Northern Arizona University (NAU) offers an online Master of Arts in Communication degree through its School of Communication. This program can be completed entirely online with no campus visits. However, students who live hear the Flagstaff, Arizona campus also have the option of taking some of their courses in-person if they choose. Northern Arizona University uses Blackboard Learn, an online learning management system that serves as a comprehensive platform through which students can view course lectures, submit course materials, participate in online discussions, and connect with peers and instructors.
The online Master of Arts in Communication requires 36 credit hours of study. Program curriculum is split between core curriculum (12 credits), electives (18-21 credits), and credits for completing a thesis (6 credits) or project (3 credits). The curriculum emphasizes skill development in writing, multimedia use and public speaking. Core coursework covers subjects such as communication theory and application, history of communication and communication scholarship, advanced historical and contemporary research practices in the communication field, and advanced topics in communication theory and practice. Students also choose one of three research methods courses: Qualitative Research Methods, Quantitative Research Methods, and Critical Methods in Communication. These courses delve more deeply into the theories of communication research, their historical and contemporary relevance, and how students can employ these research and critical methodologies in their own work.
After their core courses, students choose electives to tailor their course of study to their interests and professional goals. Topics that students can explore through their electives include journalism, health communication, environmental communication, international communication, multi-channel communication methods, race and gender in media, digital media management, social media strategy, and mass communication in human behavior. These electives are designed to teach students how to apply communication concepts and research to the design of effective messages for diverse audiences and contexts.
Students may choose between a thesis or research project for their final course requirement. The thesis is an original work of academic scholarship that results in a research paper the student presents and defends to a faculty committee. The research project requires students to design a research project that critically examines and seeks to address a communication problem in a professional area of interest.
Northern Arizona University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Department: School of Communication
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Most classes use asynchronous instruction using the Blackboard Learn platform, although some classes may have synchronous sessions
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in two years when pursued full-time; part-time students take longer
Start Dates: Fall and Spring admission
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 36 credits (10-11 courses plus project or thesis)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or project options
Example Courses: Communication Theory and Application; Graduate Study in Communication; Seminar in Communication Theory; Critical Methods in Communication; Qualitative Research Methods; Quantitative Research Methods in Communication; Introduction to Documentary Issues, Theories, and Methods; Mass Communication and Human Behavior; Social Media Analytics and Management
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admissions Requirements: Bachelor's degree; writing sample; three academic references; personal statement; resume or curriculum vitae
Estimated Tuition*: ~$16,380 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $455 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states