Traditional journalism programs are changing in numerous ways. As people consume media via different platforms, journalism must adapt. These changes have shifted many journalism programs to offer contemporary coursework that applies to today’s media and communication. We located some of the top and most affordable online master’s in journalism programs designed to prepare students for roles in today’s market. While there are not a high number of programs, we managed to locate reputable, accredited, and affordable online journalism programs designed to equip today’s journalism experts.
Top 20 Affordable Masters in Journalism Online Programs Methodology
We looked at approximately 55 colleges and universities, listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator, that offered master’s in journalism online degree programs. Due to the limited number of programs available online, we also looked at some communications programs that offered journalism studies and coursework. We narrowed our original pool of schools to find 20 affordable online journalism programs by applying the following criteria: accreditation, rankings from U.S. News and World Report, and affordability. We then listed the top 20 online master’s in journalism programs according to raw affordability.
Below are the results of our top 20 affordable online masters in journalism programs for 2020.
#20 – Syracuse University
Online Master’s in Communications
Syracuse, New York
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $38,708
Syracuse University’s online communications master’s degree program is accredited by The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and ideal for those seeking online master’s in journalism programs. Offering a broad-based education in communications and journalism, the program has three specialization areas that allow students to immerse their studies and meet career goals. Specialization areas include advertising, journalism innovation, and public relations. For the journalism specialization, courses cover topics like applied media research, data-driven journalism, emerging media platforms, and web and mobile story production. In addition to offering accredited graduate programs, Syracuse ranks with major publications. In fact, Syracuse ranks #54 in best national universities and #71 in best value schools.
#19 – Emerson College
Online Masters in Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $30,648
Emerson College’s masters in journalism degree is an online accelerated 13-month hybrid program designed for individuals seeking journalism and multimedia careers. In fact, Emerson reports graduates of their journalism program have built successful careers at CBS, CNN, NPR, and The Washington Post. Courses begin online in mid-summer, followed by two semesters on campus, and a final 12-week summer capstone that takes place online. Courses cover topics like advanced multimedia reporting, data visualization, editing and web producing, law and public policy for journalists, long-form multimedia storytelling, and visual storytelling and reporting. Emerson is a top-ranked institution. In fact, Emerson ranks #8 in best regional universities in the North and #49 in best value schools.
#18 – Full Sail University
Online Master’s in New Media Journalism
Winter Park, Florida
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,854
Full Sail University offers accredited online journalism programs, including the master’s in new media journalism. This program is considered an accelerated program due to its 12-month course schedule. While courses move at a rigorous pace, students earn their journalism degree within only one year. Courses cover a variety of journalism and communication topics. In fact, some of the courses you will likely take in the program include new media publishing and distribution, research and investigation skills development, and writing for interactive media. Graduate admission requirements are less stringent than some of the programs on our list. While you will need an earned bachelor’s degree or higher, a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA is required.
#17 – Southern New Hampshire University
Online Master’s in Communication – New Media & Marketing
Manchester, New Hampshire
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810
Southern New Hampshire University offers an alternative to the online master’s in journalism for those seeking communication and new media studies. Admission to the new media and marketing master’s in communication program requires no GRE or GMAT and takes 15 months to complete. Courses are delivered online and cover topics in communication, journalism, marketing, and new media. Some of the courses offered include communication for leadership, communication with media technology, digital tools and teams, law and ethics – a line in the sand, new media campaign design and marketing, and strategic communication in a new age. U.S. News and World Report ranks SNHU #92 in best regional universities in the North and #1 in most innovative schools.
#16 – Clarion University
Online Master’s in Mass Media Arts and Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,214
The online masters in journalism program at Clarion University consists of 36 credits that may be completed in 18 months. The program is designed for working students with professional or family responsibilities that make it difficult to attend classes on campus. All courses are delivered online and cover topics like advanced public relations writing, journalism foundations, management of the communication process, mass communication research, mass communication theory, and public relations foundations. Students are also required to complete either a thesis or research study project in communication. Clarion ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 113th best regional university in the North and 37th top public schools.
#15 – Regent University
Online Masters in Journalism
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,179
Regent University’s masters in journalism online degree program offers eight-week course sessions, which are completed entirely online. Courses cover a variety of journalism and multimedia topics, including feature writing and specialty reporting, issues in media law and ethics, leadership theory and communication, media research and analysis, news writing and reporting, and social media and internet marketing. A total of 33 credits must be completed and students have up to five years to earn their degree. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regent #281 in best national universities and #49 in top performers on social mobility. Also, several online graduate programs have earned top 100 and top 50 rankings.
#14 – University of Florida
Online Master’s in Public Interest Communication
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737
University of Florida’s online journalism programs include the online master’s in public interest communication. The degree yields a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in public interest communication. Courses are designed to challenge communicators as they grow in the field through hands-on assignments and flexible online studies. Courses run 16 weeks for full-time students and the degree may be completed in just 16 months. Courses cover topics like creative storytelling tools and project and budget management to campaign development. University of Florida is a top-ranked research institution. U.S. News ranks University of Florida #34 in best national universities and #110 in best value schools. As for most affordable master’s in journalism online programs, UF ranks #14 on our list.
#13 – Arizona State University
Online Master’s in Business Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,134
Arizona State University’s masters in journalism online degree program emphasizes business journalism. Through the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, home to the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, students take courses in data journalism, reporting, and storytelling. A total of 11 classes are required to satisfy the 30-credit degree requirement. Classes run 7.5 weeks in length and are delivered exclusively online. Sample courses include basics of financial performance reporting and analysis, basics of internal measures of success – managerial accounting, better business reporting, data in business journalism, and media law. Admission requires an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and 3.0 undergraduate GPA. ASU ranks #117 in best national universities, according to the latest publication of Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report.
#12 – Kent State University
Online Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,536
Kent State University’s online journalism programs include the masters in journalism and mass communication. The program may be completed entirely online and offers flexible courses taught by Kent State faculty. These courses include advising student media, ethics of mass communication, mass communication law and ethics, research methods in mass communication, and theory and societal role of mass media. A capstone project is also required to satisfy Kent State’s degree criteria. According to U.S. News and World Report, Kent State ranks #211 in best national universities and #101 in top public schools. The university’s affordable tuition earns it a top spot on our list of online master’s in journalism programs.
#11 – Florida International University
Online Master’s in Global Strategic Communications
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,097
Through the College of Communication, Architecture, and the Arts (CARTA), Florida International University offers online journalism programs. The online global strategic communications degree is a 12-month program designed to prepare graduates to be socially responsible communication leaders in high-level corporate, executive, and government organizations. Courses cover a number of topics in communication, journalism, and mass media. These courses include applied research methods in the mass media, ethics and social responsibility, global strategic communication management, media planning, and theories of mass communications. Admission to the program requires a 3.0 GPA on undergraduate coursework, proof of a degree, two recommendation letters, and GRE test scores. FIU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 218th best national university.
#10 – Kansas State University
Online Master’s in Mass Communications
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,069
Kansas State University’s online journalism programs include the master’s in mass communications. This 30-credit degree offers online instruction and is housed through the Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Courses cover mass communications and journalism topics, such as communication theory, digital media audiences and analytics, issues in media management, mass communication law, research methods in mass communications, and seminar in issues of the media. Addition electives (nine credit hours) are also required. To apply to the program, you will need an undergraduate degree with coursework in journalism or mass communications. Also, a minimum 3.0 GPA is required for admission. Kansas State ranks #162 in best national universities and #76 in top public schools by U.S. News and World Report.
#9 – The University of Alabama
Online Masters in Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780
University of Alabama’s masters in journalism online degree program consists of 31 credits. This program is fully accredited and offers courses taught by Alabama’s seasoned faculty. Students may earn their journalism degree in less than two years by taking online courses and completing a master’s project. Courses cover topics such as communication research methods, contemporary issues in journalism, history of journalism, and seminar in communication theory. Elective courses are also delivered online. Electives cover topics like communication and diversity, digital media production tools, and mass media law. To qualify for admission to U of A, applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions attended, three letters of recommendation, and samples of journalistic work. University of Alabama ranks #153 in best national universities.
#8 – University of Memphis Global
Online Masters in Journalism and Strategic Media
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,697
University of Memphis Global offers a masters in journalism online program designed for students who desire to become expert storytellers through media and journalism. The program consists of 33 credits, all of which may be earned by taking online courses. Students take 15 hours of core or foundational courses, followed by 18 hours in one of four emphasis areas. These areas of emphasis include: integrated strategic media, news and storytelling, research, or visual media. Students must also complete a capstone project, such as a practicum, professional project, or thesis. The University of Memphis ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 272nd best national university and 135th top public school.
#7 – University of South Florida
Online Master’s in Digital Journalism and Design
St. Petersburg, Florida
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,226
“Earn a master’s degree on your time.” That’s what University of South Florida says about their accredited online masters in journalism, which is delivered entirely online. Courses are taken in the convenience of your own home and structured around your schedule. This online journalism degree is ideal for working professionals and busy students with outside obligations. To qualify for admissions, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better. A rolling review of applications allows students to learn of their acceptance conveniently. In addition to being accredited, the University of South Florida is ranked with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, USF ranks #104 in best national universities and #60 in best value schools.
#6 – University of Arkansas
Online Master’s in Mass Communications
Little Rock, Arkansas
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,070
The University of Arkansas offers online journalism programs and online mass communications programs. The MA in mass communications is a 33-credit hour program that emphasizes critical thinking about mass media and journalistic practices. Two concentrations are available so that students may tailor their degree to align with career goals. These concentrations include mass media research and professional mass media. Courses are delivered online and cover topics such as Internet policy and regulation, mass communication processes and effects, news media and the First Amendment, and seminar in journalism history. The institution ranks with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, rankings for University of Arkansas include #293-#381 in best national universities and #214 in top performers on social mobility.
#5 – University of Missouri
Online Masters in Journalism – Interactive Media
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,017
University of Missouri’s online masters in journalism offers an interactive media specialization through their School of Journalism. This 37-credit program offers online courses and requires just one campus visit. The courses are semester-based. Students typically take one to two courses each semester. By following this schedule, students earn their degree in two to three years. Courses cover topics such as digital strategy, infographics, mass communication, participatory journalism, public relations, and visual communication. University of Missouri is an accredited institution. Also, UM ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 139th best national university. The school earns a top spot on our list of most affordable online master’s in journalism degree programs.
#4 – Ball State University
Online Masters in Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,392
Ball State University’s masters in journalism online degree program provides students with the opportunity to become better journalists, reporters, and storytellers through the study of media analytics. Ball State’s distinguished faculty deliver online courses that are also taught on campus. A total of 36 credits are required and students may choose from two available specializations. These specializations include media analytics and management and reporting and storytelling. Courses cover topics in journalism and media, such as journalistic judgments and sociology of news, media audiences and content strategy, and studies in journalism and communication theory. In addition to accreditation, Ball State has received prestigious rankings from U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Ball State ranks #192 in best national universities.
#3 – South Dakota State University
Online Master of Mass Communication
Brookings, South Dakota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,875
South Dakota State University’s online journalism programs include the master’s in mass communication. The program is designed for working journalists and professional communicators, as well as for individuals looking to advance their careers and hone their skills in communication. Accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the program is online and taught by university professors. Courses generally run eight weeks in length and are capped at approximately 15 students. SDSU ranks among top national universities. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks South Dakota State #272 in best national universities and #135 in top public schools.
#2 – Marshall University
Online Master’s in New Media Studies
Huntington, West Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,432
Marshall University’s online masters in journalism programs include the master’s in new media studies offered through the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications. All courses are delivered online and cover topics associated with design, media, journalism, and new media cultures. Some of the topics covered in the online classes include depth reporting, design thinking, history of mass communication, new media cultures, organizational storytelling, and web design for mass media. To apply for admission, you must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a total score of 370 on the GRE. Marshall University ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#1 – University of Nebraska
Online Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,588
University of Nebraska’s masters in journalism online program is designed to enhance professional skills and knowledge in the journalism and mass communications fields. Students earn an MA in journalism and mass communications and have the option of taking additional classes to earn a specialization in professional journalism. The courses you will take include mass media issues and ethics, media management, multi-platform journalism, and a professional project. Electives cover topics like advanced production, advanced reporting, literature of journalism, mass media and government, and politics and the media. University of Nebraska ranks #139 in best national universities and #115 in best value schools.