2022’s Best Online MBA Programs in Communications

Published March 28, 2022 | Mary Blowers

2022’s Best Online MBA Programs in Communications

Are you ready to discover your MBA program?

The study of communications focuses on human behavior, patterns of communication, professional interactions, and interpersonal relationships. An MBA in communications provides business professionals with the education they need to interact with businesses and the public.

Communications professionals excel in any setting that involves information output, including advertising and personnel management. MBA in communications graduates can work in nearly any industry and hold job titles like public relations manager, marketing executive, and human resources manager.

This page details what to expect from an MBA in communications program and the top careers for graduates. We also list the best online MBA programs in communications to help you get started on your school search.

Navigate This Page: Why Enroll in Communications MBA | What to Expect | Career Opportunities | Organizations | Best Online Programs in Communications | Common Questions

Why Enroll in a Communications MBA Program?

Earning a master's in business communications can demonstrate a higher level of competency and professionalism to future employers. This specialized MBA combines foundational business knowledge with social sciences, marketing, and psychology topics.

Professionals with specialized graduate degrees may benefit from increased opportunities for upward mobility and high-paying salaries. Those with an MBA in communications can pursue high-paying roles like marketing manager, earning an impressive median annual salary of $141, 490.

Those with an MBA in communications can pursue high-paying roles like marketing manager, earning an impressive median annual salary of $141, 490.

MBA in communications programs have 36-45 credits and may take 1-3 years to complete depending on students' enrollment status and schedule. Costs vary based on the reputation and location of the university, but degree-seekers can save on educational costs by studying online.

MBA in communications curriculum and experiences equip graduates with valuable skills in:

  • Strategic Communications: Communications professionals often need to lead policy-making conversations and offer guidance on communications between organizations. Strategic communication involves conveying concepts, processes, or research that meets strategic goals. MBA in communications programs also cover integrated communication, organizational communication, and corporate communication.
  • Public Speaking: Communications employees regularly collaborate with teams, lead meetings, and present goals to large groups. Public speaking and presentation skills hold an important place in communications studies. MBA in communications core courses generally offer enrollees opportunities for presenting to and collaborating with their peers.
  • Business Writing: Graduates use business writing in professional settings to effectively communicate. Business writing conveys relevant information in a clear, concise manner. Communications professionals apply business writing skills in research reports, client proposals, strategic goals, and emails.
  • Marketing: Marketing communication involves the interactions between businesses and their customers. Communications professionals use various marketing channels and media to communicate with target audiences. Advertising and marketing communication classes may focus on marketing methods including direct marketing, social marketing, and traditional marketing.

Why You Should Get Your Communications MBA Online

Pursuing an MBA in communications online allows enrollees greater flexibility for juggling a work schedule and family obligations. Studying remotely allows students greater access to top schools without relocating. Online learners can also avoid commuting time and costs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning opportunities have expanded, with many top schools now offering distance education. Students can often choose between synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid programs. Learn more below about these instructional styles and what coursework to expect from an online MBA in communications degree.

What to Expect From Online Communications MBA Programs

Online MBA in communications degrees are designed with working professionals in mind. In the business industry, education often matters as much as work experience. Studying online while working in the industry can help students enhance their resumes and prepare for advanced roles in communications.

Candidates beginning the application process should gather admissions materials including program applications, official transcripts, an essay or letter of intent, a professional resume, and at least two letters of recommendation. Applicants may also need to complete a virtual or phone interview with school admissions staff.

Based on their schedule, availability, and learning style, students may prefer to study in a synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrid format.

  • Synchronous: Students and instructors log in and participate in learning at the same time in separate locations.
  • Asynchronous: Instructors make learning tools and media widely accessible so that learners can log in and complete work when convenient while meeting deadlines.
  • Hybrid: A combination of online (synchronous or asynchronous) and in-person learning options

Curriculum

MBA communications students take foundational core courses, some elective courses, and an internship or field experience. Common courses include ethical leadership, analytics and decision-making, people-focused management, and financial analysis.

Ethical Leadership

This course focuses on ethical responsibilities in the communications field. Communications professionals must honestly and ethically correspond with consumers, peers, and superiors. This course teaches the ethical principles that can support employees and stimulate organizational growth.

Analytics and Decision-Making

This course examines the methodology of professional decision-making. Communications students learn how to make decisions regarding financial, social, political, and ecological issues for their organization. Students analyze real-world challenges and apply frameworks to make decisions.

People-Focused Management

This course prepares future communications professionals to lead and manage teams. Students learn management tools that promote growth, build brands, and generate positive experiences for employees and customers. People-focused management helps communications professionals develop interpersonal relationships within organizations and increase productivity with a positive work environment.

Financial Analysis

This fundamental business course teaches students to assess the viability, stability, and profitability of a business. Enrollees learn accounting and financial tools and techniques that drive productive business decisions. In this course, students may interpret financial reports, implement financial strategies, and evaluate investments.

MBA Internship

Internship experiences provide students with practical opportunities to apply the skills and techniques learned in the classroom. Students often need to complete about 120 hours at an approved business location. All potential businesses must be approved by the program.

Insights From a Marketing Professional

Portrait of Kasey Sisson

Kasey Sisson

Kasey Sisson is a marketing professional based in central Texas who found her love for communication when she started a fashion blog in middle school. As tragic as those outfits and blog entries were, this launched her passion for storytelling and led her to her first role as a social media coordinator for a small business during college. After receiving her master's degree in organizational communication, she worked in the corporate sector for a large chain restaurant as a marketing data analyst. This eventually led her to where she is today — working as a brand manager for a marketing agency in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Why is the communications industry important?

The communication industry is important because it allows you to tell your story — it's marketing at the core. I believe that without communication, you wouldn't be able to differentiate yourself among your competitors or grow your business.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities as a marketing professional?

My day-to-day looks different based on our needs as a company, but I support the wedding entrepreneur I work for in many different aspects. Some of those include the following: drafting pitches to press for exposure opportunities (collaborations, local news stories, open houses, styled photoshoots); creating and posting social media content for clients (posts, reels, pins, etc); meeting with our internal team for strategic planning on marketing rollouts; collaborating with clients on projects for brand photoshoots — I mean, you name it! Our team is so talented and offers anything marketing related for our clients.

How did your educational background prepare you for your position?

I was privileged enough to obtain a private education through high school and I learned a lot about discipline and expectations during that time. I believe the level of education I was receiving at the time definitely impacted my ability to go into college and excel in my courses.

During my time in undergrad, I cultivated a love and desire to learn about communication at a level that I didn't know existed within myself. And finally, the lessons that I learned and courses that I took during my graduate program absolutely prepared me for the things I am doing today.

More specifically, I use the lessons I learned on understanding the power of storytelling and persuasion, mass media communication, and how both of these apply to interpersonal communication as a whole.

What do you think are essential skills for communication professionals to be successful? Why?

I believe the most important skill to have to be a successful communication professional is the ability to be a storyteller. Anyone can be a communication professional, but what is going to make you stand out is the ability to take someone's story/product/idea and communicate that to others in a way that is persuasive enough for them to want to be involved, whether that is following on social, buying the product, or supporting your concept in general.

What is the best part of your career?

I think the best part of my career is how many roles you are able to jump into with a masters of communication. You know, if you go get an accounting degree, you are going to be an accountant. But with communication, there are so many different avenues for you to explore. In my career specifically, I look forward to being able to help others tell their story or market their product in a way that is unique to them.

"I believe the most important skill to have to be a successful communication professional is the ability to be a storyteller."

What is the most challenging part of your career?

The most challenging part of my career has been the constant change, specifically in regard social media. It's beautiful because it is constantly changing, but it is challenging because there is always something new that is trending or changing that you need to keep up with to stay relevant.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your industry?

I believe COVID-19 has impacted our industry in the sense that it made everyone realize how important storytelling is, especially over media communication. During the pandemic, everyone was on social media and scrolling all day, so there was a constant intake of information. If anything, our clients realized it is actually more important for us to dig in and continue to tell their story and be present.

What do you see as the future of communications in your career?

I believe the future of communications is going to continue to show the value of authenticity. Whether it is sharing the values of your brand in a project launch, or posting a reel that's trending on Instagram, it is going to continue to be important to be authentic and real with your followers.

The smoke and mirrors is over — people aren't buying the fluff anymore because they're getting smarter about who they're partnering with. Both from a consumer standpoint and a brand standpoint. Social media isn't going anywhere. The more genuine and true to your brand that you are, the more successful you will be.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career in communications?

My advice is to find someone who can act as a mentor for you that is in the field, and consistently meet with them. I have found a community of creatives that I connect with on occasion, and I crave that time with them to bounce ideas off each other and seek advice on things I'm dealing with in the industry. It is so important for you to have someone to use as a mentor, especially in this industry, because it is ever-changing.

Career Opportunities After Graduating

MBA degrees provide a well-rounded approach to essential business aspects. A concentration in communications also provides a broad skill set in marketing, advertising, public relations, and human resources.

Graduates from MBA in communications programs meet the preferred qualifications for many interesting careers. Holding a graduate degree also helps candidates negotiate higher pay and promotions.

Some of the top careers for communications professionals include marketing communication director, advertising and promotions manager, public relations manager, and human resources manager.

Advertising and Promotions Manager

Advertising and promotions managers lead teams that plan and execute their organization's advertising programs, branding, and media. They earn an average annual salary of $68,690 as of January 2022, according to Payscale.

Marketing Communications Director

Marketing communications directors lead marketing teams that analyze market trends, collect consumer data, and develop marketing campaigns. Payscale reports they earn an average annual salary of $84,640 as of January 2022.

Human Resources Director

HR directors oversee business operations involving personnel. They supervise employee hiring, benefits, and payroll. These professionals earn an average annual salary of $89,940 as of January 2022.

Public Relations Director

PR directors maintain the public image and reputation of their organization. They may work with the media to present a positive image of their company. As of January 22, public relations directors earn an average annual salary of $91,680.

Professional Organizations

Advancing in the business communications field requires education, commitment, and networking. Take a look at these professional organizations that offer support and resources to communications professionals.

The IABC is a global association connecting communication professionals with conferences and continuing education opportunities. An IABC membership provides mentorship, credentials, and communications tools to help professionals advance in the industry.

The PRSA advocates for industry excellence and ethical conduct in the communications field. Their membership offers learning opportunities and resources to enhance professional connections and support members at every stage of their careers.

The STC offers membership to students, academics, practitioners, and managers in the technical communication field. This organization boasts award-winning publications and an annual networking conference.

This society offers awards and recognition for the journalism achievements and media organizations' best practices. They also offer communication and journalistic learning opportunities and provide industry products and services.

Choosing Between Communications MBA Programs

Selecting the right graduate program is a personal choice. Prospective students should carefully consider their learning needs and long-term career goals. Learners should also consider a program's available concentrations, length or credit load, cost, and instruction delivery options.

Available Concentrations
Online MBA degrees have become widely available, but not every program offers a concentration in communications. Some schools may offer programs geared towards a specific aspect of communications like an MBA in communication and media.
Program Length
Programs vary in credit load and length of time needed to complete a degree. MBA in communications degrees require 36-45 credits, but the length of time varies based on whether students enroll part- or full-time.
Cost
Many students face difficulties in financing graduate degrees. Fortunately, many online programs cost less per credit than on-campus programs and offer financial aid or tuition break opportunities.
Instruction Delivery
Online communications students benefit from the ability to select programs that meet their learning needs. Students should determine what instructional style works best for them: online, in person, or hybrid.

Best Online MBA Programs in Communications

Interested in earning an online MBA in communications? Explore our ranking of the five best online MBA programs in communications for 2022. Find out more about how we rank our schools at the link below.

Concordia University Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan's CUAA, a private Lutheran institution established in 1963, offers more than 60 majors and programs. The nearly 1,200 enrolled students can take part in its 24 sports programs.

MBA in Communications and Public Relations

CUAA's Department of Business offers an online MBA in communication and public relations that helps students improve their writing abilities and other communication techniques.

The program explores group dynamics, public speaking, and effective business writing. Designed for working professionals whose career involves significant communication, the MBA can help students advance in advertising, consulting, and corporate public relations careers.

The 36-credit degree requires classes in public personnel administration, ethical leadership for dynamic organizations, and mastering analytics and decision-making. Each student completes two experiential learning courses, which may include an internship or study-abroad program. The final semester requires a strategic management capstone.

CUAA's Affordability

Online MBA in communication and public relations majors at CUAA pay $779 per credit. The school offers thousands of dollars in new scholarships and grants specifically targeted at working professionals and returning students.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $779/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit application form, one-page essay, resume, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.
    • GPA: 2.75 (Students with a lower GPA may still be considered)
    • Standardized Tests: Not required

Bellevue University

Founded in 1966, Bellevue, Nebraska's BU offers affordable, career-oriented degrees. The school partners with more than 90 employers to connect skilled graduates with jobs relevant to their majors.

MBA in Professional Communication

BU offers one of the best online MBA programs with a professional communication concentration. Students can develop business leadership, problem-solving, team building, and decision-making skills. The curriculum explores areas like finance, marketing, logistics, and innovation with a focus on communication.

This 36-credit degree requires classes like marketing and new media strategy, interpersonal and intercultural communication, and conflict and negotiation. During the program, students create portfolios to demonstrate their work and skills to prospective employers. BU also offers an accelerated, cohort-based MBA that lets enrollees graduate more quickly.

BU's Affordability

BU's affordable MBA costs $610 per credit for both online and on-campus students. The school's accelerated, cohort-based MBA takes less time to complete and saves tuition. Graduate students can apply for BU scholarships.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Tuition: $610/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Hold a bachelor's or master's degree, complete an online application, submit a deposit and transcripts, fill out the FAFSA
    • GPA: 2.5 (in last 60 credits toward a bachelor's degree) or 3.0 (in previous graduate-level coursework)
    • Standardized Tests: None

Brenau University

As a member of the Women's College Coalition, Brenau in Gainesville, Georgia, offers online and on-campus programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Founded in 1878, the school blends a liberal arts tradition with professional preparation.

MBA in Communication Management

Students can find one of the best online MBA programs with a concentration in communication management from Brenau's College of Business and Communication. The degree focuses on research, theory, and practice of corporate communication. Graduates can pursue various careers in corporate communication.

The 45-credit MBA requires classes like negotiation and mediation, communication in society, communication consulting and training, and media industries and business practices. Enrollees develop practical skills in technology, critical thinking, and communication.

Brenau's Affordability

Brenau's competitive tuition rate is $755 an hour for online MBA students. The school gives out various scholarships and grants. MBA students also benefit from Georgia's relative affordability. Georgia residents pay 11% less than the national average for the cost of living.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $755/hour
  • Required Credits: 45
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit an online application, transcripts, and resume
    • GPA: 3.0
    • Standardized Tests: None

Webster University

Founded in 1815 by the Sisters of Loretto, Saint Louis, Missouri's Webster enrolls about 10,000 students from 138 countries. The school's core values include global citizenship, learning, and diversity and inclusion.

MBA in Corporate Communications

Webster offers one of the best online MBA programs with an area of emphasis in corporate communications through its George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology. The degree develops business competencies by teaching students to find opportunities for value creation, develop implementation plans, and manage business processes.

The 42-45 credit curriculum requires classes in public relations, crisis management communications, strategic communications, and organizational communications. Students gain communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Webster offers the option to complete a dual degree, combining the MBA with various other master's degrees.

A learner who has completed an accredited undergraduate business degree from Webster in the last ten years can waive six elective credits.

Webster's Affordability

Webster offers an affordable tuition rate of $780 per credit. Members of the military qualify for a significant discount, paying just $380 per credit. A graduate assistantship with tuition remission can help reduce the cost of the MBA.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Tuition: $780/credit
  • Required Credits: 42-45
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit online application and transcripts
    • GPA: 2.5
    • Standardized Tests: None

Concordia University Wisconsin

This Lutheran institution of higher learning, established in 1881, delivers more than 70 majors and programs. The school's small classes feature a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

MBA in Communications and Public Relations

CUW designed its MBA in communications and public relations for communication-focused business professionals. Students learn to successfully convey messages in advertising, corporate public relations, and public image management situations.

The 36-credit degree requires classes like publicity and public relations, social marketing strategies, corporate governance and board development, and effective business communication and the marketplace. Each enrollee chooses two experiential courses, like an internship or seminar. The final semester includes a strategic management capstone project.

CUW's Affordability

CUW's affordable tuition for online students costs $779 per credit. Distance learners may qualify for CUW scholarships and grants. The cost of living in Wisconsin is about 3% lower than the national average, potentially making CUW a more affordable choice than other places.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $779/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete an application; submit a one-page essay, resume, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts
    • GPA: 2.75 (students with lower GPAs may still receive consideration)
    • Standardized Tests: None

Common Questions About MBA in Communications

How long does it take to get an MBA in Communications?

MBA in communications programs require 36-45 credits, which can take students 1-3 years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated or self-paced learning opportunities so students can reach their goals faster.

Is communications a good career?

Earning an MBA in communications opens doors to a variety of career opportunities. Graduates can work in PR, marketing, advertising, and human resources.

What is an MBA in Communications?

An MBA in communications provides a well-rounded business education with focused studies in communications. These programs teach students to conduct business interactions and lead communications teams.

What is the difference between business communication and business administration?

Business communication concentrations focus on social sciences, marketing, and even human behavior to help students prepare for effective communication in the workplace.

Feature Image: FangXiaNuo / E+ / Getty Images


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