A degree in communication studies prepares students for a career in journalism or the media.

A master's degree program in communications typically prepares students for a career in journalism. Some programs also focus on media studies in general, which can be used to get jobs in television, marketing or even cultural studies. Attending a top program in communications can improve a graduate's career opportunities and earnings potential. "U.S. News & World Report" ranks the top programs using data from "World University Rankings," and the best programs are spread out around the world.

Stanford University

Stanford University's communications department is ranked No. 1 on the "U.S. News & World Report" list. The program was formed in the 1950s, and it touts itself as one of the pioneers in the field. The program has an interdisciplinary focus, bringing together psychology, political science, sociology, and history in its study of media and culture. The department includes options for undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees. Graduates from the program have gone on to get tenure track positions at prestigious universities like New York University or work at top media companies, such as "The New York Times" and Google.

Columbia University

Columbia University is well-known for its journalism school, but it also has an excellent reputation for its communications program. "U.S. News & World Report" ranks it second in the world. The program offers a Master of Arts, as well as a doctorate degree. Students can draw on resources from the School of Journalism, the School of International Affairs, the Teachers College and the Business School in their studies. The focus of study is on academic research and preparation for teaching at the university level or working to create new policies.

National University of Singapore

Coming in third on the "U.S. News & World Report" list is an international university. The program at the National University of Singapore offers students the opportunity to get their masters degree while also experiencing a new culture. U.S. students who choose to study here would benefit from an international perspective on U.S. media and culture. The faculty specialize in communications management, media studies, and interactive design. Students who complete their master's degree and wish to continue their studies have the option to complete a Ph.D. as well.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The university known for its mathematics and engineering programs also ranks high for its communications program. MIT offers a masters in Comparative Media Studies and Writing that combines critical analysis and collaborative research across a variety of media arts. The program takes into consideration different historical periods, cultures and research methodology. Media studies include journalism, video games, digital media, fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. The program is selective, and it only admits 10 students per year.