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Masters of Science in Communication

Online MS in Communication: FAQs

Find answers to popular questions for the 100% online Masters in Communication degree asked by many of our new online students.

Do I need a background in communication to qualify for admission?

You do not need an undergrad degree or work experience in communication to qualify for the program. Current statistics show that about half of graduates had an undergraduate degree in communications, and 76% worked in a communication-related position or industry.

How do online classes work?

Most of the coursework is asynchronous, meaning that there are not specific times that you need to be in the course. However, interaction with your instructor and peers is a major component of our classes. As an online student at Purdue University, you’ll log into a virtual online classroom interface that includes areas for assignments, discussion boards, e-mail, and more. Just like in a traditional classroom, you’ll complete coursework and exams and interact with your instructor and classmates, but it will all be online.

You can access and work on your coursework at any time—you just need to complete your assignments according to the schedule posted by your instructor. 

Do I have to complete a thesis?

No, a thesis is not required for this program.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available. For more information, please call 765-496-0990 to speak with a member of our recruiting team.

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required for this program?

The GRE is not required for this program but is recommended for students that performed below a 3.0 GPA at the baccalaureate level. Please discuss requirements with you admissions advisor.

How many total credits are required?

The online MS in Communication at Purdue University requires a total of 30 credit hours, including eighteen credit hours of required courses and twelve credit hours or electives.

How much time should I allow for doing homework and completing assignments?

Plan on devoting 15–20 hours a week to coursework, depending on the course requirements that week and your study habits.

Is an in-person residency required?

No. Purdue University does not require an on-site residency. That means you can earn the MS in Communication degree from anywhere in the United States or around the world without temporarily relocating to complete a residency program.

Does this program prepare me for PhD programs?

This program facilitates opportunities for professionals working in areas related to public relations, marketing, advertising and other related areas of corporate, non-profit and government sectors. Students interested in pursuing a PhD are encouraged to apply to our campus-based program.

Is support available to all students?

As an online student, you will have access to a multitude of support resources when you need help or guidance, starting with new student orientation to familiarize yourself with the online learning environment. Other services include a help desk for technical issues, a student services coordinator, financial aid advisers and more.

How are the online programs different from the on-campus programs?

Purdue University’s online courses are just as rigorous and challenging as their on-campus counterparts. The main difference is the online format, which allows you greater convenience as to when and where you learn.

What is the frequency of starts for this program?

Purdue University offers three starts per year for this program, Spring (January), Summer (April/May), and Fall (August).

Why is this program a Master of Science vs. a Master of Arts?

The degree earned is considered a Master of Science since it focuses on the science of communication.

Can I visit campus?

Yes. Students are always encouraged to visit campus and experience all that Purdue has to offer. For visitor information, visit

What if I have an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential or earn it while in the program?

The APR represents a significant accomplishment and demonstration of expertise in Public Relations. If you hold an APR, or earn it concurrently while in our program, you will receive the equivalent of six (6) transfer credits toward the MS degree requirements in our online program that will be applied toward your plan of study in lieu of two of our courses that overlap significantly with APR requirements (COM 60211: Strategic Public Relations and COM 60311: Crisis Communication or Purdue approved alternatives).  This saves you significant time and cost associated with achieving your MS degree at Purdue (20%). If you are unfamiliar with the APR, learn more. If you have more questions about how this credential is applied to your degree or how to apply to our program, talk with an admission counselor today.

What will my transcript and diploma say?

Your transcript will state: Communication – MS

Your diploma will state: Master of Science