2024 Best Online Masters in Social Media Programs

By Molly Doyle
Edited by Tania Staley
Updated on May 3, 2024
Edited by Tania Staley
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Social media masters degree programs aim to teach students skills needed to manage social media accounts and implement creative strategies that increase consumer engagement.

Best Online Masters in Social Media Programs

Many companies rely on social media to build brand awareness and drive sales, which often makes this a lucrative degree to earn. In addition to a strong foundation in social media strategies, social media students often develop excellent writing, storytelling, design, and communication skills.

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If you are a tech-savvy individual with an interest in marketing and a knack for creating compelling narratives, you may enjoy a social media master’s degree program.

Universities Offering Masters in Social 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.

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University offers an MA in Media and Communication with a concentration in Strategic Communication and Social Media. The program is available fully online and is intended for people already working in a company or organization. The program requires the completion of 30 credits and typically takes 2 years to finish when taking classes part-time.

Bowling Green State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Drake University

Drake University offers a 100% online program for a Master of Art in Communication. Students may choose from three tracks of study: Brand Communication, Communication Leadership, and Public Affairs and Advocacy. To graduate, students must complete 33 credit hours of asynchronous courses. Each course is 6 weeks long. The program can typically be completed in 1 to 2 years.

Drake University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University offers an MS in Applied Communication with a concentration in Social Media. The program can be completed fully online. To graduate, students must complete 36 credit hours. Students have up to 6 years to complete the degree, but it can potentially be finished in just 5 months.

Fitchburg State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University offers an MS in Social Media Management. The program requires the completion of 33 credit hours. Each course is 8 weeks long, and there are multiple start dates throughout the year. Students can complete the program fully online. The curriculum consists of courses such as Strategic Media Analysis, Using Emerging Trends in Strategic Communication, and Effective Social Media.

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

Northeastern University

Northeastern University offers an online program for an MS in Digital Media Studies. The program is entirely online and may be taken either part-time or full-time. The program typically takes 15 to 24 months to complete. Students must complete a capstone project in their final semester. Prospective students need a background in web creation, visual communications, and programming to apply.

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

University of Akron

The University of Akron offers an MA in Strategic Communication. The program is fully online and typically takes 18 to 24 months to complete.

The curriculum consists of classes such as Crisis Communication and Strategic Marketing. Prospective students must have an undergraduate degree in communications, journalism, or another related field to apply. Accepted students may transfer in up to 15 qualifying credits of communication coursework.

The University of Akron is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

University of Alabama

The University of Alabama offers an MS in Marketing with a concentration in Digital and Social Media through its School of Continuing Education. The program is entirely online. Students are required to complete 30 credit hours and a capstone project to graduate. The curriculum consists of classes such as Introduction to Digital and Social Media Marketing.

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

University of Delaware

The University of Delaware offers an online program for an MA in Strategic Communication with a concentration in Digital and Social Media. The program is entirely online and can potentially be completed in 2 years. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours, including a capstone project. The curriculum consists of classes such as Writing for Digital Media and Social Media Management.

The University of Delaware is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Florida

The University of Florida offers an MA in Mass Communication with a concentration in Social Media. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours, including a capstone course. It can be completed entirely online and offers a mix of synchronous and asynchronous courses. Classes start in fall, spring, and summer. The curriculum consists of courses like Social Media Metrics and Evaluation.

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

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri offers an MA in Journalism with an emphasis in Interactive Media. The program is blended but only requires one campus visit. Students are required to complete 37 credit hours, including core courses, emphasis area courses, and a capstone project. Students in the program typically take one or two courses each semester.

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Online Social Media Masters Programs

Woman taking Online Social Media Masters

Individuals with strong foundations in social media may use their knowledge and skills to help companies and organizations grow their brands and reach target audiences. Social media managers are often in charge of developing and maintaining social media platforms for businesses. They are typically experts in digital marketing techniques and web development.

The business world is growing more and more dependent on social media to build communities, reach consumers, and sell products. Because of this, people with a strong understanding of social media management and marketing are in high demand.

In an online master’s degree in social media program, you may take courses such as:

  • Digital Storytelling
  • Visual Design
  • Media Development and Project Management
  • Social Media Marketing and Branding
  • Digital Media and Analytics
  • Strategic Communication Management
  • Mass Communication Theory
  • Research Methods in Digital Communication
  • Branding
  • Advertising and Social Media

The courses in this online digital media degree can help you build your writing skills, creativity, and design skills. Many social media courses provide opportunities to learn the role of storytelling in successful marketing. Some teach how to examine consumer behavior to develop targeted marketing initiatives and campaigns.

With a master’s degree in social media, you may pursue professional roles in almost any industry. Because so many businesses rely on social media to connect with customers and build trust with consumers, social media experts are highly sought after across industries. After earning a degree in social media, graduates may become:

  • Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers
  • Public relations specialists
  • Social media managers
  • Social media coordinators
  • Technical writers
  • Editors
  • Graphic designers
  • Web developers

Because a diverse range of industries need social media experts, graduates can often find work in fields that align with their personal interests and values.

Social Media Marketing and Management Careers & Salaries

Social Media Marketing and Management Careers & Salaries

An advanced degree program in social media marketing and management can help prepare you for leadership roles within companies or organizations.

Many of the qualities and skills social media marketing programs aim to teach are transferable to other careers. This can help make you a good candidate for a range of professional positions and industries. For example, social media marketers are often creative and highly organized individuals, which are skills that are useful in many settings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social media marketing graduates may find the following careers compelling:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Special Effects Artists and Animators $78,790
Web Developers and Digital Designers $78,300
Technical Writers $78,060
Writers and Authors $69,510
Editors $63,350
Public Relations Specialists $62,800
Graphic Designers $50,710
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists $48,370
Photographers $38,950

You may use your social media degree to pursue a position that aligns with your personal interests and professional goals. If you enjoy discovering and writing news stories, for instance, you might pursue work as a journalist or content creator for a specific company.

If you are a visual person, you can pursue a position as a graphic designer or animator, bringing different social media accounts to life for users. While earning a degree can help separate you from the crowd and prepare you for professional success, many leadership roles require several years of experience. Additionally, factors like location and job title can impact how much you earn.  

Master of Social Media Curriculum & Courses

People taking Master of Social Media, studying together

A typical curriculum for a social media master’s program will provide opportunities to develop digital marketing and communication skills.

The following are examples of classes you may have in your social media master’s program:

  • Digital Storytelling: This course teaches how to create narratives for digital platforms and may cover topics like interactive storytelling, digital media formats, and story structure.
  • Visual Design: This class teaches the fundamentals of visual design and explores topics such as color theory, typography, layout, and infographics.
  • Media Development and Project Management: This course examines the project life cycle as it relates to social media, covering topics like risk management, analytics, and leadership.
  • Social Media Marketing: This course provides a foundation in social media marketing and branding, teaching skills like identifying KPIs, defining a target audience, and developing marketing campaigns.
  • Digital Media and Analytics: To help you make informed business decisions, this course teaches how to utilize data insights, covering topics like quantifying human behavior, engaging in social media data mining, and interpreting data.
  • Strategic Communication Management: This course explores key concepts and theories in strategic communication and focuses on teaching how to develop and measure social communication plans.
  • Mass Communication Theory: This course explores different mass communication theories and teaches how to use these theories to analyze the effects of mass media on consumers.
  • Research Methods in Digital Communication: This course introduces a variety of research methods to determine the success of different digital communication strategies and initiatives.
  • Branding: This course covers best practices in branding, exploring topics such as developing brand strategies, evaluating brand architectures, and building branding vocabulary.
  • Advertising and Social Media: This course explores effective online advertising campaigns and teaches how to create copy for social media ads and develop creative briefs.

With courses like these, a social media master’s program can help you develop your creativity and collaborative and analytical skills.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Master of Social Media

As you apply to social media graduate programs, you will be asked to submit applications containing specified materials, such as academic records and standardized test scores.

While requirements vary from school to school, many require the following:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • A personal statement
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A resume or CV

In an application for a master’s in social media program, it is important to highlight your relevant work experience and your passion for the field.

Social Media Master Programs Accreditation

University offering Masters in Social Media

As you apply to social media master programs, it is important to check the accreditation status of each college or university. During the accreditation process, a team of people evaluate different aspects of a school to ensure that it meets specific levels of educational standards.

Attending a regionally accredited institution can help ensure that you’ll receive a quality education. It also means that you may be eligible for federal financial aid, something that is not available for students at non-accredited schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Master of Social Media Financial Aid

Attending college can put a financial strain on many families and individuals. On top of tuition, there can be high fees associated with books, materials, and housing.

Applying for financial aid can help relieve the financial burdens of attending school. If you are eager for more information regarding federal financial aid options, you can fill out the FAFSA. This form requires you to input personal information, such as family income level, in order to determine how much financial aid you can receive from the government.

You may also be eligible for scholarship programs. These can be found by researching available opportunities through your school or external organizations. Typically, scholarships are offered in specific areas and require you to meet certain guidelines to be considered.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Social Media?

Marketing manager & team working on their projects

Many businesses and organizations rely heavily on social media to build brand loyalty and establish relationships with consumers. Because of this, individuals with degrees in this field often work in a wide variety of industries.

According to information from the BLS, many graduates with a degree in social media are drawn to careers as advertising, promotions, or marketing managers. Others may choose to use their understanding of human behavior and strong communication skills to become public relations specialists.

Graduates with a passion for design often choose to become web developers or graphic designers. Some may also use their writing abilities to create content for digital platforms. 

What Is a Social Media Specialist?

Social Media Specialist posting online from her phone

A social media specialist is someone with a strong understanding of digital marketing and consumer analytics. Typically, social media specialists are responsible for building brand awareness and developing innovative strategies to reach target audiences.

This may include creating content for digital platforms, copyediting material, and managing creative teams. The general goal of a social media specialist is to expand the reach of a specific social media platform and engage as many consumers as possible.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Social Media Online?

Man getting a Masters in Social Media degree online

If they require 36 credits and have no thesis requirement, many social media master’s degree programs can potentially be completed in 1 year with full-time enrollment, including the summer.

A thesis requirement will add some additional time to completion, as will attending school only part-time. Every school offers unique timelines for their degree programs. As you apply to potential schools, you can check the schedules they offer for classes and the average length of time it takes students to graduate.

What’s the Difference between a Masters in Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Management?

Social Media Marketing team discussing weekly data

Both social media marketing and social media management involve hands-on work with various digital platforms. In a social media marketing masters degree program, students typically focus on:

  • Developing and implementing creative strategies to expand reach and engagement
  • Bringing about and converting leads to raise revenue

A degree program in social media management usually focuses on:

  • Maintaining social media accounts
  • Managing audience engagement by responding to comments, posts, etc.
  • Creating content for social media

Both social media marketing and management are extremely important to the longevity and success of a company or brand.

What’s the Difference between a Social Media vs. Digital Media Masters Program?

Web Developer & Digital Designer working together

A social media masters degree program has a narrower focus than a digital media master’s degree program. A social media master’s program typically focuses on:

  • Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook
  • Creating content and managing engagement for social media platforms
  • Building brand awareness and making sales through social media engagement

A digital media master’s program usually focuses on:

  • Digital media platforms, which can include but are not limited to social media
  • Web design, animation, interactive media, and simulations

A digital media master’s degree program may include the study of social media platforms, but it typically covers a wider overall variety of digital platforms as well. 

Is a Masters Degree in Social Media Worth it?

Marketing Manager and Social Media Managers, brainstorming

Yes, a masters degree in social media is worth it for many students. Many of the professional opportunities available to students with an advanced degree in social media are experiencing employment growth rates faster than the national average.

For example, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers have a projected employment growth rate of 10% over the next ten years. A diverse range of companies and organizations use social media to engage with consumers and convert sales. Because of this, it can be easier to select one whose mission aligns with your personal values. This can help create a strong sense of purpose in your work.

Getting Your Social Media Masters Degree Online

Man pursuing his Masters in Social Media online

Earning a social media master’s degree, in some ways like a professional sales degree, can give you the opportunity to build your creativity and analytical and collaborative skills. It can also help you learn how to interpret consumer behavior and lead teams of diverse people.

If you are interested in customer care, marketing, and content creation, pursuing an online social media marketing degree may be a great choice for you.

If you’re ready to get started on your educational journey with an online marketing degree, you can research and apply for accredited online social media master’s degree programs today.

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