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BA in Communications

The mission of the BA in communications program is to equip students with an adaptable approach to the rapidly evolving nature of media-related careers. The breadth and flexibility of the major enables a strategic integration of courses in which students learn professional practices, analytical techniques and expertise on the media's wider social, cultural and economic relationships.

The program's required courses emphasize skills and expertise sought by both demanding employers and competitive graduate programs, fostering students' abilities to do the following:

  • apply knowledge gained from their course work and creative problem solving skills to real-world situations facing media organizations, producers and users, showing a capacity for innovation and imaginative thinking
  • plan, conduct, analyze and report original media research findings based on a survey, focus group, social media tracking or content analysis
  • interpret secondary media research for media professionals and media consumers/users
  • critically analyze current media issues, trends and events and convey in written and oral reports their observations on how media theory relates to industry practice and audience/user interpretation
  • demonstrate a professional level of written and oral communication skills and the ability to effectively communicate ideas to various audience through a variety of traditional and new media message delivery formats
  • articulate the importance of media literacy and how understanding the media's influence benefits media consumers and professionals in a democracy like the U.S. and in an information-based global economy
  • recognize the diversity of groups and perspectives in a global society in relation to the media's influence on the construction of culture and identity.

Communications students obtain positions in diverse professional environments, including television networks, the music industry, public relations and marketing firms, advertising agencies and media research organizations. The program also prepares students to enter graduate training in business, law, journalism, public relations and education.

Curriculum + Requirements

The communications degree consists of the School of Communications core courses, media studies courses, and several elective courses. All students majoring in communications are required to also complete a minor (typically 18 credits) that will complement their career and/or personal interests.

Major Requirements (45 credits)

Course Title Credits
Required School of Communications Core Courses (12 credits)
*Must be completed by the end of sophomore year
JRN 160* Introduction to Media Writing 3
MSS 101* Media Industries and Trends 3
MSS 220* Media History 3
MSS 340 Communications Law and Policy 3
Other Required media studies courses (15 credits)
MSS 231 Media & Society 3
MSS 332 Media Research Methods 3
MSS 450 Senior Seminar 3
COM 490 Internship 3
MSS 495 Media Trend Forecasting & Strategy (capstone) 3
Electives (select three) (9 credits)
MSS/WS 311 Diversity in the Media 3
MSS 320 Communication Technologies 3
MSS/WS 345 Media Users & Audiences 3
MSS 346 Global Communication 3
MSS 348 Song & Dance 3
MSS 349/PO 348 Political Communication 3
MSS 400 Special Topics 3
MSS/SPS 420 Sports, Media & Society 3
And/or any FTM, IDD, JRN or STC courses
Other non-School of Communications courses with chair's approval
Open Electives (6 credits)

Minor (typically 18 credits)