The 25 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications and Public Relations
Public relations skills may seem unnecessary to businesses and organizations that are small and just starting off. But in fact, professionals with public relations skills are highly desirable across all business enterprises. At the very least, PR skills enhance communications skills, which employers in all industries and sectors desire in their employees.
Online degrees are particularly suited to self-driven and mature students, who are usually working full-time and have neither time nor money to waste. Prospective students seeking such a degree are thus likely to be interested in not only the flexibility of online study but also an online program’s affordability. This college ranking presents 25 of the most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs in communications and/or public relations.
Ranking guidelines: The programs referred to below are ranked on the basis of the average yearly net price for undergrads at a given college. This is an average of the cost for all undergrads, including fees, books and other costs, after financial aid is factored in. As well, this list attempts to cover only fully online programs or those with very limited on-campus requirements (start of program, key exams, etc.), filtering out any that require on-campus courses or which are degree completion programs (presupposing a substantial number of prior credits).
1. Bellevue University (Bellevue, Nebraska)
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit college with campuses and learning centers in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, as well as online programs. Established in 1966, the 46-acre main campus is located in Bellevue, Nebraska, about 10 miles southeast of Omaha.
Bellevue offers 47 online bachelor’s degrees (BA, BASc, and BS) through four colleges. Of these 47 online degrees, five are communications-related: (1) BS in communication; (2) BASc in communication studies; (3) BA in communication studies; (4) BA in health communication; and a (5) BS in media communications.
These programs range from 120-127 total credits, with courses worth 3-4 credits each. Program credits break down to general education, electives, major, and “Kirkpatrick Signature Series” courses. The latter series puts an emphasis on “active citizenship.” There are monthly start dates for at least some courses.
Some courses common to two or more of these programs are: Communication in the Digital Age; Communication: Putting Theory into Practice; Critical Thinking and Communication; Oral Communication Skills; Public Relations; Understanding Mass Media; and Writing for Media.
Potential sectors for careers for graduates of this program include: public relations, corporate communications, customer relations, social media, public affairs, events, journalism, training, and technical communications.
Net price: $8,727. Cost/credit: $410/credit
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa, Texas)
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) is part of the public University of Texas System. Established in 1973 (authorized in 1969), UTPB is located in Odessa, Texas, about 318 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked UTPB at #3 amongst Texas public universities for online bachelor’s programs, and #46 nationwide, amongst other rankings.
UTPB offers BA, BBA, BS, BAAS, BFA, BM and BSW degrees, 11 of which are online degrees (including concentration options). The online BA in communications program can be completed in 12 months. Courses are eight weeks long, and there are six start dates yearly.
The program has 11 core courses: Advanced Interpersonal Communication; Crisis Communication; Interpersonal Communication; Introduction to the Study of Communication; Measurement in Communication; Modern Media and Society; Nonverbal Communication; Organizational Communication; Public Messages; Rhetoric in Western Thought; and Theories of Communication.
Graduates of the UTPB BA Communications might find work in journalism, politics, management, advertising, law, social services, medicine and other fields.
Net price: $8,984. Cost/credit: $288/credit
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
3. Montana State University-Billings (Billings, Montana)
Montana State University-Billings (MSUB) is a member of the public Montana State University System. Its origin was as Eastern Montana State Normal School, in 1927. The 98-acre main campus in Billings, Montana, is about 141 miles approximately east of Bozeman.
MSUB offers nine online bachelor’s degrees (BA, BASc, BS, BSBA, BSLS, and BSHA), including an online communications degree with two options and an online public relations degree: BA in communication arts — (1) organizational communication, or (2) mass communication; and a BS in public relations.
Both the BA and BS degrees require 120 credits. There are also nine relevant concentrations that can be applied to the BAS and BSLS degrees: (1) Management and Organizational Communication; (2) Management and Public Relations; (3) Management and Mass Communication; (4) Mass Communication and Public Relations; (5) Organizational Communication and Public Relations; (6) Organizational Communications and Human Resource Management; (7) Organizational Communications and Accounting Technology; (8) Health Administration and Organizational Communication; (9) Health Administration and Public Relations.
The two options for the BA in communications degree are also available as minors when selecting other MSUB bachelor’s degrees.
Some communications and public relations courses common to both BA and BS programs include: Communication Theory; Exploring Communication Studies; Health Communication; Issues in Public Relations; Leadership and Communication; Multicultural Mass Communication; Principles of Mass Communication; Principles of Organizational Communication; Principles of Public Relations; Public Relations Ethics; and The Law of Public Communication.
Graduates of these online degrees might pursue one of the following careers, depending on the options selected: copy editor; corporate communication; fund raiser; human resource officer; journalist; manager; news reporter; public relations assistant; or trainer.
Net price: $11,064. Cost/credit: $183/credit, capped at 12 credits for a given semester.
Montana State University – Billings is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
4. Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kansas)
Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a member of the Kansas Board of Regents system of public universities and community/ technical colleges. Established in 1902 as Western Branch of Kansas State Normal School, the current 200-acre campus is located in Hays, Kansas, about 295 miles approximately east of Kansas City, Missouri.
FHSU’s online bachelor’s degree programs have ranked in five different U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) categories, including #24 overall in 2016 and #48 overall in 2015. The college also ranked for veterans online bachelor’s programs, as well as multiple other non-USNWR rankings for online degree programs. These online programs serve students in 20+ countries, including the U.S., and online students make up nearly double that of on-campus students.
FHSU offers 29 online bachelor’s degrees, including a BS in business education with a concentration in corporate communication. This BSBE requires a total 124 credits, with concentrations courses taking up 36 credits, 55 credits for general education courses, and 33 credits for major core courses.
FHSU also offers a 124-credit online Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) that can be customized with a concentration in business communcation (21 credits). As well, FHSU offers on-campus-only programs in communication studies and public relations.
There are 12 courses (36 credits) in the corporate communications concentration of the BSBE degree, including two electives: Conflict Management Through Communication; Corporate Communication; Global Business Communication; Human Resource Management; Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining; Managerial Communication; Managerial Reports and Presentations; Organizational Culture and Climate; Principles of Accounting I; and Professional Development.
Online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus.
Potential career roles for program graduates include: management trainee, marketing trainee, human resources, sales, director of communications, public relations, media relations, corporate, private business, and marketing supervisor.
Net price: $11,890. Cost/credit: $194/credit
Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Arkansas State University-Main Campus (Jonesboro, Arkansas)
Arkansas State University (ASU) is a member of the public Arkansas State University System and the latter’s main campus. Established in 1909 as First District Agricultural School, ASU’s 1,376-acre campus is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, about 69 miles northwest of Memphis, Tennessee.
ASU offers 10 online bachelor’s degree programs (BA, BGS, BS, BSIS, BSN), including a BA in communication studies and a BS in strategic communication (BSSC) with an emphasis in social media management. The online Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) may be a suitable alternative, as it offers a communications emphasis option.
All three of these programs require a total of 120 credits, with credits per course category varying by program. The BSSC program prepares graduates for Google Analytics and Hootsuite(tm) certification.
Some of the courses common to the BA and BS programs include: Communications Research Methods; Computer Mediated Information; Intercultural Communication; Interpersonal Communications; Introduction to Visual Communications; and Organization Communication.
Net price: $11,896. Cost/credit: $220/credit
Arkansas State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), as well as by additional agencies for individual programs.
6. University of Maryland-University College (Adelphi, Maryland)
University of Maryland-University College (UMUC) is a member of the public University of Maryland System. Established in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies of the University of Maryland, UMUC started out from the beginning serving non-traditional students, including those with work and family responsibilities and GIs returning from World War II. UMUC is based in Adelphi, Maryland, about 9 miles approximately northeast of Washington, DC.
UMUC offers 31 online bachelor’s degree programs (and 41 online minor options), including a BA in communication studies (BACS) and a BA in graphic communication (BAGC) with minor in communication studies. Two relevant minors are communication studies and speech communication, which are 15 credits each.
Both of the BA programs require 120 credits for completion, and stated tuition depends on which of five categories a student falls into.
Communication Studies courses include: Communication Theory; Mass Communication and Media Studies; Mass Media Law; Senior Seminar in Communication Studies; Understanding Visual Communication; and Writing for Managers.
Net price: $12,429. Cost/credit: $250-499/credit
University of Maryland – University College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
7. Granite State College (Concord, New Hampshire)
Granite State College (GSC) is a member of the public University System of New Hampshire (USNH). Established in 1974, the main campus is based in Concord, New Hampshire, about 68 miles northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. There are a total of nine additional learning centers (regional campuses and academic sites) throughout New Hampshire state.
The college has some statistics of note. Firstly, 78% of students are transfer students, with only 22% first-time college students. Secondly, 69% of undergrads are female, as are 81% of post-baccalaureate students and 58% of grad students. Thirdly, the majority of enrolled students are part-time, with 9-16% of each study level, only, being full-time students. Finally, retention rates are 67% or higher at each level.
GSC offers online bachelor’s degrees in 27 topic areas, including a BS in communication studies, which can be taken as part of a double major program. The BSCS requires 120 credits for completion, with courses spread across three categories: general education, a major in communication studies, and open electives.
Some of the required major courses include: Foundations of Digital Media; Integrative: Project in Communication Studies; Interpersonal Communication and Group Dynamics; Media and Strategic Communication; Persuasive Communication; Trends in Digital and Social Media; and Website Development I.
The commumication skills and knowledge gained in this program are applicable in a wide range of careers, including: Communications Coordinator; Director of Communications; Marketing Communications Specialist; Media Relations Coordinator; Public Affairs; Reporter; Web Developer
Net price: $12,473. Cost/credit: $293 in-state; $325 out-of-state
Granite State College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE), amongst other agencies for specific programs.
8. University of Minnesota-Crookston (Crookston, Minnesota)
University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC) is a member of the public University of Minnesota System. Established in 1906 as the Northwest School of Agriculture (a high school), the UMC campus is located in Crookston, Minnesota, about 24 miles southeast of Grand Forks, North Dakota.
U.S. News & World Report has been ranking UMC programs in their Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs each year since the 2013 ranking (released 2012), and the school has been highly-ranked by other publishers, including TheBestSchools.org. UMC online students also have some study-abroad options, and some programs offer internship options.
UMC currently has 14 online bachelor’s degrees (BAH, BMM, BS) and seven online minors, including an online BA in communication degree. This can also be taken as an online communication minor, with select bachelor’s degrees.
The BA requires 120 credits and has three emphasis options: (1) communication studies; (2) organizational communication/public relations; and (3) writing. Sixty-three credits are required for major courses. An internship is part of the curriculum, which can be taken at an approved site local to some online students.
Some required courses for this BA include: Business and Professional Speaking; Communication Technology Trends; Communication Theory; Human Relationships and Leadership; Introduction to Communication; News and Promotional Writing; Organizational Communication; and Persuasion.
Graduates of the program can find careers in a number of sectors and organizations, depending on the concentration selected. This includes: Business writing; Corporate communication; Editing; Freelance writing; Health management; Management; Marketing; Media relations; Politics; Public affairs and information; Public relations; Publications work; Speech writing; Sports information; Technical writing; Web site design.
Net price: $12,592. Cost/credit: $436.54/credit (capped for 13+ credits)
The University of Minnesota – Crookston is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. University of Memphis (Memphis, Tennessee)
University of Memphis (UM) is a flagship member of the public Tennessee Board of Regents System, which oversees 46 institutions in total (27 applied tech colleges, 13 community colleges, and six universities). Established in 1912, UM is based in Memphis, Tennessee, approximately 212 miles southwest of Nashville.
UM offers 16 online bachelor’s degrees (including concentrations), including a BA in communication (BAC) and a BA in journalism and public relations (BAJPR). UM also offers an online Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) through the Regents Online Degree Program (RODP), which allows students to choose an area of focus. With permission from the Department of Communications, the BLS could potentially be combined with a communications minor.
The BAC requires 120 credits in total and has two concentrations: (1) communication studies (31 credits); and (2) film and video production (29 credits). Focus areas for the BAC include: Professional and Relational Communication; Rhetoric and Public Advocacy; Media and Culture.
Some Professional and Relational Communication courses include: Communication and Conflict; Communication on the Internet; Health Communication; Intercultural Communication; Interpersonal Communication; Interracial Communication; Organizational Communication; Small Group Communication; and Theories of Persuasion.
Graduates of these programs have a range of career options, dependent on their area of focus, including: writing/journalism, corporate communication, marketing, film and more.
The University of Memphis is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS). The University of Memphis’ journalism programs are accredited by The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).
10. Arizona State University-Skysong (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public university with four campuses, including Skysong Innovation Center, which functions as the online division/ virtual campus. ASU was founded in 1885 as Territorial Normal School in Tempe, AZ. Skysong is located in Scottsdale, AZ, about four miles north of the Tempe main campus. Both places are part of the Greater Phoenix Metro area.
The cost details in this entry are for ASU-Skysong (online division), not the main campus. Please contact ASU for availability of programs based on your location or campus of registration. Skysong has previously received a Top 10 ranking from U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. ASU in general received a #1 ranking in USNWR’s Innovation list, as well as top-5 rankings in Wall Street Journal lists, amongst many other publications, for undergraduate programs.
ASU offers over 60 online bachelor’s degrees, including five communications-related programs: (1) BA in business – communication (BABC); (2) BS in communication (BSC); (3) BA in mass communication and media studies (BAMCMS); (4) BS in technical communication (BSTC); and (5) BS in nutrition communication (BSNC). Some of these, such as the BSNC, have a choice of communication tracks.
All five degree programs require 120 credits, with a minimum 45 upper division hour credits. For students wanting a more customized undergrad degree, ASU has a BA in interdisciplinary studies taken with two concentrations, including technical communication and 23 other topics.
While there are too many programs to list courses from all, here are some of the core communication courses in the BABC and BSC: Communication in Business and the Professions; Communication in Professions; Communication Training and Development; Communication, Conflict, and Negotiation; Gender and Communication; Introduction to Human Communication; Persuasion and Social Influence; and Small Group Communication.
Occupation opportunities for graduates of these programs will vary of course by degree, with some programs likely leading to very specialized communications roles.
Net price: $13,413. Cost/credit: $490-$625/ credit, depending on program.
Arizona State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, amongst other agencies.
11. Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona)
Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public university with multiple locations in Arizona. Established in 1899, NAU’s main campus is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, approximately 144 miles northeast of Phoenix.
NAU offers 46 online bachelor’s degrees (BA, BAS, BBA, BS, BSN), including a BA in communication studies (BACS) and a BS in communication studies (BSCS) with optional organizational communication emphasis. Communication studies courses are also offered as a 21-credit online minor. Additional undergrad communication programs are available on-campus. (Note: Online students in 14 states are eligible for nearly half the regular out-of-state tuition rate through NAU’s Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program.)
Both the BACS and BSCS require a total of 120 credits and allow for up to 64 transfer credits. The organizational communication emphasis is only available to those “attending Glendale Community College in the 2+2 program.” The primary difference between the BA and BS versions is that the former requires one or more approved courses in a foreign language while the latter does not.
Some communication studies courses for the BACS and BSCS include: Basic Communication Theory; Communication Analysis; Group Communication; Introduction To Interpersonal Communication; Research In Communication Studies; Rhetorical Criticism; and Senior Seminar In Communication Studies.
Potential career/career areas for graduates of these programs include: advocacy; communication director; community education; human resources; legislative assistant; lobbyist; management training; market research analyst; marketing manager; non-profit work; public relations manager; religous leadership; speechwriter; technical communication; training and development specialist. Other careers are possible with additional studies.
Net price: $14,615. Cost/credit: $387/credit (for up to six credit hours); $1,221 for one course; $2,424 for two courses — each three credits.
Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
12. North Dakota State University-Main Campus (Fargo, North Dakota)
North Dakota State University (NDSU) is a member of the public North Dakota University System. Originally established in 1890 as North Dakota Agricultural College, the NDSU main campus is located in Fargo, North Dakota, about 240 miles approximately northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to this campus, there are multiple extension/research centers around the state.
NDSU offers six online bachelor’s degrees, two hybrid or blended-learning bachelor’s and four online minors. This includes several relevant online programs: a 21-credit pre-communication program that is a pre-requisite for other communications programs, and a BS in strategic communication (BSSC) that also has a minor option.
In addition to a BA version of the BSSC, NDSU also offers a number of other specialized communications- or public-relations-related undergrad degrees, minors or concentrations that are either on-campus, hybrid or blended, but not fully-online programs.
Credit requirements for the BSSC is 122, which includes both the pre-communication (21 credits) and major (24 credits) course categories.
Some of the online communications courses offered by NDSU include: Communication Campaigns; Communication Ethics and Law; Human Communication; Intercultural Communication ; Interpersonal Communication; Introduction to Communication Theory; and Principles or Strategic Communication.
Career options for graduates of these communications programs include: client services; copy design and editing; creative design; evaluation; event planning; professional business consulting and training; promotion; and publicity and media relations.
Net price: $14,654. Cost/credit: $577-1540/credit (capped, for 12+ credits/semester)
North Dakota State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
13. Mississippi College (Clinton, Mississippi)
Mississippi College is a private non-profit college. First established in 1826 as Hampstead Academy, it is reputedly the second oldest Baptist college in the U.S. The college is located in Clinton, Mississippi, approximately 10 miles northwest of Jackson.
MC offers six online bachelor’s degrees (including two accelerated degrees), which include a BA in commmunicaion (BAC) and BS in communication (BSC). Students who want to continue on to graduate studies also have multiple Master of Science in Communication options from which to choose.
The BSC program requires 130 credits, with an online generalist concentration. The other available concentrations (journalism, mass media, public relations, etc.) are only available on-campus. Online students are exempt from fulfilling chapel requirements.
Some core communication course requirements at MC include: Communication Law; Communication Research; Mass Media Survey; Public Relations; and Public Speaking.
Graduates of this program might pursue careers in public relations consulting, political campaign management and others.
Net price: $16,017. Cost/credit: $495/credit (capped at $7,900 total for a full-time semester course load)
Mississippi College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS), amongst other agencies.
14. University of Phoenix-Arizona (Tempe, Arizona)
University of Phoenix-Arizona (UOPX) is a private, for-profit university system. It was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. The main campus is in Tempe, AZ, approximately 11 miles east-southeast of Phoenix.
The university caters to all students but has strongly non-traditional student population, including older students, students with families and/or jobs, or those serving in the military.
UOPX offers 65 online bachelor’s degrees collectively across their system, including a BS in communication (BSC). While this entry ranks the main campus, online programs are available through most campuses. Online students are registered through the campus geographically closest to their place of residence.
The BSC can be taken independently (general option), or with one of five undergrad certificates: (1) Communication and Technology; (2) Cultural Studies and Communication; (3) Journalism; (4) Leadership Communication in Organizations; (5) Marketing and Sales Communication. The degree requires 120 credits for completion, regardless of option selected. The number of credits required for a certificate may vary by state of the student’s residence.
Some of the courses in the general option of this online degree include: Communication In Mediation And Conflict Resolution; Communication Law; Communication Theories And Practice; Ethics And Communication; Foundations Of Interpersonal Communication; Foundations Of Mass Communication; Intercultural Communication; Introduction To Communication; Organizational Communication; and Small Group And Team Communication.
Net price: $17,025. Cost/credit: Varies by student location, program and course study level (e.g., lower division or upper division)
The University of Phoenix – Arizona is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), amongst other agencies.
15. Mid-America Christian University (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Mid-America Christian University (MACU) is a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the Church of God. Originally established in 1953 as South Texas Bible Institute, the MACU campus is in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, approximately 200+ miles north of Fort Worth and Dallas.
MACU offers seven online bachelor’s degrees (BBA, BS, BSN), including a BS in communication and ethics (public relations).
The BSCE program has multiple start dates and the accelerated option allows non-traditional students to complete the degree in four years while maintaining other obligations. Students can also opt to combine online with on-campus (one evening class per week), if desired. Open house events are either on-campus or virtual, based on the student’s preference. Total credit requirement is 124, and there is a built-in internship component in this 100% online program.
Some course topics include: communication practices and principles, emerging technology, news, and social movements.
Career opportunities for graduates of this BSCE degree lean towards public relations, but also cover roles that require advanced communication skills.
Net price: $19,609. Cost/credit: $383-$467/credit
Mid-American Christian University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), amongst other agencies.
16. Dominican College of Blauvelt (Orangeburg, New York)
Dominican College of Blauvelt (DC) is a private, nonprofit college. DC was founded in 1952 as a women’s college, by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt (Catholic), becoming co-ed in 1967. The 70-acre campus is located in Orangeburg, New York, approximately 27 miles north of New York City.
One hundred percent of first-time, full-time DC freshmen received some financial aid (and 80% of undergrads overall). Full-time students make up 75% of total enrollment, while female students are a little over double the number of male students. There are six undergrad divisions, with communication studies amongst DC’s top 10 most popular undergrad major topics.
DC offers five fully online bachelor’s degrees, plus additional online courses for other programs. This includes an online BA in communication studies, which allows up to 90 transfer credits.
Core communication and leadership courses for this program include: Business and Global Communication; Communicating Change; Crisis Communication; Gender Communication; Interpersonal Communications; Introduction to Communication Theory; Leadership; Organizational Communication; Persuasion and Argumentation; and Public Relations.
Potential careers for graduates of this online BAC degree includes roles in: corporate communications, crisis communication, leadership and event planning, new media strategies, and organizational strategies.
Net price: $19,779. Cost/credit: $803/credit for less than 12 credits, capped at $13,289 per semester for 12-19 credits.
The Dominican College of Blauvelt is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE), amongst other agencies.
17. Baker University (Baldwin City, Kansas)
Baker University (BU) is a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Established in 1858 (the first university in Kansas), the campus is located in Baldwin City, Kansas, approximately 46 miles southwest of Kansas City, MO.
Baker ranked #1 in Kansas in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 list of top private universities in the Midwest, and ranked in The Economist’s top 50 for degree value across the U.S., amongst other rankings.
The university offers four online bachelor’s degrees, including an online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a major in Strategic Business Communication.
The BBA requires 124 credits in total, which breaks courses down into the following categories: general education (33 credits); general electives (49 credits); upper-division and major courses (42 credits), which includes 18 credits of concentration courses. Online classes start every seven weeks.
Communications- and public relations-related courses in Baker’s BBA include: Advertising; Digital Media; Effective Business Communication; Mass Media and Society; Mass Media Ethics; Public Relations Cases; and Social Media Strategies.
Potential career areas for graduates of this BBA include: print; online media; advertising; and public relations.
Net price: $20,294. Cost/credit: $320-$525/credit
Baker University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), amongst other agencies.
18. Midway University (Lexington, Kentucky)
Midway University (MU) is a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Originally established in 1847 as the Kentucky Female Orphan School, the 200-acre Midway main campus is located in Midway, Kentucky, approximately 15 miles northwest of Lexington. It has the distinction of being the first American school serving orphaned and disadvantaged women.
Rankings achieved by Midway include: #54 in U.S. News & World Report 2016 Regional Colleges (South) list; #16 in Washington Monthly’s 2016 Best Bang for the Buck – Southern Rankings; #10 in USA Today 2016 Best Colleges in Kentucky; #10 in our own The Best Schools Best Online Colleges in Kentucky ranking, amongst others.
Midway offers 24 online bachelor’s degrees (including concentration options). This includes an online BS in marketing communications (BSMC) degree with three concentration options: (1) general; (2) writing; and (3) graphic design. Alternately, a BA in iInterdisciplinary studies (BAIS) program is available, which students can customize (concentration, minor and electives) with advisor approval, potentially including communications studies.
The BSMC requires 120 credit hours, with courses falling into four categories: general education (34 credits); major course (36 credits); concentration (15-18 credits); and electives (32-35 credits). Note: while the BSMC is a fully online program, some elective courses may only be available online. Online courses are eight weeks long and have five start dates per year.
Some courses in the major course requirements category of the Midway BSMC degree include: Advertising Principles; Consumer/Audience Analysis; Global Brand Management; Graphic Design I; Internal Brand Communication; Introduction to Marketing Communications; Introduction to Public Relations; and Media Sales and Analysis.
Career possibilities for graduates of this online BSMC degree include: advertising; brand management; business writer; corporate communication; creative design management; graphic designer; integrated marketing management; promotions; public relations; and speech writing.
Net price: $20,545. Cost/credit: $415/credit ($395/credit for BSN program)
Midway University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS), amongst other agencies (program-specific).
19. National University (La Jolla, California)
National University (NU) is a private, non-profit university. Established in 1971, NU is based in La Jolla, California, a community in northwest San Diego. It has campuses and learning centers in California, and serves several other states through an online division.
NU offers 42 online bachelor’s degrees, including a BA in strategic communications (BASC) and a BA in integrated marketing communications (BAIMC).
Both BA programs require a minimum 180 quarter credits (qc). The BAIMC combines business, marketing, advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing, and has 16 core communications courses. The BASC has 14 core and three advanced core communications courses and prepares grads for similar fields, in leadership positions.
Some required courses common to these degrees include: Communication Campaigns; Communication Strategies;
Communication Technologies; Critical Thinking and Ethics; Interactive and Mobile Campaigns; Intercultural Communication; Interpersonal Communication; Persuasion; and Professional Presentations.
Potential careers for graduates of these communications degree programs include: advertising, fundraising, marketing, public relations, and sales.
Net price: $22,149. Cost/credit: $362/credit (100-400 level); $416/credit (500 level)
National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
20. Point Park University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Point Park University (PPU) is a private, nonprofit university. Originally established as Point Park Junior College in 1960 (with roots to a business college founded in 1933), the campus is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, approximately 133 miles southeast of Cleveland, OH.
The majority (77%) of undergrad students at PPU are in the ‘traditional’ age range (18-24), though the opposite is true of grad students (79% are 25+).
PPU offers nine online bachelor’s degrees (plus concentrations), including a BA in mass communication (BAMC), and a BA in public relations and advertising (BAPRA).
Both programs require 125 credits and take between 2-4 years for completion (courses are eight weeks in length). The BAPRA has two concentrations: (1) public relations and (2) advertising, though both include communications, journalism and public relations courses in the curriculum.
Some courses common to both degrees are: Advertising Competition; Branding and Corporate Identity; International Media; Introduction to Advertising and PR; Introduction to Multimedia; Journalistic Writing and Editing; Media Ethics and Responsibilities; Oral Communications and Presentation; Survey of Mass Communication; and Video Production and Editing.
Graduates of these programs might pursue one of the following careers: account manager; advertising account executive; broadcaster; copywriter; graphic designer; media buyer; news reporter; public relations coordinator; public relations specialist; special events planner; and technical writer
Net price: $22,461. Cost/credit: $412/credit
Point Park University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
21. Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private, nonprofit Christian university. Established in 1965 by evangelist Oral Roberts, the 263-acre campus is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, approximately 107 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
ORU offers over a dozen online bachelor’s degrees (BA, BS, BSN), including an online BA in communication (BAC), which is also available as a minor option.
The BAC requires 128 credits, with the major consisting of 10 communications-related courses (three credits each), including a senior paper/project and a prep course for that course. Students can take 18 credits of a minor topic as well. Topics cover communication theory, public speaking, business and related topics. The general education portion (60-63 credits) of the curriculum includes two online orientation/learning courses, as well as elective choices in the categories of laboratory science and social science.
Required courses for this BAC include: Advanced Public Speaking; Argumentation and Persuasion; Business and Professional Speech; Communication Theory; Communications Internship; Discussion and Conference Leadership; Interpersonal Communication; Organizational Communication; and Training and Development.
Net price: $22,509. Cost/credit: $349/credit
Oral Roberts University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), amongst other agencies.
22. Upper Iowa University (Fayette, Iowa)
Upper Iowa University (UIU) is a private, non-profit university once associated with the Methodist Church. Established in 1857 as Fayette Seminary of the Upper Iowa Conference, the main campus is located in Fayette, Iowa, approximately 67 miles north of Cedar Rapids. There are additional learning centers in Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, and in a number of other countries.
UIU has received a half dozen ranking positions for online bachelor’s degree programs on U.S. News & World Report lists from 2013-2015 alone, as well as rankings for military-friendliness, and various rankings from other education publishers.
The university offers 32 online bachelor’s degrees (including concentrations), including a BS in communication with two optional emphasis concentrations: (1) communication studies (CS); (2) journalism. (A sports communication option is not available online.) Both options are also available as online minor options (24 credits) with other bachelor’s degrees, and communication studies is available as an online undergrad certificate. In all online programs, students take two or three courses at a time.
While the CS option is intended for general communications, the journalism option is geared for students seeking print and digital journalism careers. The BSCS degree itself requires 120 credits, of which the emphasis takes up 27 credits. The latter consists of nine courses, including either an internship, senior seminar or special/senior project (each three credits). Both emphases have communication courses; however, they are distinct sets, with no overlap.
Communication studies core courses required for both emphases are: Business and Professional Communication; Communication Ethics; Communication Theory; and Public Speaking.
Depending on the selected Emphasis option, graduates of this online bachelor’s degree program might pursue careers such as announcer, editor, public relations specialist, reporter, editor, proofreader, news writer, news service researcher, photographer, writer, technical writer, interpreter/translator, copy writer, media interviewer, scriptwriter, professional blogger.
Net price: $22,980. Cost/credit: $430/credit
Upper Iowa University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), amongst other agencies.
23. Franklin University (Columbus, Ohio)
Franklin University is a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the Lutheran Church. Originally established as a YMCA School of Commerce in 1902, the main campus is located in Columbus, Ohio, approximately 107 miles northeast of Cincinnati. Additional campuses and learning centers are located primarily in Ohio, but there are five more spread across Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All programs are available online and serve students in the U.S. and other countries.
Franklin offers 36 online bachelor’s degrees, including a BS in communications (BSC), and a BS in public relations (BSPR). Note that online courses for Franklin’s undergraduate degrees have multiple start dates and may run six, 12 or 15 weeks in length. See site for details.
Both of these online degrees can be taken either as a first or second bachelor’s degree, and each requires 124 credits. Students are required to take 36 credits of general education courses (including 24 credits for fundamental courses, and 12 credits for additional courses). Both degrees require 24 credits of major courses, and the BSC degree offers more major electives than the BSPR.
Courses common to both degrees include: Communications Coaching and Internal Communications. Additional courses across both degrees include: Audience Research; Communications Planning; Crisis Management; Digital Communications; Marketing Communications; Media and Community Relations; Message Development; Promotions and Special Events; Publicity; and Social Media and Web.
Possible careers for graduates of the BSC degree are: community relations specialist; copywriter; corporate communications manager; corporate trainer; interactive communications manager; public relations specialist; recruiter; technical communicator; web content developer. For graduates of the BSPR degree, possible careers include: communication coach; communications specialist; copywriter ; event planner; feature writer; public relations account manager; public relations manager; press agent; and public relations generalist
Net price: $24,764. Cost/credit: $494/credit for most undergrad programs; $511/credit for select technology topics.
Franklin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), amongst other agencies.
24. Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, Texas)
Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Established as Decatur Baptist College in 1898 (in Decatur, TX), the 292-acre main campus is located about 13 miles from downtown Dallas, and overlooks a lake. Eighty-four percent of DBU’s undergraduate students received some form of financial aid.
DBU offers 16 online bachelor’s degrees (including concentration). The online BAS in communication degree (BASC), requires 120 credits, including 30 credit hours in the communication major category and 41-51 credits hours of electives.
Courses in the major category of the BASC degree include: Advanced Written Communication; Communication Styles: Key to Business Success; Leadership Communication; Management Communication; Nonverbal Communication; Small Group Communication; Social Media; and Speech and Interpersonal Communication.
Net price: $24,791. Cost/credit: $846/credit
Dallas Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS), amongst other agencies.
25. California Baptist University (Riverside, California)
California Baptist University (CBU) is a private, nonprofit university founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention. Originally established as California Baptist College in 1950, the 160-acre main CBU campus is located in Riverside, California, approximately 57 miles east-southeast of Los Angeles. It has a number of Educational Service Centers in Southern California.
The university ranked in three U.S. News & World Report 2016 “Best Online Programs” lists, and includes overall bachelor’s programs, bachelor’s programs for veterans, and also similar US News & World Report rankings for preceding years — for four years straight.
California Baptist offers 19 online bachelor’s degrees, including a BA in communication studies (BACS) and a BA in public relations (BAPR). Both programs require 48 credit units for the major and take an average of 16 months to complete.
Communications and public relations courses common to both online degrees include: Global Digital Engagement; Media Law, Ethics and Copyright; Oral Communication; Organizational Communication; Public Relations; and Writing for Mass Media.
Depending on the degree chosen, graduates of these programs might find a career in one of these areas: advertising; communications specialist; copywriting; corporate communications; employee relations; journalism; media specialist; public relations specialist; speechwriting; or training and development.
Net price: $26,548. Cost/credit: Variable by program; $547/credit for these two BA programs.
California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, amongst other agencies.
- The 25 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Communications and Public Relations | The Best Schools. [online] The Best Schools. Available at: http://www.thebestschools.org/rankings/most-affordable-online-bachelors-degrees-communications-public-relations.
- Rankings, S. and Aid, F. (2017). 15 of the Most Affordable Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations - Affordable Schools. [online] Affordable Schools. Available at: http://affordableschools.net/15-affordable-bachelors-degrees-public-relations/.
- College Choice. (2017). 25 Most Affordable Online Master of Communication Degrees 2016 | College Choice. [online] Available at: http://www.collegechoice.net/cheapest-online-master-of-communication-degrees/.