Drake University offers a Master of Arts in Communication through its School of Journalism & Mass Communication. The master’s degree can be completed entirely online without any required campus visits. Drake University uses Blackboard Learn as its online learning management system (LMS), which allows students to access their syllabi and course materials, submit assignments, participate in class discussions, and communicate with classmates and faculty members via email and other platforms, such as discussion boards.

The Master of Arts in Communication requires 33 credit hours and can be completed in as little as one year of full-time enrollment. The program is interdisciplinary in nature, combining the study of communication through related fields such as marketing and business, law, and public policy. Through the eleven-class curriculum, students develop an understanding of advanced concepts in areas such as digital media, branding, leadership, writing, and public relations. Depending on their professional area of interest, students may select from one of three academic tracks: Brand Communication, Communication Leadership, or Public Affairs & Advocacy.

For each track, curriculum is divided between coursework in research (3 credits) and ethics/social responsibility (3 credits), concentration classes (12 credits), concentration electives (9 credits), and a capstone class (3 credits). While there is some overlap in subject areas, each track has a distinct curriculum specific to its individual field of study. Below is an overview of each of the academic tracks:

Brand Communication: Brand communication emphasizes skill development in digital strategy and visual communication, teaching students how to use digital storytelling and audience segmenting to create effective communication strategies. Classes cover subjects such as strategic message design, change in contemporary communication, social responsibility in communication, and multiple electives in digital storytelling.

Communication Leadership: Communication leadership offers applied skill development in multimedia communication and business, allowing students to craft a customized program of study that enhances their professional knowledge in areas such as public policy, ethics, and digital strategy. Example classes include communication leadership strategies, financial literacy for communication leaders, innovation and change in contemporary communication, and nine credits of business electives.

Public Affairs & Advocacy: Public affairs and advocacy explores the notion of professional leadership within multiple arenas, such as public policy or politics, teaching students practical skills in writing, strategic message design, and legislative processes. Sample classes include persuasive speechwriting strategy, advanced communication theory and research, and nine credits of policy electives.

Regardless of what track they choose, students must complete a final capstone course. This class asks students to apply what they have learned throughout the master’s program to a specific issue or problem in communications leadership, public policy, or brand management, and to create a professional project. Students have the option to select the company or organization for which they complete the project, or they can work on a project for a non-profit organization selected by the program director. Example projects include strategic communication campaigns, brand development or repositioning projects, and social advocacy and outreach for non-profit organizations.

Drake University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the School of Journalism & Mass Communication is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Online Master of Arts in Communication

Department: School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: Specializations in Communication Leadership; Brand Communication; Public Affairs and Advocacy

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction - students can access coursework 24-7
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 1 year

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone course (professional project)
Credits Required: 33 credits (11 courses)
Example Courses: Social Responsibility in Communication; Applied Communication Theory and Research; Digital Media Strategies; Visual Communicationl; Communication Leadership Strategies; Advanced Writing and Strategic Message Design

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Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.5
Testing Requirements: GRE not required if GPA greater than 2.5 (students with a GPA between 2.25 to 2.49 must take either the GRE (minimum composition of 500), GMAT (minimum score of 450 in each section) or MAT (minimum score of 389))
Start Dates: Program uses a rolling start date with multiple starts per year

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$21,879 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $663 per Credit Hour

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.