Communication Studies

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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. The major in Communication Studies focuses on the history, content and impact of mass media, and new emerging media. Four reasons for studying mass media include:

  • Media’s influence on culture in the USA and around the world
  • Media’s role in shaping our individual and collective identities and attitudes towards others
  • Media’s centrality to everyday life, politics, the economy, and public policy
  • Media’s impact on democratic institutions

Communication Studies students develop a broad range of analytical and communication skills, which provide the groundwork for numerous career paths in business, education, and public affairs.

Related fields include Screen Arts and Cultures, English Language and Literature, History, Political Science, Business, Sociology, and Psychology.


Communication Skills

Writing clearly
Speaking effectively
Synthesizing information
Presenting different viewpoints
Explaining processes, plans, and concepts
Creating entertaining and persuasive messages
Demonstrating creativity and artistic expression

Research / Analytical Skills

Defining hypotheses
Evaluating ideas and their presentation
Gathering information and data
Comparing / contrasting evidence
Evaluating information and sources
Thinking critically /interpreting
Developing market research
Measuring media effects

Organizational Skills

Planning and managing
Working within deadlines
Working independently
Attending to details
Organizing teams and small groups

Interpersonal Skills

Identifying the different needs of individuals, groups, and mass audiences
Understanding institutional and cultural values
Working as a team member
Rewriting or editing with others
Interviewing people


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. Most majors sponsor specific student groups like an undergraduate organization or an honor society. Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment or volunteering in the community. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


Communication Studies students develop both general and technical skills applicable to a wide range of careers. For example, effective communication skills may be equally useful whether working as a sales representative, a lobbyist, or a freelance journalist. Many students go on to graduate or professional school. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by Communication Studies graduates.

Communication Skills

Copy editor
Travel writer
Reviewer or critic
Sports / news announcer
Newscaster / narrator
Writer (film, documentaries, news, web)
Film editor
Audio / visual technician
Advertising copywriter

Research/Analytical Skills

Data communications analyst
College instructor open book icon
Web content provider
Information architect
New media marketer
Traffic manager open book icon
Lawyer open book icon
Public affairs analyst
Media consultant
Public opinion pollster open book icon

Organizational Skills

Editorial project manager
Managing editor
Corporate communications director
Account coordinator
Advertising coordinator
Digital media manager
News director
Community affairs director
Special events promoter

Interpersonal Skills

Sales associate
Customer representative
Media fundraiser
Social networking coordinator
Public relations coordinator
Legislative press secretary
K-12 teacher

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


The major in Communication Studies includes 16 credit hours of prerequisite courses, 8 credits of 200-level core communication studies classes, 4 credits of communication studies ULWR course(350-399 level); nine credits of advanced communication studies courses (300-400 level) and 3 credits of communication studies senior capstone seminar (450-499 level) for a total of 40 credit hours.

Department of Communication Studies
5370 North Quad, 105 South State Street

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan