Currently, the only university in Alaska that offers a master’s in communication program is the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). For students who do not live near UAF or who do not want to relocate for graduate school, out-of-state online programs offer additional opportunities. This may be especially important for students who live in Anchorage or Juneau as the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast do not currently offer graduate programs in the field of communication.
Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs
The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Department of Communication and Journalism offers a campus-based Master of Arts in Professional Communication that trains students in different forms of professional communication across a variety of settings. This program is suitable for individuals who are working in or would like to enter such fields as corporate and non-profit communication, health communication, media and marketing, and other careers that employ organizational and interpersonal communication skills and knowledge of media. UAF is a non-profit school that is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
This program, which is comprised of 30-34 credits, depending on whether students engage in a Teaching Assistantship during their enrollment, includes core classes covering topics such as the fundamentals of professional communication, communication research methods, fundamental communication theories, communication for professional training and development, and promoting diversity through communication. Students must also complete a master’s thesis or a non-thesis research project, and present on their research to a public forum, as part of the core requirements. After completing 24 credits of core courses, students select two electives based on their interests, and can choose courses in organizational communication, interpersonal communication, health communication, and team building and group dynamics.
Online Master’s in Communication Programs for Students in Alaska
While there are no schools based in Alaska that offer online master’s in communication programs, there are several out-of-state programs that accept students from Alaska. Students in Alaska who are interested in an online master’s in communication program should note that some online programs do not accept students from all 50 states. Students should check with an admissions advisor before applying to an out-of-state program to ensure that the school accepts students from Alaska.
Furthermore, some online programs require students to attend on-campus events or intensives during their enrollment. MastersinCommunications.com defines an online program as one that requires two or fewer in-person visits annually. However, within this definition, there are master’s in communication programs that are 100% online that do not require any campus visits throughout the program. The format of these in-person sessions varies by program. For example, some programs require students to meet on-campus during a set time period (typically from a weekend to a week long), while others allow students to choose which intensive(s) they attend from a list of events that may take place on campus or at a different location/city (students must still attend a specific number of these sessions, they just get to choose which ones).
For on-campus intensives, students are generally responsible for the travel and lodging expenses involved in attending these sessions, as they are not typically included in tuition costs and university/program fees. Therefore, students considering an online master’s in communication program should determine if any travel is required during the program, and if so, what are the expected costs of that travel before applying.