MA vs MS in Communications: What Is The Difference?

When you are searching through available Master of Communications degree programs, you might notice different degree types through different schools. The most common degrees offered to students in this field are the Master of Arts in Communications and the Master of Science in Communications.

Each communications degree can lead you into a career within your chosen field, but each may have subtle differences in their curriculum and focus. Depending on the type of career you are seeking and the types of courses that you believe can get your closer to your career goal, one program may be more suitable for you than the other.

School Level Program Admissions
Drake University Bachelor BA in Journalism & Mass Communication Website
American University Master Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Website
Campbellsville University Associate AS Mass Communication Website
Johns Hopkins University AAP Master MA in Communication Website
University of Delaware Master Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Website

In general, the decision to pursue a MS over a MA or vice-versa may not impede your ability to obtain a certain career after graduation. Employers that are hiring in the fields of communications typically do not discriminate on the basis of your degree title, but focus more on your performance in these programs and any relevant work experience you have relating to this field.

Our team has broken down the key aspects of both the MS and MA in Communications to provide you with a clearer outlook on what each program provides. Read more in the guide below to better recognize the benefits of each program.

MA in Communications

The Master of Arts in Communications can be an excellent option for students that are interested in combining their knowledge of communication with arts and culture in society. Communications is a heavy aspect of relationships, social growth, and general networking in the natural world.

These topics can be increasingly vital to professionals interested in pursuing careers in education, research, and philosophy. Learning to communicate effectively and gaining knowledge of different types of communication can be beneficial to students considering this path for their career.

Many students that choose the MA in Communications are on a path to careers focused on culture, education, or philosophy. Each of these specialized fields requires that learners have a thorough understanding of communication and its utility in society, as well as knowledge of how communication can play a role in the development of great social programs.

One of the most obvious differences in the MA and MS in Communications is the curriculum. Take a look at some of the common courses found within the MA in Communications in the section below.


Once you have enrolled in the online MA in Communications, you may begin coursework that allows you to explore the usefulness of effective communication in many social fields. Courses like Social Influence and Persuasion can allow you to explore skills relevant to social positions, as well as provide you with skills for persuading the public towards a popular cause.

Communication in the Workplace is another common course that can be found within this program. This course outlines effective communication skills, ethical language and relationships, and different methods for use with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

More courses that focus on training methods, global communications, and crisis management can provide you with a broad spectrum of skills to use in a variety of scenarios and work settings. The benefits of the MA in Communications are most focused on providing you with blanket skills that you can choose to apply in many diverse settings.


The MA in Communications can be beneficial to learners that are seeking diverse careers options after graduation. As you can see from the available curriculum, different topics of study relevant to many career fields are administered, providing you with expertise for many social situations and careers.

In some cases, the MA in Communications is a terminal degree program that can provide you with a foundation for immediate entry into the field. Undergraduate professors at universities can begin teaching at this degree level, as well as many entry-level positions in local government and public relations.

If you are seeking a degree program that can provide you with well-rounded skills in this field, the MA in Communications could be the perfect choice for you. Read more in the sections below to learn about the MS and its associated courses and focuses.

MS in Communications

If you are interested in applying your knowledge of communications in a variety of different career fields such as business, healthcare, or even public affairs, the MS in Communications could be an excellent alternative degree program to consider.

The MS in Communications focuses on topics related to the science of communication and its application in many fast-paced fields in current society. Students enrolled in these programs most often see slight differences in the curriculum of the MS in comparison to the MA. The MA tends to focus more on the arts, as well as culture-based topics related to communications.


As you embark on your journey through the MS in Communications, you can expect to take courses that can provide you with skills necessary for excelling in communications careers. Some of the courses included within your degree program can focus on specific career roles, such as those in business and public relations.

Our team reviewed some of the top MS in Communications programs to explore what type of courses students would take while enrolled. Courses focusing on Strategic Communication, Social Media Communications, and Marketing Communications were commonly found at different schools.

The purpose of these diverse courses is to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge and experience to bring along with you after graduation. The MS in Communications can be a prime choice for students that are intrigued by the pursuit of applied careers in the field, specifically for organizations in need of communications specialists.

Alternative courses in the MS in Communications program include those focusing on Health Communication and Leadership in Communication. Each of these topics can provide you with a broader spectrum of knowledge for entry into secondary fields during your practice.


Learners choosing the MS in Communications can take advantage of the practical benefits included with studies in this program. This degree was designed for students with interests in constructive and progressive careers in the field, most of which require professionals to exhibit their skills in effective communication.

While people interested in teaching careers, community research and outreach, and generalized research may be great candidates for the MA program, MS programs are typically more attractive to current professionals looking to increase their skills and awareness within their current field.

For new learners, the MA and the MS could be great options to help them land the job they have been searching for. In the next sections, you can learn more about outcomes and careers for both MA and MS graduates.


Completion of the MA in Communications can be your first step towards versatile career opportunities in your future. Many graduates of the MA program can seek out careers within their local area, such as within local government, non-profits, or even educational facilities.

Holding a master’s in this field can equip you with what is needed to become an educator of undergraduates in communications, especially since the curriculum outlines diverse topics associated with this field.

In some cases, communications grads can also pursue careers as communications experts within businesses – focusing on internal networking and relationships. Some organizations may also employ graduates to work with inter-company communications and social networking.

For MS graduates, similar opportunities can be granted once entering into the field. Since the MS contains more practical and applicable skills in communications, you might seek out positions in for-profit organizations focused on selling products or services.

Communications specialists within these areas can work with marketing teams on communicating with the public, work with other companies during deal-making or negotiations, or even training team members of appropriate communication in and out of the workplace.