Online Master’s Programs In Mass Communication

Earning an online bachelor's degree in media communications can help you land a job in media, or broadcasting. Find information on salary and job outlook.

Updated September 20, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s Programs In Mass Communication

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Earn a Master's in Mass Communication

Mass communication involves the transmission of information and ideas on a large scale, usually for corporate, organizational, or commercial purposes. Online master's in mass communication programs build on the theoretical framework of undergraduate programs, providing you with the advanced research and investigative skills necessary to design, implement, and assess media messaging. Due to the widespread use of social media and other forms of global connectedness, mass communication careers continue to expand.

By earning a graduate degree in mass communication, you can prepare to assume business leadership roles. Additionally, if your professional goals lay in media arts, master's credentials enable you to pursue higher-paying work in script writing and television directing.

This guide covers a variety of topics, including financial aid options, degree types, course offerings, and available specializations. You can also learn about career and professional development opportunities.

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What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Mass Communication Program?

Online master's in mass communication programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete, requiring distance learners to accumulate around 30 semester credits. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer accelerated pathways or degree-completion programs that enable learners to earn their master's degree in as few as 12 months. Distance education programs offer flexible education opportunities that often appeal to working professionals. While remote learning may seem removed from university support, online students benefit from the same administrative resources and faculty attention as their campus-based peers.

Mass communication encompasses many fields, such as business, cultural studies, and international politics. For this reason, curriculum design can vary widely depending on a department's focus and faculty expertise. Regardless, graduate students can expect to receive fundamental training in investigative techniques, including how to direct focus groups and analyze survey results. Students also delve into industry-specific research methods and ethical concerns, including media law and digital privacy. Learners who pursue an online master's in media communications develop practical skills like copywriting, while also learning how film and television representation can affect race, gender, and social constructs.

What common courses are offered in a master's in mass communication program?

Specific course topics differ by school, and students typically individualize their degree plan by taking electives or choosing a specialization. However, most graduate mass communication students take core classes in areas like media studies, cultural identity theory, strategic planning, and qualitative research methods. Students can also look forward to completing practicum or thesis requirements. The list below details five common mass communication courses.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Online master's in mass communication programs emphasize research and application in practical scenarios. In addition to content discussion and case study analysis, graduate students can expect to complete group projects based on topics like mass media and its effects on individual opinion and social trends. Furthermore, graduate programs often require learners to participate in internships, where students pursue practice-based learning with businesses, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies.

Class projects and practica provide the scaffolding for culminating experiences in the form of an integrative capstone project or a research-based thesis. Here, working with faculty advisers, students develop and execute communication campaigns. To earn their degrees, students may also need to complete a comprehensive oral or written exam.

What specializations are available in a master's in mass communication program?

Online master's in mass communication programs often offer a media studies specialization. Graduate students may also specialize in a sub-field, such as health communication, strategic communication, or political communication. Some degree candidates opt for a more business-focused track, concentrating on advertising, human resources, or public relations.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Mass Communication Degree?

Because graduates can apply their communication knowledge and skills to so many areas, they can pursue an array of career opportunities. For example, after completing specialized coursework, students can work in print and digital journalism, combining written communication with visual art to become photojournalists. Mass communication majors may also pursue business-related work, assuming roles as marketing, advertising, public relations, and human resources specialists. Additionally, they can opt for media careers and become art directors, film producers, and television writers. However, students should keep in mind that a graduate-level education does not guarantee career entry or advancement. Employers often hire candidates with relevant professional experience and certification/licensure.

An online master's in mass communication program covers advanced coursework and provides students with opportunities to conduct research and engage in hands-on training. Graduates can look forward to higher salaries and improved job opportunities. To further bolster their career outlook, students and professionals should also consider joining a professional organization. Membership usually entails an annual fee but can provide access to academic awards, internship placement programs, and research support. Some of these organizations also provide continuing education programs for working professionals, such as AMA's bootcamps and training series.

Professional Organizations

Founded in 1953, AMA advances marketing excellence through strategic research and industry standardization. Members benefit from e-learning resources and professional training. They can also attend community events and peruse an online job board. ABC connects professionals through special interest groups and regional chapters. Member benefits include access to career listings, research-based journals, and grant opportunities. Mass communication students can participate in networking events and award competitions. IAMCR promotes global inclusiveness and academic excellence through educational outreach. Members collaborate through working groups in areas like the political economy and rural communication. The association also provides research and travel grants. NCA disseminates information through 11 academic journals and a resource database. Members enjoy access to grant opportunities, national conventions, and career guidance. The association also operates academic honor societies and student clubs. Established in 1909, SPJ supports its 7,500 members by advocating for freedom of press and information. The society provides ample training opportunities through partnerships with companies like YouTube and Facebook. Members can also receive career guidance and look at job listings.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Mass Communication?

According to PayScale, mass communication professionals who hold a master's degree earn an average salary of $62,000. However, salaries vary depending on a worker's location, industry, and qualifications. The table below displays salary ranges for five common careers in this field. Marketing and public relation managers — who hold leadership positions — earn the highest median annual salary.

Career Salary Potential
JOB TITLELOWEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARYHIGHEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYJOB GROWTH 2016-2026
Marketing ManagerLess than $48,150$129,380More than $208,000+10%
Public Relations ManagerLess than $61,130$111,280More than $208,000+10%
Technical WriterLess than $42,410$70,930More than $113,810+11%
Interpreter or TranslatorLess than $25,620$47,190More than $82,290+18%
Market Research AnalystLess than $34,510$63,230More than $122,770+23%

Source: BLS 2018

The careers above represent some of the fastest-growing opportunities for mass communication professionals. Based on the importance of data-driven decision making in all business sectors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 23% growth for market research analysts. This number exceeds the average for business operatives by about 14%. Similarly, interpreter and translator positions stand to increase by 18% due to broadening global ties and strong international trade relations. Technical writers, public relation managers, and marketing managers should also benefit from similar growth patterns.

The Center on Education and the Workforce reports that the education level of professionals in public relations, mass media, and journalism significantly affects their earning potential. Mass communication professionals who possess a bachelor's degree earn about $54,000 a year, while workers who hold a master's earn about $68,000. This $14,000 rise in annual salary shows that workers with an advanced degree see their wages increase by an average of 26%.

Online Master's in Mass Communication Program Accreditation

To confer valid degrees, colleges and universities must maintain certain educational standards and earn national or regional accreditation. The ED and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation oversee these accrediting agencies. For-profit and vocational schools typically earn national accreditation, whereas nonprofit colleges and universities generally apply for regional accreditation. Regional accreditation — typically considered to be more prestigious — is awarded by one of six organizations, depending on a school's location.

On top of national or regional accreditation, individual programs at a school can earn specialized accreditation. For example, online master's in mass communication programs can receive recognition from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). More than 100 programs currently hold ACEJMC accreditation. To earn this recognition, programs must satisfy nine professional education standards. By earning an accredited mass communication degree, students ensure their training aligns with current industry standards. Holding an accredited master's degree also allows professionals to sit for certain certification and licensure exams.

How to Pay for a Master's in Mass Communication Degree

Earning an online master's in mass communication requires a significant investment of time and money. Fortunately, many funding opportunities exist that can help reduce the expense of an advanced degree. Sources include government aid, university awards, and private scholarships. Many graduate students can also take advantage of research and teaching opportunities, which provide valuable work experience and financial incentives.

Online Master's in Mass Communication Programs 2022

#1

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of Florida offers 68 accessible, affordable online programs. The public institution also offers in-person programs at its campus in Gainesville. The school's academic offerings include a master's in global strategic communication. The online program features flexible scheduling and enrollment options, which can make earning a degree easier for busy students balancing academics with personal obligations.

Core classes help learners develop transferable skills and prepare for advanced communications classes. Degree-seekers can complete internships to gain experience and bolster their resume. While most master's programs require 1-2 years, part-time enrollees may take longer to graduate. Prospective applicants can contact an admissions advisor for details about application deadlines and requirements.

Online learners pay affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Graduate students pay an average in-state tuition rate of $10,770 and an average out-of-state tuition rate of $27,335. The institution holds accreditation, which means enrollees can receive federal grants, scholarships, and loans. Of the school's students, 92% obtain financial aid.

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#2

University of Georgia

School Information
Location Athens, Georgia
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners attending University of Georgia can choose from top-ranked online master's programs in many fields, including mass communications. The public institution enrolls 5,389 students in flexible online programs. One option includes a master of arts in journalism and mass communication, emerging media.

The rigorous curriculum emphasizes career-focused skills and knowledge. Degree candidates can choose electives that align with their interests and professional goals. The flexible program emphasizes industry knowledge. Learners currently employed in the mass communications field can pursue promotions or raises after earning their master's degree. The institution's career services and alumni network can help enrollees locate and secure professional opportunities.

Master's degree-seekers can access support services including career advising and financial aid counseling. Online learners pay affordable tuition rates. Learners pursuing a master's degree can research additional financial aid options, including private scholarships and fellowships. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable.

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#3

Stephen F. Austin State University

School Information
Location Nacogdoches, Texas
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Stephen F. Austin State University's master's in mass communication programs ranks among the top online programs for mass communications. Located in Nacogdoches, Texas, the public institution enrolls 5,220 students in its flexible online programs. This flexibility can make earning a degree easier for busy learners balancing academics with personal obligations.

Degree-seekers complete a rigorous curriculum and gain field-specific training while fulfilling degree requirements. Students can customize the curriculum based on their interests and professional goals. Learners gain specialized knowledge relevant to the industry. Graduates often secure high-level mass communications positions. The institution offers career services to help students and alumni locate professional opportunities.

Learners can access support services including financial aid counseling. The school's affordable tuition rates make it easier for degree-seekers to pursue graduate degrees. Additional financial aid options include private scholarships and fellowships. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown.

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#4

Webster University

School Information
Location Saint Louis, Missouri
Admission Rate 57%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Saint Louis, Missouri-based Webster University provides graduate programs for online and on-campus degree-seekers. At the private institution, distance learners can earn a master's in media communications online. The degree helps graduates advance professionally.

Master's students begin the online program by completing core coursework in communications. Degree-seekers can choose electives to customize the program to their interests and career goals. Faculty members provide mentorship, and graduate students can pursue internships to prepare for careers in the field.

A master's in communications can lead to leadership roles, which often pay higher salaries. The institution's career counselors help enrollees identify career opportunities and develop professional plans.

The school's average cost per credit is unknown. The institution holds accreditation, which means degree-seekers can receive federal grants and loans. Distance learners can apply for scholarships and fellowships to reduce the cost of earning a master's degree. Of the school's graduate students, 96% fund their education through financial aid.

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