Arkansas has three schools that offer a total of nine master’s in communication programs. Of these six programs, four are campus-based, and five are online. Specializations available to students vary between programs, but examples of possible specializations include strategic communication, mass communication, and media management. All the schools listed on this page are non-profit institutions that have been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Arkansas

Arkansas State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies that equips students with the fundamental communication theories, strategies, and research principles to succeed as communication professionals or academics. Students of this program take core courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods, communication theory, and foundations of communication studies, before progressing to electives in areas such as organizational communication, interpersonal communication, interactive advertising, social media analysis, integrated marketing communications, public relations, and crisis communication.

The University of Arkansas’ J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Communication with a focus in Civic Engagement that prepares students to improve communications within organizations, between organizations and the public, and within communities. Students can select courses covering a wide range of topics, including legal and political communication, global and intercultural communication, health communication, representing diversity in media, content analysis and criticism, and issues of race and gender.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s (UALR) Department of Applied Communication offers a Master of Arts in Applied Communication, while its School of Mass Communication offers a Master of Arts in Mass Communication. The MA in Applied Communication features core courses that explore human communication theory, organizational communication and culture analysis, interpersonal communication, conflict mediation and analysis, crisis communication, information diffusion and communicating change, and applied communication studies. After completing the core courses, students can choose from electives that match their career interests and goals in areas such as negotiation, communication training, health communication, social media, and intercultural communication. Students also have the option of earning graduate certificates in conflict management, nonprofit management, and/or human resources and organizational communication, depending on their selection of electives. To graduate, students write a master’s research paper on an applied communication issue.

The MA in Mass Communication trains students to understand and evaluate mass media and its effect on large populations, conduct research in mass communication, and create effective mass communication strategies. Students are required to complete a core course in mass communication processes and effects, as well as a seminar in mass communication. From there, they must fulfill a Law/Policy Requirement and an Ethics/Diversity Requirement, choosing from courses on topics such as mass communication law, internet policy and regulation, journalistic freedom, ethnic and alternative media, and the representation of minorities in media. After fulfilling these requirements, students work with their program advisor to craft a course of study that meets their professional and/or scholarly goals. Students can choose between a thesis and an approved professional project for their final graduation project.

In addition, UALR offers a Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing through its Department of Rhetoric and Writing. This program has both campus-based and fully online options, and also allows students to take a combination of online and campus-based classes in order to create their own hybrid format program. This degree has three concentration options in Editing and Publishing, Nonfiction Writing, and Technical Writing. Regardless of their concentration, all students take the same core courses that cover essential rhetorical theory and research methods, as well as their choice of a course on composition theory, language theory, the theory of technical communication, or the foundations of creative nonfiction.

From there, students take classes according to their concentration. For example, students of the Editing and Publishing concentration take courses on technical style and editing and production for editors, and must fulfill an editing internship. Students who choose the Technical Writing concentration choose from a wide variety of courses in areas such as writing for social media, grant writing, multimedia in online writing instruction, and writing software documentation. Students also take six credit hours of cognate courses, which enable them to explore classes outside of the Rhetoric and Writing Department and develop complementary skill sets and insight into areas such as graphic design, computer science, linguistics, management, and political science. For their culminating experience, students have the option to complete a thesis, an applied project and accompanying analytical essay, or an extensive portfolio.

Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Arkansas

At present, Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock offer master’s in communication programs that can be completed online. Arkansas State University has a fully online version of its Master of Arts in Communication Studies program. The curriculum and requirements for the online program are equivalent to its campus-based counterpart. In addition, Arkansas State University offers an Online Master of Science in Media Management with tracks in Digital Management, Mass Media Management, and Public Administration. Finally, Arkansas State University offers an Online Master of Science in Strategic Communications with optional emphases in Global Communications, Social Media Management, and Technology Law and Policy.

The MS in Media Management requires core courses in mass communication theory, audience market analysis, communication policy and regulation, broadcast management, qualitative research methods in communication, and media management applications. From there, students take concentration-specific courses. For example, students who choose the Digital Management track can take courses in social media measurement, integrated marketing communications, and interactive advertising, while students of the Public Administration concentration take courses in areas such as administrative leadership and ethics, human resource management, advertising account management, and the history and development of public administration. For their final graduation requirement, students complete a capstone experience that enables them to engage in real-world media management challenges.

The MS in Strategic Communications program prepares students to apply strategic communication principles and methods to drive solutions to organizational and business challenges. Students of the program take core courses in quantitative research methods, audience market analysis, strategic communications, communication management, and advertising account management, as well as a course in either communication regulation and policy, or media entrepreneurship. From there, they choose electives in areas such as social media, crisis communication, integrated marketing communication, interactive advertising, privacy law, social media in strategic communication, information technology law, development communication, organizational and intercultural communication, global strategic communication, and data protection law. For their culminating experience, students complete a capstone project through which they design a solution to a professional communication challenge.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers online versions of both its Master of Arts in Applied Communication and its Master of Arts in Mass Communication. The curricula, specialization options, and graduation requirements for the online versions of these programs are equivalent to those of their campus-based counterparts. In addition, UALR offers an online version of its Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing, which is equivalent in course content, concentration options, final graduation requirements, and faculty mentorship opportunities to the campus-based program.

In addition to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s and Arkansas State University’s online programs, there are several out-of-state online master’s in communication programs that accept residents of Arkansas. This may be especially important for students in Arkansas who reside far from either campus, or for students who want to specialize in a field not offered through these schools’ online programs. Prospective students should keep in mind that some online programs may require them to attend one or more on-campus intensives during the program. These campus intensives vary in length, and aim to give students the opportunity to interact with course faculty and peers, and engage in hands-on learning experiences and networking events. Please visit our Online Master’s in Communication Programs page for more information.


Directory of Master’s in Communication Programs in Arkansas

All Master’s in Communication Programs in Arkansas

Campus programs, Campus/Hybrid programs, Online programs (fully online to 2 campus visits per year), Hybrid-Online programs (3 to ~5 campus visits per year)