There are currently six schools in Tennessee that offer master’s in communication programs. Of these schools, four offer campus-based programs, and four offer online programs. Students interested in completing a master’s in communication program from a school in Tennessee can choose among specializations such as corporate communication, media management, public relations, journalism, health communication, and rhetoric and media studies. All of the schools listed on this page are non-profit institutions of higher education that have been regionally accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Tennessee

In Johnson City, East Tennessee State University’s Department of Communication and Performance offers a Master’s in Communication & Storytelling Studies. Students in this program take core courses in communication theory and qualitative research methods, as well as classes in the foundations of storytelling performance, the history of performance traditions, and advanced solo performance. Students can then choose electives from two curricular “blocks”: Discourse and Meaning, and Professional Applications. Classes in the Discourse and Meaning block cover topics in communication ethics, popular communication, gender and communication, communication and culture, and rhetoric and public address. Courses in the Professional Applications block include classes in organizational communication, story performance, applied storytelling, and health communication. All students must take at least one course from each block, but after fulfilling this requirement they are free to select nine credit hours’ worth of courses in either block. Students are also allowed to take classes from outside of the Department of Communication and Performance, with their advisor’s approval. For their final graduation requirement, students can choose between a master’s thesis, a storytelling practicum and capstone project, or a comprehensive exam along with two additional directed electives.

Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Media and Entertainment in Murfreesboro offers a Master of Science in Media and Communication with specializations in Media Management, Public Relations, and Traditional/New Media. All students must complete required courses in the science of communication, cultural studies in communication, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and media law and ethics. Students then take electives according to their specialization in areas such as media management, media organizations, health care communication, mass media and public opinion, news and culture in democracy, communication in technology, and media in the marketplace. Students can elect to either complete a master’s thesis or a professional project that focuses on an area of interest within their field of study. All students are also required to pass a written comprehensive examination.

The University of Memphis’ Department of Communication offers a Master of Arts in Communication with concentrations in Communication Studies (with additional specialty areas in Rhetoric & Media Studies and Health & Relational Communication), and Film & Video Production. Students of the Communication Studies concentration can study with faculty specializing in Rhetoric & Media Studies, whose specific areas of research include digital media and technology, political communication, critical/cultural studies, and rhetorical criticism. Students can also elect to work with faculty who specialize in Health & Relational Communication and focus on instructional communication, family communication, palliative care, patient-provider interactions, and end-of-life communication. Individuals who choose this concentration can elect to complete a master’s thesis and oral examination, a written and oral comprehensive examination, or a culminating project for their final graduation requirement.

Students of the University of Memphis’ program who choose the Film & Video Production concentration can take classes in narrative and documentary film-making, film history and criticism, screenwriting and documentary writing, videography, dialogue, and cultural voices in rhetoric. They must complete a culminating project and oral examination for their final graduation requirement.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Communication & Information offers a Master of Science in Communication and Information with concentrations in Advertising, Communication Studies, Journalism and Electronic Media, and Public Relations. Regardless of their concentration, students must take two communication and information courses that cover the theory and principles of communication, followed by a research course that is specific to their concentration. Students’ choices for electives vary depending on their specialization. For example, students specializing in advertising will take courses in creative strategy, media planning, campaign development, client relations, and social media, while individuals in the Journalism and Electronic Media concentration will take courses covering media leadership and management, digital journalism, sports journalism, science writing, and multimedia production. Students must either complete a master’s thesis investigating an inquiry in their field of communication, or create a project that seeks to solve an organizational or industry communication issue.

Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Tennessee

There are currently four universities in Tennessee that offer online master’s programs in the field of communication: Austin Peay State University, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and The University of Tennessee at Martin. Online programs can be good options for students who do not live close to a campus-based program, such as residents of Nashville (Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt do not offer graduate programs in communication), Chattanooga, or Franklin.

Austin Peay State University’s (APSU) Department of Communication in Clarksville offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication Arts with concentrations in Marketing Communication, Media Management, Corporate Communication, and General Communication. Regardless of their concentration, all students take the same core classes in communication research methods, applied communication theory, and communication law. Students in the Marketing Communication concentration then take classes in communication and leadership, organizational communication, and marketing communication strategies. Students of the Media Management concentration take classes in media management, the economics of mass media, and media ethics in a changing communication landscape. The Corporate Communication concentration features classes in integrated corporate communication, social media theory and strategy, and public relations. The General Communication concentration allows students to craft their own course of study and concentration through electives in areas such as web content management, international communication, race and gender in mass media, and leadership in communication. Students of the Marketing Communication, Media Management, and Corporate Communication concentrations must complete a Research Paper as their culminating experience, while students of the General Communication concentration have a choice between completing a Thesis or a Research Paper.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) offers an online Master of Science in Communication and Information with a concentration in Strategic and Digital Communication. This program prepares students for advanced roles in areas such as brand management, digital and multimedia marketing, public relations, organizational change and leadership, creative services leadership, and marketing communications management. The curriculum for this program is comprised of ten courses for a total of 30 credits, and it is flexible in order to encourage students to take the classes that best suit their professional interests and goals.

UTK’s online Master’s in Communication and Information program is unique in that students can take courses from across four different schools within UTK’s College of Communication: the School of Advertising and Public Relations, the School of Communication Studies, the School of Information Sciences, and the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. Examples of courses that students can take in this program include Strategic Communication Tactics; Social Informatics; Information Architecture; Organizational Communication, Strategic Leadership, and Culture; Social Influence, Persuasion, and Compliance-Gaining; Interpersonal Conflict; Audience Analytics, Global Communications, Web Design; and Social Media Strategy and Tactics.

The University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) offers an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication (MASC) program through its Department of Communications, which combines online coursework with three required on-campus sessions (for a total of 4 days). The campus-based portion consists of three Professional Seminar courses, each of which features its own required in-person seminar; the first two seminars are one day in duration, while the last seminar is two days. The first seminar takes place during the first semester and provides an orientation to the program on a Saturday. Students take the second seminar, which also takes place on a Saturday and focuses on development of their capstone project, at the midpoint of their program. In the final seminar, taken during the last semester, students complete their capstone project and sit for a comprehensive written exam over the course of one weekend. Along with these seminars, students in the MASC program complete core courses in Applied Research Methods, Media and Communication Theory, and Leadership Theory and Practice. After their core courses, students choose seven electives in Communication Strategies according to their interests in aeras such as persuasion, social media management, international public relations, organizational communication, crisis communication, and global media.

In addition to the online master’s in communication programs offered through APSU, UTK, and UTM, numerous out-of-state programs also accept online students from Tennessee. Students interested in exploring additional online programs should view our Online Masters in Communication Programs page which features a comprehensive directory of all accredited online master’s in communication programs available in the United States. This page also includes useful information about online programs, including types of instruction methods, additional details about programs that require campus intensives, and different enrollment options.

Directory of Master’s in Communication Programs in Tennessee

All Master’s in Communication Programs in Tennessee

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)

East Tennessee State University

(Johnson City)
Department of Communication and Performance

Middle Tennessee State University


The University of Tennessee at Martin