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2021 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.

#9 Most Popular Major
66.3k Degrees Awarded
0.5% Increase in Graduates

Communication & Media Studies was the 9th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 66,285 degrees in this year alone. This represents small change only 0.5% from the prior year's total of 65,932 communications degrees awarded.

The United States has 1,242 different schools where you can get a degree in communication and media studies. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking analyzes 504 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for communication and media studies students. Explore this or one of our many other custom communications rankings further below.

Communication & Media Studies Degree Requirements

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.

Getting Accepted Into a Communication & Media Studies Program

communication and media studies degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific communications careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Communication & Media Studies Degree Types

Communications degree levels vary. You can spend many years getting as high as a in communication and media studies to something that takes less time like a . Depending on the communication and media studies degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

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. People currently working in careers related to communications tend obtained the following education levels.

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. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in communication and media studies have received.


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

Career Opportunities for Communications Majors

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 Communications Grads 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.


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 2,582 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.

Study Areas in Communication & Media Studies

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

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Relations & Advertising 19,456
Journalism 15,245
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 13,290
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,695
Publishing 266

View All Communications Related Majors >


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