There are currently seven non-profit universities in the state of Alabama that offer 10 master’s degree programs in different fields of communication. Of the seven universities, six offer campus-based programs, while three offer online programs. Auburn University, The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and The University of West Alabama all offer campus-based master’s in communication programs. The University of Alabama’s Tuscaloosa campus offers an online master’s in communication program, as do Troy University and The University of West Alabama. Between the different universities, students can specialize in several different fields of communication including: strategic communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, media studies, and more.

All seven schools in Alabama are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Alabama

In Alabama, there are six non-profit, accredited universities that offer campus-based master’s in communication programs. Auburn University’s School of Communication and Journalism offers a 30- to 39-credit Master of Arts in Communication program with a large selection of possible electives, allowing students to focus their studies on a particular area of interest. After completing required core courses in communication theory and communication research, students can choose to take specialized coursework in political communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, media studies and mass communication, or public relations, to name just a few available topic areas. Other courses in this program cover such concepts as communication theory, communication research and criticism, persuasive rhetoric, small group communication, and media management. Students also have flexibility in terms of the time they take to complete their degree, with program completion times varying depending on the number of courses students take, whether they have a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, and whether they attend summer classes.

Auburn University also offers a 32-credit Master of Technical and Professional Communication through its Department of English. This degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, and other fields that require sound communication and analytical skills. This program is comprised of courses that cover topics in technical and professional writing, professional editing, document design, and web development. Students are also required to complete two practicums in teaching English and rhetoric, as well as 18 credits of graduate-level English classes in the areas of their choice.

Located in Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences offers both an on-campus and online Master of Arts in Communication Studies (see the section below for more information on the online program). Areas of emphasis within the campus program include Interpersonal Communication, Rhetoric and Political Discourse, Communication and Culture, and Organizational Leadership. This program is comprised of 30 credit hours, consisting of courses that train students to manage, develop, and evaluate written, oral and visual forms of communication. Students take foundational courses in communication theory and applied strategies, followed by elective in topics such as communication and diversity, political communication, rhetorical criticism, and technology in communication. Students select their electives with the support and approval of their academic advisor. In addition to fulfilling their coursework requirements, students must also complete one of three options for graduation: a thesis requiring 6 credit hours of individual research and writing under the supervision of an advisor, a practicum that culminates in a capstone portfolio of work, or a comprehensive examination.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Communication Studies offers a Master of Arts in Communication Management, comprised of at least 36 semester hours of graduate coursework. Students learn the foundations of communication management, communication analysis, instructional communication, effective messaging, communication theory, and quantitative and qualitative analysis of communication research. During the latter half of their program, students must take and pass a 6-hour comprehensive examination that tests their understanding of the concepts covered in the program. In addition to the exam requirement, students must complete either a 6 credit-hour master’s thesis, or a non-thesis project that involves the practical application of course concepts real-world communication situations. Regardless of whether they choose the thesis or non-thesis track, students receive support from an advisory committee that also evaluates their final research paper or project. Students who choose the non-thesis track may also use additional coursework to fulfill their project requirement upon receiving approval from their advisory committee.

The University of West Alabama’s College of Liberal Arts offers a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) that features a flexible curriculum that combines courses in advanced media strategy, marketing campaign management, and multimedia production with those in business development, human resources management, entrepreneurship, and more. Aside from one core class (3 credits) in mass media technologies and principles students can select 12 credit hours of Communications Electives and 9 hours of Marketing and Management Electives according to their interests. Concurrently with their classes, students must complete 135 hours in a professional IMC setting to fulfill their Professional Media Internship requirement. The program culminates in an IMC Thesis Project that allows students to apply all they have learned to a concrete project that seeks to solve an IMC or media-related challenge in the industry. The IMC Thesis Project also requires the completion of a professional portfolio that will support students’ professional development post-graduation. While this program is offered fully on-campus, students are also allowed to take some of their classes online (creating a hybrid program) through the University of West Alabama’s online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications program (see below for more information on the online program).

Finally, the University of South Alabama in Mobile has a Master of Arts in Communication program available through its College of Arts and Sciences Communication Department. The program consists of 33 semester hours of graduate-level courses, and can be pursued in one of three areas of focus: Mass Communication, Strategic Communication, or Rhetorical Communication. Students must take core courses in communication theory, quantitative communication research methods, and foundational concepts in graduate studies in communication. After completing the core courses, students need to take at least 24 additional semester hours in communication. Once all of their core and elective courses have been completed, they then sit for a written comprehensive examination covering essential material from their graduate education. In addition to the curricular requirements and the comprehensive examination, students must also complete either a master’s thesis consisting of original research, or a Department-approved, semester-length internship that fulfills the requirements of the graduate research project, and culminates in a paper discussing their experiences.

Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Alabama

There are currently three universities in Alabama that offer online master’s in communication programs. These programs may be ideal for students who do not live within commuting distance to one of the campus-based programs in the state or for students who need the flexibility of online education for personal or professional reasons.

Troy University’s Hall School of Journalism and Communication offers a 30 credit-hour online Master of Science in Strategic Communication that trains students in professional communication skills across a variety of settings, gives them the skills to leverage emerging communication trends and technologies, and prepares them to develop theoretical and practical frameworks for delivering information to the public. Students must take core courses covering topics such as influence through communication, theories of strategic communication, and communication law and ethics, as well as elective courses in subjects such as strategic communication in organizational systems, media strategies and management, public relations, and contemporary issues in strategic communication. In addition to the required courses, students must take and pass a comprehensive examination at the end of their program in order to receive their degree.

The University of Alabama’s Tuscaloosa campus has a fully online version of its Master of Arts in Communication Studies program with a specialization in Organizational Leadership (the other specializations are not currently offered online). The curriculum and graduation requirements for this program are equivalent to the campus-based Master of Arts in Communication Studies program with a focus in Organizational Leadership. The University of West Alabama has a fully online version of its Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications that is also equivalent in curriculum content and final thesis/project requirements as its on-campus counterpart. All three of these programs utilize learning management systems to deliver course content such as lectures and assignments to students, and all of them are fully online with no required campus visits.

Outside of the three in-state universities offering online programs mentioned in this section, there are colleges and universities outside of Alabama that offer online masters in communication programs that may accept students from Alabama. These programs may be a good option for students who are looking for online programs with additional specialization options. For more information about online programs, check out our Online Master’s in Communication Programs page.


Master’s in Communication Programs in Alabama

Campus programs are defined as programs that have all of their instruction on campus, while Campus/Hybrid programs are defined as programs that blend on-campus and online/distance instruction, but whose courses are mostly campus-based. Online programs are defined as programs that are either 100% online with no campus visits, or those that require 1 to 2 campus visits per year. Online/Hybrid programs are defined as programs that require 3 to ~5 campus visits per year, with the rest of instruction taking place online.

Auburn University

(Auburn)

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

(Birmingham)

The University of West Alabama

(Livingston)

Troy University

(Troy)
Department: Hall School of Journalism and Communication
Programs: