The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) offers an online Master of Arts in Mass Communication degree through the School of Mass Communication in conjunction with UA Little Rock Online. A fully online program, the MA can be completed without visiting campus or completing any residency requirements. Students use an online learning management system called Blackboard to access their course materials, submit assignments, participate in class discussions via discussion boards, and communicate with instructors via email and online messaging. Blackboard also connects to the university’s Ottenheimer Library where students can access online resources.
The online Master of Arts in Mass Communication degree requires 33 credit hours of study, and offers both a Mass Media Research concentration and a Professional Mass Media concentration. Regardless of their selected concentration, the program’s curriculum teaches students how to think critically about mass media, recognize media’s effects on audiences, and hone their communication and writing skills. In addition to their concentration courses, students can choose from electives that cover broad areas of mass communication, such as Internet regulation and policy, international mass communication, alternative and ethnic media in America, and the First Amendment and news media. Students may use electives to shape their overall learning experience in a chosen academic concentration.
The program curriculum is divided between program concentration classes, electives and either a project or thesis, depending on the student’s selected academic concentration. Course requirements vary by academic track:
- Mass Media Research: 27 or 30 credit hours, plus 3 or 6 thesis credit hours
- Professional Mass Media: 30 credit hours, plus 3 project credit hours
The program in Mass Media Research is an academic-focused option that includes five concentration courses. This academic concentration introduces students to scholarly practices in mass media, teaching them how to conduct, analyze, synthesize, and write about research in the field of mass communication. The Mass Media Research track includes courses such as Mass Communication Processes and Effects, a Seminar in Journalism History, Media Criticism, and a Seminar in Journalism Quantitative Research. These courses equip students to understand mass communication dynamics and how they impact individuals, groups, organizations, and national and global relations. A thesis is the culminating course, requiring students to produce a research-based scholarly work that addresses original thought within the mass media discipline.
The Professional Mass Media concentration offers students an opportunity to hone advanced skills in either strategic communication/public relations or in multiplatform journalism. The curriculum emphasizes applied learning and skill development in practical areas of mass communication, including writing for digital media platforms, strategic media planning, and editing and writing. This track has two sub-concentration options in Multi-Platform Journalism and Strategic Communications/Public Relations. The four-class Multimedia Journalism track covers topics such as social science research, as well as new media publishing, and online writing and producing. The four-class Strategic Communications/Public Relations track covers subjects such as public relations in the 21st century for nonprofits, public relations theory, case study examinations of public relations, and strategic communication research. A professional project is required in both tracks within the Professional Mass Media concentration. Students work with a supervisory committee that blend their classroom-based experience with an applied learning experience. Project types vary, but demonstrate the student’s understanding of their chosen discipline and overall professional media skills.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication
Department: School of Mass Communication
Specializations/Concentrations: Mass Media Research Option; Professional Mass Media Option with Tracks in Multi-Platform Journalism; Strategic Communication/Public Relations
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses the Blackboard learning management system where students access course materials and interact with instructors and classmates
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 12 months, but 16 to 24 months is recommended (at least 4 semesters)
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone: master's thesis (required for Mass Media Research option) or professional project (required for Professional Mass Media option)
Credits Required: 33 credits (11 courses including project or thesis)
Example Courses: Mass Communication Processes and Effects; Proseminar in Mass Communication; New Media Writing and Producing; Public Relations Cases; Media Criticism
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 in last 60 hours of undergraduate credit
Testing Requirements: GRE not required, students who do not meet regular admission requirements may submit GRE scores for consideration
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$12,639 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $383 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states