dcsimg

Communications and Media Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed December 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed January 29, 2018: Media Communications (BA), Webster University, http://www.webster.edu/catalog/current/undergraduate-catalog/majors/media-communications.html; Undergraduate Programs, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, http://journalism.uoregon.edu/academics/ugrad/; Graduate Programs, School of Journalism and Communication, http://journalism.uoregon.edu/academics/grad/ ; College of Media, Communication and Information, University of Colorado Boulder, https://www.colorado.edu/cmci/academics; Majors, Minors, Graduate Programs, Degrees & Departments, SUNY Plattsburgh, https://web.plattsburgh.edu/academics/programs.php#certificates; Schools and Centers, Scripps College of Communication, https://www.ohio.edu/scrippscollege/schoolsandcenters/index.cfm; Emphasis Areas, School of Media Arts & Studies, http://mediaschool.ohio.edu/major-sequences; Certificate in Social Media Studies, Ohio University, http://mediaschool.ohio.edu/scripps-college-of-communication-certificate-in-social-media-studies/; Applied Communication, Ohio University, https://www.ohio.edu/admissions/online/applied-communication.cfm; Undergraduate Degrees, MSU Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, https://comartsci.msu.edu/undergraduate; 4 Year Plan for Incoming Freshman, Journalism and Mass Communications, Murray State University, http://www.murraystate.edu/academics/CollegesDepartments/CollegeOfBusiness/Programs/JournalismAndMassCommunications/4yrplan.aspx; Programs, Online Learning, Murray State University, http://murraystate.edu/academics/regionalAcademicOutreach/distance-learning/programs.aspx; Fast Facts, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, https://www.uwrf.edu/AboutUs/FastFacts.cfm; Journalism, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, https://www.uwrf.edu/CMS/Journalism/Index.cfm; Marketing Communications, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, https://www.uwrf.edu/MARC/Index.cfm; Communication Studies Degree Requirements, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, https://www.uwrf.edu/CMS/CommunicationStudies/COMSProgram.cfm; Undergraduate All, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, https://cronkite.asu.edu/degree-programs/undergraduate; Department of Communication Studies, University of Northern Iowa, https://catalog.uni.edu/collegeofhumanitiesartsandsciences/communicationstudies/#text; Communications and Media, University of Northern Iowa, https://majors.uni.edu/comm-media; Communications, West Virginia State University, http://www.wvstateu.edu/communications.aspx; B.A. in Communication Studies, West Virginia University, https://communicationstudies.wvu.edu/students/undergraduate-students;
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 25, 2018: Public Relations Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm; Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-correspondents-and-broadcast-news-analysts.htm; Writers and Authors, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm; Editors, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm;
  • Professional organization pages, accessed January 25, 2018: Why You Should Join IABC, International Association of Business Communicators, https://www.iabc.com/membership/why-join/; Membership and Interest Groups, National Communication Association, https://www.natcom.org/about-nca/membership-and-interest-groups; Why Join PRSA, Public Relations Society of America, https://www.prsa.org/membership/why-join-prsa/;
  • BMI Founders Award for Radio Broadcasting, BMI Foundation, accessed January 25, 2018, https://bmifoundation.org/programs/info/bmi_founders_award_for_radio_broadcasting
X

Thanks to the Internet and the mobile device revolution, communication and media workers may be more important than ever. Just about everyone has a media device on them at all times, and companies in both the public and private sector need well-trained personnel to communicate with the public on their behalf.

Study plans in communication and media tend to vary quite a bit from institution to institution, but most programs cover subjects like the strategic use of media, critical thinking about messaging and how to communicate in one-on-one, small-group and large-group settings. Many also go into the history of public relations, advertising and mass communication in general.

Online degrees for communication and media students are available as well, if you're looking for a way to continue your education that might put less of a strain on your schedule. Whether you're looking to earn your first degree or go back to school to train for a career change, online communication and media degrees can help lighten the burden.

Best Colleges for Communication And Media Degree Programs 2018-19

More than 700 schools across the country offer media and communication degrees, so we gathered a batch of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and ran it through a multi-point analysis to see which ones came out on top. Click the button to find out how the schools were scored, and read on for our list of the ten best colleges for communication and media degree programs.

Download Badge
Methodology
1University of Oregon+
ADMISSION RATE
78%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

Only two other schools on our list scored better in the graduation rate category than our No. 1 school, and that's not the only attractive feature that the University of Oregon has to offer. It also had one of the highest concentrations of communication and media students among schools in our top ten, with approximately one in ten 2015 graduates earning a degree in the field.

The School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon offers undergraduate majors and minors in advertising, media studies, public relations and more, each with a different approach to the study of communication and media. Students who have already earned their bachelor's can pursue graduate certificates in communication ethics or new media and culture, as well as full master's degrees in strategic communication, media studies and journalism.

Additional Info
2University of Colorado Boulder+
ADMISSION RATE
77%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

The graduation rate at the University of Colorado Boulder differed from that of our No. 1 school by just one tenth of a percentage point, and its admission rate was the fourth-highest among institutions that made our top ten. The northern Colorado school also offers alternative tuition payment plans and career services for students and graduates.

The array of degrees and certificates in communication and media at UC Boulder is vast, covering numerous aspects of the discipline and multiple academic levels. Programs include Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in communication, media studies and media production and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in information science and strategic communication.

Additional Info
3SUNY College at Plattsburgh+
ADMISSION RATE
51%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Instructional expenses like course development and in-classroom tech can be the difference between an ordinary education and one that's truly on the cutting edge, and the State University of New York's College at Plattsburgh leads all schools in our top ten by committing 54 percent of its annual budget to these and similar essentials. SUNY Plattsburgh was also one of the more affordable schools on our list, ranking above all but three other institutions in that category.

Degrees in communication studies, multimedia journalism and digital media production are all available for undergrads at SUNY Plattsburgh. Each degree can be earned on either a B.A. or B.S. track. Graduate certificates in multimedia journalism and professional writing are available as well.

Additional Info
4Ohio University - Main Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
75%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
23

Flexibility was a key metric at the flagship campus of Ohio University, where busy students have the option to earn certain degrees exclusively through courses that meet at night and on the weekends. The Athens, Ohio, institution is also a top destination for students seeking online communication and media degrees, thanks to its extensive catalog of distance education courses and a B.S. in applied communication that's available entirely online.

The diverse selection of degree programs at Ohio University includes information design, organizational communication, public advocacy and photojournalism, among others. The School of Media Arts and Studies offers a few especially modern study plans, including an undergraduate certificate in social media studies and a bachelor's emphasis in media and social change.

Additional Info
5Michigan State University+
ADMISSION RATE
66%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
27

No other school on our list had a higher graduation rate than this East Lansing institution, which reports that approximately eight out of ten students who were expected to graduate in 2015 flipped their tassel at commencement. Michigan State University is also the largest school to make our top ten, awarding just shy of 12,000 degrees in 2015, so it could be a good choice for students who like the feel of a big university.

Four-year bachelor's degrees in advertising creative, advertising management, journalism and more anchor the list of programs at MSU. Enrolled students who decide they want to pursue advanced degrees have some interesting options here, as well: linked bachelor's-master's degrees in advertising and communication that take only three semesters more than a standard undergraduate program.

Additional Info
6Murray State University+
ADMISSION RATE
85%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
22

Murray State University took our list's top spot for affordability, charging students an average 2015 total of just over $7,600 for tuition and fees. It also had the highest admissions rate among our best colleges for communication and media degree programs, granting enrollment to more than 90 percent of applicants in 2015.

While there may not be any fully online degrees for communication and media students at Murray State, you're likely to be able to craft a comfortable hybrid program by tapping into a substantial list of individual online courses. You won't be alone in the virtual classroom, either -- just three other schools in our top ten reported a larger percentage of distance education enrollment than this Kentucky institution.

Additional Info
7University of Wisconsin-River Falls+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Communication and media students who prefer a close-knit educational environment might find what they're looking for at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. This campus location near the state's western border boasts a modest student body of around 5,500 undergraduates and sits just a half-hour away from the Twin Cities of neighboring Minnesota.

Communication and media degrees at UW-River Falls are divided into three distinct approaches to the discipline. Journalism majors concentrate on the communication of facts to mass audiences, while communication studies majors examine interpersonal and intercultural discourse and marketing communication majors learn how to precisely target their methods and messages to more effectively persuade various audiences.

Additional Info
8Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix+
ADMISSION RATE
77%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

Students on the hunt for online communication and media degrees would be well-served to include the downtown Phoenix location of Arizona State University in their search. Not only do nearly 60 percent of students at the downtown campus take at least some of their courses online, but the institution's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers a B.A. in mass communication and media studies that can be earned without ever setting foot in a traditional classroom.

ASU's downtown Phoenix campus also offers a few study plans that are somewhat uncommon among communication and media schools. Undergraduates can pursue a B.A. that focuses on sports journalism, and an available minor in media analysis can help you learn to better interpret and evaluate mass messaging.

Additional Info
9University of Northern Iowa+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

The spending numbers on record for University of Northern Iowa suggest a firm commitment to investing in student success. Nearly two thirds of the Cedar Falls school's annual budget is earmarked for academic reinvestment, with 50 percent going to instructional expenses and an additional 13 set aside for academic support activities like counseling, advising and tutoring services.

A range of undergraduate majors can be found in the catalog of communication and media degree programs at UNI, including a marketing degree that focuses on advertising and digital media and an interdisciplinary major in interactive digital studies that breaks new ground in the study of the modern New Media environment. A specialized major in political communication is also offered, in conjunction with the school's department of political science.

Additional Info
10West Virginia University+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

This medium-sized school in Morgantown, West Virginia, took the last spot in our top ten in part on the strength of high marks in affordability. Its $7,632 average cost of tuition and fees in 2015 landed it the No. 2 spot in that category in a close contest. West Virginia University also put up impressive marks for flexibility, thanks to alternative tuition payment plans and placement services for alumni.

Communications students at WVU are treated to an undergraduate curriculum that features courses in theater, radio and animation production alongside study of journalism, copywriting and public relations. Those interested in a more interpersonal approach to communications can try the B.A. in communication studies, which has emphases in organizational communication and social media.

Additional Info

Communication And Media Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

Communication and media degree programs are typically available at the two-year, four-year and graduate levels. Bachelor's degrees in the field can apply to several careers and tend to be common among entry-level communication and media professionals. Here's a quick description of programs at that level and a few of the jobs that they can lead to.

Bachelor's degree in Communication And Media
Students in communication and media bachelor's programs learn the history, theories and principles of written and spoken rhetoric and develop an understanding of the challenges and responsibilities that professional communicators face. Some programs may also encourage academic research into the ethical, legal, personal and social dimensions of the field and its applications.
Public relations specialists
develop and protect the favorable public perception of brands, companies, celebrities, politicians and non-profit organizations
Journalists
follow leads, conduct interviews and research topics of public interest to produce stories for print, television, radio and online media
Copywriters
write advertisements and other promotional materials for clients, either as freelancers or as part of a team within an agency
Writers and authors
write short stories, novels, scripts, articles, reference materials and more, covering non-fiction topics such as history and biography as well as fiction
Social media strategists
design and implement comprehensive strategies for an organization's social media marketing techniques, outreach and data analysis
Editors
read and evaluate submissions from writers, fact-check information included in journalistic work and develop ideas for new content to be produced

Career Outlook for Communication And Media Majors

The wide range of jobs in the communication and media field aren't all expected to grow at the same rate, and keeping your finger on the pulse of the career market can give you an idea of where you're best served to concentrate your energies while earning your degree. Here's a quick rundown of employment projections for communication and media careers.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Media and Communication Workers$63,130575,6305.8%
Media and Communication Equipment Workers$55,520234,9602%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Communication And Media

The widest range of financial aid opportunities for communication and media students tends to be available through individual schools, although some, like the $5,000 BMI Founders Award for Radio Broadcasting, may be open to nationwide candidates in specific fields or demographic groups. Here's a short list of aid options for students in communication and media degree programs.

ACLS/New York Public Library Fellowship
Applicant must identify specific resources and benefits to be gained from affiliation with the Center for Scholars and Writers. Applicant must be selected by both ACLS Committee and the New York Public Library. Applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (OFA). OFA is accessible through the Fellowship and Grant Programs section of the web site. Applicant must apply separately to the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library (csw@nypl.org). More

AWARD AMOUNT

$65,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

September 28

 

 

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Minorities
Applicant must have completed a Ph.D. or Sc.D. within seven years, be a U.S. citizen or national, and be an Alaskan Native, Native American, black/African-American, Mexican-American, Pacific Islander, or Puerto Rican. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$35,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Early January

 

 

Judith L. Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority Fellowship
Applicant must be a United Methodist of racial ethnic minority heritage and must be a recent college or seminary graduate who has broad communications training, including an understanding of effective public relations. Applicant must consider pursuing communications for The United Methodist Church as a career. Fluency in English and ability to relocate for one year are required. Fellowship offers a mentoring experience intended to prepare the recipient for a communications career in an Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in the United States. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$30,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 15

 

 

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship for Minorities
Applicant must be U.S. citizen or national who is an Alaskan Native, Native American, black/African-American, Mexican American, Pacific Islander, or Puerto Rican. Applicant must have completed no more than 30 semester/45 quarter hours of graduate work in fields eligible for support. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$24,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 14

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Fellowship is awarded for three years; continued support is based upon recipient's progress.

Professional Organizations

Members have benefits that include professional certification opportunities, a monthly digital magazine and access to the annual IABC World Conference
The NCA offers members exclusive content on the organization's website, including research, data and teaching and learning resources
Joining the PRSA brings access to workshops, conferences, webinars and online training, as well as a national community of more than 21,000 members
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
X
X
Download Badge
Download
This badge will download in .svg format and is not available on Safari or IE. For assistance, please contact our outreach coordinator, Brad Bennion.
X
Explore Schools Offering Communication Media Programs