developed for business professionals needing flexibility as they develop their skills in an ever-evolving field. Students will develop a foundation for identifying stakeholders; learning the strengths, weaknesses and applications of each communications vehicle; and for competency in preparing cohesive IMC plans as well as achieve an understanding of the primary role of IMC as the key to building brand image and brand equity. A total of 36 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: Eastern Michigan University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#47. Steton Hall University
Seton Hall University is a private Roman Catholic university in South Orange, New Jersey, USA. Founded in 1856 by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley and named after his aunt, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Seton Hall is the oldest diocesan university in the United States. Seton Hall is also the oldest and largest Catholic university in New Jersey. The university enrolls over 9,700 students in degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
Seton Hall University’s online Masters of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership is an 18-month program consisting of a unique, powerful curriculum of leadership and organizational development combined with strategic communication expertise that enables professionals to achieve business success. The program can be completed mostly online, but does require three on-campus weekend residency visits at the beginning, middle and end of the program. A total of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Steton Hall University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
#48. University of Florida
The University of Florida is a major research institution located in the north Florida college town of Gainesville. This school is the oldest public university in the state and has a ranking of 17 on the U.S. News and World Report list of the top twenty national public universities. The Princeton Review finds the school the seventh best value in public education. With over 50,000 students, the campus is quite impressive in size and scope. There are 16 different colleges set on the main campus. Students can choose from a wide selection of online degree programs ranging from Bachelors to Doctorates.
The University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications offers an exclusively online Master of Arts in Mass Communication specializing in Global Strategic Communications. The program is designed to give students the tools and experience to develop innovative communication strategies and messages that resonate with international audiences. Corporations, non-profits and government agencies desperately need these experts to guide them as they engage international markets. Students will learn skills and strategies in International Public Relations, International Advertising, Foundations of Intercultural Communication, and more. A minimum of 33 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The program in Mass Communication is recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
#49. Drexel University
Enrolling over 25,500 students between three campuses in Philadelphia, and one in Sacramento, California, Drexel University is private, nonprofit, research university founded in 1891. Drexel University is consistently ranked as having one of the best cooperative education programs in the nation. Named “the Ultimate Internship,” Drexel’s Co-op program grants students a variety of hands on, paid, full-time working experiences before graduation through some 1,600 corporate, governmental, and non-profit partners in 28 states and 25 international locations. DU has offered online courses since 1996 and is recognized as one of the nation’s pioneers in distance learning. U.S. News ranked the university #95 in Best National Universities and #10 in Up-and-Coming Schools.
Drexel University’s Master of Science in Communication program provides students with the tools they need for professional careers in the corporate world as communication specialists and offers concentrations in Technical Communication and Public Communication. Students will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become prepared for careers in public relations, journalism, science and technical communications through a combination of traditional journalism courses and courses that will expand students’ understanding of the world, advances in technology and the impact of the media. A total of 45 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#50. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa is a flagship public research university located in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, UI is the oldest university in the state, and is considered a “Public Ivy,”—a public university offering a quality of education commensurate with that of the private Ivy Leagues. The University of Iowa was the original developer of the Master of Fine Arts degree and it operates the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The university has a very high research activity according to the Carnegie Foundation and is a member of several prestigious research coalitions.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication designed for communication professionals. The program stresses a foundation of principles to be applied to platforms that continue to emerge, using the latest technology to teach the latest technology. The program emphasizes clear, concise, powerful communication, focused on a specific message and targeted to a specific audience, recognizing that the tone of the message and the target audience may change depending on the specific medium employed. Foundation courses emphasize core professional principles and concerns (communication, leadership, social media and new technologies and venues) with the program giving students the option to focus on their specific career aspirations through elective courses. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Iowa is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The programs in communication are recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.