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2023 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.

#10 Most Popular Major
66.8k Degrees Awarded
-1.9% Increase in Graduates

Communication & Media Studies was the 10th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 66,787 degrees in this year alone. This 1,292 less than the prior year, a decrease of 1.9%.

This year's Best Communication & Media Studies Schools ranking compares 616 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom communications rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Communication & Media Studies
2023 Overall Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges >

Best Communication & Media Studies Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Communication & Media Studies
Bachelor's Degrees in Communication & Media Studies
Master's Degrees in Communication & Media Studies
Doctorate Degrees in Communication & Media Studies

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Communication & Media Studies

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

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most communications degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic communication and media studies program qualifications, to serve in some communications careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Communication & Media Studies Degree Types

Communications degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in communication and media studies to the highest communications degree, 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%

73.9% of communications workers have at least a bachelor's. 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.

Communications Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$34.2k 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?

Communication & Media Studies graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $34,166 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $15,527 to as high as $95,483. 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 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 2,780 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.

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

Communications Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Speech Communication 41,146
Communications 12,001
Communication & Media Studies 10,266
Other Communication & Media Studies 3,374

View All Communications Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Relations & Advertising 21,099
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 17,669
Journalism 13,552
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,128
Publishing 336

View All Communications Related Majors >


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