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2020 Communication & Media Studies Degree Guide

In most places in the world, you can't go a day without running into some form of communication, whether it's the Internet, television, or radio. If you want to learn more about how communication channels broadcast the views of our culture and directly impact our opinions and perceptions, consider a major in Communication and Media Studies.

With a degree in Communication and Media Studies, you will be able to analyze different media channels, explore how media impacts culture, and even have the opportunity to create your own media broadcasts. Classes such as communication and mass media research, mass media and popular culture, media criticism, and media law and ethics will introduce you to the world of communications and teach how to analyze and express messages.

While there is the option to major in the general topic of Communication and Media Studies, some students choose to specialize in areas, such as Speech Communication and Rhetoric or Mass Communication/Media Studies.

#16 Most Popular Major
68k Degrees Awarded
-1.0% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, communication and media studies was the 16th most popular major nationwide with 68,023 degrees awarded. This is approximately the same as the 68,676 graduates the prior year.

There are 1,022 schools offering degrees in communication and media studies in the United States. This year's Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking compares 523 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom communications rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Communication & Media Studies

Strong writing and interpersonal skills are mandatory for a career in communications. Professionals spend their days working to communicate messages to the general public, making it necessary to be clear and concise. This is a great career for people who enjoy multi-tasking and have a good sense of social perceptiveness and media interest. When working in the field you may experience times when irregular or extended hours may be necessary. Tight deadlines and large projects can lead to late nights or weekend hours.

A career in communications is experience based, making internships critical. These opportunities allow professionals to introduce you to the world of communications and give you the opportunity to perform basic tasks. The combination of internships and knowledge gained while working towards a degree prepares graduates for a successful career.

Communications Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most communications degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic communication and media studies program qualifications, to serve in some communications careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Communication & Media Studies Degree Types

There are many different communications degree levels. Communication & Media Studies programs offered by schools range from a first year certificate to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest communications degree you can get. How long it takes to complete some common communications degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to communications, with approximately 54.0% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for communications workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 56.3%
Master’s Degree 13.5%
Less than a High School Diploma 6.8%
Some College Courses 6.8%
High School Diploma 6.5%

Most workers in communications have at least a bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in communication and media studies have obtained.

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The education level required is different depending on the communications career you are seeking.

Communications Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$32.7k Average Starting Salary
4% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are many career options for those who major in Communications and Media. Graduates will be equipped with excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, making them an asset to many companies. Some careers that graduates choose to go into include advertising, copy writing, marketing, publicity, social media consulting, public relations, and telecasting. Students may also choose to work for themselves or do consulting or contract work.

Communications is growing at a very quick rate and job opportunities are excellent for recent graduates. However, this is also a very popular field to be in, and competition in certain areas can be high. Since communications careers are experience based, the longer graduates are in the field, the more opportunity there is for advancement.

Growth Projected for Communications Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your communications degree? Communication & Media Studies careers are expected to grow 3.9% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to communication and media studies.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Public Relations Specialists 282,600 8.9%
Writers and Authors 141,200 7.6%
Editors 125,600 -1.4%
Reporters and Correspondents 40,200 -10.1%
Communications Professors 37,500 10.0%

How Much Money Do People With a Communications Degree Make?

Recently graduated communication and media studies students earned an average of $32,728 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $7,300 to as high as $97,600. As you might expect, salaries for communications graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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Highest Paid Communications Careers

Salaries for communication and media studies graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers communications grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Communications Professors $78,090
Writers and Authors $73,090
Editors $69,480
Public Relations Specialists $68,440
Reporters and Correspondents $55,530

Getting Your Communication & Media Studies Degree

With over 2,706 different communications degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased communications school rankings to help you with this.

Communication & Media Studies is one of 5 different types of Communication & Journalism programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Relations & Advertising 19,507
Journalism 15,914
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 14,960
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,920
Publishing 246

View All Communications Related Majors >

References

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