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Communication Values Coursework

“Communication — the human connection — is the key to personal and career success,” said professional development writer and speaker Paul J. Meyer. While his words point to communication’s importance in any industry, those words should resonate with anyone interested in public administration. Find out why communication is so important in the public administration sector.

Communication Guides Public Policy Change and Reform

Image via Flickr by GhoztTramp

Public administrators can be considered the link between the public and policy makers. To operate effectively, public administrators should consider the public’s desires and concerns. Good communication skills can help public administrators engage with members of the public in debates and discussions, and the issues raised during these exchanges can then be discussed with policy makers. While the policy makers may not always act exactly as the public would like, the public can feel satisfied that policy decisions occur when information flows freely, according to political scientist M. Dale Beckman in an article authored for the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Communication Helps Persuade Decision Makers to Enact Change

The USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, one of the top-ranked schools for public administration degrees, states that its coursework trains students to develop “excellent communication skills to be able to convince political actors and the broader stakeholders of the merit of your (the student’s) ideas.” In other words, good communication takes the concepts developed by a public administrator and turns them into a reality. Good communication can be persuasive and powerful, not only imparting knowledge, but also turning the listener around to the speaker’s way of thinking.

Communication Helps Disseminate Information

Through the use of emergency management operations, government officials at all levels are responsible for keeping citizens safe and secure. As part of these operations, public administrators working in the government sector must communicate with members of the public to ensure citizens know about imminent dangers and the recommended courses of action. For example, public administrators might use social media accounts, notify news outlets, and organize press conferences to inform citizens when they need to evacuate during an emergency or how to minimize the risk of contracting a serious illness during a public health crisis.

The Institute for Public Relations stresses that the post-crisis phase should not be forgotten. While the crisis may no longer be the focus during this phase, communication of recovery efforts is important for ensuring the public trust in the organization’s efforts.

Communication Skills Help Public Administrators Work Effectively With the Media

Public administrators don’t use the media only during times of crisis. Media outlets including newspapers, television and radio programs, and online media can be crucial for keeping the public informed about the issues that matter to them. Public administrators may act as media liaisons and spokespeople, ensuring that messages are transmitted during times of policy change and social upheaval, for example.

Good communication skills are crucial when dealing with the media to ensure the message is accurate, informative, and presented in the way the entity that the public administrator represents intends. According to Brooke Fisher Liu, J. Suzanne Horsley, and Kaifeng Yang, writing for the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, “Active media interaction, organizational support for communication, and adequate communication budget are associated with reporting more favorable coverage.”

While good communication skills are significant for any industry, their importance to public administration cannot be underestimated.




In this ranking, we examine the best value colleges for online communications degree programs.

Communications is an incredibly versatile major that combines traditional studies with practical, modern career applications. Students can focus on liberal arts topics – like English, creative writing, and psychology – while in school. Once out in the real world, those learned skills will translate into lucrative careers in public relations, advertising, marketing, the media, education…the list goes on! If this sounds like an appealing option to you, you might want to consider earning your communications degree online. For an affordable price, you can get the education you want while imposing minimal disruptions on your daily life. For adult students with regular jobs and families, this kind of flexibility is especially important. These 10 top value schools are sensitive to the needs of nontraditional students, blending the best aspects of on-campus study with the most convenient features of online learning.

Ranking the Best Degrees Online in Communication

The five-year online communications degree at Post University gives students the flexibility to take their time and move at a comfortable pace.

9. Post University

Online Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Media Studies

The online communications degree at Post University offers two concentrations – Media Arts and Organizational Communications. The former is a great choice for students hoping to touch on visual communication, including photography, video, or web design. The latter option, on the other hand, focuses on public relations, marketing, and social media. Both have a strong emphasis on contemporary communication, ensuring that Post’s affordable online communications degree will remain relevant for years after graduation. One important note: The program takes five years to complete, so you might want to look at other schools if you need an accelerated option.
Net Price: $22,714/yr
Score: 22.61

Kaplan University’s communications degree online students can choose from Standard or Advanced Start tracks.

8. Kaplan University

Online Bachelor of Science in Communication

Students who already have an associate diploma and want to obtain a bachelor’s in communications online degree should take a close look at Kaplan University’s Advanced Start Track, which relies on 90 transfer credits from an accredited college or university. And for new students, Kaplan offers the 180-credit accredited online communications degree through the “Standard Track.” You’ll take courses that emphasize a broad range of communication skills — from group dynamics and team-building to technology and new media. The elective coursework for this online communications degree is completely open, so students can pursue their own interests outside of the major.
Net Price: $16,023/yr
Score: 39.88

UHV has one of the best online communications degrees for students who want to improve their public speaking skills.

7. University of Houston-Victoria

Online Undergraduate Program: Communication

If you want to improve your public speaking and presentation skills while pursuing your communications degree online, check out the University of Houston-Victoria. The school strongly emphasizes verbal communication skills and even encourages its students to join Toastmasters. UHV’s online communications degree features a broad range of core curriculum coursework, including history, political science, math, creative arts, and even psychology. There are also several specialty elective courses within the Communications department. Course options include Introduction to Communication Theory, Intercultural Communication, and New Media Theory, and many students obtain professional experience through part-time jobs or internships.
Net Price: $10,131/yr
Score: 46.42

The religious online communications degree at Oral Roberts emphasizes Christian topics in the curriculum.

6. Oral Roberts University

Online Communication Degree

It’s important to note that the online communications degree at Oral Roberts University includes a strong theological bent. As a communication major at the Tulsa-based Christian university, you will take required classes in Spirit-Empowered Learning, Christian Worldview and Culture, and Old and New Testament Literature. Students who are on board with that focus will find ORU’s coursework broad and varied – classes include Discussion and Conference Leadership, Argumentation and Persuasion, and Advanced Public Speaking. There is also a required three-credit Communications Internship that can earn you valuable real-world experience while you’re still enrolled at school.
Net Price: $20,748/yr
Score: 54.76

Bellevue University’s affordable communications online degree program costs less than $12k a year.

5. Bellevue University

Online Communication Studies Degree

The affordable online communications degree at Bellevue University features a strong set of basic courses in oral communications, critical thinking, communication theory, and digital communication, along with a notably wide variety of electives. No matter their interests, students should find classes that spark their curiosity – subjects include everything from Interviewing to Health Communication Campaigns. The school offers five course “clusters,” including Corporate Communication and Perspectives of Human Communications (with a focus on gender and psychology). In addition, all Bellevue University students must complete the school’s “Kirkpatrick Signature Series,” a set of three courses focusing on American values and democracy.
Net Price: $11,786/yr
Score: 55.35

MC is another option for religious students who want an accredited online communications degree with a spiritual focus.

4. Mississippi College

Online Bachelor of Science in Communication (Accelerated)

Mississippi College’s fast-track “Accelerated Degree” program enables students to take up to 12 hours per semester during two eight-week sessions. MC’s online communications degree comes in two flavors – a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science – and like Oral Roberts University, all MC students take Bible courses (six hours in either the Old or New Testament). To obtain a Bachelor of Arts, students must fulfill an additional language requirement. Both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science include courses in journalism, theater and some interesting communications subjects, including negotiation, intercultural communication, and interpersonal communication.
Net Price: $16,418/yr
Score: 66.07

This communications degree online at UM Crookston is perfect for students who want to focus on writing, editing, and grammar.

3. University of Minnesota at Crookston

Online Communication BS

Students working toward their online communications degree at the University of Minnesota at Crookston choose between three different emphasis areas: Communication Studies, Organization Communication/Public Relations, and Writing. The Communication Studies track is the most general; many students on this track choose to incorporate classes from other departments into their coursework. Organization Communication and Public Relations students receive a business-focused education that includes classes in event planning, crisis communication, and public relations, as well as electives in publication design and corporate training. UM’s Writing concentration provides a strong base in grammar, editing, and visual communication, and it even offers an Introduction to Creative Writing elective for those hoping to flex their literary muscles.
Net Price: $13,055/yr
Score: 68.45

This inexpensive online communications degree offers multiple start times and shortened courses for the convenience of its students.

2. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Bachelor of Arts in Communication

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s Bachelor of Arts in Communication is the least expensive of the online communications degrees on this list – and it has some of the most flexible scheduling. The school offers eight-week courses that enable students to earn a degree in as little as a year, and there are six start times through the year. Although the pace is fast, students who obtain their communications degrees online at UT of the Permian Basin still get a solid foundation in gen ed. topics. This means you’ll take classes in political science, mathematics, and creative arts in addition to your major-specific studies. The school recommends that Communications majors also work toward a minor, although you aren’t required to do so.
Net Price: $8,245/yr
Score: 70.83

UND’s traditional program is one of the most comprehensive options on this communications online degree ranking.

1. University of North Dakota

Online Communication Bachelor of Arts Degree

The University of North Dakota has the best online communications degree because it offers a fully online traditional four-year college degree at a great price. The school’s wide-ranging coursework covers almost every conceivable subject in communications. Highlights of the curriculum include Media and Diversity, Popular Culture, Persuasion, Social Media Strategy and Media History. UND’s program also enables students to focus on either Strategic Communication or Journalism, although all courses are available to all communications majors. With three sessions a year, an entirely online curriculum, and in-state tuition for online students, the Bachelor of Arts at UND is definitely worth a close look.
Net Price: $16,238/yr
Score: 73.80

This concludes our ranking of the top 9 values in online communications degree programs.

See our methodology page for more information about how we calculated this ranking.

College Navigator

By CVO Staff
June 2016

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