Your Online Resource for Communications Degrees

DegreeInCommunications is focused on providing helpful guides for getting an online Communications degree. Whether you want to start or advance your career, there are several online options available for Communications. Communication is an academic field that relates to all the ways in which humans communicate, both verbally and nonverbally.

Communication studies integrate aspects of both social sciences and the humanities. It often overlaps with sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, economics, and public policy, and other subjects. It involves the study of language and rhetoric, and how they can be used as tools to benefit societies.

University of Southern California — The University of Southern California Master of Communication Management provides students with the experience, knowledge, and skills required to analyze complex business and communications problems. Courses enhance your critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills. This program is offered both on campus and online.
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Ashford University — Ashford University offers students two dynamic communications programs, the BA in Journalism & Mass Communication and BA in Humanities/Communications. The journalism degree zeros in on responsible journalism and the integration of new media. The Humanities degree provides a more liberal arts approach. Graduates work in human resources, business, and communications management.
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Walden University — Walden University has an impressive array of communications degrees, including bachelor's in: New Media, Online Work & Communities, Public Relations, Self-Designed, and CIS New Media Communication Technologies. These programs are all testament to Walden's commitment to this exciting field. Professors are keen to point out their real-world experiences to enhance the learning process.
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Kaplan University — Students in the Kaplan University Bachelor of Science in Communication program review concepts to enable them to become effective communicators in today's global marketplace. Courses cover communications, mathematics, social and physical sciences, public speaking, writing, and statistics. Graduates earn employment in public relations, marketing, and business, to name a few.
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Southern New Hampshire University — The BA in Communications program at Southern New Hampshire University allows students to become advanced communicators whose message is clear, concise, and memorable. Courses teach communication theory and industry-specific concepts that help build public speaking, presentation, and interviewing skills. Students add courses and minors in advertising, film, journalism, public relations or marketing.
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Grand Canyon University — Grand Canyon University's Bachelor of Arts in Communications program teaches students how to develop methods of effective communication. The innovative curriculum focuses on knowledge, creativity, and intermodal communication. Courses teach students media writing, public relations, consumer behavior, and intercultural communications. The unique program offers a course that allows students the opportunity to apply their training to real world situations.
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What are Degrees in Communications?

Communication professionals and educators have created the definition of communication: “The field of communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The field promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.”

Communications is a very popular area of study and therefore, many degree options exist for both undergraduate and graduate studies. Associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees are all available, either at traditional colleges or universities, or online. There are also many other names for the communication major, such as communication studies, speech communication, rhetorical studies, communications science, media studies, communication arts, mass communication, media ecology, and communication and media science.

A communication degree can provide the groundwork for actors, journalists, politicians, lawyers, and many other professions. Out of all students who study communication, the majority work as journalists or another area of mass media. Other communication majors may become involved in the education system, as teachers, speech therapists and public speaking coaches.

Degree Options Available in Communication Studies:

There are different degree options for those who wish to study communications. These degrees are offered through accredited colleges and universities, as well as online programs. The following are the most common communication degree options offered:

  • Associate’s Degree in Communication: This is a two-year general degree in communication. It concentrates on how individuals and groups communicate with one another. It also covers most undergraduate general education courses. Typically a person with an associate’s degree continues their education to a bachelor’s degree in communication. Most communication careers will not higher someone with only an associate’s degree.
  • Bachelor’s of Arts or Sciences in Communication: Both the BA and BS in communication cover the same topics. These are four-year degrees that offer a study of communication theory, research and practice. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree will have the basic skills required for entry-level verbal and written communication positions such as acting or public speaking, production of documentaries, television or radio announcing, and communication through writing, as in the case of a journalist or professional blogger.
  • Masters in Communication: This is an advanced degree in communication that includes either a Master’s of Science in communication or a Master of Arts in communication. Typically those who get a master degree in communication will specialize in a specific area of communication. These areas include, but are not limited to public relations, broadcast journalism, advertising, television, and more. These degrees usually take about two years to complete. Students will be prepared to work as a reporter on a newspaper or online newsmagazine. Those who opt for a Master of Arts in Broadcast Journalism will be prepared for news casting on television. A Master of Arts in Strategic Communication or Public Relations can prepare one for a career in politics.
  • Doctorate in Communication: These are the most advanced level of study for a communication degree. The most popular doctoral specializations in communication studies include communication theory, communication research, rhetoric, critical-cultural media, communication gender studies, organization communications, applied communication, and interpersonal communications.

What Does Communication Course Curriculum Focus On?

Through communication studies students examine the role communication plays in all areas of life. This includes organizational communication, small-group communication, interpersonal communication, communication ethics, and media. Students also learn the theory behind communication and its effective application. Current and emerging technologies are typically covered as well. These technologies may include social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and online communication tools like blogging. Online communities have altered the way the current world sends and receives communication. This then alters the way the field of communication is studied.

A communication major focuses on much of the same coursework as public relations, advertising, journalism, corporate training, marketing, and business management. It’s a generalist path with a wide-ranging curriculum that can be tailored to work in a variety of specific industries. Class subjects may include public relations, publication design, journalism, writing, mass media and society, gender and media, research skills, broadcasting, media law and ethics, and more. These classes will help you:

  • Understand and synthesize what you hear into a message you or someone else can use
  • Improve your verbal and writing skills
  • Create a desire in you to teach and inform
  • Desire to ethically report
  • Evoke curiosity about what’s going on around you
  • Combine a convincing argument with an appropriate medium to effectively deliver a message
  • Understand communication theory and how to apply it
  • Work at campus newspaper, yearbook staff, TV or radio station
  • Internship experience at market research firm, newspaper, television or radio stations, etc.
  • Create portfolio of writing, graphics and ideas for creative development
  • Gain computer knowledge, as well of printing and production through school programs
  • Participate in debates
  • Gain knowledge of your local community and their needs—practice reporting on these issues
  • Demonstrate assertiveness, creativity, initiative, and diplomacy
  • Coordinate and promote special events on campus or in your community
  • Perfect public speaking ability through participating in speech contests and speech events
  • Audition for plays in school or amateur community groups for communication practice
  • Volunteer to work backstage, crew, scenery, props, costumes, or as an extra
  • Volunteer for directing students needing to make films
  • Join professional organizations related to your specific area of communication interest

Career Options with a Degree in Communication:

Career options in communication fields are endless. You can choose a specialized area for a specific career or take generalized courses to increase your marketability. Due to the importance of communication in all career fields, a degree in communication can open up many opportunities. A few examples of employers of communication majors include:

  • Advertising agencies and public relations firms
  • Media outlets
  • Government agencies
  • Foreign Services
  • Market research firms
  • Publishers
  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Wire services
  • Religious and charitable organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Major TV and radio networks
  • Hospitals
  • Labor unions
  • Acting organizations, such as theaters, industrial films, motion pictures, little theater groups, cruise lines, amusements parks, and more

Job titles you may have within these or other industries include:

  • Sales Representative
  • Social Media Associate
  • Personnel Specialist
  • Associate Administrator
  • Special Event Coordinator
  • Promotions Manager
  • Radio/TV Announcer
  • Journalist
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Recreation or Attractions Manager
  • Actor
  • Technical Writer
  • Narrator
  • Fund Raiser
  • Telemarketer Specialist
  • Filmmaker
  • Producer
  • Communications Director
  • Writer or Author

Many careers in communication combine skills from another area of study. For example, as a technical writer you’ll need communication writing skills in addition to the terminology of the technical field you want to work in. If you work as a technical writer in an engineering firm then you must know engineering terms in order to write memoranda and newsletters. Job competition in some fields can be strong. If you have industry-specific knowledge in addition to communication training, then you’ll be a more competitive applicant.

For more information on careers, this webpage has a complete list of communication fields and job titles.

List of Communication Professional Associations:

There are many communication professional associations for both students and employees of the communication field. The following is a list of the most common organizations:

  • National Communication Association (NCA): This is the main national professional organization for communication. It covers many areas of communication studies in the U.S., and promotes communication scholarship and education.
  • The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC): This is an International nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals. AEJMC offers conferences, publications and journals, membership divisions, interest groups, and websites.
  • Association for Business Communication (ABC):This is the primary academic organization for the field of business communication education and practice. Their missions statement reads: “The Association for Business Communication (ABC) is an international organization committed to fostering excellence in business communication scholarship, research, education, and practice.”
  • International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR): This is a large International association for communication studies. The members of IAMCR promote global inclusiveness and excellence within the best traditions of critical research in the field.

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