Communication Studies Career Opportunities

The Versatility of the Communication Studies Degree

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Because their education incorporates aspects of the humanities, social sciences, and professional degrees, Communication Studies majors are in great demand by employers. The versatility of the Communication Studies degree ensures students a wide variety of opportunities for graduate education.

The flexibility of the Communication Studies degree is reflected in the array of topics of study featured in a typical undergraduate program:

Topic Studied in Various Department Courses

Topic Studied in Dedicated Course(s)

Offered as a Minor

Gender Communication

Interpersonal Communication


Mass Communication


Communication Disorders
Communication Theory

Media Technology

Public Relations

Political Communication



Family Communication

Small Group Communication  

Media Literacy

Rhetorical Critism

Language and Social Interaction

Organizational Communication

Other Types of Communication

Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Communication Law

Visual Communication

Speech Communication

Intercultural Communication

Health Communication



Communication Education


Communication Ethics


Public Address



Educational Trends and Communication Studies

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The demand for the Communication degree is reflected in long-term educational trends. As the U.S. Department of Education reports, there was over a three-fold increase in undergraduate communication degrees, from 17,096 to 56,149, between the years of 1975 and 1995, a trend not approached by the majority of other degree programs.


Career Options for the Communication Studies Graduate

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There are several career paths a Communication Studies graduates tend to pursue. The most common of these choices include:

  • Electronic Media, Broadcasting & Journalism
    Communication Studies majors often pursue careers in electronic media. Because of the ongoing rapid transformation of media, employees in these areas are expected to have a wide array of technical competencies. These skills include the traditional abilities associated with work in broadcast and print media and new competencies required to work with emerging media, such as the World Wide Web.

    Because their education may include performance and production components, extensive experience with oral and written expression, as well as the study of media infrastructures and their impact on society, Communication Studies graduates are especially well tailored for such jobs.

    Some samples of the many jobs in these industries include: video editor, news director, news producer, reporter, technical writer, newscaster, media interviewer.

  • Public Relations
    Because their education focuses on techniques and principles of effective communication, Communication Studies majors are well prepared for careers in the field of Public Relations. Typical careers in this field include: corporate public affairs specialist, account executive, audience analyst, lobbyist, media planner, marketing specialist, sales manager, and publicity manager.
  • Advertising
    Advertising draws on many of the same aptitudes as the field of Public Relations and involves other skills associated with the study of media, such as knowledge of media markets, the economics aspects of media, and the social aspects of advertising. Typical careers in this field include: copy writing, media planner, media sales representative, public opinion researcher, account executive, media buyer.
  • Communication Education
    Communication educators can be found at all level of education, but most communication faculty are found at the collegiate level. Work at each of these levels requires specific forms of professional certification, ranging from teaching certificates to doctoral degrees.

    Communication education covers such topics as organizational communication, rhetoric and public address, interpersonal communication, and media studies.

    Typical careers in communication education include: speech teachers, communication disorders therapist, college or university professors, and communication consultant.

    In addition to the paths described above, Communication Studies majors often pursue careers in a number of fields closely related to communication studies. Briefly, these fields include:

    • Government/Politics: Careers with a communication focus in this field include; lobbyist, press secretary, legislative assistant, public information officer, speech writer, pollster, campaign director, and research specialist.
    • International Relations and Negotiations: Careers with a communication focus in this field include; translator, diplomat, foreign relations officer, international broadcasting talent, foreign correspondent, and corporate representative.
    • Health: Careers with a communication focus in this field include; health personnel educator, hospice manager, health care counselor, hospital director of communications, communication therapist, health organization public relations director, patient ombudsman.
    • Business: Careers with a communication focus in this field include; corporate communications executive, sales representative, trainer, human resources manager, public information officer, negotiator, account executive.
    • Law: Careers with a communication focus in this field include; legal communication specialist, legal researcher, mediation and negotiation specialist, legal reporter, public defender and private practice lawyer, communications law specialist.
    • Social Services: Careers with a communication focus in this field include; community affairs liaison, human rights officer, mental health counselor, park service communications specialist, philanthropic representative, social worker, public administrator.


Programs of Study and Other Resources for Communication Studies Majors at Saint Mary's College

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The program in Communication Studies at Saint Mary's College offers students several tracks of study within which to pursue their interests. The department offers major programs in Mass Communication and Speech Communication as well as minors in Advertising, Public Communication, and Public Relations. Students often link their studies in communication with the performance-based programs in Dance and Theatre, as a way to round out their education. Cross-listings with other departments allow Communication Studies majors to take classes in New Media, Journalism and Magazine Writing as part of their course requirements. Also, students interested in media production often take additional classes at Notre Dame, where they have access to professional broadcast facilities. Finally, a well-established internship program allows students to gain professional experience in a variety of fields before graduation.

Below is a partial list of recent internship, educational, and job placements:

  • Media Buyer/Planner - Leo Burnett's Starcom Media Services, Chicago Book
  • Web designer - Shamrock Net Design, SB
  • English/Theology Teacher - St. Aquinas High School, The Bronx
  • Assistant Media Buyer - Darcy Masius Benton Bowles, NYC
  • Training Specialist - Productivity Point International, Chicago
  • Media Buyer - Leo Burnett's Starcom Media Services, Chicago
  • Internship - General Hospital, Los Angeles
  • Intern, Public Relations - Bozell, Chicago
  • Research Associate - The Advisory Board Company, Washington, D.C
  • Internship - DDB Needham, Chicago
  • Account Coordinator - BJ Thompson Associates, South Bend
  • Sales - CBS Radio, Q102 WKRQ, Cincinnati, OH
  • Corporation Internet & Web Publishing - Bemis Co, Minneapolis
  • Intern, PR/Advertising - Merrill Lynch, South Bend
  • News, WSBT-TV South Bend
  • Intern, Public Relations - American University Summer Internship Program, Washington, D.C.
  • Intern, Magazine Publishing Program - Rice University
  • Public Relations/Education - St. Joseph County Humane Society, SB
  • Production, WTOV-TV- Steubenville, OH
  • Market Research & Internal Public Relations - Martha Stewart Living Magazine
  • Public Affairs - WOWT-TV, Omaha, NE
  • PR/Finance - Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks & Rec
  • PR/Script Writer - Garvey Communication, Los Angeles
  • Writer - Dyersville Commercial, Dyersville, Iowa
  • Sports - KRN-TV, Nashville, TN
  • Reporter - Tribune Business Weekly, SB
  • Promotions - WSJM Radio, St. Joseph MI