Education

Best Online Communications Degree Programs of 2022

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

Communications degrees are interdisciplinary programs that combine the study of communication theory with the practice of communication skills. Communications degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in communication, including public relations, marketing, and journalism.

Communications degrees offer a broad overview of communication, covering topics such as communication theory, research methods, and communication skills. Students in communications degree programs learn about the different aspects of communication, and how to use communication to persuade, inform, and entertain.

How to Choose the Right Communications Program

When choosing a communications degree program, there are many factors to consider. The type of school, the cost of tuition, the length of the program, and the curriculum are all important factors that should be taken into account.

The type of school you choose will affect the cost of tuition, the length of the program, and the curriculum. If you choose a public school, you will likely pay less in tuition than if you choose a private school. However, private schools may offer more specialized programs that can lead to better job prospects after graduation. The length of the program is also important to consider. If you want to enter the workforce as soon as possible, you may want to choose a program that can be completed in two years. However, if you want to pursue a higher degree, you may want to choose a four-year program.

The curriculum is another important factor to consider when choosing a communications degree program. Many programs will require you to take courses in writing, public speaking, and media studies. You should make sure that the program you choose offers courses that interest you and will help you in your future career.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Communications Programs

The best online programs for Communications 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
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

The Bachelor of Science in Communication degree from University of Minnesota emphasizes communication theory and practice in the creation, presentation, and evaluation of coherent messages. Three areas of emphasis – communication studies, organizational communication/public relations, or social media – lead to career possibilities across various industries. This major prepares students to become communication professionals and helps them understand how to transmit and receive messages in concise, effective and transformative ways.

Rank 3
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Applied Communication degree from Abilene Christian University is designed for busy working adults who want to improve their communication skills. The program focuses on problem-solving, leadership, presentation skills, crisis management, team building, and conflict navigation. The program also offers concentrations in Organizational Change and Healthcare Communication.

Rank 4
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication from University of Colorado is designed to provide students with the broad communication foundation they need to keep up with a rapidly evolving digital environment. The program is 100% online and will prepare students for a variety of career paths. Throughout the program, students will learn how to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, and leaders. The program offers five unique pathways and three fully online certificates.

Rank 5
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University’s Bachelor of Science in Communication program is taught by highly respected faculty within the communications field. The program emphasizes communication theory and methods with the option of completing a concentration in Public Relations or General Communication. This program allows students to explore and develop their own interests through a variety of electives while earning their degree.

Rank 6
Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Western Illinois University is a degree that provides students with an enormously flexible career path. The degree is taught by dedicated, full-time faculty members who are experts in their areas of specialty. Communication majors graduate and go on into career paths that may include (but are not limited to) sales, politics, law, management, customer service/experience, public relations, healthcare, marketing, recruiting, training and development, and human resources.

Rank 7
Drake University
Des Moines, IA

The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication degree from Drake University is designed for students who have earned an associate degree and are interested in a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communication with an emphasis on digital communications.

The curriculum includes core online digital communication courses in addition to public relations, advertising, social media, and multimedia courses. The program is designed to help students develop a range of digital competencies and hone their technical communication and marketing skills.

Rank 8
King University
Bristol, TN

The Bachelor of Science in Communication degree from King University is designed for adult learners who want to improve their employability and value in the workforce. The program provides skills needed to advance in a wide range of fields, and also prepares students for graduate study. The program emphasizes peer connections in the online learning environment, and the ability to integrate applied communication into a modern work environment.

Rank 9
California State University-Bakersfield
Bakersfield, CA

The Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California State University-Bakersfield is a 100% online program designed for transfer students. The program focuses on knowledge of communications processes, writing proficiency, awareness of professional responsibilities, knowledge of ethical practices, and familiarity with laws governing the use of mass media. Graduates will be prepared for careers in journalism, public relations, marketing, blogging, writing, and social media management.

Rank 10
University of West Alabama
Livingston, AL

The Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications from University of West Alabama is a 120-credit hour program that is offered both online and on-campus. The program is designed to give students a strong foundation in multiple areas of communication and multimedia. The program is also flexible, allowing students to choose from optional tracks in graphic design and sports communication. The courses in the program cover topics such as news writing, social media, web design, and media law.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Communications Program

Students in a bachelor’s in communications program can expect to learn about various aspects of the field, including advertising, public relations, and journalism. The degree typically takes four years to complete and requires around 120 credits.

Most programs include core coursework in communications theory and research, along with classes in writing, oral communication, and media studies. Students can also expect to take electives in topics like social media, crisis communications, and global communications.

Some programs offer specializations, such as advertising, public relations, or journalism. Students in these programs take additional coursework in their chosen area of specialization. Many programs also require an internship, which gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the communications field.

Common Communications Courses

Communications degree programs offer a variety of courses that cover different aspects of the field. The following is a list of five common courses found in undergraduate communications degree programs.

Media, Culture, and Society

This course introduces students to the field of media studies by examining the relationships between media, culture, and society. Emphasis is placed on the history and development of mass media, the role of media in society, and the impact of new media technologies. Topics include the effects of media on culture and society, the relationship between media and democracy, the global reach of media, and the economics of the media industry. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze the role of media in society and its impact on culture and democracy, and explain the economics of the media industry.

Reporting, Writing, and Understanding the News

This course covers the skills necessary to be an effective news reporter. Topics include the inverted pyramid style of writing, the use of active and passive voice, writing headlines, and the use of Associated Press style. Emphasis is placed on writing clear and concise news stories, using proper grammar and punctuation, and adhering to the Associated Press stylebook. Upon completion, students should be able to write clear and concise news stories using proper grammar and punctuation, and adhere to the Associated Press stylebook.

Foundations of Human Communication

This course covers the study of human communication with an emphasis on the understanding of self and others. Topics include the elements of communication, perception, verbal and nonverbal communication, listening, conflict management, and small group communication. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the various elements of communication and apply them to effectively communicate with others.

Media Ethics

This course examines the ethical issues and problems that arise in the mass media. Emphasis is placed on the history and development of codes of ethics, the ethical theories and principles that guide media professionals, and the application of these codes and principles to real-world media cases and problems. Upon completion, students should be able to apply ethical theories and principles to media cases and problems, analyze the impact of technology on media ethics, and explain the role of codes of ethics in the media industry.

Quantitative Research Methods in Communication

This course covers quantitative research methods used in the field of communication. Emphasis is placed on the application of statistical methods to the analysis of communication data. Topics include the nature of communication research, research design, hypothesis testing, measures of central tendency and variability, probability theory, sampling theory, and inferential statistics. Upon completion, students should be able to apply quantitative research methods to communication data and draw valid conclusions based on the results of their analysis.

Career Options for Communications Graduates

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

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists are responsible for creating and maintaining a favorable public image for their employer or client. They craft media releases and develop social media programs to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. In addition, public relations specialists may be called upon to serve as a spokesperson for their organization, to coordinate media relations, or to organize special events.

Social Media Manager

Social media managers are responsible for creating and managing a company’s social media presence. This can include developing strategies, creating content, managing a team of social media specialists, analyzing data, and more. A social media manager might work in-house at a company across a variety of industries or at a social media agency that works with multiple clients. No matter the setting, the goal is typically to create and maintain a positive brand image and to engage with customers, followers, or fans in a way that builds relationships and loyalty.

Media Buyer

Media buyers are responsible for planning, negotiating, and executing advertising campaigns on behalf of their clients. This can include purchasing ad space in print, online, or broadcast outlets, as well as time slots for television or radio ads. Media buyers also develop relationships with media outlets and negotiate rates, ad placements, and other details of the campaign. In some cases, media buyers may also be responsible for developing the creative aspects of an advertising campaign, such as the ad copy or the visuals.

Communications Director

Communications directors develop and oversee an organization’s communications strategy. They’re responsible for both internal and external communications, meaning they work with a variety of departments and groups within the organization as well as with the media. Communications directors often have a team of communication specialists working under them, and they collaborate closely with other department heads, such as the marketing director or the CEO.

Journalist

Journalists report on news and events happening in their communities, whether for a local paper, a regional magazine, or a national website or newspaper. They may write stories about everything from politics and crime to business and the arts. Journalists typically have a beat, which is the area or type of story they focus on, and they may be generalists who write about a little bit of everything or specialists who only cover one type of story. In addition to writing, journalists may also be responsible for taking photos or videos, conducting interviews, and fact-checking.

Insights From a Communications Graduate

Kristian May is a Communications Specialist at Google. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Washington. Kristian has over 7 years of experience in communications and public relations.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Communications degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Kristian May: I focused on taking courses that I was interested in and that I thought would be beneficial for my career. I also took advantage of opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities, like joining the PRSSA chapter on campus. These activities helped me to gain experience and build my portfolio.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Kristian May: The most rewarding aspect of my career is the ability to connect with people from all over the world and help them tell their story. I love being able to use my skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

The most challenging aspect of my career is the constant change. In the communications field, things are always changing and evolving, which can be difficult to keep up with. It’s important to be adaptable and always be learning in order to be successful.

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

Kristian May: The most challenging course I took was public speaking. The class was challenging because it forced me to confront my fears and to practice in front of an audience. I would advise students who are about to take this course to be prepared to practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be in front of an audience.

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