Are you looking for a new career and do you want to work with cutting-edge digital technology? If so, a master of communications degree might be the best way to gain strong writing skills and learn strategic communications techniques. The field of communications is rapidly changing as new technological developments are released. Job seekers with training and experience will be positioned to land the best jobs and the highest salaries in this field.

What is a Master’s Degree in Communication Degree?

This degree plan can have a variety of areas of concentration for students. The primary focus across all concentrations is to develop effective communications skills and the knowledge required to put those skills into action. Students learn the proper methods of communication within for profit and non-profit organizations, political arenas, health management fields, media outlets and advertising channels. It is an exciting career path with multiple options.

A Master of Arts—Communications Degree might include one of the concentrations below.

  • Political—focuses on the political arena and might include courses in speech writing, press release management, campaign management or policy writing.
  • Non-profit—focuses on organizational communication, communications with donors and sponsors, public education and brand building.
  • Digital—focuses on the technology and communications methods across a diverse set of customers, employees or the public at large. Courses will include effective communications using the Internet and communicating through social media and corporate websites.

Masters in Marketing vs. Masters in Communications

While there are some overlaps in coursework, there are some distinct differences in the degree plans. There are degree plans that combine the two concentrations.

A master in communications develops the student’s skills that require writing and stylistic approaches. It is considered an “art” and therefore training centers around understanding how to connect primarily for sharing ideas and information effectively. A master in marketing relies more on the science of connecting with consumers or communities. Extensive coursework in research, trends, motivation and relationships is covered in the marketing degree plans.

Both programs address branding and marketing. However, marketing is more strongly focused on establishing communications through an analytical approach.

Completing a Master’s in Communications Program

Completing a master’s program can take between one year and three years, depending on the type of university you choose, whether you take on-campus or online courses, and whether or not your university of choice offers accelerated programs. One thing that may impact the time it takes to complete your master’s is your undergraduate degree. Each university establishes their own prerequisite course list and course-credit requirement. Some universities offer experiential credits for prior work experience.

Program requirements typically range from 30 to 45 credit hours to complete a master’s degree plan. If you take a full-time course load of 12-15 hours, you can complete the program faster than if you attend part-time.

How Much Does A Master of Communication Cost?

Cost can fluctuate widely. Public brick-and-mortar colleges and universities are often much less expensive than online universities, although that is not always true. Today, the average cost for a 36-hour program is close to $20,000 for tuition and fees. In addition to the tuition costs, students can spend up to $1000 for books and supplies.

Federal grants and loans are available to reduce the initial costs of higher education for many people. Students should keep in mind that grants do not have to be paid back, whereas loans—even federally backed loans—will have to be paid back after you leave school.

Should You Choose a Online Masters in Communication or Campus Programs?

Deciding which option is best for you comes down to three simple questions. Which fits your economic needs better. Which fits your available time better? Which degree plan prepares you for your career goals better?

If finding time to attend class is an issue, online courses are probably the best option. Most courses have flexible hours and attendance schedules. However, online classes normally require more hours of engagement than many students realize.

Choosing a university that offers courses that closely match your career goals is optimum for success.

Public universities are often more affordable; however, many online programs offer discounts and scholarships to defray students’ costs.

Finding the perfect school is worth it—take time to do your research.

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