2023 Best Online Masters in New Media Degree Programs

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A new media masters degree program blends artistic storytelling with the latest digital technologies. New media artists use a variety of digital tools to communicate with audiences and tell immersive stories.

Best Online Masters in New Media Degree Programs

New media encompasses any form of communication that is delivered digitally to audiences and features multimodal elements, such as images and text. Professionals in this field can work with many forms of media, including animation, blogs, podcasts, social media, and streaming video.

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If you want to combine a passion for the arts with advanced technical skills, you may benefit from enrolling in a new media masters degree program.

Online New Media Masters Degree Programs

Woman taking Online New Media Masters Degree

New media is a multidisciplinary field that blends artistic approaches with digital methodologies. An online new media studies degree incorporates practices and theories from communication, computer science, public relations, and other disciplines. 

Pursuing a masters degree in new media can help you learn how to craft interactive stories and use cutting-edge digital tools to communicate with audiences. Technology evolves rapidly, so you can continually expand your knowledge and skills as you practice new types of digital communication.

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What is the difference between new and old media? Old, or traditional, media includes decades-old forms of communication, like billboards, broadcast television, and print newspapers. While both new and old media convey information to audiences, new media:

  • Can be more affordable than old media
  • Consists of Internet-based forms of communication
  • Features interactive elements
  • Has an international reach
  • Often targets specific audiences
  • Uses data to measure its effectiveness

A graduate degree related to old media often focuses narrowly on a single mode, like film or print journalism. A new media master’s degree can enable you to learn about multiple constantly evolving forms of digital communication.

While pursuing a master’s in new media, you can explore a variety of interesting topics, such as:

  • Digital storytelling
  • Evolution of digital culture
  • Multimodal communication strategies
  • How class, gender, and race influence how people access new media
  • Legal issues in new media
  • Social network analysis
  • User experience
  • Web design

Professionals with a background in new media studies can go on to pursue a range of careers, such as:

  • Advertising or marketing manager
  • Digital artist
  • Web designer
  • Community college professor
  • Editor
  • Freelance editor or writer
  • Internet broadcasters
  • News reporter
  • Public relations specialist
  • Social media coordinator
  • Visual storyteller

If you want to position yourself for a career that allows you to flex your creativity and digital skills, a masters in new media could be a strategic degree path.

New Media Technology Careers & Salaries

New Media Technology Careers & Salaries

New media includes many different communication methods, so a masters degree in this field can open up a broad assortment of career opportunities.

Depending on your interests and the subjects that you study during your graduate program, you may find employment in a number of new media areas, such as marketing, public relations, or digital communication. Graduates may also pursue positions related to animation, web design, content creation, new media journalism, or software development.

The communication and digital skills that you gain during your graduate studies can also help you find employment in a variety of settings. Graduates might work in corporations, healthcare facilities, federal or state government agencies, or nonprofit organizations. Some new media professionals also work for consulting agencies or as self-employed freelancers. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s a selection of careers, along with their median salaries, that are related to new media.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Public Relations Managers $125,780
Software Developers $120,730
Special Effects Artists and Animators $78,790
Web Developers and Digital Designers $78,300
Writers and Authors $69,510
Public Relations Specialists $62,800
Graphic Designers $50,710
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists $48,370
Photographers $38,950

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that many of these jobs will have positive outlooks over the next ten years. Careers expected to have faster-than-average job growth include web developers and digital designers (23% job growth), software developers (26%), marketing managers (10%), photographers (9%), and public relations managers (8%).

Your potential career opportunities and potential salary will depend on a variety of factors. For example, your artistic skills, industry, location, past job experience, and portfolio can all impact the kind of new media position you can secure.

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You may be able to improve your chances of entering a preferred career path by selecting an online master’s program that helps you develop a strong portfolio and offers classes in your areas of interest.

MA in New Media Curriculum & Courses

People taking MA in New Media, in a group study

Masters in new media degree programs offer a variety of courses that help you develop sophisticated artistic and technical skills. You can also learn about advanced communication and marketing methods and theories.

Each graduate program has unique course offerings, but you may have the opportunity to take classes similar to these:

  • Content Creation: You’ll learn how to create a series of multimodal and visual projects for social media and websites.
  • Digital News Production: This course covers approaches and theoretical frameworks for online newsrooms and websites.
  • Emerging Media and Design Theory: Through a series of real-world problems, you’ll learn approaches to design thinking and produce solutions to improve digital communication.
  • Emerging Media Capstone: With the guidance of an advisor, you’ll research and present on a subject related to new media.
  • Exploring Digital Culture: This class examines how digital platforms and technologies shape culture, the economy, politics, social relationships, and other facets of contemporary society.
  • Legal Aspects of Media: This course investigates ethical and legal issues raised by Internet-based media, such as libel and privacy concerns.
  • Social Network Analysis: You’ll study core concepts in social network analysis and learn about how social media users share and interact with information online.
  • Transmedia Storytelling and Publishing: You’ll analyze theories and tools related to cross-media stories.
  • Usability and Evaluation Research Methods: This course teaches you data analysis, usability principles, and other evaluative research methods that you can apply to digital communication content.
  • Writing for Interactive Media: You’ll learn how to create interactive narrative stories using a variety of digital and visual media.

If you hope to study specific subjects in new media, you may find it helpful to research each school’s course catalog and degree requirements to find the best fit for your interests.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Masters in New Media Degree

All new media graduate programs have unique admissions requirements, but many schools require the submission of similar materials.

Typical admissions criteria include:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Bachelor’s degree in communication, computer science, or a relevant field
  • GRE scores (only some schools require them)
  • Personal statement about your academic goals and professional experience
  • Resume and portfolio

You may increase your chances of acceptance if you strategically tailor your personal statement, portfolio, and resume to address each program’s unique curriculum and strengths.

New Media Graduate Programs Accreditation

University offering Masters in New Media Degree

When comparing prospective new media graduate programs, regional accreditation is one criterion that you can use to evaluate the quality of education provided by each school. During the accreditation process, schools seek verification from outside agencies that assess whether they’ve met predetermined standards of excellence.

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Employers often seek graduates from accredited schools because they know that they’ve received a quality education. Obtaining an accredited graduate degree can also help you pursue additional education opportunities later. You can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to view a list of verified schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

 Masters in New Media Financial Aid

If you’re concerned about paying for a new media master’s degree, you can explore financial aid options that may reduce the upfront costs of graduate studies.

Colleges may provide scholarships and tuition waivers for select students. You can see if you qualify for grants and student loans offered by federal and state governments. You may also pursue an on-campus work-study position. If you’re currently employed and plan to work throughout graduate school, you may be eligible for professional development grants or scholarships offered by your employer.

You can also search for grant opportunities related to your areas of interest, such as scholarships provided by professional organizations in animation or marketing. You can visit the Federal Student Aid website to learn more about financial aid resources.

What Is an Emerging Media Masters Degree?

 Digital Designers working in their office

An emerging media masters degree is an interdisciplinary program that examines emerging digital technologies from a social science perspective.

This field draws on concepts and theories from data analysis, human behavior, strategic communication, user experience analysis, and other areas. Masters in emerging media programs have many similarities to new media graduate programs. Both degrees will teach you to analyze and create media by using cutting-edge digital technologies.

A new media masters degree typically emphasizes the artistic side of digital communication. By contrast, an emerging media masters degree places more emphasis on investigating digital media using social science methods.

What Skills Will I Learn in New Media?

During your new media studies, you will take courses on a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Advertising
  • Cross-media narratives
  • Digital culture
  • Ethics and new media
  • Interactive storytelling
  • Marketing
  • Online content creation
  • Public relations
  • Visual communication

These graduate courses can help you learn marketable skills, such as:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Digital marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Public relations
  • Public speaking
  • Social media management
  • Video editing
  • Writing

You can apply these versatile skills to many different career paths, potentially expanding your employment opportunities.

What Can You Do with an Emerging Media Masters Degree?

Special Effects Artists discussing a project

After graduating with an emerging media masters degree, you may qualify for a variety of positions, depending on your specialty area and prior work experience.

Many professionals focus on the creative side of new media. They might produce digital content tailored toward specific audiences. For instance, a new media graduate could work for an animation studio to produce educational content or create mobile phone applications for hospital patients.

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Your expertise in digital communication may also help you gain a business-centric position. For instance, experienced professionals may work as public relations managers, marketing managers, or advertising and promotions managers.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master Degree in New Media?

Woman pursuing her Masters in New Media online

Master’s in new media degrees typically take 1 to 2 years to complete. The time that it takes you to earn the degree will depend on several factors, including:

  • Number of required credit hours
  • Whether or not the program requires a thesis
  • Your enrollment status

Many new media graduate degrees require 32 to 36 credit hours. If you enroll full-time in a 36 credit hour program and take courses during the summer, you might be able to finish the degree in 1 year. If you need to write a thesis or take classes part-time, you’ll likely take longer to complete the program.

Is a New Media Masters Degree Worth It?

Marketing Manager working on a campaign with the team

Yes, a new media masters degree is worth it for many students. As communication increasingly turns digital and new forms of technology emerge, opportunities for digital communication experts will likely increase.

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A graduate degree in new media may make you a competitive candidate for many communication- and technology-related positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that many careers related to new media will increase over the next ten years. For instance, employment for web developers, marketing managers, and public relations managers will increase by 30%, 10%, and 8%, respectively.  

Universities Offering Online Masters in New Media Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University campus

Arkansas State University offers an online program for an MS in Media Management with a Digital Management track. The program is fully online. The MS requires 30 credit hours and can potentially be completed in just 1 year. The curriculum consists of classes like Interactive Advertising, Social Media Measurement, and Audience Market Analysis

Arkansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ball State University

Ball State University campus

Ball State University offers an MA in Emerging Media Design and Development that can be earned in a low-residency degree program, meaning most of it can be completed online. Students are required to meet in Indianapolis for the first 5 days of every semester. Students in the program may also earn a graduate certificate.

Ball State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Kent State University

Kent State University campus

Kent State University offers an MS in Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT). The program teaches a blend of technical skills along with soft skills. The EMAT is a hybrid degree and typically takes 12 to 24 months to complete. To graduate, students must submit a culminating project or thesis during their final semester.

Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Loyola University – Maryland

The Loyola University of Maryland campus

Students can earn an MA in Emerging Media from Loyola University Maryland. The program offers a specialization in Health Communication. The program is entirely online, and classes are asynchronous. Students can take courses part- time or full-time. To graduate, they must complete 33 credit hours. It typically takes between 12 and 15 months to complete program.

Loyola University – Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Notre Dame of Maryland University

Notre Dame of Maryland University campus

Notre Dame of Maryland University offers an MA in Contemporary Communication that can be earned entirely online.

NDMU’s online program has rolling admission, so accepted students can start throughout the year. The program’s faculty members are well-versed in new media and communication. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours. The curriculum consists of classes like Approaches to Contemporary Communication.

Notre Dame of Maryland University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master’s in Communication that can be earned online. Students can choose a concentration in New Media and Marketing or Public Relations. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours, which can potentially be done in just 15 months. The curriculum consists of courses like Communication, Media, and Society and Digital Tools and Teams.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College campus

SUNY Empire State College offers an MA in Learning and Emerging Technologies. The program is intended for those who want to pursue careers in which they will teach others about emerging technology. For the master’s program, students must complete 36 credits, including nine capstone credits. Students can choose from six concentrations, including Instructional Design or STEM Education and Emerging Technologies.

SUNY Empire State College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The New School

The New School campus

The media studies department of The New School offers an MA in Media Studies. The curriculum is designed to teach students how to create and analyze media. The program can be taken fully online and requires the completion of 39 credit hours. Students can potentially finish in 2 years when attending full-time. The program has start dates in the fall and spring.

The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Georgia

University of Georgia campus

The University of Georgia offers an MA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Emerging Media. The program is fully online and begins each May. To graduate, students must complete 33 credit hours. They may complete the courses over 3 or 6 semesters but must stay on their chosen track.

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Tampa

University of Tampa campus

Students at the University of Tampa may earn an MS in Social and Emerging Media. Courses are 6 to 7 weeks long, and two sessions are offered each semester. To graduate, students must complete five core courses, two electives, and a senior capstone project. The program can potentially be completed in just 1 year.

The University of Tampa is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Getting Your Masters in New Media Online

Man completing his Masters in New Media online

An online master’s program in new media can help you sharpen your artistic, communication, and digital abilities.

This interdisciplinary online digital media degree can allow you to gain expertise in a variety of subjects and technologies. Your versatile skillset may open the door for many rewarding careers related to communication and content creation. If you’re interested in pursuing or advancing a career in new media, you can start your educational journey today by researching accredited universities.

By selecting a program that aligns with your new media interests, you may boost your qualifications for your preferred career path.

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Brianna Anderson
WRITTEN BY
Brianna Anderson
Brianna has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include careers and professional development, digital pedagogy, and first-year writing.