Best Online Communication Studies Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Communication Studies programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Communication studies is the study of how people communicate with each other. It includes the study of how messages are sent and received, and how they are interpreted and understood. Communication studies can prepare students for a variety of careers in communication, including public relations, marketing, and journalism.

Communication studies degrees offer a broad overview of communication, covering topics such as interpersonal communication, group communication, and mass communication. Students in communication studies degree programs learn about the different theories of communication, and how to apply those theories to real-world situations. They also learn about the different channels of communication, and how to use those channels to effectively communicate messages.

How to Choose the Right Communication Studies Program

When choosing a communication studies program, there are many things to consider. The most important factor is what you want to do with your degree after graduation. If you want to work in public relations, for example, you should look for a program that offers coursework in that area. Other important factors to consider include the cost of the program, the length of the program, the location of the school, and the school’s accreditation status.

The cost of a communication studies program varies depending on the school. Some programs may offer scholarships or grants to help offset the cost of tuition. Location is also important to consider. If you want to work in a specific city after graduation, you should look for a program that is located in that city. The length of the program is also important to consider. Some programs may offer an accelerated track that allows you to graduate in less time. Finally, you should make sure the program you choose is accredited by a reputable accrediting body.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Communication Studies Programs

The best online programs for Communication Studies ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies program at Appalachian State University provides students with a foundation in communication principles and practices. The program is designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to plan, deliver, and evaluate persuasive communication. The program is open to all members of the military (and qualified dependents) and non-military applicants will be considered on a space-available basis.

Rank 2
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion
Marion, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Communication degree from Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion focuses on teaching students how to create messages appropriate for their audience, purpose, and context. Students will also learn how to critically analyze messages and engage in effective dialogue. The program provides accelerated degree completion (as little as 2 years), 100% online courses, and an emphasis on soft skills valued by today’s hiring managers.

Rank 3
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Indiana University is a degree that explores interpersonal, group, organizational, public, and electronically mediated communication. Students consider the variety of contexts in which communication occurs, such as family relationships, cultural clashes, and political campaigns. They also gain skills with proven application in business, film, theater, composition, advertising, education, foreign policy and computer science.

Rank 4
Eastern Illinois University
Charleston, IL

The Bachelor of Science in Communication in Organizations degree from Eastern Illinois University is designed to help students enhance their marketability in today’s professional environment. The degree integrates theory and practice, and helps students develop relational and organizational communication skills. The program offers courses in a variety of areas, including organizational communication, interpersonal communication, conflict management, intercultural communication, communication and professional development, and workplace relationships.

Rank 5
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from University of Kansas is an online degree focused on preparing students for careers in organizational and professional communication. A minor in communication studies is also available online.

Rank 6
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Colorado State University is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of how people respond to various forms of communication and engage in public discourse. The program is flexible and can be customized to fit the student’s specific goals. It is also offered entirely online.

Rank 7
William Paterson University of New Jersey
Wayne, NJ

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from William Paterson University of New Jersey is designed to help students improve their ability to communicate effectively in both written and oral mediums. The curriculum is focused on building students’ competency in collaborating with others, responding to diverse opinions and cultures, and managing conflict. In the capstone project, students will have the opportunity to tie together what they have learned through an in-depth study in an area of their interest.

Rank 8
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies degree from University of Rhode Island is designed for adult learners who want to develop their writing and interpersonal communication skills. The program offers courses in areas such as advertising, marketing, digital media, web design, and sports media. Students can start the program in any term and courses are offered in 7-week sessions. The curriculum requires 120 credits for graduation.

Rank 9
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Louisiana State University covers topics such as public relations, human relationships, and visual communications, and provides students with the skills they need to be successful in any number of communication-related fields. Additionally, the online format of the program allows students to interact with instructors and other students in real time, making it a convenient option for busy adults.

Rank 10
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Eastern Kentucky University provides students with the practical skills and knowledge needed to become effective communicators. The 120-credit program includes coursework in topics such as conflict management, public speaking, and intercultural and organizational communication.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Communication Studies Program

Students in a bachelor’s in communication studies program learn to analyze and interpret communication in various contexts. The degree emphasizes the role of communication in personal, professional, and social interactions.

Most programs require about 120 credits and take four years to complete. In addition to general education requirements, students take classes in communication theory, research methods, and public speaking. Many programs also require an internship.

Communication studies degrees prepare graduates for a variety of careers, such as public relations, marketing, and human resources. The skills learned in a communication studies program are also valuable in fields such as law, medicine, and education.

Common Communication Studies Courses

A communication degree program will offer a variety of courses that focus on different aspects of human communication. The list below is a sampling of courses that are typically offered in a communication studies program.

Communication Theory

This course covers the major theories of human communication with an emphasis on their application to real-world situations. Topics include the history and evolution of communication theory, interpersonal communication theories, mass communication theories, and new media theories. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze and apply communication theories to personal, professional, and social contexts.

Interpersonal Communication

This course covers the study of communication between people in dyads and small groups. Emphasis is placed on the development of interpersonal communication skills including self-disclosure, active listening, conflict management, and relationship building. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the role of communication in developing and maintaining relationships, apply active listening skills to interpersonal communication, and manage conflict in dyadic and small group settings.

Organizational Communication

This course examines communication within formal organizations. Emphasis is placed on the role of communication in planning, problem solving, change, leadership, motivation, and group dynamics. Upon completion, students should be able to apply principles of organizational communication to real-world settings.

Research Methods in Communication Studies

This course covers research methods used in the field of communication studies. Topics include the scientific method, research design, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of results. Emphasis is placed on formulating research questions, testing hypotheses, and writing research reports. Upon completion, students should be able to design and conduct research studies in communication, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate research findings.

Rhetorical Criticism

This course covers the application of various critical approaches to the study of communication. Theories and methodologies from the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology are applied to the analysis of oral, written, and nonverbal messages. Emphasis is placed on the ability to apply various critical approaches to the interpretation of messages. Upon completion, students should be able to apply various rhetorical criticism approaches to the interpretation of oral, written, and nonverbal messages.

Career Options for Communication Studies Graduates

Graduates of communication studies programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including media, marketing, public relations, and advertising. They may also work in fields such as event planning, human resources, and customer service.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers are responsible for the day-to-day management of a company’s human resources department. They oversee the recruitment and hiring of new employees, and they may also be responsible for onboarding and training those employees. Additionally, human resources managers handle employee benefits and compensation, and they may also be responsible for employee relations, which includes addressing complaints and resolving conflicts. Human resources managers typically report to a company’s vice president of human resources or the CEO.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists develop and maintain a favorable public image for their employer or client by crafting media releases and planning and executing promotional events, among other duties. They also work with the news media and respond to inquiries from the public. Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, or a related field. Many specialists also have experience working in a related occupation, such as journalism, marketing, or advertising.

Communications Director

Communications directors develop and oversee an organization’s communications strategy. That can include anything from crafting the messaging for a new product launch to managing a team of writers and designers to putting together an annual report. In some organizations, the communications director is responsible for both external communications (the public-facing stuff that goes out to customers, media, and other stakeholders) and internal communications (the stuff that employees see, like memos, company news, and employee handbooks). In other organizations, there’s a separate director for each. Communications directors usually report to a senior vice president or chief marketing officer.

Media Buyer

Media buyers are responsible for planning, negotiating, and purchasing advertising space across various platforms, including TV, radio, print, and digital. They work with advertising agencies and clients to determine the best placement for ads, taking into account the target audience, the client’s budget, and the objectives of the campaign. Media buyers also track the performance of campaigns and report back to agencies and clients.


Journalists are responsible for researching, writing, and editing stories for publication. They may work for a news organization, such as a newspaper, magazine, or website, or they may be freelance writers. Journalists typically specialize in a particular type of writing, such as hard news, features, or sports, and they may also specialize in a particular subject area, such as politics, business, or the arts. In addition to writing, journalists may also be responsible for taking photographs or videos, conducting interviews, and fact-checking.

Insights From a Communication Studies Graduate

Zara Osborne is a Public Relations Specialist at Edelman. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Zara has over 3 years of experience in public relations and communications.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Communication Studies program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Zara Osborne: I think the biggest takeaway from my Communication Studies program is that communication is so much more than just talking. It’s about understanding yourself and understanding others. It’s about active listening and being able to see both sides of every issue. And it’s about being able to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.

I think that’s something that you can only really learn by studying communication. It’s not something that you can just read about in a book or learn through experience.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Communication Studies be good at?

Zara Osborne: The ability to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing, is essential for anyone interested in communication studies. You should also be able to think critically and analytically, as well as be creative and resourceful. In addition, it is helpful to be organized and detail-oriented.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Zara Osborne: The most challenging course I took was Organizational Communication. The course was difficult because it required a lot of reading and writing. My advice to students who are about to start this course is to be prepared to do a lot of reading and writing. Also, be prepared to discuss the readings in class.


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