Those interested in studying communications at the undergraduate level may want to enroll in either an associate's or a bachelor's degree. Students will learn oral and written communication skills that they can use in business and other types of organizations. Graduates of these programs can seek career opportunities in public relations, teaching, reporting, media development or speech writing. Applicants to the associate's degree program will need to present either a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, with some programs requiring students to sit a skills test in reading and writing proficiency. Bachelor's degree programs will need a high school diploma or GED, with many programs requesting a student's SAT or ACT scores as well. These requirements may vary by school and many of the applications in question have processing fees of some sort. Over the course of the degree, students may be encouraged or required to complete internships with media institutions such as newspapers and TV stations.
Associate's Degree in Communications
The associate's degree program introduces students to concepts in mass communications, speech, and public relations. The program can be completed in two years or less, resulting in either an Associate of Art in Communications or an Associate of Science in Communications. Courses are often transferable toward a four-year bachelor's degree for those interested in pursuing higher education in this field. Courses about communications usually address the following areas:
- Media writing
- Media literacy
- Group dynamics
- Interpersonal communication
Bachelor of Science in Communications
A Bachelor of Science in Communications program focuses on topics related to advertising, group psychology, rhetoric, writing, and speech. Communications majors can expect to study a range of disciplines, including math, history, and psychology. A Bachelor of Arts in Communications is also widely available, although slightly less common; such a program may emphasize the liberal arts over science-based courses. Students completing a bachelor's degree in communications take courses covering:
- Marketing, advertising and message design
- Social behaviors
- Business and organizational communications
- New media projects
- Advanced public relations
Popular Career Options
Communications majors are prepared for any number of career roles, including:
- Media consultant
- Speech writer
- Public relations specialist
Continuing Education Information
Those seeking advanced careers in advertising, journalism, or academics should consider a master's or doctoral degree in communications. A graduate degree requires students to complete a research thesis conducted under the guidance of a faculty member. Positions of higher responsibility and increased salaries are available to those with graduate-level degrees in communications.
Undergraduate communications degrees teach students all about methods of mass communication, with bachelor's degree programs going into more depth about the psychological and rhetorical aspects of things such as advertising and public speaking. Many students in these programs will go on to study at the graduate level, particularly if they want to pursue more high-level positions within the field.