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2021 Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

434 Colleges
55,113 Bachelor's Degrees
$35,668 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Communication & Media Studies Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional StudentsIn 2018-2019, 55,113 communication and media studies students received their bachelor's degrees, making the major the 6th most popular in the country.

This year's Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students ranking looked at 434 colleges that offer a bachelor's in communications. Not only do the schools that top this list have excellent communication and media studies programs, but they also offer a lot of support to non-traditional students.

When determining these rankings, we looked at things such as overall quality of the communication and media studies program at the school, affordability, and presence of non-traditional students. Check out our ranking methodology for more information.

More Ways to Rank Communication & Media Studies Schools

The communications school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Communications Schools for Non-Traditional Students.

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

2021 Best Communication & Media Studies Schools for Non-Traditional Students in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for non-traditional students studying communications.

Top 25 Communication & Media Studies Schools for Non-Traditional Students

University of Southern California has taken the #1 spot in this year's communication and media studies ranking for non-traditional students. USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. USC also took the #2 spot in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies rankings.

The student loan default rate at USC is lower than is typical, just 1.6% of students default in three years. 6,707 of USC students are exclusively distance learners. About 6,358 of the students at USC are attending part time. USC does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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The #2 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Located in the small city of Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public college with a very large student population. UNC Chapel Hill not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #8 on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

About 1.7% of UNC Chapel Hill students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 3,101 students take at least one class online at UNC Chapel Hill. About 4,791 of the students at UNC Chapel Hill are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#3

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Cornell University earned the #3 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Ithaca, Cornell is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, Cornell has also earned the #3 rank in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 1.0%. There are approximately 309 students at Cornell that take at least one class online. 101 students are part time.

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#4

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

Villanova University comes in at #4 in this year's ranking. Located in the large suburb of Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, Villanova also did well on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The student loan default rate at Villanova is lower than is typical, just 1.4% of students default in three years. 1,576 students at Villanova are exclusively online. 3,154 of Villanova students are attending part time.

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign landed the #5 spot in our 2021 best communication and media studies schools for non-traditional students. Located in the small city of Champaign, UIUC is a public school with a very large student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, UIUC is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

About 1.9% of UIUC students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 12,503 students take at least one class online at UIUC. 6,389 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#6

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

The #6 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Utah. U of U is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Salt Lake City. U of U also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

About 2.7% of U of U students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 9,847 students at U of U that take at least one class online. 8,158 of U of U students are attending part time. U of U does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize University of Maryland - College Park as the #7 school in this year's rankings. UMCP is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of College Park. UMCP also took the #6 spot in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies rankings.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.3%. Approximately 4,138 students take at least one class online at UMCP. 4,597 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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The #8 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Indiana University - Bloomington. IU Bloomington is a very large public school located in the city of Bloomington. IU Bloomington also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

The student loan default rate at IU Bloomington is lower than is typical, just 3.6% of students default in three years. Approximately 5,026 students take at least one class online at IU Bloomington. 5,192 of IU Bloomington students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#9

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston University comes in at #9 in this year's ranking. Located in the large city of Boston, Boston U is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. Boston U also took the #4 spot in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies rankings.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 1.7%. 2,534 of Boston U students are exclusively distance learners. 6,370 of Boston U students are attending part time.

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#10

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State University comes in at #10 in this year's ranking. Michigan State is a fairly large public school located in the city of East Lansing. Michigan State also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 3.4%. There are approximately 9,273 students at Michigan State that take at least one class online. 6,488 of Michigan State students are attending part time.

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#11

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA

The #11 spot in this year's ranking belongs to San Jose State University. Located in the large city of San Jose, San Jose State is a public school with a fairly large student population. San Jose State excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

The student loan default rate at San Jose State is lower than is typical, just 3.5% of students default in three years. There are approximately 8,114 students at San Jose State that take at least one class online. About 8,139 of the students at San Jose State are attending part time. San Jose State does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Communication & Media Studies at San Jose State University Report

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California State University - Fullerton landed the #12 spot in our 2021 best communication and media studies schools for non-traditional students. Located in the suburb of Fullerton, Cal State Fullerton is a public school with a fairly large student population. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, Cal State Fullerton also did well on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.6%. There are approximately 12,133 students at Cal State Fullerton that take at least one class online. 9,948 of Cal State Fullerton students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst earned the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large suburb of Amherst, UMass Amherst is a public school with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, UMass Amherst also is in the top 5% of our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking.

The student loan default rate at UMass Amherst is lower than is typical, just 3.0% of students default in three years. 3,607 students at UMass Amherst are exclusively online. 6,250 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Texas A&M University - College Station earned the #14 spot in our 2021 rankings. Texas A&M College Station is a very large public school located in the midsize city of College Station. Texas A&M College Station excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.1%. Approximately 4,608 students take at least one class online at Texas A&M College Station. 9,459 of Texas A&M College Station students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#15

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

The #15 spot in this year's ranking belongs to James Madison University. Located in the small city of Harrisonburg, JMU is a public school with a very large student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, JMU is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

About 2.3% of JMU students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 1,087 students at JMU that take at least one class online. About 1,837 of the students at JMU are attending part time. JMU does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#16

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Boston College is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chestnut Hill. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, Boston College has also earned the #9 rank in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking.

About 1.5% of Boston College students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 316 students take at least one class online at Boston College. 1,555 of Boston College students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Our rankings recognize California State University - East Bay as the #17 school in this year's rankings. Cal State East Bay is a large public school located in the large suburb of Hayward.

About 5.4% of Cal State East Bay students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 6,927 students at Cal State East Bay that take at least one class online. 3,742 students are part time. Cal State East Bay does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison earned the #18 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public school with a fairly large student population. UW - Madison also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

About 1.3% of UW - Madison students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 6,424 students take at least one class online at UW - Madison. About 4,418 of the students at UW - Madison are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Florida International University landed the #19 spot in our 2021 best communication and media studies schools for non-traditional students. FIU is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Miami. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, FIU is in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 3.7%. There are approximately 25,978 students at FIU that take at least one class online. 23,256 of FIU students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Our rankings recognize University of Michigan - Ann Arbor as the #20 school in this year's rankings. Located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor, U-M is a public school with a very large student population. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, U-M also did well on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

About 1.1% of U-M students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 487 students at U-M that take at least one class online. There are roughly 2,376 part time students in attendance at U-M. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Ohio State University - Main Campus landed the #21 spot in our 2021 best communication and media studies schools for non-traditional students. Located in the large city of Columbus, Ohio State is a public college with a very large student population. Ohio State also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.5%. Approximately 18,037 students take at least one class online at Ohio State. 8,041 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

Full Communication & Media Studies at Ohio State University - Main Campus Report

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#22

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Our rankings recognize Marist College as the #22 school in this year's rankings. Located in the large suburb of Poughkeepsie, Marist is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, Marist also did well on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list. It's in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 3.0%. There are approximately 1,054 students at Marist that take at least one class online. There are roughly 1,184 part time students in attendance at Marist. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#23

American University

Washington, DC

The #23 spot in this year's ranking belongs to American University. Located in the large city of Washington, The American University is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, The American University is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

About 1.8% of The American University students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 549 students at The American University that take at least one class online. 2,876 of The American University students are attending part time.

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University of Washington - Seattle Campus landed the #24 spot in our 2021 best communication and media studies schools for non-traditional students. UW Seattle is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Seattle. UW Seattle excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.8%. Approximately 3,490 students take at least one class online at UW Seattle. There are roughly 5,528 part time students in attendance at UW Seattle. UW Seattle does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#25

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

University of Arizona comes in at #25 in this year's ranking. University of Arizona is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Tucson. University of Arizona excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 6.0%. Approximately 12,701 students take at least one class online at University of Arizona. 7,884 of University of Arizona students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Rest of the Top Schools for Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

#26

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA
#30

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA
#31

University of Denver

Denver, CO
#33

Metropolitan State University

Saint Paul, MN
#34

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
#36

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
#38

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#39

Towson University

Towson, MD
#40

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#42

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS
#43

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL
#44

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#46

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA
#47

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 434 different United States communication and media studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
52 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
53 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
54 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
55 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
56 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
57 Illinois State University Normal, IL
58 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
59 Pace University - New York New York, NY
60 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
61 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
62 Edgewood College Madison, WI
63 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
64 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
65 California State University - Northridge Northridge, CA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students award.

Rank College Location
66 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
67 Emerson College Boston, MA
68 Rochester College Rochester Hills, MI
69 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
70 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
71 Radford University Radford, VA
72 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
73 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
74 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
75 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
76 Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, PA
77 Marymount University Arlington, VA
78 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
79 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
80 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
81 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
82 Simmons University Boston, MA
83 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC
84 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
85 University of Phoenix - Arizona Tempe, AZ
86 University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, CO

Communication & Media Studies by Region

View the best for non-traditional students Communication & Media Studies colleges in a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Communication & Media Studies is one of 5 different types of Communication & Journalism programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Communications

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Relations & Advertising 19,456
Journalism 15,245
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 13,290
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,695
Publishing 266

View All Communications Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to UNU-WIDER from Helsinki, Finland.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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