Edinboro University offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies through its School of Graduate Studies and Department of Communication, Journalism and Media. A fully online program, the degree requirements can be completed without any required student visits to campus. The university uses the learning management platform Desire2Learn for its online programs. Through Desire2Learn, students can access their course materials, review lectures, participate in online discussions, submit assignments, and reach out to instructors and peers.

The Master of Arts in Communication Studies requires 36 credit hours, which can traditionally be completed in approximately two years of study. The program is designed to advance student’s applied skills in communication, specifically in two areas of emphasis: Managerial and Leadership Communication, and Integrated Marketing Communication.

The Managerial and Leadership Communication specialization helps students become effective managers by introducing them to theoretical principles of leadership and developing applied skills in organizational change management, conflict negotiation, and interpersonal communication. The integrated marketing communication specialization examines the underlying concepts and theories of contemporary communication and provides students with an understanding of strategic planning, execution, management and evaluation in marketing, advertising, crisis communication, and public relations.

The program also offers distinct curriculum options, including internship, non-internship, and capstone academic tracks. Credit requirements (36 total credits are required to graduate) vary by track, but the overall curriculum is divided between core coursework (9 credits) and electives (27 credits). Core coursework emphasizes three foundational areas of study – theory, research and ethics – and students select one course from each area of study. Example courses include Communication Theory, Communication and Social Process, Communication Research, Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, Communication Ethics, and Communication Issues. After completing core requirements, students select electives that align with their chosen academic specialization. Elective topics vary significantly, covering topics ranging from small group communication to communication consulting. Sample courses include Crisis Management Communication, Political Communication, Organizational Communication, Managing Conflict, Criticism of Mass Media, Communication Strategies in Advertising, and Gender and Communication.

In the internship track, students complete 30 to 33 credit hours of coursework and an internship program (3 to 6 credits). The internship track is geared towards students without professional experience, allowing them to develop real-world experience in a professional setting. The non-internship track requires students to complete 36 credit hours of required and elective coursework.

Finally, students complete a capstone requirement in the final term of the program and have three capstone options to choose from: a comprehensive examination and portfolio/project, a thesis, or a practicum.

  • Comprehensive examination/portfolio option: After completing 27 credit hours, students must successfully pass a comprehensive examination and submit a professional portfolio that demonstrates their best work in the program.
  • Thesis option: Students conduct original research and write a traditional five chapter thesis using communication theories and methodologies. The thesis must be orally defended to the student’s academic committee.
  • Practicum: The practicum is for students who are working professionals. After completing six classes (18 credits), they can complete three credit hours of practicum experience where they analyze communication policies, plans, and practices at their current place of employment.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Online Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Department: School of Graduate Studies
Specializations/Concentrations: Areas of Emphasis in Managerial and Leadership Communication; Integrated Marketing Communication
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses asynchronous instruction - although some instructors may have synchronous sessions
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in ~2 years (4 semesters) - students taking fewer courses per semester will take longer

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Internship and non-internship tracks; capstone options: thesis, practicum, or comprehensive exam plus project/portfolio
Credits Required: 36 credits (12 courses)
Example Courses: Communication Theory; Language and Human Conduct; Communication and Social Process; Communication Research; Qualitative Communication Research; Communication Ethics; Interpersonal Communication Strategies; Organizational Communication; Public Relations Management; Gender and Communication; Political Communication

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.8
Testing Requirements: GRE required unless applicant has an master's degree or 2+ years of professional experience (can apply for a GRE waiver)
Start Dates: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer admission

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$18,000 + fees (in-state); ~$19,800 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $500 per credit hour (in-state); $550 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.