By BCD Staff
An online bachelor’s degree in communications can open a lot of doors. Almost every field you can think of has a demand for people who can communicate in a clear and concise manner, and with the proliferation of mediums for communication, demand is on the rise, as well. Being able to hone those skills and acquire qualifications from the place of your choosing and on your own schedule is a marvel of the modern age. This list of the Top 20 Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications is meant to help you find the perfect school to meet your budget and your desired skill set.
Featured Communications Programs
Online education requires a particular skill set that is different from traditional brick and mortar classwork. Most school websites offer assessments to see how your skills stack up. They also require some technical capital, but if you were able to access this article, you are probably all right on that count. Again, school websites will have the specifics on their requirements.
These rankings of the Top 20 Online Bachelor’s in Communications programs were based on tuition value (10 points), national profile of program (10 points), faculty to student ratio as a stand in for amount of individual attention you can expect to receive (10 points) and curriculum relevancy to the needs of the profession (10 points). Additional bonus points were awarded for professional experience on the part of the faculty (5 points) and specialized services tailored to meet the needs of online learners (5 points). In the case of a tie, the school with lower tuition was given primacy.
All tuition, enrollment and student to faculty ratio figures are from the National Center for Education Statistics, an information clearinghouse of the U.S. government. Per credit hour figures are from individual school websites, where available.
Ranking the Top Online Communications Degrees
#20 – Northern Arizona University
The online bachelor’s in communication studies at Northern Arizona University enables students to practice their skills in a variety of contexts. It is a 120 credit hour program, with 42 of those hours in the major. Topics covered in the course of study include rhetorical criticism and group communication. Northern Arizona University participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), which allows residents of 14 western states or 2 U.S. territories to substantial savings on the out-of-state tuition rate. They have an excellent student to faculty ratio at 18:1.
#19 – DePaul University
DePaul University offers a degree completion program for their online bachelor’s of communications. It requires at least 30 semester hours previous credit, a 2.0 GPA and good standing at your last school. Courses recommended for this degree include nonverbal communication and persuasion. DePaul University employs veteran liaisons, who are active students with military experience who can help new students access benefits, resources and support services available to them. In addition to top-tier name recognition, DePaul University offers a student to faculty ratio of just 16:1.
#18 – Dominican College of Blauvelt
Orangeburg, New York
Dominican College of Blauvelt prides itself on providing the classic small, private, liberal arts a genuine liberal arts college experience. Their online bachelor’s of communications maintains that feeling with a student to faculty ratio of 16:1. Topics covered in this course of study include gender communication and introduction to communication theory. Dominican College of Blauvelt accepts up to 90 transfer credits from a four-year institution. 30 credits must be earned at Dominican College to be eligible for graduation. Dominican College of Blauvelt is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#17 – Arizona State University – Tempe
Arizona State University has a three part online student support system in their online bachelor’s degree in communications. First, enrollment counselors will help you with transfer credits and finding which program is right for you. Next, you will meet the academic advisors who walk you through the ins and outs of your selected course of study. Finally, there are success coaches to help you adjust to life as an online student and connect you to other resources you might find helpful. Their student to faculty ratio is 23:1.
#16 – Mississippi College
Mississippi College has been innovating since the beginning. In 1831, they became the first coeducational college in the country to grant a degree to a woman. They have continued that spirit of innovation with their offering of an online bachelor’s degree in communications. They are that rare private college with tuition more comparable to a public institution. They also keep class size down, with a student to faculty ratio of only 15:1. They offer five concentrations on the degree – interpersonal and public communication, journalism, sports media, mass media and public relations. Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
#15 – Philadelphia University
The Philadelphia University online bachelor’s of science in professional communications and emerging media is an up to date degree for our fast moving times. Coursework covers technologies of communication (social media) and blog writing. They operate on an 8-week course structure and you could matriculate is as little as 2-3 years. Philadelphia University offers a 120 credit hour program with 54 of those hours covering various aspects of the major. Their student to faculty ratio is a strong 13:1.
#14 – University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers a nationally ranked online bachelor’s in communications at a reduced fixed rate for digital students, regardless of residency status. This 120 hour program includes six required hours in intercultural communication competency. It further includes 34 required hours in the major, studying topics like human communication concepts and communicating with difference. They offer copious support services for online students, including library and IT access as well as special services for students with disabilities and veterans. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s student to faculty ratio clocks in at a laudable 15:1.
#13 – University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
The University of North Dakota distinguishes its online learning program by offering in-state tuition rates to all digital students, regardless of residency. Their 125 hour program is 100% online and offered in a semester format. Topics covered in this degree include organizational communication and public relations. This online bachelor’s in communications can be completed in four years, depending on transfer credits. The University of North Dakota honors their commitment to personal service by keeping student to faculty ratio to a very reasonable 21:1.
#12 – Northeastern University
Northeastern University’s online bachelor’s in professional communications offers the right balance of theory and practice in the communicative arts. Their course of study touches on graphic design as well as business fundamentals, both of which are in high demand by employers. The 120 credit hour program is offered only online and conveys positive learning outcomes with the specialized knowledge of the faculty, coursework that provides experiential learning and a stellar 14:1 student faculty ratio. Northeastern University has received national recognition for their online bachelor’s in professional communications.
#11 – Newbury College
Newbury College Online boasts one of the lowest per credit hour rate of any school in New England at $275 per hour. Their online bachelor’s in communication prepares students with practical skills, as well as an understanding of the history of the media. Course titles for this degree include digital storytelling and social media tools. Newbury College offers three tracks for this program, digital journalism, media production and public relations and advertising. They maintain an exceptional student to faculty ratio of just 15:1.
#10 – University of Memphis
The University of Memphis has been widely recognized for the excellence of both its undergraduate and graduate online degree programs. Their online bachelor’s degree is a 120 credit hour program. Their student to faculty ratio is 14:1, which is excellent. As an online student of the University of Memphis, you will gain access to all the resources of a Tier II research university, just like a traditional student. The University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#9 – Indiana University East
Indiana University East is unique on this list in that they offer both the online bachelor’s of arts (BA) in communications and the online bachelor’s of science in communication as degree completion programs open to those with an associate’s degree or 60 credit hours and a 2.0 GPA. The BA degree has an emphasis in the humanities, whereas the BS is more technical in nature. Coursework in the program includes communication theories and communication research methods. Indiana University East has a student to faculty ratio of just 15:1.
#8 – University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College is in the process of adopting open educational resources, leaving you free of expensive textbooks and more in touch with your instructor’s plan for the course. They offer a discounted rate of $250 per credit hour for military service members and eligible spouses and dependents. Their faculty brings real-world experience to the classroom which can enrich your learning and also offer networking opportunities. The University of Maryland University College has a student to faculty ratio of just 22:1.
#7 – Drexel University
Not only does Drexel University have a reputation as a top-tier school, their online bachelor’s degree in communications is nationally recognized. Students in this program are eligible for 40% off the standard per credit hour rate. With the discount, the rate is $489, which is competitive for a higher-end private school. In addition to a student to faculty ratio of only 10:1, Drexel University also offers students access to its worldwide network of graduates for networking and professional advice.
#6 – University of Louisville
The University of Louisville offers more than just a nationally recognized online bachelor’s program in communications. They also offer a high level of student services for online degree seekers. Their online bachelor’s of science in communication requires 21 hours in the core and an additional 15 hours of communications electives. The University of Louisville offers competitive per credit hour pricing and they keep the student to faculty ratio low at 13:1. They are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#5 – University of Texas of the Permian Basin
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is a part of the prestigious University of Texas system and an affordable option on this list at just $288 per credit hour. Their online bachelor’s of communications degree is a 120 hour program incorporating courses such as introduction to public speaking and rhetoric in western thought. They operate on an 8-week course structure, so with sufficient transfer credit, this degree can be completed in as little as 12 months. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin boasts a student to faculty ratio of 20:1.
#4 – Thomas Edison State University
Trenton, New Jersey
Thomas Edison State University’s general education requirements include coursework in diversity, ethics and civic engagement. This shows concern for your success not just as a professional, but as a citizen. This is not unusual, considering that the school was formed in the 1970s for the benefit of adult learners. They also offer a discounted hourly tuition rate for military service members. Their online bachelor’s in communications is a 120 credit hour program that can be completed at your own pace. Thomas Edison State University has a student to faculty ratio of just 15:1.
#3 – Colorado State University Global Campus
Greenwood Village, Colorado
Colorado State University Global Campus has been offering online education services since 2007, and in that time they have seen their enrollment go from 208 to more than 15,000. The online bachelor’s in communications is a 120 hour program with 36 hours in the major. Coursework includes studies in interpersonal communication and communicating conflict and persuasion. Colorado State University Global Campus is on trend with the new per credit hour pricing for online students, regardless of residency. Their undergraduate rate clocks in at $350 per credit hour, which is very competitive. Their student to faculty ratio is 30:1.
#2 – University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a nationally ranked and accredited option with their online bachelor’s completion program in organizational and relational communication. Their offering on this list is slightly different, in that it is a bachelor’s completion program offering upper level coursework to those with an associate’s degree or the majority of their general studies requirements completed. Their in-state hourly tuition (including distance education fees) is under $300. They keep classes small with a student to faculty ratio of just 14:1.
#1 – University of Minnesota – Crookston
The University of Minnesota – Crookston keeps its rates competitive by having just one pricing tier for tuition and keeping their hourly charges below $400. Combine that with the knowledge that you are getting the same education and diploma as any other student in the esteemed University of Minnesota system and this online bachelor’s in communication seems like an excellent idea. They keep their student to faculty ratio on the low end at 17:1 and their faculty has both research and professional experience in the field of communications.
This concludes our list of Top 20 Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications.