Why This Matters

Our Research

Our list covers master’s programs in communications that provide students with a diverse skill set that can be applied to many roles in the communication sector, such as public relations managers, technical writers, and translators. The programs on our list offer on-campus, online, and combined learning formats.

Master’s programs in communications often receive regional or national accreditation. While accredited schools uphold high academic standards, regionally accredited communications programs are more prestigious than those with national accreditation. Regionally accredited schools also have more transferable credits than those without accreditation. Programs on our list are accredited regionally by organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 71 hours to write this article
  • 171 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 284 education programs we compared

The Top 49 Master’s in Communications Degree Programs

Best Master's in Communications Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
California State University, Northridge
Most Specializations
Mississippi College
Best for Documentary Studies
Northern Arizona University
Best Strategic Communication Program
The University of Iowa
Best for Communications Management
Webster University
Best for Business
Minnesota State University, Mankato - College of Arts & Humanities
Best Hybrid Program
Southern Utah University
Best for Negotiation
Lasell University
Best Evening/Weekend Option
JHU Advanced Academic Programs
Best for Organizational Communication
Northeastern University
Best for Military Members
National University
Best for Science
Drexel University
Best for Learning and Development
University Of Denver
Best for Health Communication
East Carolina University
Best In-State Tuition
Washington State University
Best Non-Thesis Option
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Best Liberal Arts Option
Ball State University
Best for Experienced Professionals
Concordia University, St. Paul
Best Accelerated Option
Missouri State University
Most Flexible
Troy University
Best for Sports Media
Texas Tech University
Best for Research
University of Southern California
Best Faculty
Columbia University
Best On-Campus Option
Georgetown University
Best for Executive Education
Northwestern University
Best for Leadership
Park University

What You Should Know About This Degree

As you prepare for a career in communications, it’s important to also consider pursuing a master’s in public relations. While a program in communications focuses on using messaging to grow an organization or business, public relations programs are concerned with influencing or changing the public perception of a brand, product, or service. Master’s in communications programs often cover a wide range of topics, while public relations programs specialize in creating experts in media relations. Many programs combine these two subjects into one degree or offer a specialization such as strategic communication, organizational communication, journalism, or mass communication. Determine the importance of understanding media relations and media training in your future career when deciding which degree program is right for you.

Many master’s in communications programs take a year to complete. Specialization programs such as health communication or political communication can take up to two years to finish.

Communications will continue to play an important role over the next decade. The job outlook is favorable because public image, clear communication, and emotional messaging factor into purchasing decisions, brand trust, and effective team building.

Professional certifications in communications help demonstrate your expertise in the field. Communication Management Professional (CMP) and Strategic Communication Professional (SCP) certificates are awarded by the International Association of Business Communicators.

What’s Next?

Ask yourself these questions when researching masters in communication degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most master’s in communications programs require prospective students to hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent before acceptance. They might also need to submit a writing portfolio and a goal statement, as well as maintain a certain GPA.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Two years of full-time study is usually required to earn a master of arts or master of science degree in communications. More time may be needed if students must also complete a thesis to graduate. The programs on our list require students to complete between 10 and 48 credits to earn a master’s in communications degree.

Each program will have specific requirements for applicants as well as program application deadlines. Visit the school website or contact the school’s admission department to learn which materials you’ll need to submit.

Master’s programs generally require a considerable financial investment, so you should determine how you will cover the cost of your studies. Look for scholarships, grants, and loans you qualify for, as well as other financial aid packages that can help reduce tuition fees. You can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for government aid.