The College of Charleston offers a Master of Arts in Communication through its Department of Communication. A fully online graduate program, the master’s degree can be completed without any in-person or on-campus requirements. The university uses OAKS, a learning management system from Desire2Learn, to facilitate online program delivery. Students can log into OAKS to access their course materials, communicate with instructors, participate in class discussions, submit assignments, and more. The program also uses other technological platforms, such as Zoom, Skype, and Google hangouts to connect students to their peers, instructors, and class instruction.

The Master of Arts in Communication is a 33-credit degree that can be completed in as few as 12 months of full-time study (students can also pursue the program part-time and graduate in approximately two years). The curriculum incorporates concepts from major areas of communication practice, including digital media, leadership communication, and strategic communication. Through interdisciplinary courses, students advance their analytical, writing and presentation skills, learn how to conduct original communication research, and study theoretical principles of communication.

The curriculum is divided into five modules: Communication Foundation (two courses), Digital Media Communication (two courses), Leadership Communication (two courses), Strategic Communication (two courses), and a Capstone Module. The foundation module serves as an exploration of foundational concepts of the history, theory, research, and practice of communication. Students complete three required courses: Quantitative Research Methods, Communication Theory, and Introduction to Communication.

Within the digital media, leadership, and strategic communication modules, students select two courses out of four options for each module. Within the digital media module, students have the option to study social media; how views of race, gender, and class are influenced by media; and how media is used and consumed. For the leadership module, students study interpersonal and organizational communication, communication ethics, and how people create and perceive individual and group identities. Finally, in the strategic communication module, students learn practical skills for creating communication campaigns including theories, research methods, and frameworks for campaign creation; rhetorical strategies; and intercultural communication.

After completing the four modules, students work with a faculty member to develop a customizable, independent capstone project. The project may take the form of a traditional master’s thesis or an applied project. The goal of the capstone is to tailor the learning experience to the student’s goals for their graduate education and future career objectives. Students also have the option of completing an internship in lieu of the thesis or applied project.

The College of Charleston is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Online Master of Arts in Communication

Department: Department of Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: General Program with Electives
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction depending on the professor
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Full-time: program can be completed in 1 year taking classes in the Fall, Spring and Summer; Part-time: program can be completed in 2 years taking courses year-round
Start Dates: Fall admission only

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Master's thesis, independent study capstone, or field internship
Credits Required: 30 credits (9 courses + capstone credits)
Example Courses: Quantitative Research Methods; Qualitative Research Methods; Communication Theory; Social Media; International and Intercultural Communication; Uses and Effects of Media; Leadership Communication; Classical Rhetorical Theory

Application Requirements
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE required - with a combined score of at least 300 on verbal and quantitative sections, and a 4.0 or better on the analytical writing section
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree; two letters of recommendation; writing sample; personal statement

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$18,777 + fees (in-state); ~$47,784 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $569 per credit hour (in-state); $1,448 (out-of-state)

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It does not include fees or other expenses.