East Carolina University’s (ECU) School of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication with two concentration options in Health Communication and Strategic Communication. The program can be completed online without any campus visits. ECU uses the Canvas learning management system for its online education programs. Through Canvas, students can access their instructional materials, submit assignments, participate in class discussions, and communicate with instructors and classmates.

The Master of Arts in Communication requires 30 semester credit hours and can be completed in as little as one and a half years, although ECU also offers two-year and three-year curriculum plans for students who would like to take fewer courses per term. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of communication theory and research methodologies, as well as how to apply and integrate that knowledge in a variety of professional environments. From this foundation, students of the Health Communication concentration learn about interpersonal communication (e.g. patient-provider, family-patient, family-provider), the media (e.g. how the media can shape consumers’ understanding of health issues), and organizational communication (e.g. how organizational structure influence health communication processes), while students of the Strategic Communication concentration explore and discuss public relations strategies and principles, digital media including social media communication, and organizational communication as part of leadership strategy.

The program’s curriculum varies slightly depending on whether students choose the Health Communication or Strategic Communication as their concentration. The Health Communication program is divided between core classes (6 credits), health communication electives (12 credits), and one of two capstone options: a Thesis (3-6 credits) and additional electives selected in consultation with students’ advisor (6-9 credits), or an Applied Communication Capstone (3 credits) and 9 credits of advisor-approved additional electives. Core classes cover fundamental concepts and principles of communication theory and research methodologies. Health Communication electives include Communication Approaches to Health Advocacy, Media and Health Communication, Intercultural Communication in Health Contexts, Health Communication Campaigns, Community Engagement and Health Communication, Interpersonal Health Communication, and Communication and Health Organizations.

The Strategic Communication concentration has a similar structure as the Health Communication track, with the same two core courses (6 credits) that cover communication theory and research methods, an additional core course (3 credits) in Strategic Communication, strategic communication electives (9 credits), and the same choice between a Thesis (3-6 credits) with 6-9 credits of advisor-approved additional electives, or the Applied Communication Capstone (3 credits) with 9 credits of approved electives. Examples of concentration-specific electives students can choose in this concentration include Organizational Communication, Risk and Crisis Communication, Social Influence, and Special Topics in Communication.

While the Thesis is a traditional scholarly work of communication research on a topic of interest to the student, the Applied Communication Capstone requires students to design, create, and evaluate a professionally oriented project on an applied topic in communication.

East Carolina University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Online Master of Arts in Communication

Department: School of Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: Concentrations in Health Communication; Strategic Communication
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 1.5 to 3 years depending on how many courses are taken per semester
Start Dates: Fall, Spring, and Summer with rolling admission

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or applied communication capstone
Example Courses: Communication Theory; Introduction to Health Communication; Media and Health Communication; Interpersonal Health Communication; Organizational Communication; Strategic Communication; Risk and Crisis Communication

Application Requirements
GPA Requirements: No minimum GPA to apply
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree; statement of purpose; resume or CV; two letters of recommendation

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$8,673 + fees (in-state); ~$30,588 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $289.11 per credit hour (in-state); $1,019.61 per credit hour (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.