Answer: Yes, there are currently 31 online master’s in mass communication(s) and media studies programs offered at schools throughout the United States.
Mass communication is defined as all forms of communication that reach a broad audience, and encompasses digital media, public relations and marketing messaging, social media, and news. Professionals who understand mass communication and how it impacts businesses, government, culture, and society have the power to enact widespread change in organizations, the government, and society at large. Mass communication experts can inform the public on important sociopolitical, health-related, and environmental issues; support organizations in developing effective and ethical messaging; and advocate for positive social change using multiple communication channels that reach national and international audiences.
Online master’s in mass communication programs, also known as online master’s in media studies programs, teach students the theoretical and practical elements of mass communication, as well as how media impacts society and vice versa. These programs cover the history and evolution of mass communication, and how it has expanded to include not only print media, radio, and television, but also web journalism and social media. These programs teach students how to analyze mass media content and its effects, as well as advanced skills in media management, advertising, public relations, news writing, journalism, and digital media technologies. Master’s in mass communication and/or media studies prepare students for careers as journalists, public relations and marketing directors, non-profit communication specialists, communication consultants, web content specialists, social media managers, and mass communication researchers.
Note: As mass communication’s definition incorporates elements of digital media strategy, journalism, marketing and public relations, and media management, MastersinCommunications.com includes online master’s in communication programs with specializations in Media, Mass Communication, Digital Communication Strategy, and Journalism in the directory featured below. For more information about our system for classifying programs, please see the note at the end of this FAQ.
Find Featured Online Master's in Communication Programs
Examples of Online Master’s in Mass Communication Programs
Currently, there are 31 online master’s in mass communication and media studies programs in the United States. Below are descriptions of five of these programs, as well as descriptions of the coursework they entail:
- Florida International University offers an Online Master of Science in Mass Communication with a focus in Global Strategic Communications. This program prepares students to engage in mass media strategies and communication campaigns for organizations in the public and private sectors. Students take core classes in mass media research, strategic communication principles and ethics, and global strategic communication management, followed by electives in areas such as communication for change, media planning, organizational conflict resolution, social media metrics, and strategic storytelling. Students complete a mass media professional project that investigates an issue in mass communication as their final graduation requirement.
- South Dakota State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication offers an Online Master of Mass Communication that features classes in the fundamentals of mass communication, cross-platform storytelling, media law, communication campaigns, and communication research, as well as classes in social marketing for health campaigns, media management, gender in the media, health journalism, opinion writing, mass communication teaching methods, and international media. Students can elect to complete a master’s research project or additional coursework with advisor approval as their final graduation requirement.
- Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of Mass Communication offers an Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with concentrations in Journalism and Broadcasting. This program features core classes in media theory and research methods, media law and ethics, and media and society, followed by electives covering topics such as media and politics, media management, international media, and advanced advertising and public relations. Students also complete one of three final graduation requirements: a master’s thesis, a comprehensive examination plus additional coursework, or a media project that can take the form of a media management plan, a communication campaign, or an investigative report.
- Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications offers an Online Master of Arts in Communications with a specialization in Journalism Innovation. While this program does not specifically designate itself as a mass communication program, the curriculum covers the history and evolution of mass communications and how journalism professionals can leverage communication technologies to inform mass audiences. Classes in this program include multimedia storytelling, data-driven journalism, the fundamentals of digital communications, digital communications systems, and social media for public communicators.
- The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s School of Mass Communication offers an Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with Mass Media Research and Multi-Platform Journalism Tracks. This program combines critical analyses of mass media and its effect on the public with skill-building in journalism and strategic communication. Classes in this program include new media writing and production, mass communication processes and effects, media criticism, journalism research, public relations principles, international mass communication, and internet policies and ethics.
Online master’s in mass communication programs often employ both asynchronous and synchronous instruction to give students flexibility when completing courses as well as ample opportunities to interact with course instructors and peers. In addition to core, concentration, and elective coursework, online master’s in mass communication programs typically require students to complete a master’s thesis, applied project, comprehensive examination, and/or practicum to demonstrate their understanding of course concepts and their ability to apply their knowledge in real-world settings and situations.
In addition, some online master’s in mass communication programs require students to attend campus intensives, which are multi-day events held on-campus or at satellite locations that involve in-person lectures and discussion sessions, career-centered workshops, and other interactive learning activities that enhance students’ experience and connection with their cohort.
Example Curriculum and Courses in Online Master’s in Mass Communication Programs
Below is a sample curriculum for an online master’s in mass communication program. Due to the depth and breadth of the field of mass communication, master’s in mass communication programs can vary in the titling, sequencing, and content of their courses. Furthermore, master’s in mass communication programs may have different emphases–for example, while some mass communication programs may have a more journalistic emphasis, others may focus more on strategic or organizational communication and its connection to mass media. Due to these variances, the curriculum sample provided below should only serve as an example.
|Curriculum Component||Course Titles and Graduation Requirement Descriptions|
(Potential Capstone Options)
For a comprehensive list of campus-based, online, and hybrid master’s in mass communication and media studies programs, as well as details on the courses that these programs typically include, please read our Master’s in Mass Communication Programs page.
Note: MastersinCommunications.com classifies programs according to their core and elective courses, as well as their learning objectives for students. For a program to be classified as a mass communication and/or media studies program in our directories, it must have a clear specialization in mass communication, media studies, journalism, digital communication, or a related field, or include at least three to four required courses that are relevant to the aforementioned fields. Examples of these courses include but are not limited to mass communication principles and theories, digital communication strategies, social media strategies, advanced concepts in journalism, web content development, media management, public relations and advertising for mass audiences, media criticism, international mass communication, and strategic campaign development.
Finally, MastersinCommunications.com classifies online programs as those that permit students to complete most or all of their courses online and to fulfill their graduation requirements (such as applied research projects, or master’s thesis projects) remotely. To fit our definition of an online program, programs must also require no more than two campus visits per year.
|Featured Online Master's in Mass Communication and Media Programs|
|Johns Hopkins University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with an Optional Concentration in Digital Communication|
|Queens University of Charlotte||Online Master of Arts in Communication with an Optional Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration|
|Maryville University||Online Master's in Strategic Communication and Leadership with an Optional Concentration in Emerging & Digital Media|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with an Optional Concentration in New Media & Marketing|
|Syracuse University||Communications@Syracuse Online Master of Science in Communications with a Specialization in Journalism Innovation|
|Featured Online Programs|
Online Master's in Mass Communication Degree Programs
Austin Peay State University(Tennessee)
Bay Path University(Massachusetts)
College of Charleston(South Carolina)
Eastern New Mexico University(New Mexico)
Florida International University(Florida)
Georgetown University(District of Columbia)
Johns Hopkins University(District of Columbia)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Digital Communication Interview with Taylor Hahn, Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
Request information about the online Master of Arts in Communication program directly from advanced.jhu.edu
- Online Master’s in Strategic Communication and Leadership with an Optional Concentration in Emerging & Digital Media Interview with Leilani Carver-Madalon, Ph.D. - Maryville University
Request information about the online Master's in Strategic Communication and Leadership program directly from online.maryville.edu
Northern Arizona University(Arizona)
Notre Dame of Maryland University(Maryland)
Point Park University(Pennsylvania)
Queens University of Charlotte(North Carolina)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with an Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration Interview with John A. McArthur, Ph.D. - Queens University of Charlotte
Request information about the online Master of Arts in Communication program directly from online.queens.edu
Rutgers University(New Jersey)
South Dakota State University(South Dakota)
Southern New Hampshire University(New Hampshire)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with an Optional Concentration in New Media & Marketing Interview with Richard Holberg, MA - Southern New Hampshire University
Request information about the online Master of Arts in Communication program directly from Snhu.edu
Stephen F Austin State University(Texas)
Syracuse University(New York)
- Communications@Syracuse Online Master of Science in Communications with an Area of Specialization in Journalism Innovation
Request information about the online Master of Science in Communications program directly from communications.syr.edu
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill(North Carolina)
University of Arkansas at Little Rock(Arkansas)
University of Central Missouri(Missouri)
University of Florida(Florida)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln(Nebraska)