How to Major in Communication

The Communication major is the study of how human beings exchange information, as well as the study of the media that make this exchange possible . As a communication major, you’ll learn how we use communication to create meaning, how we share and receive messages, and how these messages are shaped by an array of media, including broadcast media, printed or spoken work, social media, and interpersonal relationships.

How to Major in Communication

Majoring in communication can qualify you for a wide range of professional opportunities in public relations, journalism, mass media, and more. A degree in communication may also prepare you for work as a technician in broadcast, film editing, and a host of other media-related technical roles. Exceptional communication skills could also qualify you for a leadership role in a variety of organizational settings.

If you’re ready to start earning this degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Communication.

Or read on to find out what you can expect as a Communication Major.

5 Reasons to Major in Communication

1.Communication majors are versatile.

You can turn a major in communications into a virtually limitless array of careers. How you use your degree in communications will depend largely on a combination of skills, personal interests, and opportunity. Whether you’d like to edit books for a publishing house, produce a talk radio show, or chase news stories across the globe, majoring in communication can get you started on your way.

2.Communication majors develop essential skills for work and life.

The study of communication is a balance of theoretical concepts and practical skills. These practical skills are valuable in any field. You’ll learn many of the critical 21st Century skills that employers value such as collaboration, creativity, and the ability to express yourself in a variety of media. Hiring firms actively seek out job candidates with strong writing, speaking, and web-mediated communication skills.

3.Communication majors have strong earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, the median annual wage for media and communication occupations was $59,230, as compared to a median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810. And if you succeed as an on-air broadcasting talent, an accomplished journalist, or a noted public relations specialist, you could earn quite a bit more.

4.Communication majors get to have hands-on learning experiences.

As you find your area of concentration, you’ll have the chance to truly hone your craft. Whether your future is in front of a camera, behind a microphone, or at an international correspondent’s desk, majoring in communications will give you an opportunity to practice those skills in a real-world setting.

5.Communication majors are influential.

The ability to communicate effectively gives you the power to exert positive influence. Effective communication can be a pathway to change in any industry, from retail, service and entertainment to governance, social reform, and healthcare. Today, top influencers in communication are working on research in the political economy of communication, community media ecologies and impacts on civic and public life, citizen journalism, and much more.

Find out who the Most Influential People are in Communication today!

What Kinds of Communication Degrees Are There?

As a communication major, you can pursue general studies in communication theory alongside practical media studies, or you can focus your coursework on a specific area of communication. Higher degree levels often center around a particular area of specialization in the field fo communication.

  • Associate of Communication: This 2-year degree is available through most community colleges, and can provide the basic qualifications for an entry-level role as a broadcast technician, freelance blogger, or copy-editor. It can also provide an affordable head-start on your way to a four-year degree.
  • Bachelor of Communication: A bachelor’s degree in communications can be earned in four years and will generally qualify you for starting employment as a journalist, public relations specialist, corporate communications officer, and a host of other professional opportunities. Real-world experience is critical in communications. Earning a bachelor’s will qualify you to begin earning that experience.
  • Master of Communication: Because many industries are accessible with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in communication is reserved for those who wish to delve into a particular sub-discipline with greater depth. It can also help to improve your qualifications for highly competitive fields like editing, publishing, or on-air reporting.
  • PhD in Communication: A doctoral degree will qualify you to teach as a professor or work as a researcher for a university, think tank, or government agency.

*Note: Many, but not all, degree programs offer the choice between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Likewise, many, but not all, advanced degree programs offer a choice between Master of Arts, and Master of Science degrees. In most cases, the primary difference is the diversity of course offerings. “Science” degree courses will focus almost entirely on the major discipline, with a deep dive into a specific concentration, including laboratory, clinical or practicum experience. An “Arts” degree will provide a more well-rounded curriculum which includes both core/concentration courses and a selection of humanities and electives. The type of degree you choose will depend both on your school’s offerings and your career/educational goals. Moreover, there are sometimes numerous variations in the way that colleges name and categorize majors. The degree types identified here above are some of the common naming variations, but may not be all-encompassing.

What Are Some Popular Communication Concentrations?

Your “concentration” refers to a specific area of focus within your major. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides a complete listing of college degree programs and concentrations (Classification for Instructional Programs), as sourced from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). According to IPEDS, the following are among the most popular communication concentrations:

  • Mass Communication and Media Studies
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Radio and Televisions
  • Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia
  • Organizational Communication
  • Health Communication
  • International and Intercultural Communication

What Courses Will I Take as a Communication Major?

Your concentration will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a communication major. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as Interpersonal Communication and Communication in Mass Media. However, you will also have the freedom to select an array of courses that most interest you. As a communication major, you’ll have the chance to dive into the area that interests you most, whether you see yourself doing behind the scenes production work, reporting news to the public, crafting messages on behalf of an organization, or writing speeches for a public figure. Choose courses that provide both a broad overview of the field, and that help you find your focus.

Common Communication courses include:

  • Communication in Digital Media
  • Public Relations
  • Technical Writing
  • Writing in Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Crisis Communication

What Can I Do With a Major in Communication?

Majoring in communication can provide inroads to a wide range of careers in mass media, journalism, writing, public relations, publishing and much more. Your communication skills and personal interests could take you down a wide range of professional paths, including these top jobs:

Curious how far you could go with a Major in Communication? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!

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View the Most Influential Schools in Communication and get started on your path to a communication degree.

And if you’re shopping for the right college, be sure that you’ve reviewed our Resources on critical issues like Accreditation, Scholarships, Financial Aid, and more!