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Best 10 Online Master’s in Journalism in 2021

March 28, 2021 | Staff Writers

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The way we communicate with one another or get our daily news is constantly changing with the ever-evolving technology that becomes available. An excellent way to stay on top of these changes and gain a competitive edge in the job market against your competition is by earning an Online Master’s in Journalism. This graduate degree can be achieved from anywhere in the world, including your very own living room. 

The only problem with deciding to earn this degree is choosing the college that will work with your budget and schedule. This is where we come in. We have researched for you and came up with a list of the top ten schools in the United States that will offer this program. Take a look and decide which one sounds like the perfect school for you. 

Best 10 Online Master’s in Journalism

1. University of South Florida (28 Points)

Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida has become nationally known for being the fastest-rising university in America, according to U.S. News and World Report. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, this large institution has almost 40,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduation students, with more than 16,000 faculty and staff members to help them succeed. The Master of Arts in Digital Journalism and Design can be completed online or in a hybrid format that combines online learning with in-person classes. Two tracks are available: the applied track will prepare students for the ever-changing digital journalism industry by teaching the latest technologies and methods, while the academic track will prepare students who wish to further their education and earn a Ph.D. in Mass Communications or other related fields. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $6,410
  • Graduation rate: 75%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 23 to 1

2. University of Iowa (23 Points)

Ranked as the top public university in Iowa and one of the nation’s best public universities, the University of Iowa is a large institution that provides small class sizes and individualized attention from faculty. The Master of Arts in Journalism is a 32 credit program that is designed for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in journalism or for those students who wish to become a teacher and need to earn a Master of Arts. A thesis is required for those students wishing to continue their education on to the Ph.D. program, in which a faculty advisor will be available every step of the way to assist in this thesis process. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $9,606
  • Graduation rate: 72%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16 to 1

3. University of Nebraska- Lincoln (20 Points)

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers programs in advertising and public relations, broadcasting, journalism, and sports media and communication. One of the graduate programs available is the Master of Arts in Professional Journalism, which allows students to attend workshops, participate in fellowships and assistantships, and can connect with other classmates through an online community. To be accepted into the program, students are required to submit a statement of goals and objectives, a resume, portfolio, and letters of recommendation. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $9,690
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17 to 1

4. University of Missouri- Columbia (19 Points)

With more than 30,000 students from all 50 states and 300+ programs to choose from, the University of Missouri has been named as the top public university in Missouri. One of the online graduate degrees that are available at this institution is an M.A. in Strategic Communication. This degree is ideal for those who are interested in evidence-based decision-making through strategies and tactics to help corporations and clients reach their goals. This 37-credit program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and can be completed online with the possibility of one campus visit being needed. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $10,723
  • Graduation rate: 71%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17 to 1

5. Ball State University (18 Points)

Ball State University is located in Muncie, Indiana, and is the institution of choice of 22,400 students. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, this college has passed rigorous evaluations that measure Ball State’s goals, mission, resources, and programs. The online journalism graduate program prepares students to become better reporters through courses that focus on content strategies, media analytics, and data visualization. The 36-credit program is available in two specialized areas: reporting and storytelling, as well as media analytics and management. The second year of the program will require students to complete a capstone project or thesis with the help of a faculty member. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $10,144
  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 14 to 1

6. Marshall University (17 Points)

Marshall University is a mid-sized institution that has a main campus in Huntington, West Virginia, and additional locations in Point Pleasant, South Charleston, Beckley, and Teays Valley. This university has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and is an innovative institution that receives $49.6 million every year in research funding. The online MAJ in Journalism, New Media Studies program educates students on how to use mobile applications and other platforms to create a single product. This is a 30-credit program that will emphasize the development, design, and dissemination of information using the latest technology. The program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $8,512
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18 to 1

7. New York University (16 Points)

New York University is a large, private university that has been educating students of all walks of life since 1831. This college is staffed with award-winning faculty members, including five Nobel Prize winners, five Pulitzer Prize winners, seven McArthur “Genius” Fellows, and four Abel Prize winners. An online master’s degree in journalism from NYU gives students the option of completing the program at a full-time level in one year or as a part-time student in 18 months. An experienced journalism professional will team up with you to guide this educational journey. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $54,880
  • Graduation rate: 85%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 9 to 1

8. Emerson College (15 Points)

Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Emerson College is a diverse institution that specializes in communication and arts-related majors and programs. In fact, this college has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an MA I school. The MFA in Writing for Film and Television is perfect for future screenwriters who are interested in writing across a variety of platforms and genres. The program is a two-year, 40-credit, full-time program that can be done 100% online with the potential for some on-campus workshops. Each student will enroll in one class per semester to prevent the possibility of becoming overwhelmed with a heavy course load. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $51,148
  • Graduation rate: 82%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 15 to 1

9. University of Arkansas at Little Rock (14 Points)

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is an innovative, research university that provides students with flexible learning opportunities through online programs and internships. One of the online programs offered is an M.A. in Professional and Technical Writing, offering courses related to nonfiction writing and publishing, technical communication, and the teaching of writing from elementary school through college. There are two plans students can choose from: a 36-credit hour program that includes an academic thesis and a 42-credit hour program that will help build an online portfolio to assist in the student’s career search upon graduation. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $8,366
  • Graduation rate: 43%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 13 to 1

10. St. Bonaventure University (13 Points)

St. Bonaventure University has created quite a national reputation for itself since it has been named the second top university in New York and the third top university in the North. It is a private, Catholic institution based in Saint Bonaventure, New York, with a student population of 2,404. The online Masters in Communication teaches students how to use creativity and persuasive storytelling to help relate to consumers in numerous industries. Three specialized areas are available: integrated marketing communication, content marketing, or public relations. This institution is only one of three that has been chosen to be accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. 

  • Annual in-state tuition: $36,515
  • Graduation rate: 74%
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12 to 1

How the Colleges Were Ranked

A lot of thought and data went into determining which colleges to include in this list and how they should be ranked. In the end, we decided to use a point system based on the cost of tuition and graduation rates. To begin, we listed our top ten universities in an Excel spreadsheet with their annual in-state tuition and graduation rates. Next, we gave each school between one and 15 points based on the tuition, giving 15 points to the lowest cost and one to the highest. The same was done with the graduation rates, except 15 points were granted to the college with the highest graduation rate, and one was given to the lowest. These points were then added up, making it simple for us to decide which school to list first. 

If you are unsure of what college to earn your online master’s in journalism, rest assure that we did all the research for you. However, if you feel there was an error in some of this information or would like a specific college listed in one of our articles, please contact us. 

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