Washington state is home to three universities that offer master’s degrees in communication: Gonzaga University, University of Washington, and Washington State University. All together, these schools have seven degree programs to choose from, including three campus-based options, three online master’s in communication programs, and one program that is primarily online with the option to attend a limit number of in-person sessions (classified as an hybrid-online program on this site). They also give students the opportunity to specialize in a number of different areas, such as organizational communication, strategic communication, digital media, global leadership, media and health promotion, or science and environmental communication.
The three schools listed above are all non-profit institutions accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Campus-Based Master’s in Communication Programs in Washington
Gonzaga University in Spokane has a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies program available through its School of Leadership Studies. A total of 30 course credits are required to complete the degree, which can be earned in one of six optional concentrations: Global Leadership, Digital Media Strategies, Change Leadership, College Teaching, Servant Leadership, or Strategic and Organizational Communication. Core courses in Gonzaga’s MA program include Communication and Leadership Ethics, International and Intercultural Communication, Content Creation and Strategy, Theorizing Communication, and a Master’s-Level Writing lab. While the program is offered primarily online (with one required campus visit), students can choose to attend more than one on-campus immersion session if they wish. Therefore, MastersinCommunications.com classifies this track as an online/hybrid program, as students may participate in up to five immersions per year. These optional sessions last three to five days each, and mainly take place on the Gonzaga campus; however, there is one held at Mount Adams, and another in Valyermo, California. Several electives in the program also include the opportunity to study abroad in places such as Italy, Belgium, Colombia, or the Czech Republic.
At the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, the Department of Communication offers a 45-credit Communication Leadership program in which students can pursue a Master of Communication degree in either Digital Media or Communities and Networks. The Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) focuses on digital content creation and analytics, with courses such as Multimedia Storytelling; Advanced User Research and UX Strategies; Analytics and Insights for Brands; Advanced Content Strategy; and Law of Digital Media, Interactive Media, and Content. The Master of Communication in Communities and Networks (MCCN), on the other hand, emphasizes community outreach, interpersonal engagement, and organizational communication. Electives in this track include Leadership and Teams; Storytelling and Audience Engagement; Mastering the Art and Science of Professional Communication; Building Successful Online Communities; and The Law and Ethics of Community Building in Private, Public, and Nonprofit Entities.
The UW Department of Communication also offers an MA/PhD program in communication; however, it is explicitly designed for students who intend to earn their Ph.D. and is not a standalone master’s in communication program. Students in this track earn their master’s directly before starting the Ph.D. portion of the curriculum.
Finally, there is a Master of Arts in Communication program available at Washington State University (WSU), which is located in Pullman. Offered through the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU’s program has three specialization areas to choose from: Media and Health Promotion; Media, Society, and Politics; or Science and Environmental Communication. Students can pursue their degree through a 27-credit thesis option or 33-credit non-thesis option, which requires a comprehensive final exam. Each pathway entails nine credits of core courses in Communication Theory, Quantitative Research, and Methods. The remaining curriculum is comprised of electives in one’s area of concentration, as well as credits associated with their capstone requirement and several colloquia. In most cases, it takes students two academic years of full-time study to complete the program and earn their degree.
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Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Washington
Along with the campus-based programs described above, there are also online master’s in communication programs available to students in Washington. These may be particularly beneficial for residents who are not within commuting distance of a campus offering graduate study in the field, or those otherwise unable to travel for class on a regular basis. The increased flexibility of online learning can also be a good fit for students who intend to maintain a full-time job or have other significant responsibilities to attend to while pursuing their degree. Additionally, students with disabilities or other restrictions may find online coursework preferable to in-person instruction. Online programs also provide Washington residents more options to choose from when it comes to finding a degree specialization that aligns with their academic and professional goals (for example, political communication or technical communication).
Currently, there are two schools in Washington that offer online master’s in communication programs. As explained earlier, the Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies program at Gonzaga University is delivered almost entirely online. Students are only required to visit campus once over the course of their studies, for a 3-day, in-person immersion. There is the option to attend more than one on-campus session, each associated with a different elective in the program; however, students are not required to do so, and can complete the majority of their degree online if they wish. Whether they pursue their studies online or as a hybrid of immersions and online coursework, students enroll in the same 30-credit program, with the same specialization options, curriculum, and study abroad opportunities.
In addition to their campus-based MA in Communication, Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication offers two online programs in the field. The first is an online Master of Arts in Health Communication and Promotion. This program is 100% online with no on-campus requirements, and courses use asynchronous instruction, meaning students do not need to log in at specific times to view lectures or participate in classroom discussions. However, there are weekly deadlines for class assignments and other activities that students must meet. A total of 30 credit hours are required to earn the degree, including a four-course Professional Core consisting of the following courses: Professional Multimedia Content Creation, Crisis Communication in Global Contexts, Ethics for Professionals, and Research Methods for Professionals. The remaining curriculum is comprised of Health Communication and Promotion Core courses, which cover Health Communication and Behavior Change, Communicating Health in Practice, Communication Health to Specialized Populations, Communicating Health in a Digital Landscape, and Health Message Design and Effectiveness.
The Murrow College of Communication also offers an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program. Delivered entirely online through asynchronous instruction, this program is similar in structure and format to the MA in Health Communication and Promotion. Students must complete a total of 30 credits, including the same four Professional Core courses described above. They then take five courses that focus specifically on strategic communication: Persuasion for Professional Communicators, Creative Media Strategies and Techniques, Professional Digital Content Promotion, Consumer Behavior and Brand Development, and Professional Marketing Communication Management and Campaigns. Both of the online programs at WSU require students to complete a culminating experience, in which they prepare and present a capstone portfolio of their work, and take a comprehensive final examination.
Another option for Washington residents interested in pursuing a master’s degree in communication online is to enroll in a program offered by an out-of-state school. Many colleges and universities across the country have online programs in the field that accept students who live in Washington. However, not all programs are authorized to enroll students from every state. Prospective students should be sure to check if they are eligible for admission before applying to any online program. Additionally, some online master’s in communication programs include on-campus requirements, such as orientations, lectures, hands-on trainings, or other events that students must travel to attend. These immersions can vary in length, from a weekend to an entire week, and students are typically responsible for covering any travel or lodging costs. As such, it is important to fully understand any on-campus requirements prior to enrolling in an online program of study. MastersinCommunications.com defines programs as online only if they require two or fewer campus visits per year.
For more information about earning a master’s in communication online, as well as a comprehensive list of available programs, check out our Online Master’s in Communication Degree Programs page.
Directory of Master’s in Communication Programs in Washington
|Online Master's in Communication Programs that Accept Students from Washington|
|Johns Hopkins University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with Concentrations in Public and Media Relations, Political Communication, Health Communication, Digital Communication, and Corporate and Non-Profit Communication||Program Website|
|University of Delaware||Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication with Optional Concentrations in Public Relations or Digital and Social Media||Program Website|
|Arizona State University||Online Master of Arts in Communication (Organizational/Workplace Communication)||Program Website|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with Optional Concentrations in New Media & Marketing, and Public Relations||Program Website|
|Syracuse University||Online Master of Science in Communications with Specializations in Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism Innovation, and Media Management||Program Website|
All Master’s in Communication Programs in Washington
Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies (with Optional Concentrations in Strategic & Organizational Communication, College Teaching of Communication, Global Leadership, Digital Media Strategies, Servant Leadership, and Change Leadership)
Online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies (with Optional Concentrations in Strategic & Organizational Communication, College Teaching of Communication, Global Leadership, Digital Media Strategies, Servant Leadership, and Change Leadership)Interview with Michael Hazel, Ph.D. - Gonzaga University
University of Washington(Seattle)
Washington State University(Pullman)
Master of Arts in Communication (with Specializations in Media & Health Promotion, Media, Society, and Politics, and Science & Environmental Communication)Interview with Rebecca L. Cooney, M.S. - Washington State University
Online Master of Arts in Strategic CommunicationInterview with Rebecca L. Cooney, M.S. - Washington State University