Messages are everywhere in our media-saturated society, from texts and emails to news broadcasts and internet articles. With so much chatter out there, communicators that can cut through the noise are highly sought after by companies in many industries. At its core, a communications degree teaches you to understand different types messages and how they function, making the field ideal if you want to shape public opinion through effective communication.
While earning a communication degree online, you’ll learn about the history of the subject, dating back to Greek studies of speech and rhetoric, along with fundamental theories and concepts of communication. You’ll also gain the skills to critically analyze communication, and create messages that resonate with any audience.
Communication is vital to just about every industry, and an online communications degree prepares you for a wide range of careers in media, politics, and public relations. Earning a bachelor’s in communications gives you a competitive advantage to landing higher paying job options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a public relationships specialist with a bachelor’s can earn around $56,000 annually, and the field is expected to grow at the same pace as other industries.
The schools in this ranking offer affordable online communications degrees. These accredited programs are ranked not just by tuition but also by their return on student investment, allowing you to get the most out of your degree for the lowest cost. Earning your degree online from one of these cheap, convenient schools is the first step to a lucrative career.
|Value Score 7.15||
Midway University offers a highly affordable marketing communications degree that students may complete 100% online. The school offers competitive tuition rates, convenient course schedules, experienced faculty, and an elevated level of student support as individuals work their way through the program.
In addition to 34 general education credits, students in this online communications degree program must take 39 credits within the major. These include subjects like writing for marketing communications, graphic design, public relations, global brand management, and consumer analysis. Most full-time students graduate within four years or fewer.
Located in Midway, Kentucky, Midway is a private liberal arts institution that serves more than 1,800 students, who take classes both on campus and online. To apply, prospective students may use the university’s streamlined online application process. Midway requires first-time students to submit ACT or SAT scores along with their applications.
Arizona State University – Skysong
|Value Score 6.86||
Arizona State University SkySong offers a comprehensive bachelor’s online communications degree program that allows students to learn all about how sound communication processes can impact businesses, organizations, workplaces, and communities. Coursework covers a wide range of subjects, such as gender and communication, communication in professions, and social influence.
ASU SkySong’s affordable tuition schedule is straightforward, with online courses priced at a flat fee of $500 per credit. No additional program fees are required, and financial aid is available for students who have a demonstrated need. To be accepted, individuals must meet the university’s general admission requirements, which vary depending on if one is a first-time student or a transfer student from another institution.
To graduate from this bachelor’s degree program, students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours, 45 of which must come from designated communication courses. Students must also maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 — both cumulatively and within the major — to remain enrolled in the program.
University of Memphis
|Value Score 6.50||
With its affordable undergraduate online communications degree program, the University of Memphis provides students with a holistic perspective on communication and the impact it has within a wide range of business and social contexts. This prepares individuals for a variety of careers, as it allows them to learn key skills that lead to success in the professional world.
To receive the University of Memphis’s online communications bachelor’s degree, students must successfully complete 120 credit hours. All necessary courses are available online, although students may choose to engage in a mix of online and in-person classes as they work toward their degrees. The university also accepts transfer credits from other institutions.
The University of Memphis, founded in 1912, is a public institution of higher learning that currently serves more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students across 254 different areas of study. It’s also known nationwide as a major research university.
Northeastern University Global Network
|Value Score 6.16||
The bachelor of science in professional communication program at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, enables students to learn a wide variety of skills, theories, and concepts related to the world of communication. The program, which is available completely online, focuses on the communication of key messages and ideas to a broad range of target audiences, while also highlighting creative writing, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and more.
To complete this communication degree online program, students must finish the program’s required 120 credit hours. Forty-two of those credits must be focused on professional communication foundation courses, with 15 credits on a concentration of the student’s choosing. Available concentrations within the major include creative writing, graphic communication, organizational communication, and technical communication. A three-credit professional capstone is also required of all undergraduate students.
Applicants must submit transcripts from an official high school degree, GED, or associate degree, along with transfer credit documentation (if applicable).
Arkansas State University
|Value Score 6.12||
At just $233 per credit hour, Arkansas State University offers one of the most affordable online bachelor’s in communications programs in the country. This rate includes all administrative fees, making for a straightforward tuition structure for students.
The program focuses on preparing individuals for a wide range of career options, giving them knowledge and insights into how individuals and organizations share, digest, and use information on a daily basis. Upon completion of the online communications degree, students will be well-equipped in the areas of professional, organizational, and interpersonal communication. Students must complete 120 total credit hours, including 46 from approved, communication-focused courses.
With its main campus located in Jonesboro, Arkansas State is a public university that serves just over 14,000 students. Founded in 1909, it boasts more than 70,000 alumni, many of whom continue to support the university in numerous and meaningful ways.
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
|Value Score 6.05||
Giving students the opportunity to complete their communication degree online in as little as 12 months, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin offers quick, eight-week classes. The program, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, provides students with a cohesive perspective of communication across numerous applications, while covering key subjects like crisis communications, public relations, visual communication, and intercultural communication, among many others.
This cheap online bachelor’s degree in communications is available at a rate of just $288 per credit hour, with a total of 120 credits required for graduation. Of those, 36 credits must be taken within the major. The university’s online communication program is also quite flexible, with students able to choose from six different start dates throughout the year.
Located in Odessa, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin is a public institution founded in 1973. It currently serves about 5,660 undergraduate and graduate students.
Dallas Baptist University
|Value Score 5.93||
The bachelor’s in communication degree online program through Dallas Baptist University combines a strong academic approach with a Christian focus. Areas of study include desktop publishing and design, social media, small group communication, and management communication, among many others.
The program requires students to complete 120 total credit hours to graduate. This includes 42 upper-level credits focused on communication, along with at least 12 credits in residence at DBU. Students must also maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 to continue with the program.
DBU, founded in 1898, is located in Dallas, Texas, and serves just over 5,000 enrolled students. It places a particular focus on the adult learner, offering flexible and convenient class schedules and faculty members who are distinguished within their fields. The university also boasts small class sizes, with an average student-to-instructor ratio of 13:1.
North Dakota State University
|Value Score 5.84||
Located in Fargo, North Dakota State University offers an online communications degree that allows students to earn a bachelor of science both efficiently and cost-effectively. The university’s BS in strategic communication is designed to help students learn how to conduct thorough research and create messages that reach a wide variety of target audiences.
Coursework in this program is focused on many different areas, including rhetorical traditions, advertising and public relations, communication ethics, and media writing. To be eligible for graduation, students must take a total of 122 credits, including 12 credits of upper-level communication courses. That’s in addition to the 21 credits of pre-communication coursework required.
NDSU is also known as a transfer-friendly institution, accepting credits from a broad range of accredited colleges and universities across the United States. Transfer students must take at least 36 credits at NDSU, however.
|Value Score 5.74||
Bellevue University’s BA in communication studies prepares students for careers in public relations, customer relations, social media marketing, journalism, advertising, corporate communications, politics, and more. Classes are available both online and on campus — although it is possible to complete all program requirements without ever taking a class in person.
Through this communication degree online program, students learn how to apply theory to practical settings, inquire about communication process, and apply learned communication skills to a variety of audiences and platforms. The program requires 127 total credits to graduate, including 36 general education, 46 elective, 36 major, and nine Kirkpatrick Signature Series credits. Unique to Bellevue, the latter category includes upper-level classes on the topic of American culture and traditions.
Bellevue University also offers a fairly cheap online bachelor’s in communications, with tuition rates currently at $410 per credit.
|Value Score 5.59||
The BA in media communications degree from Webster University enables students to study a range of subjects related to the discipline, including legal issues, ethics, media literacy, and media writing. This online communications degree program focuses on the building of 21st century communication skills, while allowing students to find the right niche for their specific interests and career goals.
To successfully complete the program, students must take and pass a minimum of 128 credits, with 39 of those credits focused on the communication major. Additionally, a University Global Citizenship Program is required of all undergraduate students before they are eligible to graduate. Once finished with the program, students should be prepared to communicate effectively, interpret various media messages, and demonstrate sound problem-solving abilities in numerous settings.
Webster University is located in St. Louis, Missouri, and currently serves about 17,000 students both on campus and online.
|Value Score 5.48||
Mississippi College, located in Clinton, offers an accelerated bachelor’s degree program in communication for students who would like to complete their coursework as efficiently as possible. Through this online communications degree program, students will curate their writing, speaking, and presentation skills, while studying various theories and best practices that drive the modern media.
The online program is backed by the college’s Department of Communication, which emphasizes in-depth analysis of the foundations of communication and the history of media. And thanks to the accelerated format, students can take up to 12 hours of credits each semester through two eight-week sessions. Students may also choose from concentrations in journalism, mass media, public relations, sports media, and interpersonal and public communication.
Mississippi College is known as one of the most affordable private institutions of higher learning in the country, featuring tuition rates at about half the price of its peers.
University of Minnesota – Crookston
|Value Score 5.32||
The bachelor of communication degree online program at the University of Minnesota Crookston focuses on both communication theory and practice, with public relations, writing, and communication studies at the forefront of most coursework. Students must complete 120 credits to be eligible for graduation, 63 of which must be within the major. Among the required courses for enrolled students are those related to business and professional speaking, communication technology trends, news and promotional writing, and public speaking.
As students work toward the program’s completion, they will create various items for their professional portfolios and sharpen their writing, interpersonal, and presentation skills. And while courses are available both online and in person, it is possible to complete the entire online communications bachelor’s degree program without ever stepping foot on campus.
The University of Minnesota’s Crookston campus is located in the northwest region of the state, close to the North Dakota border.
California Baptist University
|Value Score 5.15||
Through California Baptist University’s bachelor of arts in communication studies, students learn how to create and deliver impactful presentations while learning a wide range of additional communication-related skills. This online communications degree focuses on written, strategic, and intercultural communication methods and theories.
At a cost of $547 per unit, the program is also cheap, and the average student completes all degree requirements within 16 months. This includes 48 major units, along with various general education courses.
Prospective students must hold at least 24 transferable units or a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment into the online communications bachelor’s degree program. Learners must also maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0. Applicants enjoy access to a personal admissions counselor and assistance with financial aid as they explore enrolling in the program.
Oral Roberts University
|Value Score 5.09||
Oral Roberts University, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, offers an affordable communication degree online, with students paying just $285 per credit when enrolled in 12 credit hours or more per term. There is, however, a $124 per-term technology fee attached to this rate.
The program take a holistic approach to the discipline, intertwining theory and practice to prepare individuals for success across a variety of careers. In fact, many ORU communication graduates go on to robust careers as public relations officers, event planners, human resource professionals, political campaign managers, and counselors, among many other fields.
Courses within this online bachelor’s degree in communications include those focused on interpersonal communication, communication theory, business and professional speech, conference leadership, and training and development. To graduate, students must complete 128 credit hours, including 31 within the major. This includes a course on research, in which students produce a senior paper or final project.
|Value Score 5.00||
Students at Baker University may pursue a first-rate bachelor of business administration program, with a concentration in strategic business communication. Through this online communications degree program, students develop strong verbal, visual, and written communication skills for both digital and print media. Additional areas of focus include management, leadership, marketing, economics, project management, and finance.
To apply, prospective students must hold a high school diploma or state-approved GED certificate, or at least 12 transferable credits from an accredited institution of higher learning. For those without these credits, the university accepts students with a high school grade point average (GPA) of 2.3 or above.
Baker University requires all students to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 as they complete the 124 total credits needed to graduate from this online bachelor’s in communications program. This includes 42 credits of upper-division courses within the major.
Montana State University – Billings
|Value Score 4.57||
The bachelor of arts in communication program at Montana State University Billings allows students to choose from two different tracks: organizational communication and mass communication.
The program’s organizational communication track focuses on allowing students to learn about interactions within organizational structures, preparing them for careers as human resource officers, managers, and trainers. The mass communication option emphasizes the delivery of media messages and the effects of those messages on social behaviors and attitudes. This option is intended for individuals who aim for positions as reporters, editors, public relations professionals, or fundraisers.
Required coursework includes subjects like media theories, advanced public speaking, interpersonal communication, and leadership and communication. To graduate from this communication degree online program, students must successfully complete 120 credits, including 45 in the communication arts. Learners must also create a capstone project based on the knowledge they have obtained throughout their studies in the program.
Point Park University
|Value Score 4.52||
Focusing on the use of technology to communicate in new and evolving ways, Point Park University’s online communications degree program allows students to learn from established professionals. The program is also highly efficient, with many students able to complete all course requirements in two to three years. Each course is only eight weeks long.
Among subjects covered through this online bachelor’s degree in communications program are broadcasting, communication law, media ethics, reporting, and electronic media management. Students must complete 125 credits to graduate — and 50 of them must come from department-required courses. The course also requires the completion of a senior capstone that students take toward the end of their studies.
To qualify for admission, prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED with a minimum grade point average of 2.0. Point Park also accepts transfer credits from many other accredited post-secondary institutions.
|Value Score 4.45||
National University offers a bachelor of arts in strategic communications that prepares individuals for leadership roles in fields like public relations, advertising, marketing, and corporate communication. This communications degree online program focuses on organizational, interpersonal, and intercultural communication, with a particular emphasis on the ever-changing world of digital media.
To complete the program, students must pass 180 quarter units, with 76.5 of those units being at the upper-division level. Coursework covers subjects like communication theory, strategic writing, media management, and professional presentations. The program features advanced coursework in communication campaigns, mobile media, and communication strategies. Graduates are prepared to successfully utilize skills such as strategic thinking, planning, content creation, project management, and leadership skills in their professional lives.
Founded in 1971, National University is one of the largest nonprofit postsecondary institutions in California. It now has 28 campus locations across the country.
Upper Iowa University
|Value Score 4.33||
Students learn how communication impacts nearly every aspect of people’s personal and professional lives throughout Upper Iowa University’s bachelor’s-level online communications degree program. The program focuses on preparing individuals to become global citizens who understand, value, and manage communication across a wide range of settings.
This online communications bachelor’s degree program has three concentrations from which students may choose: communication studies, journalism, and sports communication. While each concentration features slightly different requirements, all provide a solid foundation of communication theory, traditional and modern media, and written and verbal communication skills. Upon completion of the program, graduates are well prepared for careers as broadcasters, public relations professionals, journalists, and technical writers, among many others.
Upper Iowa University was founded in 1857 and is located in Fayette, Iowa. It is known for its student-centered approach and high-quality academic programs, delivered both on campus and online.
San Diego Christian College
|Value Score 4.32||
San Diego Christian College offers an online communications degree program that provides students with valuable insight into the nature of person-to-person communication. Ultimately, the college aims to prepare students for leadership positions, regardless of the career opportunities they wish to explore.
Students may take this program completely online or in a hybrid format (which requires some in-person coursework). And because San Diego Christian provides students with a holistic educational experience, classes include a variety of subjects, including media socialization and persuasion, mass communication, biblical perspectives, and servant leadership.
This nonprofit Christian college also offers an affordable online communications bachelor’s degree at $439 per credit. Each course takes five weeks to complete and most students finish the program within four years. To qualify for graduation, students must complete 124 total credits between general education mandates and classes required within the major.