Many bachelor's degree programs in communications, justice studies or pre-law contain courses that cover communications law. Students in these programs learn how traditional and new media and law work together. Applicants to four-year bachelor's programs must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Graduate students can combine a master's degree in communications with a law degree program. Dual degree programs may require students to take certain graduate level courses related to law or media before allowing students to pursue optional courses or personal research. A standalone J.D. program requires three years of study and also qualifies graduates for the bar exam. Before acceptance to any graduate or law school, prospective students may be required to hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA and submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
Bachelor's Degree in Communications Law
Students who pursue bachelor's degrees in communications law learn how traditional and new media and law work together, and about privacy and slander. Students in a communications law bachelor's degree program may explore various types and aspects of law such as constitutional law, business law, philosophy of law and rhetorical analysis. They must also take general education courses. Courses include the following:
- General psychology
- Communication law
- Media studies
- Business law
- American, state and local government
Joint Juris Doctor and Master's Degree in Communications
Some journalism and law programs allow students to earn a dual degree in communications, journalism and law. Students who pursue joint degrees often study media law, entertainment law, media ethics, policy and how the previous subjects relate to and affect individuals and organizations. Students in a joint communications and law program may take courses in:
- Constitutional law
- Mass media studies
- Criminal law
- Property law
- Research methods
Students accepted to law programs learn various aspects of different laws. This can include intellectual property and technology law, as well as entertainment law, media law and policy. The first year of law school acquaints students with various legal institutions and reasoning, casework, legal analysis and the judicial system. Students in a law program may take courses in:
- Entertainment law
- Intellectual property law
- Federal income taxes
- Labor laws
Popular Career Options
Students holding a bachelor's degree relating to communications law can't practice law. However, it can be useful for students who are planning to enter law school and eventually enter fields like:
- Copyright law
- Intellectual law
- Entertainment law
- Government policy-making
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers earned a median annual salary of $120,910 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The mean annual salary for the same period for postsecondary law teachers was slightly lower, at $130,710. Employment for lawyers is expected to increase 6% during the decade of 2018-2028.
Overall, students who are interested in communications law can start by earning bachelor's degree that provides a general education and an introduction to the field. From there, they can advance to J.D. programs or dual J.D./M.S. programs in the field, which provide comprehensive legal studies and prepare aspiring lawyers for the state bar examination.