We’ve previously covered affordable bachelor’s of communication and bachelor’s of public relations degrees. This college rankings article focuses on the 20 most affordable online bachelor’s degrees in either topic.
There are a considerable number of occupations related to communications and public relations. Some of these are listed in the scrolling window below, compiled from the Web pages of the 20 colleges ranked in this article. A bachelor’s degree may suffice for many of the occupations, although some require an advanced degree and/or professional certification.
- account executive
- advertising associate
- alternative dispute resolution consultant
- argumentation and debate
- audio narratives
- brand management
- business management
- business writing
- career planning specialist
- chief communications officer (CCO)
- client services
- college instructor
- communication consultant
- communication director
- communication ethicist
- communications coordinator
- communications specialist
- community action director
- community affairs liaison
- community development officer
- copy editor
- corporate communications
- corporate training
- crisis communications
- customer relations
- customer service
- director of communications
- director of human resources
- director of media relations
- director of public relations
- employment relations representative
- event planning/ management
- freelance writing
- government agencies
- health communications
- high school teacher
- human resources administrator
- integrated marketing management
- labor relations manager
- legislative assistant
- management training
- market research analyst
- marketing communications specialist
- marketing manager
- media director
- media relations coordinator
- media relations specialist
- news editor
- news reporter
- online content manager
- personnel director
- political campaign leader
- political communication
- production director
- professional business consulting
- public affairs officer
- public affairs specialist
- public information officer
- public relations assistant
- public relations manager
- public relations specialist
- publication designer
- religious leadership
- rhetoric/ pop culture
- social media management
- social media specialist
- social services
- speech writing
- student support services
- technical communications
- technical writing
- training and development specialist
- web content writer
- web developer
- web site designer
If you are interested in a career in communications, public-relations or closely-related fields, this rankings list of relevant and affordable online bachelor’s degrees may help you find a suitable college/ university. A statistical summary for the 20 schools ranked here follows the NOTES section. The actual college rankings are after the summary.
- In terms of topic categories searched in the NCES.ed.gov database, we queried only for “Communications” and “Public Relations” categories. However, if the final 20 colleges in this rankings article have interdisciplinary programs, they may be mentioned in a school’s ranking.
- A college’s tuition for online programs may differ than that quoted for the on-campus program. This could be due to either or both of technology fees and out-of-state-portion waivers. Check with a college if you’re unsure. We have listed the tuition and net price values recorded in the NCES.ed.gov database.
- As accreditation can change or only be valid regionally, please verify accreditation of any college to which you are planning to apply.
- NCES data is subject to change and some of these “affordable degrees” guides may use more recent data than described in the Methodology.
- For the full list of programs covered to date, please check our School Rankings page.
- Online programs are strongly self-directed and recommended only for students who are self-driven when it comes to studying and researching.
- Some online program selection tips:
- Spend the time to carefully read the degree requirements.
- Browse the course curriculum and make notes of the courses that interest you most.
- Consider creating a spreadsheet to compare summaries of course/ programs across the schools referenced here. If you are looking for a minimum set of courses, make a list of those courses, one per column. Then list ranked schools vertically in the spreadsheet, one per row. Color code or make an annotation for each course offered by a given school.
- Add other columns to record information about tuition, net price, #credits/ courses required, etc., and color code their cells as suitable.
- This visual approach to online program selection can be quite effective compared to staring at bare numbers.
- The methodology for this series on online bachelor’s degrees is essentially the same as for our 15-school college rankings list. For example, see the “Methodology” section of the ranking list article 15 of the Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing for an explanation of the process we use to rank colleges in each topical bachelor’s list.
This is a summary of data available for the colleges/ universities mentioned in this college rankings list for Bachelors of Communications/Public Relations or related degree programs.
|Yearly net price range:||$7,433 – $20,525.|
|In-state tuition range:||$4,654 – $28,073.|
|Out-of-state tuition range:||$6,090 – $28,073.|
|Lowest in-state:||#7 FHSU.|
|Lowest out-of-state:||#2 UTPB.|
|Graduation rate range:||8 – 58% (one school did not report).|
|Transfer-out rate range:||5 – 41%.|
|Highest graduation rate:||#20 BU.|
|Lowest transfer-out rate:||#17 UIU.|
|# students range:||1140 – 195059.|
|# undergrads range:||1067 – 155872.|
|# grads range:||0 – 39187.|
|Largest # students:||#14 UOPX.|
|Largest # undergrads:||#14 UOPX.|
|Largest # grads:||#14 UOPX.|
|Oldest school:||#15 MC (est. 1826).|
|Youngest school:||#14 UOPX (est. 1976).|
|# states covered:||16.|
|States covered:||AR, AZ (2), IA, KS (2), KY, LA, MD, MN, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NY, TN (2), TX (2).|
Alphabetic list of schools covered in this ranking
The abbreviations used in the table below may not be official and in which case are used here for convenience only.
|NCES Name (abbrev, estdate, rank)||location||$in-state||$out-of-state||$net price|
|Arkansas State University (ASU, 1909, 6)||Jonesboro, Arkansas||$8,050||$14,050||$11,499|
|Baker University (BU, 1858, 20)||Baldwin City, Kansas||$27,160||$27,160||$20,525|
|Bellevue University (BU, 1966, 8)||Bellevue, Nebraska||$7,050||$7,050||$11,786|
|Dominican College of Blauvelt (DCB, 1952, 19)||Orangeburg, New York||$26,450||$26,450||$20,197|
|Fort Hays State University (FHSU, 1902, 7)||Hays, Kansas||$4,654||$13,657||$11,698|
|Granite State College (GSC, 1972, 12)||Concord, New Hampshire||$7,257||$8,025||$13,716|
|King University (KU, 1867, 16)||Bristol, Tennessee||$26,480||$26,480||$16,845|
|Louisiana State University-Shreveport (LSUS, 1967, 1)||Shreveport, Louisiana||$6,903||$20,057||$7,433|
|Midway University (MU, 1847, 18)||Midway, Kentucky||$22,250||$22,250||$18,346|
|Mississippi College (MC, 1826, 15)||Clinton, Mississippi||$16,064||$16,064||$16,418|
|Montana State University-Billings (MSUB, 1927, 5)||Billings, Montana||$5,808||$17,842||$10,881|
|North Dakota State University (NDSU, 1890, 13)||Fargo, North Dakota||$8,098||$19,392||$14,249|
|Northern Arizona University (NAU, 1899, 10)||Flagstaff, Arizona||$10,358||$23,348||$12,946|
|University of Houston-Victoria (UHV, 1973, 3)||Victoria, Texas||$7,086||$18,804||$10,131|
|University of Maryland-University College (UMUC, 1947, 4)||Adelphi, Maryland||$7,056||$12,336||$10,588|
|University of Memphis (UofM, 1912, 9)||Memphis, Tennessee||$8,903||$20,615||$12,369|
|University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC, 1905, 11)||Crookston, Minnesota||$11,646||$11,646||$13,055|
|University of Phoenix-Arizona (UOPX, 1976, 14)||Tempe, Arizona||$10,554||$10,554||$14,479|
|University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB, 1973, 2)||Odessa, Texas||$5,250||$6,090||$8,245|
|Upper Iowa University (UIU, 1857, 17)||Fayette, Iowa||$28,073||$28,073||$17,513|
This rankings article of online bachelors degrees in communications/public relations contains a number of charts, including a tuition summary of all 20 ranked colleges, plus additional charts for each ranked college (stats dashboard). The charts are all interactive. Here is a summary on how to use them:
- A modern browser is required for most of the charting features.
- For the bar charts, including the rectangular one directly below and the individual ones in each school summary, the vertical Y axis represents cost in dollars, for net price and in-state and out-of-state tuition per college. The horizontal X axis represents the schools ranked.
- The chart directly below shows in-state tuition (blue bars), out-of-state tuition (orange bars) and net price (connected green dots). Hover your mouse over a tuition bar or net price point and a tooltip will pop up that shows the institution name and the two cost values – net price and tuition. Use your mouse’s scroll wheel to zoom in on a section in the main chart. The sub-chart below the main chart will indicate what section you are viewing. Hover your mouse over either of the three labels, “in,” “out” or “net” underneath the sub-chart to visually highlight just the selected chart.
- The circular chart below the grouped bar chart/ line chart combo is an alternative view of tuition info, as well as additional data points. See below for more details.
- Each school ranked also displays two donut charts. The leftmost donut chart is a breakdown of number of students, with the total displayed in the middle, and the blue arc representing the percentage of students that are undergrads. The rightmost donut chart represents graduation rate of undergrads, with the rate displayed in the middle and also represented by the blue arc. Hover your mouse over any arc to get the student percentage or the graduation rate, depending on the donut chart.
Interactive Histogram/Line Chart: Tuition vs Net Price
As mentioned above, this chart compares in-state and out-of-state tuition, as well as net price, for all 20 schools ranked in this article on the most affordable online Bachelor’s degrees in Communications/ Public Relations.
CircosJS Circular Comparison Chart: Multiple Data Points
Compare all 20 ranked colleges simultaneously with this circular “Circos” chart (non-interactive). It might be intimidating at first, but by understanding what each “ring” or “track” represents, it becomes fairly easy and quite useful. You can see which colleges cost the most and least, which are the oldest and youngest, which have the most students, and more. See the “Tips for Use” section below, for more information.
Rankings: Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications/ Public Relations
20: Baker University
Baker University is a private, non-profit university established in 1858. Its main campus is located in Baldwin City, Kansas, some 40 miles southeast of Topeka, KS, and about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City, KS. Affiliation: United Methodist Church.
Baker has one online Communication program — its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Strategic Communication. This BS requires 124 credit hours, with 45 for the major. It prepares students to be the creators and managers of the internal and external strategic communications of a variety of businesses and organizations. To gain admission to this completion program, students must have already earned an associate’s degree or at least finished the general education requirements (at Baker or at another regionally accredited institution). The 15 courses for the Strategic Communication program major are available fully online at Baker, as are many of the elective requirements. The general education courses and other potential course requirements may be available online or may need to be taken on-campus (please check with the appropriate school to confirm). Online courses are available year-round and the Strategic Communication program can be completed in 22 to 24 months.
Sample courses: Advertising; Best Practices in Management and Leadership; Digital Media I; Effective Business Communication; Leveraging Technology in Decision Making; Innovative Marketing Strategies; Introduction to Public Relations; Mass Media and Society; Media Ethics; Social Media Strategies; Strategic Human Resources
Dominican College of Blauvelt (source)
Dominican College of Blauvelt is a private, nonprofit university that was established in 1952 by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt. It is located in Orangeburg, New York, about 25 miles north and slightly east of Manhattan, New York, NY. Original name: Dominican Junior College.
Dominican College offers one online Communication program — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies. This BA requires at least 120 semester-hours, with 15 for core courses, 15 for one of two tracks (Media Communication or Organizational Communication and Leadership), and 6 for additional upper-level communication courses. The BA prepares students to become effective communicators within various business settings or professional media practitioners. Dominican’s online programs are available year-round through six 8-week sessions per year. This allows students to fast track their studies. A program can be accelerated further through the university’s credit by examination provisions that enable students to demonstrate their existing knowledge in a certain area of study. Financial aid is available for many Dominican College students: 90% of full-time undergrads receive some form of assistance, while around 50% of part-time undergrads do.
Sample courses: Business and Global Communication; Communicating Change; Communication Research: Senior Seminar; Communication Technology; Computer Mediated Communication; Gender Communication; Internship in Communication Studies; Interpersonal Communications; Persuasion and Argumentation; Public Relations
Little Memorial Library, Midway University (source)
Midway University is a private, not-for-profit, women’s university established in 1847. Its main campus is located in Midway, Kentucky, some 15 miles northwest of Lexington, KY, and about 85 miles south and slightly west of Cincinnati, Ohio. Midway will begin admitting male undergrads in Fall 2016 (it already does so in its online programs), and males in residences in Fall 2017. Original name: Kentucky Female Orphan School. Affiliation: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Midway has one online Communications program — its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Marketing Communications with a Writing Concentration. This BS requires 120 credit-hours with 36 for the major and 15 for the concentration. The BS provides students with a solid communication foundation, and a particular strength in the writing aspect of communications. This gives students a chance to pursue careers as professional writers within, or for, a variety of businesses and industries. Midway’s online studies have five academic terms each year. Each course within these terms generally lasts 8 weeks (although some can be only 4 or 6 weeks long). These intensive modules allow for an accelerated degree path and provide multiple entry points for new students. To further shorten one’s degree path, Midway offers credit for a variety of life and work experiences. To qualify for financial aid, online students must take at least two courses per term.
Sample courses: Advertising Writing; Applied Marketing Communications Writing; Capstone; Consumer/ Audience Analysis; Global Brand Management; Graphic Design; Internal Brand Communication; Introduction to Marketing Communications; Media Sales and Analysis; Introduction to Public Relations; Political Writing
Andres Center for Business and Education, Upper Iowa University (source)
Upper Iowa University (UIU) is a private, nonprofit university established in 1857. UIU’s main campus is located in Fayette, Iowa, about 165 miles northeast of Des Moines, IA, and around 255 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. Original name: Fayette Seminary of the Upper Iowa Conference.
UIU offers three online Communication programs: one Bachelor’s, one minor, and one certificate. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication with a Communication Studies (CS) Emphasis requires a minimum of 120 credits, with 12 for the CS core and 27 for the CS emphasis. The BS arms students with the ability to analyze, adapt, and craft their communications to fit the needs of the situation and audience. Students in other majors can study communication via UIU’s 15-credit Certificate in Communication Studies or 24-credit Minor in Communication Studies. (The certificate can also be taken as a standalone program.) Affordability at UIU can be maximized by taking advantage of all the discounts, employer tuition assistance opportunities, financial aid options (grants, loans, scholarships), and life/ experience credit provisions that are available.
Sample courses: Business and Professional Communication; Communication Ethics; Human Communication; Intercultural Communication; Internship; Interpersonal Communication; Public Speaking; Research Methods in Communication; Rhetoric and Public Culture; Senior Seminar
16: King University
King University (source)
King University is a private, non-profit, comprehensive Christian university that was established in 1867 and admits students of all faiths. Its main campus is located in Bristol, Tennessee, about 115 miles northeast of Knoxville, TN, and some 165 miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina. Original name: King College. Religious affiliations: Presbyterian Church USA and Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
King has one online Communication program — its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication. This BS requires 124 semester-hours, with 49 for the major. Students need to have already completed 45 hours of courses in order to gain admission into the program. As such, the degree is well-suited to adult students who have had some college/ university experience, are already working, and want to improve their ability to communicate effectively on the job (both internally and externally). As an online program, the BS offers multiple starting points throughout the year. It is also an accelerated program: the major coursework can be completed in as little as 16 months. To help with affordability, several financial aid options are available; and about 98 percent of King’s 2,900 or so students receive some form of assistance (totaling over $35 million each year). King also has good career placement success: 85% of graduates are working in their field within six months of graduation, and 92% are either employed or in graduate school six months after graduation.
Sample courses: Advanced Speech Communication; Comprehensive Assessment Portfolio; Ethics in Communication; Interpersonal Communication; Introduction to Media Communication; Leadership Communication; Organizational Communication; Professional Communication; Public Relations; Rhetoric and Persuasion; Visual Rhetoric
Nelson Hall, Mississippi College (source)
Mississippi College (MC) is a private, non-profit Christian university that was established in 1826. Its main campus is located in Clinton, Mississippi, some 10 miles northwest of Jackson, MS, and about 195 miles north and slightly west of New Orleans, Louisiana. Original name: Hampstead Academy. Religious affiliation: Mississippi Baptist Convention.
MC has two online Communication programs — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication. Both degrees require 130 semester hours, with 22 for the communication core, 18 for the generalist concentration, and 18 for a minor. The BA also has a 12-hour foreign language requirement. Both degrees help students become strong and effective communicators, able to present, speak, and write for/ to any audience of any size; and able to analyze, create, and plan effective communication campaigns. This provides students with career options in a wide array of fields, including within communications and the media. For students who want to complete their degree faster, MC offers an accelerated version of the BS where courses are taken in 8-week sessions. (Some accelerated courses may need to be taken on campus. Also, the BA may be available in the accelerated format. Please check with MC for confirmation and details on both issues).
Sample courses: Communication Law; Communication Research; Intercultural Communication; Interpersonal Communication; Mass Media Survey; Negotiation; Portfolio; Public Relations; Public Speaking
The University of Phoenix (UOPX) is a private, for-profit university system established in 1976 and based in Phoenix, Arizona. It has over 100 locations in the U.S., including its main campus in Tempe, AZ, about 10 miles southeast of Phoenix. Several other UOPX campuses also offer online Communication programs and were on our initial candidate list, but the main campus has the lowest net price and is the one that made our Top 20.
UOPX offers five online Communication programs: one Bachelors, four certificates. Its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication provides students with the skills they’ll need to create and analyze communication across a wide array of personal and professional contexts, with audiences of one or millions. The BS requires at least 120 credits, with 39 for the major and is designed to be completed in about four years. Within that 120 credits, students can also add one of four specialized, en route Communication Certificates: Communication and Technology; Cultural Studies and Communication; Leadership Communication in Organizations; and Marketing and Sales Communication. Each one requires at least 18 credits and can be completed before the degree is completed (providing for early and immediate career benefits). Each certificate can also be taken as a standalone program (est. 30-week completion time). Finally, students can reduce their tuition cost and program length through credits gained from a Prior Learning Assessment.
Sample courses: Capstone in Communication; Communication in Mediation and Conflict Resolution; Communication Theories and Practice; Ethics and Communication; Foundations of Interpersonal Communication; Foundations of Mass Communication; Intercultural Communication; Media and Society; Organizational Communication; Small Group and Team Communication
North Dakota State University (source)
North Dakota State University (NDSU) is a public research university established in 1890 as North Dakota Agricultural College. It is part of the North Dakota University System and its main campus is in Fargo, North Dakota, some 200 miles east of Bismarck, ND, and about 240 miles northeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
NDSU has one online Communication program — its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Strategic Communication. This BS requires a minimum of 122 credits in total, with at least 15 for a minor, 24 for the major, and 12 for an area of specialization (Advertising, Health Campaigns, or Public Relations). The BS prepares students for strategic communication careers with organizations such as advertising agencies, businesses, community service groups, corporations, government agencies, labor unions, nonprofits, or trade associations. To be admitted to the BS, students must first complete a 21-credit Pre-Communication “major” with a grade of B or better. (Two other Communication degrees — the BS in Agricultural Communication and BS in Health Communication — may also be available partly or fully online. Check with NDSU for confirmation.) To help with affordability, NDSU has discounted out of state tuition rates for about two dozen provinces, states, and territories (check the NDSU website for details).
Sample courses: Communication Analysis; Communication Campaigns; Communication Ethics and Law; Convergence Media; Field Experience; Introduction to Media Writing; Principles and Practices of Advertising and Public Relations; Research for Strategic Communication; Rhetorical Traditions
Downtown Concord, NH (source)
Granite State College (GSC) is a public institution that was established in 1972. It is part of the University System of New Hampshire and has multiple campuses and sites throughout the state. GSC’s headquarters are in Concord, New Hampshire, about 65 miles northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. Original name: School of Continuing Studies.
GSC offers two online Communication programs: one Bachelor’s, one minor. Its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication Studies requires 120 credits, with 52 for the major. The BS prepares students for careers that create and analyze communication as part of their primary roles, including in such areas as corporate communications, nonprofit advocacy, public relations, or public service. Students in other majors can supplement/ complement their studies with GSC’s 15-credit Minor in Digital Communications and Social Media. To help with affordability and give students a head start on their chosen program, GSC has a Prior Learning Assessment option that can convert life, military, professional, training, or work experiences into course credits. There are also a number of financial aid options available, including: grants; loans; scholarships; volunteer awards; tuition waivers (for foster children, National Guard members, and seniors); and work study provisions.
Sample courses: Foundations of Digital Media; Integrative Capstone: Project in Communication Studies; Media and Strategic Communication; Persuasive Communication; Trends in Digital and Social Media; Website Development
Aerial view of Crookston, Minnesota. (source)
The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) is a four-year public university established in 1905 as the Northwest School of Agriculture. UMC is part of the University of Minnesota system and is located in Crookston, Minnesota, about 290 miles northwest of Minneapolis, MN, but only some 25 miles southeast of Grand Forks, ND.
UMC has two online Communication programs: one Bachelor’s, one minor. Its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication requires 120 credits, with 63 for the major: 30 for program requirements, 12 for communication electives, and 21 for an emphasis. The BS has three areas of emphasis: Communication Studies (for students who want to use their degree as a foundation for other careers); Organization Communication/ Public Relations (for students who want to become communication or media professionals); and Writing (for students who want to write/ edit for businesses, industries, or the media). Students in other majors can take UMC’s 19-credit Communication Minor. Two unique benefits of UMC’s online program are: (i) the opportunity to study abroad; and (ii) being part of UMC’s successful job placement efforts (within six months of graduation, 93% of students have a job in their field of study). UMC also has no out of state tuition rates for online students — even international students pay the same rate.
Sample courses: Business and Professional Speaking; Business Writing; Communication Technology Trends; Corporate Training; Crisis Communication; Event Planning and Management; Internship; News and Promotional Writing; Organizational Communication; Public Relations; Technical Communication
Pedestrian way, Northern Arizona University (source)
Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public research university established in 1899 as the Northern Arizona Normal School. NAU’s main campus is located in Flagstaff, Arizona, about 145 miles northeast of Phoenix, AZ.
NAU has two online Communication programs — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication Studies. Both require 120 units, with 42 for the major and 15-18 for a required certificate or minor. The BA also has a 16-unit foreign language requirement. Both programs provide an understanding of how to apply communication principles across a broad range of contexts, allowing students to pursue several different career options or continue on to graduate studies in a number of fields (incl. law). To help with affordability, NAU offers a guaranteed tuition rate for four years; reduced out of state tuition rates for online students; and Department of Defense (DoD) Tuition Assistance rates for qualified military personnel. NAU also has a unique Personalized Learning program where online students can pay a set amount every six months (almost like a subscription) and take as many courses as they’d like.
Sample courses: Advanced Interpersonal Communication; Advanced Public Speaking; Communication In Contemporary Affairs; Field Work Experience; Mediation And Conflict Management; Methods Of Interviewing; Nonverbal Communication; Race, Gender, And Media; Rhetorical Theory; Senior Seminar In Communication Studies
McWherter Library, University of Memphis (source)
The University of Memphis (UofM) is a public research university that was established in 1912. Its main campus is located in Memphis, Tennessee. Original name: West Tennessee State Normal School.
The UofM offers one online Communication program — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication with a Concentration in Communication Studies. This BA requires at least 120 semester hours, with 6 for the major core and 31 for the concentration (incl. 9 for one of three areas of focus: Media and Culture; Professional and Relational Communication; or Rhetoric and Public Advocacy). The BA provides students with the communication skills and understanding needed to succeed in a wide variety of careers, including ones in communication. Students will also have the foundation needed to continue on to graduate studies in communication or a number of other fields. (An 18-hour Minor in Communication may also be available partially or fully online; please check with the school for details.) UofM provides a number of resources for online students, including those focused on the needs of adult students, disabled students, and veterans. It even has an adult scholarship program among its many financial aid options.
Sample courses: See UofM site or contact school for course information
Bellevue University (source)
Bellevue University is a private, not-for-profit university that was established in 1966 as Bellevue College. Its main campus is in Bellevue, Nebraska, some 10 miles southeast of Omaha, NE, and about 140 miles southwest of Des Moines, Iowa.
Bellevue offers five online Communication programs: four Bachelors, one minor. Its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Communication Studies are its more flexible/ customizable programs that can prepare students for a wide array of career options. The BA requires at least 127 credit-hours, while the BAS requires 124. Both have two options for their 36-hour major — a generic one and one with an Emphasis in Mass Media. Bellevue’s two more specialized Communication programs are its: 120-hour Bachelor of Science (BS) in Media Communications, which prepares students for media or public relations careers; and 127-hour BA in Health Communications, which is for students pursuing health/ healthcare communications careers. Finally, students in other majors who want to study communications can take Bellevue’s 18 credit hour Minor in Organizational Communication.
Sample courses: Building Effective Organizations; Communicating with Emotional Intelligence; Communication and Popular Culture; Critical Thinking and Communication; Communication in the Digital Age; Conflict and Communication; Diversity and Communication; Health Communication Campaigns; Persuasion; Professional Communication; Psychology of Communication
Sheridan Hall, Fort Hays State University (source)
Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public university that was established in 1902. It is located in Hays, Kansas, about 185 miles northwest of Wichita, KS, and around 340 miles east and somewhat south of Denver, Colorado. Original name: Western Branch of Kansas State Normal School.
FHSU has three online Communication programs: two Bachelors, one minor. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Education – Corporate Communication Concentration prepares students for senior communication roles within corporations or private businesses, but also allows students to pursue human resources, management, marketing, or sales opportunities. The BS requires 124 credit hours, with 33 for the major and 36 for the concentration. For adult students who want to design some of their own curriculum, FHSU has its Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) – Business Communication Concentration. The BGS requires 124 hours, with 21 for the concentration and 58 for open electives. For students in other majors, FHSU has a 21-hour Business Communication Minor. FHSU’s Virtual College classes are delivered both online and via CD-ROM/ DVD; they are subject to only one tuition rate (no out of state charges). Students can earn degree credits through exams or from prior military service.
Sample courses: Business Communication; Conflict Management Through Communication; Corporate Communication; Global Business Communication; Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining; Managerial Communication; Managerial Reports and Presentations; Organizational Culture and Climate
Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University (source)
Arkansas State University (ASU or A-State) is a public university established in 1909 and is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, some 130 miles northeast of Little Rock, AR, and about 70 miles northwest of Memphis, TN. It was founded as the First District Agricultural School and is currently part of the Arkansas State University System.
A-State has two online Communication degree programs. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies requires 120 credit-hours, with 22 for program requirements and 18 for the major. (Although this is an online degree, certain general education course options, if chosen, may not be available online.) This BA provides a broad foundation in personal and professional communications to allow students a wide range of career opportunities. For students who want to become communication professionals and manage an organization’s online and social media strategies (incl. becoming Google Analytics Certified and Hootsuite Certified), A-State has its Bachelor of Science (BS) in Strategic Communications – Emphasis in Social Media Management. It requires 120 hours, with 18-21 for a required minor (Criminology, Political Science, or Sociology); 20 for the major; 21 for the emphasis; and 6 for additional upper-level communication courses.
Sample courses: Communication Law and Ethics; Communications Research Methods; Computer Mediated Information; Interpersonal Communications; Media Grammar and Style; Media Writing; Organization Communication; Principles of Public Relations; Strategic Writing; Strategic Visual Communication
Montana State University, Billings (source)
Montana State University-Billings (MSUB or MSU Billings) is a public university established in 1927 as Eastern Montana State Normal School. It is part of the Montana State University System (and parent Montana University System) and its three campuses are all located in Billings, Montana, about 560 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado, and around 550 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, Utah.
MSUB has several online Communications and Public Relations programs. Its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Arts requires 120 credits overall, and give students a choice of external communications and media-related careers with the 48-credit Concentration in Mass Communication (MC), or internal communications and management careers with the 45-credit Concentration in Organizational Communication (OC). For those seeking public communication careers, MSUB has its 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Relations (PR), which requires 49 credits for its program/ major courses. MSUB also has two 120-credit, degree completion options: the BS in Liberal Studies (BSLS) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS). Both offer multiple thematic concentrations that combine MC, OC, or PR with another discipline from the College of Arts and Sciences. Finally, MSUB also has two 24-credit Communication Arts Minors: an MC option or an OC option.
Sample courses: History and Theory of Persuasion; Issues in Organizational Communication; Leadership and Communication; Media for Social Change; Principles of Mass Communication; Principles of Public Relations; Theories of Media and Society; The Law of Public Communication
The University of Maryland-University College (UMUC) is a public university established in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies. UMUC is part of the University System of Maryland and has multiple locations, including its headquarters in Adelphi, Maryland, which is about 10 miles northeast of Washington, DC, and some 30 miles southwest of Baltimore, MD.
UMUC offers two online Communication programs: one Bachelor’s, one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies requires 120 credits, with 15 for a minor and 33 for the major. This BA has a multidisciplinary curriculum that ensures students develop a variety of both personal and professional communication skills. Students in other majors can take UMUC’s 15-credit Communication Studies Minor. (Two related UMUC communication programs are its BA in Graphic Communication and Minor in Speech Communication). At UMUC, military members and their spouses and dependents are eligible for discounted tuition rates, as are federal employees. Maryland community college graduates, meanwhile, can qualify for a Completion Scholarship. Finally, all students can earn transfer credits (up to 90 for a Bachelor’s degree) based on existing knowledge (confirmed through an exam), military service, prior studies, professional experience, and/ or volunteer experience.
Sample courses: Communication and Gender; Effective Listening; Foundations of Oral Communication; Mass Communication and Media Studies; Mass Media Law; Public Relations Theory; Senior Seminar in Communication Studies; Understanding Visual Communication; Writing for Managers
University of Houston-Victoria (source)
Third on our list of economical online Public Relations and Communications degrees are the offerings from the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV), a public university established in 1973. UHV is part of the University of Houston System and is located in Victoria, Texas, about 120 miles southeast of San Antonio, TX, and around 125 miles southwest of Houston, TX. Original name: University of Houston Victoria Center.
UHV has three online Communication programs — all Bachelor’s degrees. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication both require 120 semester-hours, with 30-37 for general program requirements and 24 for the Communication concentration. The difference between the two degrees is that the BA requires 6 hours for one foreign language, while the BS requires 5 additional hours of natural science courses and labs. UHV also has a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) in Communication for students who already have an Associate’s in AAS or have completed key lower-division (LD) vocational or technical courses that can count toward a specialization. This completion program requires 120 hours in total, with 24 to 44 for the LD specialization and 18 for the upper-division Communication specialization. All three degrees are available fully online; a 15-hour Communication Minor may also be available partially or fully online (please check with the school for details).
Sample courses: Business Communication; Communication Internship; Global Communication; Intercultural Communication; Mass Media Communication; New Media Theory; Organizational Communication; Public Relations Communication; Selected Topics in Communication
U of Texas-Permian, Parker Ranch House building (source)
The second lowest cost online Public Relations/ Communications degree on our list is offered by the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB), a public university established in 1973. UTPB is part of the University of Texas System and is located in Odessa, Texas, about 350 miles roughly southwest of Dallas, TX, and about 280 miles east of El Paso, TX.
UTPB has two online Communications programs: one Bachelor’s, one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication requires 120 credit-hours, with 36-45 for the major (21 for core courses and 15-24 for communication electives). The BA provides a foundation that allows students to pursue a broad range of professional careers that go beyond, but also include, communications and public relations. The degree is offered in an accelerated, 8-week semester format that not only provides six different starting points for new students, but can allow ambitious students to complete their degree in as little as a year. Students in other majors can supplement their studies with UTPB’s 18-hour Minor in Communications. Both programs are available fully online. Tuition rates are guaranteed for four years for eligible students. Veterans may qualify for additional financial aid and lower-income students have UTPB’s Falcon Promise Program guaranteeing full tuition coverage.
Sample courses: Advanced Interpersonal Communication; Crisis Communication; Internship in Communication; Measurement in Communication; Modern Media and Society; Organizational Communication; Public Messages; Rhetoric in Western Thought; Small Group Communication; Theories of Communication
The most affordable online Bachelor’s degree in Communications or Public Relations on our list comes from Louisiana State University in Shreveport (LSUS), a public university originally established in 1967 as a two-year community college. LSUS is now part of the Louisiana State University System and is located in Shreveport, Louisiana, about 190 miles roughly east of Dallas, Texas.
LSUS offers three online Communications and Public Relations programs: one Bachelor’s, two minors. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Mass Communication – Public Relations (PR) Concentration requires 120 credit hours with 31 for program requirements. This BA provides students with the opportunity to gain experience both on student publications/ social media feeds and with internships in the field. Students in other majors can take LSUS’s 18-hour Mass Communications Minor or 18-hour PR Minor. While none of the three programs are available fully online, a number of key major/ program courses (and general education courses) can be taken online. LSUS also has optional 8-week semesters to enable students to complete their degrees faster. Some of the options available to help with tuition costs include guaranteed scholarships for full-time students with suitable GPAs and ACT scores; out-of-state fee waivers for non-residents; and tuition exemptions for Louisiana National Guard members.
Sample courses: Broadcast Production; Communication Research; Communication Theories; International Public Relations; Newswriting; Practical Applications in Public Relations; Public Relations Campaigns; Public Relations for Nonprofits; Senior Seminar