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Compare online master’s in communications programs

Ensure people see and act on your messages with the right strategies.

Explore online communication masters degrees

Why earn a master’s degree in communications online?

Develop your skill set

Learn in-demand communication skills to shape the conversations within your company and beyond.

Expand your career opportunities

Advance your communication skills to drive business value, increase your salary potential, and excel in your career.

Network globally

Leverage your intercultural communication skills to connect and negotiate with peers across the globe.

An online master’s in communication can help you communicate effectively in your personal and professional life — whether you’re resolving conflict with your spouse or friend, or negotiating the salary for your dream job. The right course will help you develop your communications skills and strategies, predict and keep up with evolving media trends, and ultimately emerge as a master communicator.

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What is a master’s in communication? 

A masters in communications is an advanced degree for individuals who want to propel their communication careers forward or prepare for a doctorate program in communication or a related field. This kind of program focuses on theories, strategies, research methodologies, and leading practices for effective communication. It will prepare you to use advanced communication skills and strategies across industries and in varying roles.  

Online master’s in communication requirements 

All master’s in communication program applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree. While specific admission requirements vary depending on the school and program, most require:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA

  • A résumé

  • College transcripts

  • A personal statement 

  • An academic writing sample

  • Letter(s) of recommendation

  • TOEFL scores (if applicable)

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How to apply

Once you’ve decided to earn your master of communications online, you can request more information. This step will connect you with an admissions advisor. Your advisor will discuss the program, admission requirements, and your unique goals before you start your application. 

What you’ll learn

Good communication is an art and a science. A master’s in communication will teach you how to merge both elements. You’ll complete core courses with optional elective courses or specializations. Core and elective courses often cover strategic communication, organizational communication, intercultural communication, research methods, and theory. Specializations may include public relations, social media studies, advertising, and political communication. You’ll learn how to leverage communication to:

  • Resolve conflict or crisis

  • Negotiate business deals

  • Craft organizational messaging and talking points

  • Navigate communication with individuals of diverse backgrounds

  • Promote products, services, and events via integrated channels

  • Persuade and resist persuasion 

Looking to strengthen your communication in the workplace? Learn business communications online.  Keen to help businesses reach new heights? Learn marketing online. 

Ready to harness the power of social media? Learn social media marketing, with edX.

Interested in covering the five Ws on a local and global scale? Learn journalism online. 

Online master’s in communication specializations 

The topics taught as part of a master’s in communication curriculum are usually broad, with the aim of preparing you for jobs across industries. However, you can also choose a specialization to focus your studies and hone your expertise in a particular area. Examples include:

  • Strategic communication and public relations (PR): Build and maintain a positive relationship between organizations and the public via internal and external channels. 

  • Integrated communication and advertising: Ensure all communications channels work together harmoniously, providing a consistent brand image and message across multiple platforms. 

  • Communication and leadership: Improve your leadership abilities and decision-making skills with proven communication techniques and strategies.  

  • Health communication: Create communication strategies, messages, and products to educate the public about pressing health issues. 

  • Advocacy and social impact: Engage with complex social challenges that impact organizations and society at large. 

  • Media and arts management and promotion: Organize and manage programs and events for performing arts and entertainment industries. 

  • Political communication: Manage and influence political campaigns, policymaking, and political processes through various media platforms. 

  • Technical communication: Help others understand complex information by developing your technical writing, critical thinking, and information design skills. 

What can you do with a master’s in communication? 

Effective and strategic communicators are key players in any business. That’s why plenty of communications jobs spanning numerous industries, skills levels, and titles exist. Once you earn your master’s in communication, you can decide which role aligns with your interests and professional goals. Job titles include: 

  • Communication consultant

  • Corporate manager

  • Fundraising manager

  • Human resources (HR) manager

  • Human resources (HR) specialist

  • Postsecondary education specialist

  • PR manager

  • PR specialist

  • Sales manager

  • Corporate communications director

  • Social and community services manager

  • Vice president of communications

Master’s in communication salary and job outlook

Nearly every corporation, nonprofit, and government agency needs communications professionals to craft and deliver their messages to the world. This constant need creates more job openings and opportunities for graduates seeking communications positions. 

Positions for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers are projected to grow by 6% between 2022 and 2032 (faster than average), leading to almost 34,000 new jobs. The average salary for advertising and promotions managers was $127,830 in May 2022, while the average salary for marketing managers was $140,040 in May 2022.Footnote 1

Frequently asked questions

The main difference between an MA (Master of Arts) and an MS (Master of Science) in communication lies in their academic focus. An MA typically emphasizes a more humanities-based approach, focusing on theory, research, and a broader understanding of communication concepts. An MS has a more science-oriented approach, emphasizing practical skills, data analysis, and the technical aspects of communication (e.g. media production or digital marketing). Carefully review all program details to choose one that aligns with your career goals.

The cost of an online master's in communications varies depending on factors like the institution, program duration, and location. Public universities often offer lower tuition rates for in-state residents, while private institutions tend to be more expensive. Fortunately, financial aid, scholarships, and grants can help offset costs. It's essential to research specific programs and institutions to get accurate pricing information. It’s also important to consider your financial situation when determining the cost of pursuing an online master's in communications.

The difficulty of earning a master's in communications online depends on factors such as the individual's prior academic background and time management skills, and the chosen program. Online master's programs offer flexibility but demand self-discipline to stay on track with coursework. These programs require strong communication skills, as much of the interaction with instructors and peers is virtual. The workload can be challenging as it includes various research papers, presentations, and assignments. However, some students may prefer online master's in communications programs as they offer more flexibility.

It typically takes 1.5 to 2.5 years to complete an online master's degree in communications. The duration varies and depends on factors such as the specific program, the number of credits required, and whether a student chooses to study full time or part time. Many online master's programs offer flexibility, allowing you to pace your studies according to your schedule. Accelerated options may also be available if you wish to complete the degree within a shorter time frame. It’s best to review the curriculum and course load of your chosen program to determine the exact duration.

A master's in communications focuses on the broader field of communication, including areas like PR, media studies, and interpersonal communication. This degree emphasizes understanding and analyzing various communication theories and strategies. Conversely, a master's in marketing is tailored to the field of marketing, concentrating on skills like market research, consumer behavior analysis, branding, and digital marketing. This degree is business-oriented and equips students with the expertise to develop and implement marketing strategies. The key difference lies in the scope, with communications being more general and marketing being more specialized.

To choose the right online master's in communications program, you’ll want to consider factors such as the accreditation status, specialization options, program reputation, tuition costs and financing options, program flexibility and learning formats, student and academic support services, and alumni networks. By evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your career goals and personal needs.

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