What You Need to Know to Become a Communication and Media Studies Major

A communications major examines how people communicate in an increasingly digitized and connected society. Communication and media studies is an umbrella term for interdisciplinary courses that combine mass communication skills with social sciences and humanities. Students interested in information dissemination, news reporting, storytelling, or analyzing media culture should consider a communications major.

What is a major in communication and media studies?

Communication and media studies lay the foundation for crafting messages, understanding audiences, using new technologies, and learning key communication theories. This major often examines the relationship of communications to culture and society. Students may be required to learn about communications ethics, policy, and law, as well as media history and the digital landscape. The major is as diverse as the students and faculty who craft and deliver these messages, so courses and requirements vary from school to school. A communication major allows students to design a course load around their interests and career aspirations.

Communication and Media Studies majors can expect common coursework

The common courses for a major in communication and media studies begin with basic teaching: introduction to media and communication, writing for communication and research methods for communication. Introductory research courses can cover qualitative or quantitative social research methods techniques, which are important skills to possess for courses related to major and potential careers. More specific courses include: New Media and Society; children and the media; communication ethics; media policy; race issues in the media; peace communication; media censorship; entertainment media psychology; and international communication. Upper classes typically take individual study courses that culminate in original research for a thesis or a creative capstone project. Examples of capstone projects include magazine articles, public relations materials, films, or other creative work that can be used for job applications or graduate school submissions. Plus, internships are the best way to gain valuable experience, work samples, and connections before you graduate.

How to know if this major is right for you

Due to the broad scope of a communications major, students may decide, after a few introductory courses, to specialize in a specific area. Basic communication courses can count towards general education credit for those who are reluctant to claim a major. This major is suitable for those who consider themselves media literate and wish to study how media shapes everyday life. A passion for communication, strong writing skills, and interpersonal skills are all necessary to succeed in this field. A general interest in current affairs, storytelling, film, photography, writing, or digital media is helpful for students in this major. Job prospects can vary widely for communication majors. Degree concentrations, internships, fellowships, and advanced degrees will likely be options for students on their way to this degree and beyond.

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What can I do with a major in Communication and Media Studies?

Thanks to most industries needing communications professionals on their teams, communications and media studies majors have the freedom to pursue many career paths. Common areas for a communications major include advertising, marketing, public relations, television, journalism, social media, graphic design, sales, event planning, and translation. A master’s degree in communications may be required for managerial and executive positions in some companies, and is required for academic and teaching positions. With the changing digital landscape, communications professionals must be able to adapt to new technologies and platforms to stay competitive.

Schools Offering a Communication Major

Check out some schools that offer communication majors below and find the full list of schools here that you can filter and sort.

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Featured Ranking

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA #2 in National Universities
Stanford University Stanford, California #3 in national universities
Pomona College Claremont, California #3 in National Liberal Arts Colleges
Claremont McKenna College Claremont, California 9 National Liberal Arts Colleges
High Point University High Point, North Carolina #1 in Southern Regional Colleges
Rollins College Winter Park, Florida #1 in Southern Regional Universities
University of Portland Portland, OR #1 in Western Regional Universities
Bentley University Waltham, MA #2 in regional universities in the North
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, California #2 in Western Regional Universities
Carroll College Helena, Montana #2 in Western Regional Colleges