Why This Matters

  • MASTER THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER SOFT SKILLS

    Communication is regularly listed as one of the most in-demand transferable skills by employers across all fields. Communications programs also sharpen your critical thinking, collaboration and creativity skills.

  • NEED FOR MARKETING MANAGERS INCREASING 10%

    The need for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, especially those with social media skills, is growing at a faster-than-average pace, thanks to an increasing emphasis on digital marketing.

  • EARN $54,800 MORE WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE

    Leadership positions such as public relations manager, which typically require an advanced degree, earn a median average wage of $114,800, compared to $$60,000 per year for PR specialists, a bachelor’s-level position.

Our Research

Most graduate degrees in communications are Master of Arts or Master of Science degrees. Both types of programs provide the necessary knowledge needed for a successful career in communications, but there are subtle differences.

A Master of Science takes a more technical approach, while Master of Arts programs tend to be rooted in theoretical knowledge. We included both degree types on this list. When researching programs, consider your learning style and career goals to help you choose the best degree for you.

The programs on our list are offered on-campus, online, and in hybrid format. All of the programs listed have regional accreditation, ensuring that they meet high education standards.

We evaluated all of the programs on our list on their cost, course offerings, reputation and flexibility. Based on these evaluations, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best master’s degrees in communications are respected, affordable, and customizable.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 74 hours to write this article
  • 116 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 344 education programs we compared

The Top 40 Master’s in Communications Degree

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What You Should Know About This Degree

While demand for communications majors is growing in some areas, particularly fundraising, and social media marketing and management, employment in other communications-related fields is declining. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a nine percent drop in employment of broadcast reporters and correspondents, as the journalism industry continues to change and fragment. Employment in public relations is predicted to grow as fast as average, so competition for jobs may be tough.

A specialization may help give you an edge in pursuing the types of jobs you want. Programs may offer concentrations focused on a specific industry, like healthcare, journalism, or advertising, or on particular skill-sets like social media, human resources, or media literacy and criticism. When considering a master’s in communication, you should decide if a specialization is needed for your career goals.

Although no formal credentialing is needed for most communications jobs, a number of associations exist to provide additional training and quality assurance to employers. These include the International Association of Business Communicators, the Events Industry Council, and the Public Relations Society of America. There may be annual dues required to join and maintain membership in these organizations.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Masters Communications programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Some master’s in communications programs require students to have an undergraduate degree in communications or a related field. Be sure to check each program’s eligibility requirements to make sure you have a relevant education background.
  • Does this program offer credit for having the APR credential? If you are currently a communications professional, and have the Accreditation in Public Relations credential from the Public Relations Society of America, some programs will waive credits or requirements for you.
  • Do I need to take standardized tests for this program? Find out if the program requires GRE or MAT scores as part of the admissions process, and make plans to take these tests prior to applying, if you haven’t already done so.

Once you have narrowed the list of programs that interest you, visit their websites or contact their admissions departments to research their admissions requirements and processes. You should also consider your options for paying for graduate school, including scholarships, assistantships, financial aid, and tuition benefits from your employer.