Communication Master’s Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries
A communication master’s degree can help you establish a lucrative career in fields as varied as politics, journalism, research, and public relations. If you possess excellent social, networking, public speaking, and analytical skills, then a career in communications might be for you.
Keep reading to learn more about the best communication master’s degrees that you can earn online or in-person. The article also includes descriptions of several job opportunities that come with this graduate degree qualification.
What Is Communication?
Communication is the study of verbal, non-verbal, and written exchange of information and communication channels. This subject covers effective communication strategies that apply to several fields including marketing, public policy, and mass media.
The study of communication involves quantitative and qualitative research methods, public communication, solutions to communication issues, nonprofit communication, and marketing campaigns.
What Is a Communication Master’s Degree?
A communication master’s degree is a graduate program that typically takes two years to complete. Depending on your concentration, this master’s degree can cover data analytics, public relations, digital marketing, political campaigning, risk assessment, and journalism.
Communication Master’s Degree Requirements
The requirements for a communication master’s degree vary depending on the university. Common requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, around 30 to 36 credit hours, and a passing GPA. If you choose to enroll in a thesis program, you will need to get it approved by your academic counselor to graduate.
How Much Does a Communication Master’s Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a master’s degree between 2018 to 2019 was $19,314. This price will differ depending on the school and class format you choose.
Communication Master’s Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Communication Degree
There are plenty of financing options for your communication master’s degree. They include scholarships, private loans, and teaching assistantships. Talk to your university’s financial departments to find a plan that suits you best.
Best Communication Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Boston University||Master of Science in Media Science: Marketing Communication Research||New England Commission of Higher Education|
|California State University Fullerton||Master of Arts in Communication Studies||Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission|
|DePaul University||Master of Arts in Health Communication||Higher Learning Commission|
|Johns Hopkins University||Master of Arts in Communications||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Northwestern University||Master of Science in Communication||Higher Learning Commission|
|Rutgers University||Master of Communication and Media||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|University of California, Berkeley||Master in Public Policy||Western Association of Schools & Colleges|
|University of Denver||Master of Arts in Communication Management with specialization in Organizational Development||Higher Learning Commission|
|University of Hartford||Master of Arts in Communication||New England Commission of Higher Education|
|University of South Florida||Master of Arts in Communication||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
Best Colleges for Communication: Top Communication Master’s Degree Programs
Read below to find more information about the top on-campus communication master’s degree programs. Different schools prioritize different areas of this field, so you should choose the program that best suits your interests and location requirements.
Master of Science in Media Science: Marketing Communication Research | Boston University
Boston University is a globally recognized private university famous for its law, management, medicine, and engineering programs. This marketing communication research degree is best suited for those wanting a career in the data analytics field. It covers mass communication, communication research, technical writing, sampling design, data analytics, and communication strategies.
Master of Arts in Communication Studies | California State University Fullerton
California State University has 23 on-campus schools that offer many undergraduate and graduate programs. If you are a Fullerton resident then this communication studies master’s degree is for you. It covers health communication, interpersonal communication, rhetorical theory, qualitative research, conflict resolution, and intercultural communication.
Master of Arts in Health Communication | DePaul University
If you want to enter managerial, administrative, and analytical positions in the healthcare sector, then this health communication degree will be a great fit. You will learn about health communication, crisis communication management, health disparities, family communication, and research methods for healthcare practitioners.
Master of Arts in Communication | Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is a prestigious private university best known for its medical and information sciences majors. This Master of Arts in Communication program covers digital media, writing methods, mass communication, persuasion, and behavioral communication.
You will also learn about global public relations, integrated marketing, motion picture branding, and social responsibility campaigns. It can help you become a public relations manager, digital marketer, or technical writer.
Master of Science in Communication | Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research institution that is best known for its music, journalism, and management departments. If you are interested in tech-based or multimedia careers in communications then this degree is for you. It covers communication theory, communication framework, strategic communication, and complexity management.
Master of Communication and Media | Rutgers University
Rutgers University is a research-focused institution based in New Jersey. The school offers programs in subject areas such as business, information technology, education, and management.
If you are interested in a journalism or public relations career, then this program is for you. It offers seven concentrations in marketing, mass communication, public relations, health communication, and strategic communication.
Master in Public Policy | University of California, Berkeley
This public policy graduate degree will help you land jobs as a political scientist, political campaign manager, or public relations specialist. You will learn policy analysis, policy implementation, government and nonprofit policy issues, and policy strategies.
Master of Arts in Communication Management with Specialization in Organizational Development | University of Denver
University of Denver is a private school famous for its marketing, business, and management programs. This degree program can help you become a development consultant, human resources manager, or healthcare manager. It covers applied critical thinking, communication trends, storytelling, business communications, organizational development, and team interventions.
Master of Arts in Communication | University of Hartford
University of Hartford offers a variety of undergrad and graduate programs in engineering, healthcare, marketing, communication, psychology, and information technology. This communications degree teaches communication research, integrated communication, mass media, and human communication studies.
Master of Arts in Communication | University of South Florida
University of South Florida offers online and on-campus programs in mathematics, business, computer science, education, and healthcare. This communications degree offers both a thesis and a non-thesis option. It covers quantitative methods, critical communications, communication theory, communication research methods, and health communication.
Best Online Communication Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Liberty University||Master of Arts in Communication||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Marist College||Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Marquette University||Master of Arts in Communication||Higher Learning Commission|
|Mississippi College||Master of Science in Strategic Communication||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Purdue University||Master of Science in Communication||Higher Learning Commission|
|Sam Houston State University||Master of Arts in Communication Studies||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|University of Alabama||Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|University of Louisiana Monroe||Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Strategic Communication||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|University of Southern California||Master of Communication Management||Western Association of Schools and Colleges|
|Webster University||Master of Arts in Communication Management||Higher Learning Commission|
Best Colleges for Communication: Top Online Communication Master’s Degree Programs
For everyone who prefers learning from their homes, an online Master’s Degree in Communication is a great option. Below is a list of the best available online degrees you can pursue if you need to fit your education around a busy schedule or are unable to attend classes in person.
Master of Arts in Communication | Liberty University
Liberty University offers graduate degrees in business administration, information technology, education, and healthcare. This communication program covers strategic communication, social media planning, conflict analysis, and global communication. You can pursue a career in public relations, digital marketing, journalism, and foreign policy with this graduate degree.
Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication | Marist College
This integrated marketing communication degree covers public relations, advertising, social media, marketing, and analytical tools. You can become a digital marketer , a public relations manager, or an advertising manager with this graduate degree.
Master of Arts in Communication | Marquette University
Marquette University is a private university that offers over 75 undergraduate programs and over 90 graduate programs. According to its website, it ranks amongst the top 100 best American Colleges in the U.S. News & World Report. This communication degree is best suited for those wanting to enter mass media, political, and marketing fields.
You can specialize in communication and media studies or digital communication strategies depending on your professional goals. Core courses for both concentrations include communication theory, communication research, and ethics in the field of communications.
Master of Science in Strategic Communication | Mississippi College
Mississippi College is a Christian university offering over 80 undergrad and over 50 graduate degree programs. This strategic communication degree will help you land jobs in advertising, political, research, and social media fields. You’ll learn strategic thinking, research methods, crisis communication, interpersonal communication, communication ethics, and risk communication.
Master of Science in Communication | Purdue University
Purdue University is a global university offering over 200 undergraduate majors in chemistry, economics, human resource development, and mechanical engineering. This master of science degree in communication covers interpersonal communication, technical communication, communication ethics, strategic communication, social media analysis, and public relations.
Master of Arts in Communication Studies | Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University is a Texas-based public school. This Master of Arts in Communication degree opens up several careers in communications including human resources manager, social scientist, and criminal justice behavioral analyst. You will learn strategic communication, family communication, communication plans, and conflict resolution.
Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications | University of Alabama
University of Alabama is a public institution that offers more than 120 graduate programs. This integrated marketing graduate program covers media campaigns, graphic design, video production, human resource management, and strategic communication. You will also learn about sports management, electronic branding, business model design, and entrepreneurship.
Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Strategic Communication | University of Louisiana Monroe
University of Louisiana Monroe offers several undergraduate and graduate degrees in education, business, social sciences, and health sciences. This strategic communication program consists of 33 credit hours. It covers qualitative research methods, communication theory, persuasion, communication ethics, public relations, and creative media strategies.
Master of Communication Management | University of Southern California
University of Southern California is a private university. This communication management degree will help you penetrate careers in communications including market research analysis, marketing, and public relations. You will learn technical communication, public relations and corporate communications, marketing strategies, and analytical tools.
Master of Arts in Communication Management | Webster University
This communication management degree prepares students for jobs as media producers, digital marketers, and public relations managers. You will learn organizational communication, strategic communication, media production management, and media communications.
What’s the Average Communication Master’s Degree Salary?
According to PayScale, the average salary of a communication master’s degree holder is $65,000. However, your annual salary will vary depending on your experience level, choice of career in communication, and employer.
Top Communication Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Communication Master’s Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Human Resources Manager||$121,220|
|Health Services Manager||$104,280|
|Senior Digital Marketer||$92,731|
|Market Research Analyst||$65,810|
|Public Relations Specialist||$62,810|
Best Communication Master’s Degree Jobs Explained
- Average Salary: $141,490
- Job Outlook: 10%
- Number of Jobs: 316,800
- Highest-Paying States: New York, New Jersey, Colorado
Advertising managers are responsible for launching marketing campaigns and digital advertisements to increase product sales. They work with sales, product development, and social media teams to come up with effective strategies.
A communications master with a concentration in marketing will help you land this position. You’ll need to develop excellent communication, analytical, creative, and social media skills to succeed in this role.
- Average Salary: $125,350
- Job Outlook: 9%
- Number of Jobs: 7,000
- Highest-Paying States: Maryland, Virginia, Michigan
A political scientist is responsible for researching and analyzing political issues, public opinion data, and government policies. Their duties include political analysis, public relations, and campaign management. This position is essentially a data analytics political role that requires market research, problem-solving, socioeconomic, and political skills.
Human Resources Manager
- Average Salary: $121,220
- Job Outlook: 9%
- Number of Jobs: 161,700
- Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, New York, Washington DC
The role of a human resource manager includes recruiting candidates, overseeing company event planning, and communicating company policies to employees. Job duties also include managing employee relations, dealing with workplace conflicts, conducting onboarding training, and handling payroll and benefits.
Strong interpersonal communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and presentation skills are crucial to this role. You can get a graduate education in communications with a concentration in human resource management to qualify for this position.
Health Services Manager
- Average Salary: $104,280
- Job Outlook: 32%
- Number of Jobs: 429,800
- Highest-Paying States: Washington DC, New York, Hawaii
This position is great for those interested in the medical and communications sector. A master’s of science with a concentration in health communication will prepare you for this professional role. Depending on your organization, your job duties can include a wide range of tasks involving finance, health informatics, human resources, and patient care coordination fields.
Senior Digital Marketer
- Average Salary: $92,731
- Job Outlook: 10%*
- Number of Jobs: 316,800
- Highest-Paying States: New York, New Jersey, Colorado
A senior digital manager is responsible for overseeing an organization’s digital marketing and SEO strategies. A graduate degree in digital communication or digital marketing can qualify you for this senior role. You will need to master SEO strategies, social media marketing, and digital communication strategies to succeed in this profession.
- Average Salary: $89,120
- Job Outlook: 25%
- Number of Jobs: 104,100
- Highest-Paying States: Washington DC, New Jersey, California
An advanced degree program in communications and educational technology can help you land the job of a learning analyst. Key aspects of this job involve analyzing student data to improve the overall quality and process of the education they receive. The expansion of online learning is increasing the demand for these experts. \
Depending on your career goal you can become a social or educational learning analyst. A social analyst analyzes data that integrates the social behaviors of students and teachers for a successful teaching method. An educational analyst works with academic advisors and teachers to improve the curriculum and its delivery.
- Average Salary: $67,120
- Job Outlook: 9%
- Number of Jobs: 143,200
- Highest-Paying States: Washington DC, California, Connecticut
The essential skills needed to become a successful writer depend on the type of writing career you want to pursue. A fiction writer will need strong creative and writing skills. If you want to be a technical writer you will need strong analytical, writing, and research skills. A communication master’s degree with an emphasis in education can help you kickstart your career in this field.
Market Research Analyst
- Average Salary: $65,810
- Job Outlook: 22%
- Number of Jobs: 740,900
- Highest-Paying States: Washington, New Jersey, Delaware
As a market research analyst, you can work in several industries including business, finance, healthcare, education, and information technology. This job involves analyzing customer, industry, and product-related data to ensure the overall success of an organization. Strong analytical and communication skills are crucial to this position.
Public Relations Specialist
- Average Salary: $62,810
- Job Outlook: 11%
- Number of Jobs: 272,300
- Highest-Paying States: Washington DC, New Jersey, Washington
A public relations specialist is responsible for the reputation management, crisis management, and public relations management of politicians and other public personalities. Their job includes launching favorable social media campaigns and organizing media appearances. Networking, interpersonal communication, and strategic communication skills are crucial to this position.
- Average Salary: $62,437
- Job Outlook: 12%
- Number of Jobs: 36,000
- Highest-Paying States: California, New York, Massachusetts
A master’s degree in a communications program can help you land a job as a professor at community colleges or high schools. Your job duties include imparting knowledge on communications concepts and strategies, as well as explaining in-demand communications skills and tools.
*BLS categorizes senior digital managers under advertising, promotions, and marketing managers.
Communication Bootcamp vs Communication Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?
The benefits of a communication bootcamp versus a communication master’s degree vary depending on your career goals and preferred educational track. A coding bootcamp is a tech-based short-term training institution that helps you secure entry-level jobs. It is beneficial if you are looking to land tech jobs in the communications sector.
Benefits of a Communication Master’s Degree
- Qualifies you for several senior roles. If your career goal is to become a PR communications manager, market research analyst, or political scientist, a master’s degree will help you land those roles.
- Variety of concentrations. You can pair your graduate degree in communications with a wide range of subject areas. These include marketing, corporate communication, political communication, strategic communication, and data analysis.
- High average salary. An advanced graduate degree will qualify you for senior roles that come with lucrative compensation packages.
- Pathway to a doctoral degree. If you want to enter the research or education fields, you can get a doctoral degree after completing a master’s degree program.
- No previous experience required for senior roles. Having a graduate degree in communications will directly make you eligible for a senior role without gaining extensive practical experience.
Benefits of a Communication Bootcamp
- Short term. If you want a short-term commitment option to kickstart your tech-based communication career, then a bootcamp is a great choice. You can become job-ready within a few weeks to a few months.
- Affordable education. A bootcamp education is a cheaper alternative to a master’s degree that prepares you to start working right away.
- In-demand skills training. A bootcamp curriculum is based on industry-required skills. For instance, you can attend BrainStation to learn digital marketing and General Assembly to learn project management.
- Career placement services. Bootcamps offer a variety of services to help you secure employment. They might include resume critique, interview prep, employer networking, and practical skills training.
- Payment plans. Bootcamps also offer several payment plans including income share agreement loans, installment payments, private loans, and scholarships.
Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Communication?
Yes, you should get a Master’s Degree in Communication if you want to pursue senior career options such as public relations manager, market research analyst, or advertising manager. A graduate degree gives you a competitive advantage and enhances your candidacy in the job market.
An advanced degree also allows you to specialize in several subject areas including strategic communication, technical communication, health communication, mass media communication, and marketing communication.
Communication Master’s Degree FAQ
Yes, a communication master’s degree is worth it for those wanting to qualify for management and leadership roles in the communication sector. It is also worth it for those wanting to pursue a career in research and continue their education with a PhD.
A graduate communication program curriculum varies depending on your concentration options. You can learn data analysis, journalism, political communication, user experience, fundraising, digital marketing, health management, and communication research methods.
A communication master’s degree can help you land high-level jobs such as digital marketing manager, public relations manager, journalist, market research analyst, and medical services manager.
Johns Hopkins University, Concordia University, Purdue University, and University of Denver are some schools that offer well-regarded communication master’s degree programs. Keep in mind that the best school for you will offer a curriculum that aligns with your career goals.