Best Communication colleges in the U.S. 2022

Whether completed in the classroom or online, a communications degree equips graduates with widely marketable skills and prepares them for work in a diverse set of careers. From mass media to advertising, communications graduates often enter rapidly growing fields that offer competitive compensation.

The best communication schools offer students the theoretical and practical skills to jump-start their careers. Throughout the following page, we introduce the communications field, highlight the attributes of undergraduate and graduate-level communications degrees, and shine a light on some popular career options for grads.

If you're interested in a collaborative field where spoken, written, and visual messaging is paramount, a communications degree might be for you. Continue reading to learn more about communications programs, career paths, and more.

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Best Communication colleges in the U.S. for 2022

University of Southern California offers 1 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 4 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 4 Certificates.

University of California-Santa Barbara offers 3 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a midsize suburb. In 2020, 522 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 517 Bachelor's degrees, 3 Doctoral degrees, and 2 Master's degrees.

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Cornell University offers 3 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 99 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 90 Bachelor's degrees, 5 Doctoral degrees, and 4 Master's degrees.

University of California-Davis offers 3 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small suburb. In 2020, 326 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 323 Bachelor's degrees, 2 Doctoral degrees, and 1 Master's degree.

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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign offers 3 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 298 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 279 Bachelor's degrees, 17 Doctoral degrees, and 2 Master's degrees.

University of California-San Diego offers 3 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 244 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 239 Bachelor's degrees, 4 Doctoral degrees, and 1 Master's degree.

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Texas A & M University-College Station offers 4 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2020, 381 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 346 Bachelor's degrees, 29 Certificates, 5 Doctoral degrees, and 1 Master's degree.

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

University of Utah offers 1 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a midsize city.

Purdue University-Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN
Image by Diego Delso

Purdue University-Main Campus offers 3 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 131 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 131 Bachelor's degrees.

Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University offers 1 Communication, General degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 7 Communication, General students graduated with students earning 7 Certificates.

What is Communication?

Like other academic fields, the ins and outs of a communications degree have evolved alongside technological shifts over the past couple of decades. Students pursuing a communications degree develop the skills to present diverse ideas in various settings. Communications degree-seekers tackle coursework like public speaking and visual communication and learn how to disseminate information to both small groups and large organizations.

And while communicating ideas effectively is inherently valuable to this academic area, so too is listening. Throughout their coursework, students also hone essential soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and conflict management. Communications students also familiarize themselves with the nuances of cross-cultural communication.

For some, graduating with an undergraduate communications degree can lead to careers in journalism, marketing, and public relations. Professionals working in the field also can further hone their skills through graduate-level coursework. Other common careers include marketing communications specialists, communications managers, communications directors, and social media managers.

In the following sections, we highlight some essential information about communications degrees and what you can do once you've secured your diploma. Keep reading to learn more about this growing field.

Communication Degree Overview

Whether pursuing an undergraduate or graduate communications degree, students gain a wide variety of skills that can boost career options and earning potential. Throughout their tenure, communications students hone research and writing skills, problem-solving and critical thinking ability, and practical training in public speaking, visual design, and media relations. We highlight some communications degree specifics in the sections below.

Bachelor's Degree in Communication

Students tackling a bachelor of arts in communications can anticipate an academic track where they graduate in about four years. Alongside a sizeable menu of general education requirements, students typically dedicate around 30-60 credits towards communications coursework. Standard communications degree classes include topics such as public speaking, communication theory, and writing for new and traditional media. 

Admission requirements can vary significantly between schools, but applicants must hold either a high school diploma or GED. Other typical admission requirements can include high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. While it's increasingly common for schools to omit standardized test requirements, applicants can often enhance their application through SAT/ACT scores.

Master's Degree in Communication

Those interested in pursuing a master's in communications degree can choose from a solid catalog of on-campus and online programs. Preparing them for careers in fields spanning from public relations to marketing, a master's can increase competitiveness in the job market and often leads to increased salaries. 

Standard classes for a graduate-level communications degree include topics such as theory of communication, digital media storytelling, and communication research methods. Before graduation, grad students typically complete a capstone or thesis project and also have access to internship opportunities.

Prospective master's students should hold a bachelor's degree, and most programs require a minimum GPA between 2.5-3.0. Applicants can also expect to submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and an essay or writing sample.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Communication?

Students graduating with a communications degree boast a set of skills applicable to a seemingly endless list of careers. Whether they're graduating with an undergraduate or graduate degree, these professionals work in pretty much any role where public messaging and communications are paramount. We highlight some common careers below.

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

These experienced communications professionals oversee messaging campaigns and typically work with staff to evaluate budgets, contracts, digital content. In their managerial capacity, these workers hire and oversee staff, and maintain client relationships. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earn a median salary of over $141,000 annually.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists enter a growing workforce with a median salary of nearly $63,000 per year. Utilizing standout communication skills, these professionals establish and maintain the public image and messaging for their clients. Public relations specialists work for a diverse set of organizations within the public and private sectors and help their clients communicate effectively to the public, evaluate public perception, and manage elements like social media.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Public relations and fundraising manager roles are projected to grow by 13% over the next decade and boast a median salary of nearly $120,000 per year. These experienced professionals manage client image and public perception and work closely with upper management to develop promotional programs and communication strategies. 

Communication FAQ

  • Is a communications degree worth it?

    • A communications degree can lead to a wide variety of careers in various professional fields. From journalism to public relations, those securing a communications degree often enter growing fields that offer generous compensation. A communications degree arms students with strong visual, speech, and written communication skills—students often get hands-on experience through internship opportunities.
  • What kind of job can you get with a communications degree?

    • Those graduating with a communications degree have access to countless careers in both the public and private sectors. Due to its broad nature, students can shape their academic experience to mirror career goals—visually-inclined students may supplement coursework with graphic design, while those interested in political communications might choose a government-related internship to bolster career options.
  • Is communications an easy major?

    • For students with a knack for various forms of written and verbal communication, some elements of a communications degree might come easily. And while those stricken with stage freight might initially feel like a communications degree is a challenging choice, something like speech communication is a learned skill. A communications degree pushes students to hone a widely applicable set of valuable communication skills.
  • How much do communications majors make?

    • Earning potential for communications majors varies and depends on the specific field they choose. Experience also plays a prominent role in determining how much a communications grad can earn. Those in managerial and leadership positions tend to make the most compared to graduates just beginning their careers.

Expert Testimonials

Catherine Schamberg Bell is a communications degree graduate (BA in Public Relations and Strategic communication) and is finishing up an MS in Communications at Purdue University in May 2022. She also works in a communications-related field as a Partnership, PR, and Media Specialist at getAbstract.

What is communications?

Communications is how people interact and share messages. It can be verbal or nonverbal, take place across many mediums and it's constantly evolving.

What does a communications degree teach you?

A general communications degree teaches theory into human communication and bits of more specialized communications areas: organizational, interpersonal, marketing, visual, PR, and public speaking.

Choosing a focus area to study in communications gives learners the chance to specialize in one area of practice. Some common focus areas are PR, Marketing, and Organizational Communications.

What can I do with a communications degree?

A communications degree gives you a versatile skill set and opens many different career paths. Many grads work in their focus area, but others choose to transfer their skills to other industries. You can also choose to work as an academic researcher and continue onto a master's or doctorate degree. Most jobs require communications skills, and you'll be well prepared to succeed.

List of all Communication colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Southern California Logo University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
5/5
22 : 1 46,287
University of California-Santa Barbara Logo University of California-Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
3/5
24 : 1 26,179
Cornell University Logo Cornell University Ithaca, NY
5/5
13 : 1 23,620
University of California-Davis Logo University of California-Davis Davis, CA
3/5
22 : 1 39,074
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Logo University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
4/5
22 : 1 52,679