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Online Master of Science in Communication — Frequently Asked Questions

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Please find answers below to the most popular questions for the online Mater of Science in Communication program asked by many of our new online students.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 professor. In a recent survey of students who graduated from the online MS in Communication program, 90% were satisfied with the program’s structure and course-delivery technologies.

  • 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 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 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. Of course, you do not need to factor in commuting time to and from class. As matter of fact, 86% of past graduates were full-time employees, and many students use their commuting time to and from their job to participate in coursework.

  • 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 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).

  • 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 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


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


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

    Mac System Requirements

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

Learn More About This Program

Do you have more questions about the Online MS in Communications from Purdue? Get answers: request more information or call 877-497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor.