Webster University’s Communications and Journalism Department offers three online master’s in communication programs: a Master of Arts in Advertising and Marketing Communications, a Master of Arts in Communications Management, and a Master of Arts in Media Communications. All three degrees can be completed entirely online without making any in-person visits to campus. Webster uses the online learning management system WorldClassRoom to allow students to access their class materials, participate in course discussions, submit assignments, and communicate with their instructors and fellow classmates.

Each program requires 36 credit hours of study and can be completed in as little as 15 months, if students take two course per term. Part-time students taking one course per term can usually finish the degree requirements in around five semesters (2.5 years). All three programs culminate with a capstone research project, where students apply what they have learned in their courses to a real-world communication issue.

Online Master of Arts in Advertising and Marketing Communications

The Master of Arts in Advertising and Marketing Communications curriculum blends both theory and professional skill development, examining social media and mobile marketing, traditional media, and emerging technologies that influence the field of advertising and marketing. The 12-course curriculum teaches students how to develop, manage, and implement effective communication plans, as well as how to study and identify consumer trends, and apply both new media and traditional marketing strategies to engage with target audiences. Coursework is divided between required core courses (24 credits) and electives (12 credits). However, individuals with at least three years of relevant professional experience or an approved educational background may be able to waive a required course in Strategic Principles of Advertising and Marketing Communication.

The core curriculum includes eight courses that cover the fundamental concepts of marketing, communications, and research. Students gain an understanding of the functions of mass media in society, examine communication theory and research methodologies, and develop familiarity with the structure (both legal and organizational) of the media communications industry. These courses examine case studies and real-world strategies around advertising management, giving students insights into strategic planning and creative strategy, budgeting and objective setting, target audience identification, and managing client/agency relationships. Examples of courses include Media Organization and Regulations, Media Research, Media and Culture, and Advertising Decision-Making.

Elective coursework allows students to concentrate their studies on specific areas of marketing communications or advertising. Course subjects span a breadth of professional areas, such as sales promotion, product publicity, business-to-business marketing, advertising campaign promotion, and international communications. Sample classes include Media Buying and Market Analysis, Account Planning and Consumer Insight, Creative Planning and Strategy, Fundamentals of Branding, and Writing for Advertising.

Online Master of Arts in Communications Management

The Master of Arts in Communications Management is designed to introduce students to contemporary communications practices and prepare them to become problem solvers, creative communicators, and experts in communication program development, execution, and measurement. The 12-course program is interdisciplinary in nature, blending coursework in both business and communication. Curriculum is divided between core courses (21 credits), including a capstone, and electives (15 credits). Coursework focuses on teaching students to think strategically to confront organizational issues, developing their project management skills and equipping them with the ability to implement sophisticated communication plans and programs using a range of media platforms.

The core curriculum includes seven courses that cover major areas of study in the field, such as media and culture and the fundamentals of media communication. Students become familiar with the inner workings of integrated communication (e.g., public relations, corporate communications, marketing), as well as functional communication practice (e.g., media relations, organizational communication, government relations). They also advance their skills in strategic campaign planning and execution, budgeting, and evaluation. Example course topics include Strategic Communications, Media Organization and Regulations, and Media Production Management.

For electives, students must complete at least 15 credit hours from a pre-defined list of course options. The subjects are wide ranging, covering diverse areas of professional business and communication practice, such as human resources, research, and international business. Sample courses include Issues in Business: Project Management, Media Communications Technology, Media Research, Public Relations, Communication Strategies for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Communication Strategies for Investors and Financial Stakeholders, and Crisis Management Communications.

Online Master of Arts in Media Communications

The Master of Arts in Media Communications curriculum is designed to be flexible, allowing students to craft a program of study in their chosen media field, such as public relations, marketing, corporate communications, journalism, or advertising. The 12-course program emphasizes the principles of media literacy and applying communications theory to mass media strategies. The broad curriculum teaches students about the role of media in content creation and distribution, while also preparing them to manage cross-functional communication projects for both internal (e.g., organizational stakeholders) and external audiences (e.g., consumers). Curriculum is divided between required coursework (21 credits), which includes a capstone, and elective courses (15 credits).

The required coursework consists of seven courses that cover fundamental areas of media communications, from media and culture to production. In these courses, students study audience behavior, values, and attitudes; consider the role of the media in culture and society; and develop applied skills in strategic communication planning, including research, budgeting, execution, and evaluation. Example core classes include International Communication, Media and Culture, and Media Production Management. Students also select one additional media communications elective to satisfy one of the seven course requirements.

In addition to the required courses, students can select electives that best align with their professional development needs. These may be courses offered by the Communications and Journalism Department itself or another department at Webster. Some examples of potential electives include Media Communications Technology, Writing for Latino Media Outlets, Comparative Approaches to Media Literacy, and Media Organization and Regulations.

Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications

Department: Department of Communications and Journalism
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction through Webster's WorldClassRoom online learning management system
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Full-time: program can be completed in ~15 months (2 courses per term); Part-time: program can be completed in ~2.5 years (1 course per term) (5 terms per year)
Start Dates: Five starts per year: Fall (1 & 2), Spring (1 & 2), and Summer

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 36 credits (12 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: No thesis or capstone required
Example Courses: Strategic Communications; Digital Media Strategy; Public Relations; dvertising Decision-Making; Visual Storytelling; Media Organization and Regulations; Organizational Communications; Crisis Management Communications

Admission Requirements
Application Requirements: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.5 (GPA 2.0 to 2.5 may be eligible for conditional admission)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$27,072 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $752 per credit hour

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.