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Audio-Visual Communications Schools: How to Choose

Audio-visual communications programs combine studies of radio, film, television and interactive media. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in audio-visual communications can be conducted in traditional classroom settings, online or a combination of both. This article will discuss the factors potential students should consider when selecting a school, as well as the coursework that can be expected while studying audio-visual communications.

A considerable number of professions available in the media communications industry may make an interdisciplinary degree program more appealing to those that wish to have flexible career options. Students may also choose to specialize in a specific area of audio-visual communications, such as journalism, broadcasting, production or public relations.

Top Colleges/Universities for Audio-Visual Communications

Studies in media studies or audio-visual communications can be pursued at these schools.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's Undergraduate: $50,665
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate Undergraduate: $43,986
Graduate: $43,986
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's Undergraduate: $43,960
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's Graduate: $45,840
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's Undergraduate: $49,341
University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Doctoral Undergraduate: In-state $13,530
Out-of-state $38,238
Graduate: In-state $13,021
Out-of state $28,123
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Graduate Certificate Graduate: $40,670
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: In-state $12,763
Out-of-state $37,471
Graduate: In-state $12,629
Out-of state $27,731
New School - Parsons School of Design New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $43,813
Graduate: $41,250

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

When choosing a school, there are a number of things to consider.

  • Schools that offer internships at media outlets, student radio and television stations, student-produced Internet publications, study abroad opportunities or student exhibits may provide networking opportunities for postgraduate employment.
  • Students may also use an academic program to create a portfolio or video resume that might be attractive to potential employers; therefore, students may want to look for programs that offer portfolio or resume building classes or projects.
  • Students wishing to pursue a more technical position in the industry may want to research educational options that provide hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Those interested in film and television may find schools in California or New York offer intern programs with well-known, national media companies.

Associate Degree in Audio-Visual Communications

Associate degree programs in communications typically prepare students for entry-level positions in the workplace or for continuing education. In addition to general education, students study English, public speaking and art.

Bachelor's Degree in Audio-Visual Communications

Bachelor's degree programs in communications may have an intercultural or international emphasis, requiring proficiency in a foreign language. Audio-visual communications and media studies programs offer a variety of electives.

Master's Degree in Audio-Visual Communications

Students interested in the managerial aspect of the audio-visual profession may learn practical administration skills through a Master of Business Administration program with an emphasis on communications. Master's degree programs allow student to conduct research in communications studies.

Doctoral Degree in Audio-Visual Communications

Students pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Audio-Visual Communications often qualify to pursue a career in research or academia. Advanced doctoral studies may also prepare graduates for careers in business or government sectors, which require a thorough knowledge of communications. Ph.D. programs generally contain intensive research, though students are often free to choose the direction of their research according to particular interests like literature, film and cultural studies.

Audio-visual communications and media studies programs are offered at several public and private colleges and universities throughout the country. It is also possible to study broadcasting, journalism, production or public relations and incorporate audio-visual communications and media studies into the program, so students should verify whether applicable courses can be taken in outside majors.


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