Purdue University Online offers a Master of Science in Communication that can be completed in as few as 20 months. It is a fully online program with the majority of classes using asynchronous instruction, allowing students to complete coursework on their own schedule instead of attending live online classes at a specific time. Students use an online course management platform to interact with peers via discussion boards and chat, as well as complete assignments and access class emails. The program allows for open access to instructional materials, however, students must submit their coursework by assigned deadlines.

Coursework introduces students to advanced concepts in strategic communication, branding, and marketing theory. There are four academic concentration options to choose from: strategic communication/public relations, integrated communication and advertising, communication and leadership, and health communication. The strategic communication specialization is designed for public relations professionals seeking to develop skills in audience-based communication, gain an understanding of how to establish and maintain relationships with public and private stakeholders, and create effective communication initiatives. The integrated communication and advertising specialization is designed for both marketing and communication professionals looking to gain knowledge of contemporary advertising and persuasion theories used to build targeted and creative messaging and branding strategies across industries. The communication and leadership, and health communication concentrations are new to the program.

Curriculum is divided between 30 credits of core coursework, academic concentration classes, and electives. Core courses cover topics in communication research methods, strategic communication, and strategic communication and ethics. After satisfying core curriculum requirements, students transition into nine credit hours (three classes) of academic specialization study. The strategic communication/public relations curriculum is comprised of courses in global strategic communication, crisis communication, and strategic public relations. Within the integrated marketing track, course topics include advertising, integrated marketing communication, and persuasive communication. To complete the program, students must also take four elective courses, with available subjects ranging from healthcare communication to financial and investor relations. A thesis is not required to graduate. The Master of Science in Communication at Purdue also allows for students to create customized curriculum paths. Instead of academic concentration courses, students complete the three core classes and seven elective classes.

For admission, the program does not require GRE scores, but does recommend them for students who apply with a baccalaureate GPA below 3.0. The MS in communication is considered an applied learning program and is not intended for doctoral studies preparation. The degree is offered through the Brian Lamb School of Communication, which was established by the founder and retired CEO of C-SPAN Networks. Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Online Master of Science in Communication

Department: Brian Lamb School of Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: Concentrations in Strategic Communication/Public Relations; Integrated Communication & Advertising; Communication and Leadership; Health Communication

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 20 months
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: No thesis or capstone required
Example Courses: Seminar in Strategic Communication; Strategic Communication and Ethics; Seminar in Communication Research Methods; Strategic Communication and Social Media; Leadership and Global Strategic Communication; Health Communication; Strategic Public Relations; Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication; Persuasive Communication; Strategic Corporate Branding; Strategic Personal Branding

Application Requirements
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE not required, recommended if GPA below 3.0
Admissions Requirements: Bachelor's degree; current resume; statement of purpose; three letters of recommendation

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$15,600 + fees (In-state); ~$24,600 + fees (Out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $520 per credit hour (In-state); $820 per credit hour (out-of-state)

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Tuition and fees are charges on a per credit hour basis and are subject to annual increases. Annual increases may change the total program cost. The rate and fees above are effective for the 2021-2022 school year.