Communication & Media Studies

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 analyzed 434 colleges that offered a bachelor's degree 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.

Some of the factors we look at when determining these rankings are overall quality of the communication and media studies program at the school, affordability, and non-traditional population. For more information, check out our ranking methodology.

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.

Featured Communication & Media Studies Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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

Check out the communications programs at these schools if you want to see which ones are the best for non-traditional students.

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 very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles. As a testament to the quality of education offered at USC, the school also landed the #2 rank in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking.

About 1.6% of USC students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 6,707 of USC students are exclusively distance learners. 6,358 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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The #2 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Located in the city of Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public school with a very large student population. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, UNC Chapel Hill has also earned the #8 rank in our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking.

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. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#3

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Cornell University earned the #3 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the small city of Ithaca, Cornell is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. Cornell did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #3 on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

About 1.0% of Cornell students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 309 students at Cornell that take at least one class online. There are roughly 101 part time students in attendance at Cornell.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at Cornell University

#4

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

Villanova University comes in at #4 in this year's ranking. Located in the suburb of Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly 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.

About 1.4% of Villanova students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 1,576 of Villanova students are exclusively distance learners. 3,154 of Villanova students are attending part time.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at Villanova University

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 city of Champaign, UIUC is a public school with a fairly 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.

The student loan default rate at UIUC is lower than is typical, just 1.9% of students default in three years. Approximately 12,503 students take at least one class online at UIUC. 6,389 of UIUC students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

#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 very large public school located in the medium-sized 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.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.7%. Approximately 9,847 students take at least one class online at U of U. 8,158 students are part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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

About 2.3% of UMCP students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 4,138 students take at least one class online at UMCP. 4,597 of UMCP students are attending 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 fairly large public school located in the small 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 school has a low student loan default rate of 3.6%. There are approximately 5,026 students at IU Bloomington that take at least one class online. There are roughly 5,192 part time students in attendance at IU Bloomington. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at Indiana University - Bloomington

#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 college with a fairly large student population. Boston U also made our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list, coming in at #4.

The student loan default rate at Boston U is lower than is typical, just 1.7% of students default in three years. 2,534 students at Boston U are exclusively online. There are roughly 6,370 part time students in attendance at Boston U.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at Boston University

#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 student loan default rate at Michigan State is lower than is typical, just 3.4% of students default in three years. Approximately 9,273 students take at least one class online at Michigan State. 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 college with a very 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 school has a low student loan default rate of 3.5%. There are approximately 8,114 students at San Jose State that take at least one class online. 8,139 students are part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Communication & Media Studies at San Jose State University Report

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 college 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%. Approximately 12,133 students take at least one class online at Cal State Fullerton. About 9,948 of the students at Cal State Fullerton are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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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 school has a low student loan default rate of 3.0%. 3,607 of UMass Amherst students are exclusively distance learners. About 6,250 of the students at UMass Amherst are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Communication & Media Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst Report

Texas A&M University - College Station earned the #14 spot in our 2021 rankings. Texas A&M College Station is a fairly large public school located in the 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 student loan default rate at Texas A&M College Station is lower than is typical, just 2.1% of students default in three years. Approximately 4,608 students take at least one class online at Texas A&M College Station. About 9,459 of the students at Texas A&M College Station are attending part time. Texas A&M College Station does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Communication & Media Studies at Texas A&M University - College Station Report

#15

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

The #15 spot in this year's ranking belongs to James Madison University. Located in the city of Harrisonburg, JMU is a public college with a fairly 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. Approximately 1,087 students take at least one class online at JMU. 1,837 of JMU students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#16

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Boston College is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chestnut Hill. Boston College not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #9 on our Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies list.

The student loan default rate at Boston College is lower than is typical, just 1.5% of students default in three years. There are approximately 316 students at Boston College that take at least one class online. There are roughly 1,555 part time students in attendance at Boston College. Boston College does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at Boston College

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 suburb of Hayward.

About 5.4% of Cal State East Bay students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 6,927 students take at least one class online at Cal State East Bay. About 3,742 of the students at Cal State East Bay are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Communication & Media Studies at California State University - East Bay Report

University of Wisconsin - Madison earned the #18 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public college with a very 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.

The student loan default rate at UW - Madison is lower than is typical, just 1.3% of students default in three years. There are approximately 6,424 students at UW - Madison that take at least one class online. There are roughly 4,418 part time students in attendance at UW - Madison. 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.

About 3.7% of FIU students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 25,978 students take at least one class online at FIU. There are roughly 23,256 part time students in attendance at FIU. 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 midsize city of Ann Arbor, U-M is a public college 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.

The student loan default rate at U-M is lower than is typical, just 1.1% of students default in three years. There are approximately 487 students at U-M that take at least one class online. 2,376 of U-M students are attending part time. U-M does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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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 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 of Ohio State students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

Read full report on Communication & Media Studies at Ohio State University - Main Campus

#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 moderately-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%. Approximately 1,054 students take at least one class online at Marist. About 1,184 of the students at Marist are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#23

American University

Washington, DC

The #23 spot in this year's ranking belongs to American University. Located in the city of Washington, The American University is a private not-for-profit school with a 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.

The student loan default rate at The American University is lower than is typical, just 1.8% of students default in three years. There are approximately 549 students at The American University that take at least one class online. There are roughly 2,876 part time students in attendance at The American University.

Full Communication & Media Studies at American University Report

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 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 student loan default rate at UW Seattle is lower than is typical, just 2.8% of students default in three years. There are approximately 3,490 students at UW Seattle that take at least one class online. 5,528 of UW Seattle students are attending part time. 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 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 student loan default rate at University of Arizona is lower than is typical, just 6.0% of students default in three years. There are approximately 12,701 students at University of Arizona that take at least one class online. 7,884 of University of Arizona students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Communication & Media Studies at University of Arizona Report

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 represents the remainder of the schools 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 schools 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.

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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