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2021 Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies

Approximately 66,279 communication and media studies degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be a daunting task finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies ranking analyzed 504 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in communication and media studies. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 colleges for Communication & Media Studies students.

Choosing a Great Communication & Media Studies School

Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies Your choice of communication and media studies school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we include a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 8% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 11%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 134 to 27 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Communication & Media Studies graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average communication and media studies bachelors degree from U.S. schools results in an average starting salary of $31,626, graduates of colleges on this list average $40,572.

Starting Salary  ( 37455 to 45544 )
$0
$49,400

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Communication & Media Studies students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other communication and media studies students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized communication and media studies related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Communication & Media Studies students.

Best Schools to Study Communication & Media Studies in United States

Explore the top ranked colleges and universities for communication and media studies majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 504 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Communications Colleges

#1

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania is among your top options if you're planning on studying communication and media studies. UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UPenn also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Communication & Media Studies majors from University of Pennsylvania get a earnings boost of approximately $8,828 above the typical earnings of communication and media studies majors.

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University of Southern California is a wonderful choice for students interested in a Communication & Media Studies degree. USC is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means USC is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, USC also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduating, communications students usually earn an average of $39,200 at the beginning of their careers.

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#3

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

It's hard to beat Cornell University if you wish to study communication and media studies. Located in the small city Ithaca, Cornell is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 17 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great school overall.

A preferred major for communication and media studies undergrads, there are roughly 87 learners studying this program at Cornell. Graduates from the communication and media studies major at Cornell University make $6,528 more than the average college grad in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#4

Boston University

Boston, MA

Every student pursuing a degree in communication and media studies has to check out Boston University. Located in the large city Boston, Boston U is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Boston U is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Boston U also offers a Master's Degree in communication and media studies. Graduates from the communication and media studies program at Boston University make $2,328 more than the average college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#5

DePauw University

Greencastle, IN

Located in the town Greencastle, DePauw is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 50 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means DePauw is a great school overall.

DePauw University is one of the most popular college to study communications in United States exceeding 89 graduations last year. DePauw University communication and media studies students receive $2,428 more than the standard communications grad.

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Located in the large suburb College Park, UMCP is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 117th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMCP also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). University of Maryland - College Park communication and media studies students make $2,728 more than the average communications graduate.

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#7

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Located in the small city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northwestern U is a great school overall.

Northwestern University is one of the most popular school to study communications in United States exceeding 170 graduates last year. Communication & Media Studies majors from Northwestern University get a earnings boost of around $2,028 over the typical earnings of communication and media studies majors.

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UNC Chapel Hill is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Chapel Hill. A Best Colleges rank of 60 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UNC Chapel Hill is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UNC Chapel Hill also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from this program state that they receive average early career income of $33,900.

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#9

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Chestnut Hill. A Best Colleges rank of 61 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Boston College is a great school overall.

A favorite choice for communication and media studies undergraduates, there are about 221 learners enrolled in this degree at Boston College. Boston College communication and media studies students earn $5,128 more than the standard communications graduate.

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#10

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

Located in the suburb Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 78 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Villanova is a great college overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Villanova offers a Master's Degree in communication and media studies. Graduates of the communications program make around $42,200 in their early career salary.

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#11

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN

Purdue is a fairly large public school located in the city of West Lafayette. This college ranks 84th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

There are about 431 communication and media studies undergrads studying this degree at Purdue. Graduates of the communications program make around $36,100 for their early career.

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Located in the small city Champaign, UIUC is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 92nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There are roughly 296 communication and media studies undergraduates enrolled in this program at UIUC. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, communications students usually make about $38,100 at the beginning of their careers.

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U of Michigan is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of 38 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means U of Michigan is a great school overall.

There are about 241 communication and media studies undergrads enrolled in this degree at U of Michigan. Students who complete this program report average early career wages of $41,500.

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#14

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State is a very large public school located in the city of East Lansing. This school ranks 107th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

For those interested in something more advanced, Michigan State also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, communications students generally earn about $36,200 in their early careers.

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#15

American University

Washington, DC

The American University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This college ranks 164th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in something more advanced, The American University also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the communications program state that they receive average early career earnings of $42,100.

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#16

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Located in the suburb Fairfield, Fairfield U is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. This school ranks 185th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Fairfield U also offers a Master's Degree in communication and media studies. Graduates of the communications program report average early career income of $42,300.

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UCSB is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Santa Barbara. This school ranks 133rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCSB also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students who graduate from the communications program make an average of $36,300 in the first couple years of working.

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#18

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Located in the city Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 81st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

Northeastern University is one of the most popular college to study communications in United States with over 152 graduations last year. Students from the communication and media studies degree program at Northeastern University earn $4,828 above the average college grad in this field shortly after graduation.

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Located in the small city Bloomington, IU Bloomington is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 141st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

For those interested in something more advanced, IU Bloomington also offers 2 different higher degree levels in communication and media studies, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Graduates of the communications program make about $35,200 for their early career.

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#20

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

U of U is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Salt Lake City. This school ranks 180th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Utah.

There are about 353 communication and media studies undergrads enrolled in this degree at U of U. Graduates of the communications program report average early career wages of $38,300.

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#21

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA

SCU is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Santa Clara. A Best Colleges rank of 68 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means SCU is a great college overall.

A preferred choice for communication and media studies undergraduates, there are approximately 130 students studying this degree at SCU. Students from the communication and media studies major at Santa Clara University make $2,428 more than the average college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#22

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Winston-Salem. A Best Colleges rank of 37 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Wake Forest University is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Wake Forest University also offers a Master's Degree in communication and media studies. Graduates of the communications program earn around $37,700 in their early career salary.

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Located in the small suburb Davis, UC Davis is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 83rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

A preferred major for communication and media studies undergraduates, there are roughly 323 individuals enrolled in this program at UC Davis. Soon after graduation, communications students typically earn around $37,900 at the beginning of their careers.

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UMass Amherst is a very large public school located in the large suburb of Amherst. This school ranks 118th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are approximately 311 communication and media studies undergrads studying this program at UMass Amherst. After graduating, communications students typically make around $39,200 in their early careers.

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#25

University of Denver

Denver, CO

U of Denver is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Denver. This college ranks 176th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Colorado.

A popular choice for communication and media studies undergraduates, there are approximately 182 learners enrolled in this program at U of Denver. After graduation, communications students typically make around $35,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies

#28

Loyola University Maryland

Baltimore, MD
#32

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX
#33

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY
#34

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#36

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
#37

University of Delaware

Newark, DE
#39

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
#41

Emerson College

Boston, MA
#42

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA
#43

Bryant University

Smithfield, RI
#44

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS
#45

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY
#47

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#48

Saint Anselm College

Manchester, NH
#49

Saint Mary's College

Notre Dame, IN

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 504 different United States communication and media studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Denison University Granville, OH
52 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
53 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
54 Furman University Greenville, SC
55 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
56 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
57 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
58 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
59 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
60 St Lawrence University Canton, NY
61 Fordham University Bronx, NY
62 Arizona State University - West Glendale, AZ
63 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
64 Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter, MN
65 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
66 Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
67 Randolph - Macon College Ashland, VA
68 Wheaton College Illinois Wheaton, IL
69 Rollins College Winter Park, FL
70 Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA
71 Baylor University Waco, TX
72 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
73 Lake Forest College Lake Forest, IL
74 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
75 Hobart and William Smith Colleges Geneva, NY

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies award.

Rank College Location
76 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
77 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
78 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
79 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
80 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
81 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI
82 Christopher Newport University Newport News, VA
83 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
84 Stonehill College Easton, MA
85 Elon University Elon, NC
86 Auburn University Auburn, AL
87 Augustana College Rock Island, IL
88 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
89 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
90 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
91 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
92 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
93 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
94 Saint Mary’s College of California Moraga, CA
95 Illinois State University Normal, IL
96 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA
97 Manhattan College Riverdale, NY
98 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
99 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA
100 Florida International University Miami, FL

Communication & Media Studies by Region

View the Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 5 majors within the Communication & Journalism area of study, Communication & Media Studies has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Relations & Advertising 20,156
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 16,150
Journalism 15,466
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,784
Publishing 297

View All Communications Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to UNU-WIDER from Helsinki, Finland. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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