Hawaii has two universities, both located in Honolulu, that offer a total of three campus-based master’s in communication programs. The University of Hawaii at Manoa and Hawaii Pacific University both have master’s in communication programs, and students can specialize in the fields of public relations, organizational communication, integrated communication, journalism, and global communication. Both the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Hawaii Pacific University are non-profit institutions that have been accredited by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Hawaii

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Communications within the College of Social Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Communication program with specializations in organizational and intercultural communication, communication policy and planning, information and communication technology, social media, and global communication. The program requires students to complete foundational courses in communication theory before branching out into courses in their desired specialization. Specialization courses cover such topics as strategic organizational communication, communication technologies, multicultural communication and interventions, policy and planning, and directed research in an area of communication. Students must also complete either a communication practicum (a supervised internship) or a master’s thesis for program credit.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa also offers a Master of Arts in Communicology through its Department of Communicology. This program emphasizes interpersonal and intercultural communication, as well as message processing, persuasion through rhetoric, and other topics in the history of communication. Students learn the history of human communication in its various forms, and how the definition of communication shifts according to context, culture, objective, and other factors. Classes in this program cover topics in communication theory (including how psychology, sociology, and other disciplines intersect with human communication), as well as courses in applied communication methods and principles for business communication, instructional communication, and rhetoric for social influence. In addition to completing the required course credits, students must complete a master’s thesis on an original research question, an applied research project that seeks to solve a communication problem in their community, or a comprehensive exam.

Hawaii Pacific University’s (HPU) Department of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication with areas of study in Integrated Communication, Multimedia, Public Relations, Advertising, and Journalism. Students in this program first complete core courses in communication theory, media ethics and intellectual property considerations in communication, and research methods for communication before progressing to electives that they choose according to their desired concentration. Concentration courses that students can choose from cover topics such as strategic communication, crisis communication, media criticism, negotiation, conflict mediation, and gender issues in communication. Students must also complete a capstone course during which they research a topic in communication and complete a master’s thesis.

Online Master’s in Communication Programs for Residents of Hawaii

At present, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and HPU do not offer online master’s in communication programs. However, there are numerous out-of-state schools that have online programs that admit applicants who are residents of Hawaii. This is especially important for students who do not live near Honolulu or do not live on Oahu. Online programs may also be a good option for students who cannot routinely commute to campus to attend lectures. While many graduate programs offer night classes for working professionals, online programs provide greater flexibility for students who have personal or professional commitments that would otherwise interfere with traditional on-campus programs. Students should note that out-of-state schools have to seek authorization before enrolling online students from Hawaii. Therefore, students should contact the admissions offices of programs that interest them to confirm they are eligible for admission.

While there are several online master’s in communication programs that are 100% online, some programs require students to attend campus intensives, also known as campus residencies, which are typically multi-day events held at the school’s campus or at an off-site location. During these sessions, students engage in in-person lectures and discussions, networking events, written or practical examinations, and hands-on learning activities. Campus intensives and residencies vary by program. For some programs, intensives can span 3-5 days, while others require students to attend in-person classes and events on campus for a week or longer. If students select a program that has a campus residency requirement, they should factor in lodging and travel costs into their education budget, as these costs are not typically included in tuition and university fees.

For more information about online master’s in communication programs, please reference our Online Master’s in Communication Degree Programs page.

Master’s in Communication Programs in Hawaii

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.

Hawaii Pacific University

(Honolulu)