Communication as an academic field commonly refers to the study of human communication in all of its forms, from face-to-face verbal and non-verbal communication to media and mass communication. The fields that fall under the communication heading include mass communication, public relations, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, linguistics, film, writing and many others.
Degree programs in Mass Communication and Communication Studies have been a staple of major private colleges and state public university systems for decades, and it is easy to understand why. An undergraduate communication degree can act as a solid foundation for entry into any number of occupations and professions, as well as provide the necessary prerequisite for advancing into postgraduate degree programs in more specific courses of study.
Communication Studies lends itself well to distance learning. As a result, communication programs are extremely popular with primarily online degree providers, as well as with traditional colleges and universities, a growing number of which are venturing into the distance education market. The following is brief description of the types of online communication degree programs currently available:
When assessing an online program in communication, potential students need to ask numerous academic, economic and technological questions. Does this program fall in line with my career goals? Can I afford it? Do I have the necessary tech to get a program up and running? In addition to these core questions and issues, every student, no matter the subject or study level, needs to assess the following:
The variety of available professional certifications and credentials in communication is as diverse as the field itself. Most professional certifications are specific to certain communication-related fields, such as public relations or journalism. The following is a list of some of the most popular professional communication-related certifications:
Other commonly held credentials in the communication field include:
The marketplace for jobs today is extremely competitive regardless of the profession. More than ever, a job seeker who can include substantive previous work experience on his or her resume will have a significant advantage over the competition. For college students, that experience often comes in the form of a summer internship or in-term co-op position with a major firm or corporation.
Many communication schools incorporate internships into their degree programs, but some do not. Students studying communication, therefore, may be on their own when it comes to landing a quality internship position. If you are considering an online degree, be sure to check with each provider to determine whether or not its degree program can set you up with a quality internship or co-op position.
This self-paced seminar course is an intensive writing workshop that focuses on argumentation and communication. Students will learn to write and present cogent, persuasive arguments and other analytical frameworks through reading and writing assignments that stress the connections between clear thinking, critical reading and effective writing.
This self-paced course is designed to acquaint students with the guidelines for the creation of well-crafted academic communications, provide an opportunity to practice communication skills and receive feedback from colleagues, and to learn about professional norms for a range of activities that surround the academic enterprise.
This five-week course is designed to be an introduction to community journalism, offering insight and practical skills for those individuals interested in community and hyper-local journalism. Topics include setting up a community website, creating content, establishing a workflowand managing an online community.
Comparative Media Systems is a ten-unit course designed to introduce students to various academic theories, cases and models to make sense of local and global media development. The course will also provide a working knowledge of how media are operated and regulated under varied political and economic influences.
This 13-week course utilizes the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge, and explores their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning through discussions of creativity and communication. Course participants may use a variety of technologies including blogs, RSS Readers, UStream, Facebook, and more.
This course is designed to help students make sense of modern media by providing insight into the structure of media firms, the nature of their products and how they make money. Topics include media bias, and how government affects the structure of media through policies such as net neutrality, copyright and TV regulation.
This 15-unit course offers a fairly comprehensive examination of the evolution and impact of the media, primarily in the United States. Each of the major traditional media (television, newspapers magazines, etc.) and new media (social media, internet, etc.) are examined from their conception to their present and future possibilities.
This self-paced course, taught by Bill Carroll, Senior Lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and CEO of Marketing Economics, teaches students how organizations can meet the challenges of the rapidly-evolving, technology-driven world of hospitality media management.
The 4A’s Foundation provides financial support through a variety of scholarships to multicultural individuals studying advertising, media and/or the creative arts.
The Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) provides several scholarship opportunities in the fields of journalism and mass communications. Scholarship amounts range from $500 to $5,000. Eligibility requirements vary by specific scholarship but are generally based on candidate interest in the Asian American community and the intent to pursue a career in news media.
Sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the Barrow Minority Doctoral Student Scholarship is an annual award of $2,000 designed to aid doctoral students in the completion of their dissertations and academic studies. Racial and ethnic minority students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and enrolled in a Ph.D. program in journalism or mass communications are eligible.
The Broadcast Education Association (BEA) currently sponsors 14 radio and broadcasting-related scholarships in amounts ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 annually. Requirements vary by specific award. Candidates must be able to demonstrate substantial academic performance and the potential to be an outstanding electronic media professional.
The Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation sponsors several scholarship awards for students working toward degrees in a number of communications fields. Included is the King Family Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship, which awards up to $7,000 to junior- or senior-level students majoring in television, film and related study areas.
Sponsored by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Ed Bradley Scholarship program awards one $10,000 scholarship annually to an undergraduate sophomore, junior or senior college student who intends to pursue a career in electronic journalism. Applications must include samples of the candidate’s best and most relevant work.
Go On Girl! sponsors two scholarships to aspiring black women writers. Both the Unpublished Writers Award and the Aspiring Author Scholarship provide $500 scholarship amounts. Requirements for eligibility are different for each award. A candidate for the Aspiring Author Scholarship, for example, must be a full-time sophomore or junior majoring in English, journalism, literature or a related field at a historically Black college or university.
Sponsored by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communication Scholarship awards one $1,000 scholarship annually to a college junior, senior or graduate student majoring in journalism, radio, television and/or film. A candidate must be a U.S. citizen of Arab heritage.
The Lagrant Foundation is a non-profit organization that awards $2,500 scholarships to minority undergraduates in a wide range of courses of study who demonstrate a career path in marketing, public relations or advertising. The application process includes a one- to two-page essay outlining the candidate’s career goals and the steps he or she plans to take to increase minority participation in his or her chosen field.
Marketing EDGE (formerly the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to acquainting students with the business of marketing. Marketing EDGE currently sponsors nine scholarship funds for both undergraduate and graduate marketing and advertising students. Requirements and monetary amounts vary by scholarship.
The NATAS awards two $10,000 scholarships annually in honor of legendary broadcasters Mike Wallace and Jim McKay. These awards are made to college-bound high school seniors who intend to follow communications-based baccalaureate degrees in pursuit of careers in the television industry.
The NAJB offers six $2,500 and two $1,500 scholarships annually to college undergraduate and graduate students who have completed at least one semester of college work toward a degree in print, radio, television or online journalism. All scholarships require references, work samples, NAJB membership and submission of an essay on a specified topic.
Odenza Marketing Group, a provider of incentive marketing travel promotion services, sponsors a $500 scholarship program that is open to all students aged 16 to 25. As part of the application process, candidates must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and write two short essays on topics provided on the application form.
Each year, the Public Relations Student Society of America awards a variety of scholarships totaling more than $20,000 to members and chapters that exhibit outstanding merit in public relations.
The Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists offers a number of scholarship opportunities for students interested in a career in journalism. Applicants must be national winners of the International Writing/Photography or Yearbook Excellence contests to be eligible. Scholarship funds may be used for tuition and room and board at any college or university that offers a journalism major.
The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Magazine is a bimonthly publication of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Founded in 1961, CJR’s mission is to “encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society.” The CJR publishes articles and editorials on news, media industry trends, professional ethics, and more. A print edition is available by subscription, but many articles from the current issue and back issues are available at no cost for viewing online.
The Iowa SJMC Update is the monthly e-newsletter of the School of Journalism & Mass Communication of the University of Iowa. The newsletter provides articles on news, information, and events for the department’s students, faculty and staff. Current and archived issues are available free of charge.
CCFA Voices is the magazine of the College of Communications and Fine Arts at the University of Memphis. CCFA Voices is published twice annually and offers in-depth articles on department news and events in both a full-color print version and online.
The Comment is the graduate student magazine of Boston University’s College of Communication. Each issue of The Comment is organized around a theme and designed to demonstrate the insight and journalistic skills of the college’s graduate students. This award-winning magazine is published annually and made available in print or online (current and archived issues) at no cost.