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Online Master of Science in Communication - Frequently Asked Questions

A good education starts with questions. Here are some of the questions many of our new online students ask about the online Master of Science in Communication at Purdue.

Do I need a background in communication to qualify for admission?
No, communication has a wide variety of applications. Our students come from all different educational and professional backgrounds. We do require students to hold a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for admission. Click here to learn more about application requirements.

How do online classes work? Do I have to be at my computer at a specific time?
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 professor.

Do I have to complete a thesis?
No, a thesis is not required for this program.

Is financial aid available? How much is tuition?
Financial aid is available. Click here for more information about how to apply. For specific tuition rates, call 877-497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor.

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required for this program?
The GRE is not required for this program, but recommended for students that performed below a 3.0 GPA at the baccalaureate level. Please discuss requirements with your Admissions Counselor.

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 plan to spend on the program each week?
The academic experience varies by student; however, we recommend that students plan to spend 15-20 hours per week for each course they take.

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 Ph.D. Program?
This program facilitate opportunities for professionals working in areas related to public relations, marketing, advertising, and other related areas of corporate, non-profit, and government sectors. It is NOT intended to provide preparation for Ph.D. level academic study at Purdue. (It could technically prepare students for a Ph.D. program elsewhere, but we can’t say for sure).

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 taught by the same world-class faculty members, and 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).

Will my diploma look different from the on-campus programs?
No. Both on-campus and online programs earn the same diploma. Online students are also invited to participate in the graduation ceremony on campus upon program completion.

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 www.purdue.edu/visit.

What are the technical requirements for the program?
Using the online learning interface and system successfully requires you to have certain software and hardware. Be sure your equipment meets the minimum requirements, listed below.

Minimum Hardware Requirements:

  • 700 MHZ Pentium III Processor computer, with sound card and speakers
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 20 GB free hard drive space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • 56k modem, or higher (such as cable modem or DSL), for broadband access

Recommended Software:

  • Windows XP or later / Mac OS X
  • MS Office 2000 or later (MS Office includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Internet access
  • E-mail account
  • Internet Explorer 6.x(PC), Netscape 7.2 (PC), or later, or Mozilla Firefox (PC/Mac)
  • Safari 1.2 or higher (Mac)
  • High-speed, broadband connection

Utilities:

  • Acrobat Reader 7.0 or later (free download)
  • Virus Protection Software: McAfee/Norton Antivirus or similar software

Plug-ins:

  • Java, Shockwave, or Flash Plug-in (latest version)

Mac System Requirements:

  • 500 MHZ iMac or iBook 63 or faster (minimum)