Why This Matters

  • MASTER THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER SOFT SKILLS

    Regardless of industry, communication skills are always valuable. Employers often list them, along with other skills like critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and collaboration, among their most sought-after skills for employees.

  • PR MANAGEMENT JOBS INCREASING 8% BY 2028

    A combination of education and experience in media communications can prepare you for leadership roles as a PR or fundraising manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 6,300 new jobs in this field by 2028, thanks to digital media advances.

  • EARN $80,880 MORE WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE

    Leadership positions such as advertising and marketing manager, which typically require an advanced degree, earn a median annual wage of $132,620, compared to the average annual salary for entry-level positions, which is $51,740.

Our Research

We sought the best graduate-level programs in media communications for this list. Most of the programs we found award either a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in this subject area.

One major criteria was that programs be delivered completely or primarily online, to ensure access for the greatest number of students, regardless of their schedule or geographic location.

As another measure of quality, we only included programs that are offered by schools with regional accreditation. This confirms that they meet high standards of quality for postsecondary education. Many programs also have accreditation through the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC).

We evaluated each program based on reputation, cost, faculty, outcomes, and flexibility. Then we assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in media communications are well-respected, flexible, and affordable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 51 hours to write this article
  • 156 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 442 education programs we compared

The Top 15 Online Master’s in Media Communications Programs

badges
01

 

What You Should Know About This Degree

Most communications jobs are bachelor’s-level entry, meaning an undergraduate degree is the minimum level of education required to find employment. A master’s degree can help you move into management positions, but experience and on-the-job training are also valued in this field. When considering pursuing a master’s in media communications, reflect on your career and personal goals to help you determine what is the right path to achieving them.

While demand for communications occupations like fundraisers, public relations specialists, and social media marketers is growing, employment in other related fields is declining. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10 percent drop in employment of broadcast reporters and correspondents, as the journalism industry continues to change and fragment.

Depending on the type of job you want or field in which you are interested in working, a specialization can give you an edge when it comes to training and employment opportunities. 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.

Membership in a professional organization can help you demonstrate your expertise and experience in your field. Communications-related organizations include the International Association of Business Communicators, and the Public Relations Society of America.

What’s Next?

As you research online master’s in media communications programs, here are some questions to ask:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Some master’s in media communications programs require students to have an undergraduate degree in communications or a related field, or professional experience in communications. These requirements vary by program, so look at the eligibility requirements before applying to confirm that you meet the program’s minimum qualifications.
  • Are there any in-person requirements? Find out if the program has any experiential learning components, such as an internship, that require in-person attendance. Even programs that deliver coursework online may have these requirements, so it’s important to be aware of them before you enroll in a program. This way, you can make the necessary arrangements in your schedule and budget to accommodate them.

As you research programs, you should also gather your application materials, and confirm application deadlines and procedures. This is also a good time to explore your options for funding your graduate education, including student loans, institutional and outside scholarships, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer, if you are currently working.