In this ranking, we profile 30 affordable master’s in media online programs of 2020.
An online master’s in media is a versatile degree. Graduate media degrees equip you to land jobs in a variety of industries, such as communications, journalism, marketing, media, and public relations. Now online master’s in media programs are available at top ranked and accredited institutions. Through online research, we found online media programs (and closely related degree options) available for less than $20,000 per year.
30 Most Affordable Master’s in Media Online Programs Methodology
We reviewed 77 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and reputable online sources that offered master’s in media online programs, or closely related degrees. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying criteria like accreditation, institution rankings with U.S. News and World Report, and affordable graduate tuition and fees less than $20,000 per year. We then ranked our findings according to raw affordability.
Below are the results of our most affordable master’s in media online programs of 2020.
#30 – Rutgers University
Online Master’s in Communication and Media
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,416
Rutgers University’s master’s in media online that provides students with eight in-demand concentrations that prepare them for a wide variety of communication careers. Featured concentrations include communication and media research, communication and media studies, health communication, public relations, and strategic organization communication. Applicants from all backgrounds are welcome to apply. Ideally, applicants will have a verbal GRE score in the mid-150s and quantitative score in the mid-140s along with a writing score of at least 4.0. Waivers are available depending on work experience and other factors. Ranked #62 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Rutgers holds an excellent academic reputation known for outstanding teaching and research.
#29 – Full Sail University
Online Master’s in New Media Journalism
Winter Park, Florida
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,854
Full Sail University offers an online master’s in media focusing on new journalism where students learn the time honored principles of journalism within the context of new media communication channels. The degree can be completed in just 12 months online and features courses such as writing for interactive media, new media publishing and distribution, and research and investigation skills development. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.0. It is preferred the undergraduate degree be similar in scope to the intended graduate program but not required. The GRE is not required for admission.
#28 – Southern New Hampshire University
Online Master’s in Social Media Marketing
Manchester, New Hampshire
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810
Southern New Hampshire University offers an online master’s in media with a focus on social media marketing. The program teaches students how to enhance brand awareness and storytelling using digital social media platforms through courses such as consumer behavior and marketing, ethical and legal issues in marketing, social media marketing campaigns, and social media marketing strategy. In addition to earning the graduate degree, students are positioned to earn the Hootsuite Platform Certification Exam and HubSpot Content Marketing Certification and Exam. Obtaining these industry certification combined with the degree will enhance the graduate’s employability. As the number one ranked institution in innovation by U.S. News and World Report, students can expect a cutting-edge degree from a respected institution.
#27 – Michigan State University
Online Master’s in Strategic Communication
East Lansing, Michigan
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,132
Michigan State University offers one of the most affordable and top rated online media programs taught by leading faculty in the Michigan State College of Communication Arts and Sciences. The 30-credit program is 100% online and requires a minimum of three years of work experience and a 3.0 minimum GPA. In addition to foundational courses such as digital media strategies, evaluation techniques for working professionals, and strategic message development, students can choose from three career concentrations. Moreover, students can choose to complete the degree in one, two, or three years. As a top 84 national university ranked by U.S. and World Report, students can expect to earn a respected degree with a vast alumni network.
#26 – Loyola University
Online Master’s in Emerging Media
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,520
Loyola University of Maryland offers a master’s in media online with a focus on new and emerging media platforms. Students learn how to leverage new media to tell stories, increase brand awareness, and to improve social equity. The program features multidisciplinary coursework covering journalism, sociology, political science, and culture. Featured courses include emerging media in strategic communications, emerging media law and regulation, and exploring the digital culture. Applicants from all backgrounds are welcome to attend. Prospective students must submit transcripts, a personal statement, professional resume, and two letters of recommendation. No test scores are required to apply to the program.
#25 – Fielding Graduate University
Online Master’s in Media Psychology
Santa Barbara, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,224
Fielding Graduate University offers an online master’s in media psychology focusing on how media impacts human behavior. In addition, students learn how to create content and how to train others in media creation and consumption. The curriculum features cutting-edge and innovative courses such as audience engagement: the psychology of finding and engaging your audience, emerging media: how social media and the internet transform society, and neuro-marketing: the psychological impact media has on consumers. Current and aspiring communication professionals are encouraged to apply to the program. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, 2.5 minimum GPA, resume, transcripts, and statement of purpose. Not test scores are required to apply.
#24 – Regent University
Online Master’s in Journalism
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,179
Regent University offers one of the top online media programs preparing students for careers in journalism. Both current and aspiring journalists are welcome to apply to the program. Courses include feature writing and specialty reporting, leadership theory and communication, and multimedia reporting and mobile field production. Because the program is entirely online, students working full time jobs or living outside of an institution’s service area can take courses towards their graduate degree. In addition, all classes at Regent are taught using best practices and current research in combination with a Christian worldview. Graduates have gone on to successful careers as journalists, editors, press secretaries, and public relations professionals.
#23 – Queens University of Charlotte
Online Master’s in Communication
Charlotte, North Carolina
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,158
Queens University provides an online master’s in communication similar to an online master’s in media. The curriculum can best be described as a pairing of communication theory with emerging media. In addition, students can earn an optional integrated digital strategy concentration. The degree prepares students for top communication careers across a wide variety of industries such as marketing/PR, healthcare, education, human resources, and more. Housed in the James L. Knight School of Communication, graduate courses may include communication and culture in a networked society, constructing messages and audiences, strategic communication for global audiences, and the mediated self and changing relationships.
#22 – University of Florida
Online Master’s in Mass Communication
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737
The University of Florida offers a master’s in media online specializing in social media. Administered through the College of Journalism and Communications, the program is part of an institution that ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #34 in national universities and #7 in top public schools. Students admitted to the program can expect to earn a very respected degree from a leading university. The 33-credit program can be completed in as little as 16 months with full-time enrollment. Courses may include advertising and social media, branding using social media and mobile media, personal branding and professional development, and social media and emerging technology.
#21 – University of North Carolina
Online Master’s in Digital Communication
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,212
As a high-ranking institution on the list, The University of Chapel Hill offers online master’s degree in media that prepares students for a variety of careers in the digital media age. The institution ranks in several U.S. News and World Report categories, such as #29 in national universities, #10 in best value schools, and #5 in top public schools. The degree equips professionals for leadership roles across organizations that utilize media to engage audiences, including internal and external stakeholders, clients, and the like. Housed with the acclaimed Hussman School of Journalism and Media, courses are taught by world leading experts in digital media and communication.
#20 – Arizona State University
Online Master’s in Film and Media Studies
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,134
Through the Arizona State University Department of English, the institution’s master’s in media online focuses on the study of film and media. Students learn how to critically engage and analyze film and television through multiple lenses including writing, storytelling, culture, history, and more. In addition, students also learn how digital technology and innovation are impacting the film and television industry. The program is delivered entirely online and can be completed in just two years. Admission requirements include two-page SOP, three-page essay, and transcripts. Letters of recommendation are optional. The GRE or GMAT are not required as part of the application.
#19 – Kent State University
Online Master’s in Journalism Education
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,536
Housed within the Center for Scholastic Journalism, Kent State University offers a master’s degree in journalism education similar to an online master’s in media. The degree prepares high school and community college educators to teach journalism courses using best practices and dynamic teaching pedagogy. Admission requirements state that all applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 minimum GPA. Additionally, potential students should include letters of recommendation, GRE standardized test scores, statement of purpose, and transcripts. Required courses include mass communication law and ethics, master’s professional project, research methods in mass communication, and theory and societal role of mass media.
#18 – University of Iowa
Online Master’s in Strategic Communication
Iowa City, Iowa
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,336
The University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers an online master’s degree in media focusing on strategic communication. Students learn advanced writing and communication concepts in professional communication contexts such as crisis communication, public affairs, political campaign development, and social media. The program can be tailored to a student’s area of career interest through elective courses that focus on specific occupational skills and knowledge. In addition, students receive foundational courses such as digital strategic communication, foundations of strategic communication, strategic communication writing, and more. Ranked #84 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report, students receive an excellent education backed by the state’s flagship institution of higher learning.
#17 – Kansas State University
Online Master’s in Mass Communications
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,069
Similar to online media degree programs, Kansas State provides working professionals with a master’s in mass communication through its A.Q. Miller School of Journalism. Graduates are prepared for a number of careers in major media organizations, public relations, advertising, and journalism. The 30-credit program is entirely online with no residency requirements, which makes it an excellent option for busy individuals who do not want to interrupt their personal commitments to attend graduate school. Courses may include communication theory, digital media audiences and analytics, and issues in media management. Students with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a bachelor’s degree with undergraduate coursework in journalism or mass communications are welcome to apply.
#16 – The University of Alabama
Online Master’s in Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780
The University of Alabama offers an online master’s degree in media and journalism designed for current or aspiring journalists. Students engage in robust coursework such as digital media and information, entrepreneurialism and management, social science and research for journalism, and writing and reporting. Applicants from any undergraduate major are welcome to apply. Students must possess a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 300 on the GRE. In certain instances the GRE test score requirement can be waived. Other admission requirements include transcripts, SOP, three letters of support, and resume. Current journalists can submit a portfolio of journalistic work such as published news stories.
#15 – Grand Canyon University
Online Master’s in Communication Education
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,760
Grand Canyon University offers one of the most affordable online media programs in the industry to prepare the next generation of communication educators. The degree prepares graduates to teach a variety of communication courses at the post-secondary level at two- or four-year institutions. In addition, graduates have gone on to successful careers in public relations, public affairs, and communication managers. The curriculum is built on three categories including pedagogy, theory, and practice. Courses may include curricular and instructional methods in higher education, effective pedagogy for higher education, and media literacy. Grand Canyon University is fully accredited and ranks #293 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.
#14 – Northern Arizona University
Online Master’s in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,593
Similar to an online master’s in media, Northern Arizona University offers a graduate degree in rhetoric, writing, and digital media that prepares graduates for a wide spectrum of careers in education, public relations, marketing, communication, and more. Most applicants are interested in teaching English, literature, and communication in a k-12 or college setting. The 36-credit offering can be completed in two years, but students may take longer according to their own preferences. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. In addition, students must submit two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, resume or CV, and a writing sample.
#13 – University of Missouri
Online Master’s in Journalism
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,017
The University of Missouri offers a master’s in media online focusing on journalism and media management. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and housed within the School of Journalism, the 37-credit program prepares students for careers such as media relations manager, general manager, broadcast/network president, and more. The degree is conveniently structured with only one short residency required with all other components being delivered online. Courses include changing media business models, emerging technologies in journalism, strategic conflict management, and theory of mass communication. Documents needed to apply include transcripts, three application essays, three letters of recommendation, and resume. Applicants are not required to submit GRE test scores.
#12 – Purdue University
Online Master’s in Communication
West Lafayette, Indiana
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,992
Students searching for an online master’s degree in media may consider Purdue University’s master’s in communication. The degree prepares students for careers in communication, public relations, public affairs, and more. Courses include communication and leadership, focus groups and interviewing for strategic communication, introduction for integrated marketing communication. Students can select from several career concentrations such as public relations, advertising, healthcare communication, and leadership communication. Students seeking a quality program will find Purdue an excellent fit as it is ranked #57 in national universities and #6 in most innovative school by U.S. News and World Report for its 2020 cohort of institutions.
#11 – Bowling Green State University
Online Master’s in Media and Communication
Bowling Green, Ohio
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,831
Bowling Green State University’s online master’s in media and communication is designed for current media and communication professionals seeking additional skills and knowledge through the attainment of a graduate degree. The degree can be leveraged into increased career opportunities across the media and communications landscape. Courses include advertising research and practice, public relations research and practice, and quantitative methods for strategic communication. Application requirements include a bachelors’ degree from an accredited institution, resume, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. In addition, students should submit GRE scores no older than five years. Backed by a solid academic reputation, Bowling Green ranked #246 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.
#10 – Touro University Worldwide
Online Master’s in Media Psychology
Los Alamitos, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000
Similar to a master’s in media online, Touro University Worldwide offers a fully accredited master’s degree in media psychology online that requires no residency or on-campus visits and no GRE testing requirement to apply. The program offers six start times per year and students can graduate in just one year. Students from all academic backgrounds and disciplines are welcome to apply. The curriculum prepares students for jobs working in media outlets such as broadcasting organizations, marketing firms, advertising, and educational organizations creating media. Students come from all career fields and can be current or aspiring media professionals seeking a promotion or entry into media.
#9 – South Dakota State University
Online Master’s in Mass Communication
Brookings, South Dakota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,875
South Dakota State University offers an online master’s degree in media and mass communication designed for current journalists or communication professionals. The degree offers cutting-edge courses in new media technology and skills needed to thrive within the fast-paced new media landscape. Students are able to graduate in just under two years, with an average class size of 15 students. 50% of the coursework is practitioner-based, with the focus on actual workplace and industry skills needed to perform the job at a high level. Housed within the School of Communication and Journalism, students earn a respected degree from a nationally ranked institution.
#8 – West Virginia State University
Online Master’s in Media Studies
Institute, West Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,574
West Virginia State University offers one of the most affordable master’s in media online intended for students from all academic backgrounds and career experience. So whether you have just graduated with a bachelor’s degree or have several years of media experience, the degree will offer benefits on both professional and personal levels. The program offers three tracks including theory & criticism, digital media, and public health communication. All tracks are delivered online making it a convenient and affordable option for working professionals. Courses may include critical approaches to media studies, media law and regulation, and public relations theory and practice.
#7 – Marshall University
Online Master’s in New Media Studies
Huntington, West Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,432
Ranked as one of the top online media programs, Marshall University offers its degree in new media studies through its W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The 30-credit program is an excellent option for those switching careers or for industry veterans to update their skills and knowledge in a rapidly changing media landscape. Courses may include depth reporting, design thinking, history of mass communications, and new media cultures. Applicants must have an earned bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 minimum GPA with a minimum composite score of 370 on the GRE.
#6 – Liberty University
Online Master’s in Social Media Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,333
Liberty University’s online master’s degree in media focuses on social media management and developing skills across media platform such as television and radio. Additionally, students develop their media writing skills that help engage audiences and captivate stakeholders. The degree is delivered exclusively online, allowing the student to remain engaged with other obligations such as career and family so there is no need to sacrifice important obligations while pursuing a graduate degree from a nationally ranked and respected institution like Liberty. Featured courses include effective social media, strategic media analysis, and using emerging trends in strategic communication. Students from all academic and career backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
#5 – Texas Tech University
Online Master’s in Strategic Communication and Innovation
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,015
Similar to an online master’s degree in media, Texas Tech University offers a graduate degree in strategic communication and innovation through its College of Media & Communication. Designed for current communication professionals, the admission standards include personal statement, resume, writing samples, references, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Test scores are not required but applicants may send them in as part of their materials. The 30-credit program features seven core classes and three electives. Courses may include communication in organizations, strategic communication in a global environment, and strategic communication planning and writing. Graduates who complete will earn a degree from a nationally ranked institution with a worldwide alumni base.
#4 – University of Nebraska
Online Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communications
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,588
Students considering an online master’s degree in media will want to explore the University of Nebraska’s online degree in journalism and mass media that offers specializations in integrated media communications and professional journalism. The degree is designed to augment and add to the skills and knowledge of undergraduates with degrees in communication or journalism, or communication and media professionals with career experience. The degree is offered entirely online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats with some courses meeting once per week online in the evenings. These courses give students the ability to interact with their peers and professors while maintaining flexibility.
#3 – University of West Alabama
Online Master’s in Library Media
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,868
The University of West Alabama master’s in media online designed for current or aspiring library media specialists. The program is applicable for educators seeking a master level certification and educators seeking to switch careers to be a library teacher or an administrator. Courses may include introduction to special education or counseling, techniques of educational research, and technology and education. Classes are 8 weeks in length, with the 33-credit program taking 1-2 years to complete. Students who complete are eligible for an Alabama teaching certificate. Students from other states should check on certification requirements. The University of West Alabama ranks #96 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report.
#2 – Eastern New Mexico University
Online Master’s in Communication
Portales, New Mexico
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,778
Eastern New Mexico State University offers one of the best online media programs due to its 100% online delivery and affordable tuition. The program is designed for both current and aspiring media professionals including journalists, public relations specialists, advertising, publishing, sales, and government. Admission requirements include the possession of a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 grade point average, two letters of recommendation, and a one-page statement of purpose. GRE scores are not part of the application. Courses may include documentary writing and production, public relations cases and concepts, relational and interpersonal communication behavior, and rhetoric and popular culture.
#1 – Arkansas State University
Online Master’s in Media Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,210
Arkansas State University’s master’s in media online prepares students for a wide variety of communication careers including broadcast news, public relations, and integrated communication. The program provides universal communication foundation courses along with electives focused on specific careers. The 30-credit degree can be finished in as few as 12 months. Admission requires a minimum 30 GPA and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. In addition, students must submit a personal statement, letter of recommendation, and have grades of “C” or higher in a media type course (recommended but not required). Arkansas State is fully accredited and ranks #293 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.
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