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Effective communication skills lie at the heart of any successful commercial, political, or educational campaign. A communication program teaches enrollees how to relay information to specific audiences in the most impactful and expeditious manner.
Communication students typically possess strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills. They also possess well-developed writing and verbal abilities. Familiarity with traditional media and the willingness to explore emerging digital and social channels also help communication learners succeed in their studies and careers.
A versatile degree, communication opens several professional opportunities. Graduates of an on-campus or online bachelor's in communication program enter a professional arena with ample opportunities for personal and career growth.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Cheapest Online Bachelor's in Communication Programs 2021
Many degree-seekers consider affordability a top priority. The schools below offer some of the most affordable communication bachelor's online programs available today. In addition to cost, we also evaluated these schools on accreditation, financial aid opportunities, and curriculum. Prospective students researching the most affordable online communication bachelor's programs can start with the list below.
Valley City State UniversityLocation
Valley City, NDTuition
Valley City State University offers an online bachelor's in communication with three cognate areas: corporate communications, digital media management, and journalism and media. The digital media management and journalism and media cognates offer fully online coursework. Students can choose from a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science.
All enrollees must complete an internship relevant to their cognate area and career objectives. The university assists students in securing Internship opportunities at television and radio stations, public relations firms, social media management companies, and newspapers. Students also complete several projects. The topic and scope of projects depend on enrollees' cognate area, background, and professional interests.
The program accepts applications from high school graduates, transfer students, associate degree-holders, and professionals seeking a second bachelor's degree.
Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional CampusesLocation
Fort Wayne, INTuition
The online bachelor's in communication at Trine University offers four concentrations: criminal justice, healthcare administration, information systems, and organizational leadership. Students whose professional interests do not align with these areas can pursue a strategic focus concentration that allows them to customize the degree to their interests.
Core communication courses cover topics including business communications, public relations writing and production, web content management, and media law and ethics. Enrollees complete 15 credits in their concentration area. Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules. Students culminate the degree with an internship or a communication project relevant to their concentration.
Florida International UniversityLocation
The online bachelor's in communication at Florida International University welcomes applications from recent high school graduates and associate degree-holders. The program offers a track in organizational communication studies. The bachelor of arts program gives enrollees an excellent foundation for advanced studies in areas like communication, law, public administration, hospitality management, and global and sociocultural studies.
The core curriculum includes coursework in communication theory, business and professional communication, conflict management, and intercultural and interracial communication. Students can enroll in classes in any order, except for the advanced public speaking course, which requires the completion of an introductory course. The university pairs every online student with a success coach to help them stay on track to graduation.
FIU's communication program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
University of Central FloridaLocation
The online bachelor's in communication and conflict at the University of Central Florida only accepts applications from students with an associate degree or significant prior college credits. UCF partners with select schools throughout the state to facilitate a smooth transfer to the university, including Polk State College in Winter Haven and Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.
The bachelor of arts program includes coursework in relational conflict communication, fundamentals of technical presentations, communication research methods, and communication in cultural conflict contexts. Candidates must complete a capstone course in intercultural and community communication to graduate.
Online enrollees are exempt from paying campus-based fees. However, they can access academic and support services available to on-campus students, including financial aid, library services, and academic counseling.
The oldest university in the Magnolia State, Mississippi College offers an undergraduate communication program that leads to a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree. BA students complete 12 additional foreign language credits that BS enrollees do not need to complete. While the program's on-campus version offers several concentration areas, the online bachelor's in communication only offers a generalist curriculum.
The curriculum includes core classes in communication law, mass media survey, fundamentals of digital communication, and public speaking. Online students also enroll in 18 credits of generalist communication courses such as intercultural communication, multimedia journalism, professional communication skills, and public relations writing.
Students culminate the degree with a portfolio of their work. The portfolio must include a written synthesis demonstrating mastery of the program's key learning outcomes.
Appalachian State UniversityLocation
Applicants to the online bachelor's in communication at Appalachian State University need at least 50 transferable credits from an accredited college with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
The 120-credit program requires students to declare a minor. Many communication enrollees choose a minor in business or a social science field. The curriculum includes coursework in communication theory, research methods, communication ethics, and rhetorical theory and criticism.
Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules, and students can enroll in up to 12 credits per semester. Students can choose to complete a local or international internship experience. Students must complete a capstone course prior to graduation that includes a professional portfolio.
University of Southern MaineLocation
The core curriculum of the online bachelor's in communication program at the University of Southern Maine comprises 36 credits. Applicants must show completion of general education credits or hold an associate degree from an accredited college.
The program leads to a bachelor of arts degree and follows an asynchronous delivery format. Classes cover topics like business and professional communication, ethical dilemmas in the digital age, internet and society, and theories of organizational communication. Students need at least a C in core communication classes to stay in the program. Students culminate the degree with a capstone course that synthesizes learning.
Online students enjoy a discounted tuition rate. Enrollees can apply to the Office of Prior Learning to receive college credits for professional credentials, military training, and relevant life experiences.
The College of Professional Advancement at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, offers an online bachelor's in communication with concentrations in organizational communication and public relations. The 27-credit core includes classes in communication and society, virtual working groups, gender relations, and elements of persuasion. Students also complete 12 credits in their concentration.
The program leads to a bachelor of arts degree and features five start dates each year. Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules. Working students pay a reduced tuition rate. Applicants need at least nine transferable credits or an associate degree from an accredited school for admission. They also need a minimum 2.5 GPA.
University of Minnesota-CrookstonLocation
The online bachelor's in communication at the University of Minnesota Crookston includes 63 credits of core communication coursework. The bachelor of science program offers three concentrations: communication studies, organizational communication/public relations, and social media.
Students can complete all required courses online. Core coursework covers topics such as news and social media communication, human relationships and leadership, business and professional speaking, and communication theory. All students also complete an internship.
Students participate in several projects throughout their enrollment, which results in a professional portfolio by the time they graduate. The portfolio demonstrates mastery of the program's key learning outcomes.
Missouri State University-SpringfieldLocation
Missouri State University offers an online bachelor's in communication. The program leads to a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree and requires the completion of a minor or a second major. The core curriculum includes courses in effective listening, nonverbal communication, rhetorical tradition and contemporary applications, and intercultural communication theory and research.
Beyond the core curriculum, students can customize the program by enrolling in a cluster of courses relevant to their academic and career goals. Students can take electives on topics such as health communication, organizational communication, and public relations.
Arkansas State University-Main CampusLocation
Arkansas State University offers an online bachelor's in communication through the School of Media and Journalism. The program leads to a bachelor of arts degree and offers several start dates per year. Courses follow seven-week delivery schedules. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer applicants with 13-23 college credits must also submit SAT or ACT scores. Applicants with 24 or more college credits need not submit test scores.
Core courses include communication theory, principles of argumentation, communication research methods, and interpersonal communication. Students culminate the degree with a research project and oral presentation. All online students pay in-state tuition no matter where they live. The program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
The William R. Kellett School of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies at Lakeland University offers an online bachelor's in communication with a traditional track and a track in cooperative education. The bachelor of arts (BA) program prepares students to work in fields including public policy research, public relations, corporate communications, and marketing. The degree also prepares students for graduate study.
Core courses include strategic new media and digital communication, advanced composition, communication theory, and mixed methods research for professionals. BA candidates can complete co-op education and internship opportunities during their junior and senior years. The school partners with several local businesses and nonprofits to provide students with relevant co-op education and internship options.
University of Florida - OnlineLocation
The online bachelor's in telecommunication at the University of Florida welcomes applications from students with at least 60 prior credits from an accredited school. Applicants also need prerequisite coursework in argument and persuasion, American history and government, statistics, and macroeconomics. Competitive applicants possess a minimum 2.5 GPA.
The bachelor of science program offers three specializations: multicultural and global communications, digital media, and applications in communication. Core courses include expository and argumentative writing, introduction to media and communications, writing for electronic media, and telecommunication law and regulation.
Students can also complete an optional six-credit internship with the program coordinator's approval. The communication program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
A small liberal arts Christian college in New York, Houghton College offers a fully online bachelor's in communication. The program presents core communication concepts through a marketing lens.
The program leads to a bachelor of business administration or a bachelor of science degree. Courses follow an asynchronous format and eight-week delivery schedules. Full-time students can graduate in 18 months. The program accepts up to 87 transfer credits from an accredited college. However, students must complete at least 30 credits and 50% of required coursework at Houghton College.
The core curriculum includes coursework in accounting and finance principles, organizational ethics, business writing, and fundamentals of management. Candidates must complete an internship prior to graduating from the program.
Eastern Illinois UniversityLocation
Eastern Illinois University offers an online bachelor's in communication studies degree-completion program. Leading to a bachelor of arts degree, the program focuses on organizational communication and consists of 46 credits.
Core courses cover topics such as argumentation and critical thinking, communication and conflict management, workplace relationships, and case studies in organizational communication. Students work with advisors to choose electives aligned with their interests and goals.
Students can optionally complete an internship for credit toward the degree. Out-of-state online enrollees must secure the program administrator's approval to pursue an internship within their geographical region.
University of MemphisLocation
The University of Memphis offers an online bachelor's in communication with three focus areas: media and culture, rhetoric and public advocacy, and professional and relational communication. The bachelor of arts program includes 18 core credits. Students also enroll in five elective classes, three of which must be in their chosen focus area.
The core curriculum includes courses in media and information literacy, research methods, and communication inquiry. Students can optionally complete an internship at an approved site for credit. To receive three credits for the internship, students must complete at least 150 internship hours. All students culminate the degree with a senior capstone project.
Students accepted to the online bachelor's in communication program at Drexel University can pursue a general communication program or a concentration in public relations. Students can transfer up to 135 quarter credits (90 semester credits) from an accredited institution. Communication majors must complete at least 50% of required coursework as a Drexel enrollee.
The program offers classes during four 10-week quarters each year. Classes cover topics like theories and models of communication, language and society, mass media and society, and social media and communication. Students must complete three writing-intensive courses, two of which must be in the communication field. Enrollees must work with an advisor to schedule these classes in their plan of study.
Columbus State UniversityLocation
Columbus State University offers a bachelor's in communication with four tracks of study, one of which -- communication studies -- is available online. Students pursuing this track prepare for careers in organizational communication, rhetorical analysis, and training and development.
The bachelor of arts program includes core courses in communication theories, interpersonal conflict resolution, nonverbal communication, and persuasion. Students need a minimum 2.5 GPA to graduate. During their final year in the program, students complete a portfolio that synthesizes learning. Learners must successfully present the portfolio to a panel of faculty members prior to graduation.
Saint Louis, MOTuition
Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, offers an online bachelor's in communication as a degree-completion program. Applicants need at least 64 college-level credits or an associate degree from an accredited institution. The degree prepares graduates for careers in a variety of fields, including animation, corporate communications, television, and journalism.
The program leads to a bachelor of arts degree and requires 39-44 credits in the major. The number of credits for the degree and time to graduation depend on course availability and enrollees' academic background and enrollment status. Core courses include global media practice; media, law, ethics, and policy; social media strategies and tactics; and digital media and culture. Students culminate the degree with a thesis or internship.
University of New MexicoLocation
The online bachelor's in communication at the University of New Mexico offers a concentration in strategic communication. Applicants need an associate degree or at least 60-70 credits from an accredited institution. Students must complete 50% of required communication classes at the university.
The core curriculum requires 48 communication credits: 39 credits of required courses and nine elective credits. Enrollees take classes on topics like media theory and research, strategic planning and campaign development, data tools for media professionals, and design and visual presentation. Students need a minimum 2.5 GPA in all major courses to graduate.
The University of Texas of the Permian BasinLocation
Coursework for the online bachelor's in communication at UTPB follows accelerated eight-week delivery schedules. Students can choose from six start dates each year. Preferred applicants hold an associate degree from an accredited school or at least 60 transferable credits. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
The bachelor of arts program includes classes in interpersonal communication, modern media and society, public speaking, and rhetoric in western thought. Students work with their faculty advisor to craft an individual program of study relevant to their academic and career goals. Students culminate the degree with a capstone course that synthesizes their learning throughout the program.
University of ArizonaLocation
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona offers an online bachelor's in communication. Applicants need an associate degree or at least 60 credits from an accredited school.
The bachelor of arts program includes core courses in applied organizational communication, health communication, mass media effects, and communication and public relations. Elective classes allow students to specialize in areas such as media messaging, workplace dynamics, and personal relationships.
Students also complete an internship. Before beginning the internship, students must complete at least 12 credits of upper-division communication courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
University of LouisvilleLocation
The online bachelor's in communication at the University of Louisville welcomes applicants with an accredited associate degree or significant prior credits. Applicants can transfer up to 60 credits from a community college and up to 90 credits from a four-year institution.
The program leads to a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree. The BA program emphasizes language and the arts, while the BS program focuses more on applied communication. Regardless of whether they pursue a BS or BA, all students complete core communication courses such as theories of communication technologies, introduction to mass communication, research methods, and interpersonal communication.
University of North DakotaLocation
Grand Forks, NDTuition
University of North Dakota offers an online bachelor's in communication that allows students to craft an individual program of study. Students can focus their studies on areas like digital journalism, strategic communication, and public relations. Learners can also pursue an optional specialization in international/intercultural communication. Candidates who pursue this specialization must take additional foreign language classes.
Some of the most popular communication classes include media and diversity, digital imaging across platforms, communication technology, and advertising and society. All communication majors must fulfill an experiential learning requirement, which many students meet by completing an internship. Candidates must also submit a capstone project. Students must complete 33 communication credits with a minimum 2.2 GPA to graduate.
East Carolina UniversityLocation
The online bachelor's in communication at East Carolina University offers a fully online concentration in interpersonal/organizational communication. The program offers three other concentrations that include on-campus coursework.
All students begin their studies with introductory classes in mass media and communication. Courses for the interpersonal/organizational communication concentration include persuasion theories, small group communication, public speaking, and organizational communication.
Students need a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. They must also complete a capstone project as the program's culminating activity.
Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools
|Academic Quality||Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates||25%|
|Affordability||Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid||35%|
|Reputation||Admission and enrollment rates||15%|
|Program Offerings||Number of program options||10%|
|Online Enrollment Score||Portion of learners taking at least one online course||15%|
What is a communication major?
Learners who major in communication study effective ways of delivering different information types to various audiences.
Can I study communication online?
Yes. Several accredited colleges and universities offer their on-campus communication program in an online format.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor's in communication online?
A typical undergraduate communication program requires 120 credits, which usually takes four years to complete.
What is the difference between communication and marketing?
Marketing is a specific type of communication that seeks to educate people about a product, an idea, or a brand or image.
Career and Salary Outlook for Communication
Because communication is a broad field, many schools offer concentrations so students can focus on a specific area that aligns with their career goals. Communication graduates work in various industries, including business, advertising, international relations, and education. They qualify for various positions within each industry, with graduates working as brand managers, creative directors, human resources specialists, and foreign correspondents.
Annual median salaries for communication professionals vary widely. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earn an annual median salary of $135,900 while graphic designers earn a median salary of $52,110 yearly. However, both salaries exceed the average median salary for all other occupations ($39,810). The occupations below represent a small sample of possible career options for communication graduates.
Public Relations Specialist
These professionals handle their clients' communication with various stakeholders, including consumers, investors, the press, and other media consultants. Their duties often include writing press releases, responding to information requests, and ensuring their clients' advertising and marketing efforts align with their desired public image.
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
These professionals plan and arrange for every aspect of professional or personal gatherings. Events include business conventions with hundreds of attendees and intimate private weddings with friends and family. Depending on an event's scope and size, they solicit bids from various suppliers, arrange for transportation and accommodations, and review and approve payments. Planners monitor the actual event to ensure a smooth experience for all attendees.
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts gather and analyze complex consumer, competitor, and market data. They also monitor and forecast sales and marketing trends and measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and program initiatives. Using advanced statistical software, they advise companies on issues such as product demand, ideal price points, and potential markets.
In addition to organizing events and launching campaigns to raise money for organizations, fundraisers also research potential donors and maintain accurate donations records and donor information. They also write promotional materials that increase public awareness of an organization's work and objectives. These professionals ensure all fundraising activities meet industry regulations and legal reporting requirements.
|Career||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)|
|Public Relations Specialist||$61,150||7%|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||$50,600||8%|
|Market Research Analyst||$63,790||18%|
Accreditation for Communication Programs
Accreditation is a rigorous voluntary process in which a college or university allows a recognized accrediting agency to evaluate the quality of its academic programs. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process in the United States.
Degree-focused nonprofit institutions often seek regional accreditation, while for-profit trade and career schools seek national accreditation. ED and CHEA oversee and recognize both types of accreditation.
Students who plan to apply for financial aid should ensure they enroll in an accredited school. The ED and many private organizations administering scholarships channel funds only through accredited schools.
Some accrediting agencies focus on specific programs instead of entire institutions. In the communication field, the ED and CHEA recognize the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications as the main accrediting agency for communication programs.
Courses in Online Communication Programs
Courses for bachelor's in communication programs vary between schools. Each school offers a communication curriculum that supports its specific academic objectives. Most schools offer introductory classes in writing, research, editing, media, and similar foundation subjects.
However, many schools acknowledge that communication occurs in varying social contexts and professional settings and offer courses that include emerging trends. Such courses may cover digital modeling, social media, and computer-mediated interpersonal communication.
See below for some of the most common offerings in many on-campus and online bachelor's in communication programs.
- Introduction to Social Media
- This course presents a concise history of social media and its current relevance to the professional and personal lives of users and non-users alike. Students explore how social media influences the different segments of traditional mass media such as advertising, broadcasting, journalism, and marketing.
- Media Law and Ethics
- This course covers topics such as libel, privacy laws, obscenity, and rights of access. Enrollees study how media and communication laws developed by examining the social and cultural contexts of their origins. From this historical perspective, students examine current communication developments and the legal and ethical ramifications that may arise from them.
- Media and Social Change
- Students explore how various communication technologies bring about societal change. The course presents scholarly articles, research findings, and popular literature to examine the effects of innovative communication technologies on the modern world.
- Media Writing
- This course introduces students to different writing types required in various communication fields, including print, advertising, public relations, and television. The course familiarizes enrollees with the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the most widely accepted guide in media writing. Students advance through the course by demonstrating the ability to write for different media types.
- Photojournalism: Storytelling in Images
- This course teaches students how to tell a story using images. Enrollees learn basic editing and scriptwriting techniques and study the sociocultural functions of photography throughout history. Students progress through the course by completing photo projects in different fields, including advertising, public relations, and corporate communications.
Many colleges and universities offering on-campus or online bachelor's in communication programs also offer enrollees financial assistance in the form of scholarships, paid internships, and grants. However, students can explore several other funding options from private organizations and nonprofits. See below for three scholarships open to communication majors.
BMI Founders Award
Who Can Apply: Funded by Broadcast Music, Inc., this award is a paid internship with a major broadcasting company for students pursuing a major in radio broadcasting. Applicants must submit an essay on the topic provided in the application.
Lagrant Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The foundation accepts applications from full-time students pursuing a major in advertising, marketing, or public relations. Applicants must be African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American/Alaska Native.
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Scholarships
Who Can Apply: NATAS accepts applications from graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue an undergraduate degree related to the television industry. The program especially welcomes applications from individuals of Latino or Hispanic descent and students who plan to focus on television journalism or sports television.
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