Best School for Communication Studies - San Diego, CA

School and Ranking Information

Within the San Diego area, there are over 15 schools that offer programs in communication studies; however, none of these schools have nationally ranked communication programs. The top schools in the area for communication studies were determined on the basis of graduation rates, overall school rankings, and program breadth.

  • Winner: University of California - San Diego is ranked 38th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report and offers communication studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Runner Up #1: University of San Diego is a private university that is ranked 92nd among national universities by U.S. News and World Report. The school offers undergraduate programs in communications.
  • Runner Up #2: Point Loma Nazarene University is 17th among regional universities in the West. It offers undergraduate majors in communication studies.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of California - San Diego University of San Diego Point Loma Nazarene University
Ranking (2013) 38th among national universities* 92nd among national universities* 17th among regional universities in the West*
Location La Jolla, CA San Diego, CA San Diego, CA
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $13,217 (in-state, undergraduate),
$36,095 (out-of-state, undergraduate),
$12,734 (in-state, graduate),
$27,836 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$39,970** (undergraduate) $29,510 (undergraduate)**
Communication Studies Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, PhD Bachelor's Bachelor's
Communication Studies Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 359** 138** 25**
Most Popular Communication Studies Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (353 awarded)** N/A N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class 86%** 76%** 75%**
Noteworthy Communication studies is one of the most popular undergraduate majors* Earned recognition as a Community Engagement Institution by the Carnegie Foundation*** School recognized for amount of undergraduates who study abroad****

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***University of San Diego, ****Point Loma Nazarene University

Winner: University of California - San Diego

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked this university 8th among top public national universities in 2013
  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 96% of full-time freshmen beginning in 2010 returned for the Fall 2011 semester
  • Among's 2013 'Top 25 State Universities with the Happiest Freshmen' rankings list, the university earned 6th place, according to the school's website
  • In a recent doctoral program reputation survey of the National Communication Association, according to the school's website, the PhD program in communication earned a 2nd-place ranking among U.S. doctoral programs in the area of critical cultural/media studies

At University of California - San Diego, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. This degree program features interdisciplinary coursework that analyzes the effects of communication technologies and formats on human experience. This program is based in the liberal arts and provides more of a theoretical and research orientation to the field than programs that provide training in various communication professions. Students have the opportunity to earn course credit through internship experiences, and they can network with business professionals through the university's undergraduate communication society. A minor in communication is also available.

Students seeking advanced education may pursue a PhD in Communication that focuses on four broad areas of study. These areas explore cultural/intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, the sociological aspects of communication, and mass media. Candidates do extensive research in their areas of study and gain teaching experience.

Runner-Up #1: University of San Diego

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked this school 14th among up-and-coming national universities in 2012
  • Student-faculty ratio is 16:1
  • Average freshmen retention rate is 86.2%
  • Recognized in the 'Colleges of Distinction' list among Catholic colleges and universities

The University of San Diego offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. Within this degree program, students are required to complete courses in areas such as media studies, public speaking, communication theory, and communication criticism. The program emphasizes practical experience, with opportunities for students to earn credit through practicums with campus media outlets, as well as internships. Students are also encouraged to earn course credit by participating in a study-abroad program. A minor in communication studies is available as well.

Runner-Up #2: Point Loma Nazarene University

  • Student-faculty ratio is 13:1
  • Average freshmen retention rate is 83.2%
  • On-campus cable television channel and Internet-based radio station provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience
  • In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked this school 15th among best-value regional universities in the West

At Point Loma Nazarene University, students can pursue a variety of undergraduate communication degrees. The university offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with specializations in societal communication or public address. In addition to completing a portfolio for future employers, students complete coursework in interpersonal communication, communication media, and rhetoric, among other courses. A minor in communication is also offered.

A program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Managerial and Organizational Communication is also available, which emphasizes applied theory, research skills, and leadership skills. Degree requirements include a portfolio course and an internship experience. Another communications degree option is the Bachelor of Arts in Media Communication, with concentrations in multimedia, performance, production, or film studies. This program, also available as a minor, emphasizes hands-on experience acquired through a variety of on-campus media outlets as well as internships.

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