Bachelor’s in Communication Programs

For recent high school graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism, new media, marketing, advertising or human resources, earning a bachelor's degree in communication will put you on a path to achieving your career goals. Bachelor's in Communication programs are as varied as the communication industry itself, providing students with a wide range of specializations, school types, and program formats to choose from. Colleges and universities across the country offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences in Communication programs in which students take courses in communication theory and principles and learn how effective communication techniques impact the business world, interpersonal relations, and a global marketplace. Oftentimes, students can concentrate their studies in a particular area of communication, such as journalism, public relations, corporate communication, interpersonal communication, and public affairs, among others.

The communications field is vast and encompasses a wide range of career options, including:

  • Journalist and Editor
  • Advertising Executive
  • Sales & Marketing Coordinator
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Social Media and Online Marketing Manager
  • Public Relations Executive
  • Consumer Research Coordinator
  • Public Affairs Officer
  • Web Designer & Online Content Manager
  • Video Producer

If you are interested in learning more about one or more of these communication careers, the place to begin is a bachelor's program. Found in a variety of colleges and universities nationwide, the challenge for students is selecting the right program to fit their personal career goals and interests.

Interested in an online bachelor’s in communication degree?

Choosing a Bachelor’s in Communication Program

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, social sciences and history was the third most popular bachelor's degree earned in the U.S. in the most recent year studied. This category includes communication degrees, and there are hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide that offer this bachelor's degree path. With such a large number of schools and programs to choose from, students can get overwhelmed by choice. However, the selection process can be made simpler and easier if you keep the following criteria in mind:

Program Cost

Perhaps the most deciding factor for students to consider is cost. The average cost of undergraduate education in the U.S. according to the National Center for Education Statistics was estimated at $16,757 for public institutions, $43,065 for private non-profit institutions, and $23,775 for private for-profit institutions for the 2015-2016 academic year. As you can see, the price of undergraduate study varies significantly based on the type of school you select. However, the price tag can also be impacted by a number of other factors, such as a school's geographic location and reputation, a student's residency status, and whether a student lives on campus or commutes. Another factor that can impact cost is whether a program is offered in an online format. Oftentimes, online programs are more affordable than on-campus programs, especially when you factor in the cost savings on housing and/or commuting.

When researching schools, make sure to find out the total cost of the program, including mandatory school fees, estimated cost of books and supplies, and housing or commuting fees. It pays to reach out to a school's office of financial aid to enquire about scholarships, grants, work study opportunities and other programs that can save you money off the cost of your education.

Admissions Requirements

In order to secure admission to a bachelor's in communication program, students should be prepared to meet the following admission requirements:

  • Completed application with personal information
  • High school diploma and transcripts of all high school coursework
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in college preparatory coursework
  • Standardized test scores from ACT or SAT in line with the school's minimum requirements
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or other non-family members
  • Personal statement/essay as well as relevant writing samples

Specific admissions requirements and application deadlines vary from school to school, so make sure to check with your school of choice to make sure you have all relevant materials submitted by the appropriate deadline for consideration.

Classes and Courses

Coursework for a bachelor's degree in communication generally includes general education courses in math, science, humanities and social sciences as well as courses related to the communication major. These courses can vary depending on if there is a particular concentration (e.g., journalism and writing, marketing, advertising, organizational or interpersonal communication, new media, etc.). Many programs however, include coursework on the following topics:

  • Communication Theory
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Mass Communication & Media Studies
  • Research Methods
  • Writing/Journalism
  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Global Communication
  • Ethical Issues

As is common with bachelor's degree programs, most bachelor's in communication programs are completed in four years of full-time study. However, some schools offer accelerated programs in which students can complete their studies at a quicker pace, while others offer part-time programs that take a bit longer to finish.

Real World Experience

With so many communication program graduates entering the workforce every year, one way to stand out from the crowd is to gain hands on experience in your chosen field while completing your undergraduate studies. When researching schools, it is wise to consider whether the school has an established internship program, in which students can earn class credit for completing an internship in their chosen field. For students interested in journalism, a student newspaper, television station and/or radio station on campus would provide an outlet to gain hands on experience in your craft. In some cases, a senior project may also allow students to gain professional experience in web design, journalism, video production, public relations, and more. All of these activities are excellent resume builders and prepare graduates for their first jobs or for master's-level study of communication.