By Erika Bell
Communication Majors sometimes get the rap for having the easiest major in college, but the major is more than partying, discussing the latest episode of Scandal, and the occasional paper. When getting down to the nitty gritty, the major focuses on how communication plays a role in many different mediums. Whether it’s working in public relations, marketing, advertising, or even law, the broadness of a communication studies degree is exactly what you need to talk your way into a job after graduation.
What You’ll Be Doing
Within the first two years, you’ll likely be bogged down by countless required introductory courses. With topics like Media and Society, Communication Ethics, and Introduction to Research Methods, you begin to decide whether you love or hate the major right away. Students begin to tailor their degree with courses that are less theoretical and more hands-on.
With topics in health communication, politics, marketing, advertising, and public relations, these courses push comm majors to decide which area is best suited for taking the scary after-graduation leap.
1. “Designing persuasive communication and developing critical thinking skills have been some of the biggest takeaways for me. As communication studies majors, we are constantly reading, critiquing, and writing. The courses are designed to refine our writing and research skills ─ skills that never go out of style. And, not surprisingly, having extremely strong writing and critical thinking skills are immensely beneficial in the workplace for whatever career path you choose.” ─ Alissa Ranger, University of Michigan Class of 2015, Business Analyst at Target
2. “Communication studies can go one of two ways because it’s such a broad area of study: It can be really beneficial, or it can be harmful. I really enjoyed how it taught us the fundamentals of media and society in a way that was applicable to many disciplines and careers. Everywhere I’ve worked, people have a background in this field and know the same general stuff, which really helped me be on the same playing field as my coworkers.” ─ Ilana Black, University of Michigan Class of 2012, Sourcer at Vitamin T
3. “I had the opportunity to learn about overt and covert biases in the media industry’s content (regarding race, religion, sex, gender, etc.), how those biases come to be, how they are perpetuated throughout society and the potential trajectory of the media with new technological advances arising every day. Now as a part of the news industry, I’m able to see firsthand how news stations operate in this light.” ─ Shelbey Roberts, University of Michigan Class of 2015, Assistant News Specialist at WMBF News
1. “All of my experiences with the Department of Communication Studies have been wonderful. I would say, however, that since I pursued a less ‘typical’ career path of communication studies majors, I felt it was important to enroll in a number of classes outside of the department in order to further prepare me for my upcoming analytical role at Target.” ─ Alissa Ranger, University of Michigan Class of 2015, Business Analyst at Target
2. “This is a great major, but a lot of its courses lack a specific track that can be helpful for students who are in search of gaining skills for the job market. If these classes could have taught me how to code with HTML, Photoshop or Excel, it would’ve been really helpful. I loved taking my race and media classes, but it really didn’t prepare me for an actual job. I advise students to look at what you need for jobs right now and join clubs, take workshops or sign up for classes to help enhance the skills you may not learn with a comm degree.” ─ Ilana Black, University of Michigan Class of 2012, Sourcer at Vitamin T
3. “I had to seek out external internships tailored to teach me practical skills. At some universities, this hands-on material is directly built into the course curriculum, which isn’t something I was fully exposed to.” ─ Shelbey Roberts, University of Michigan Class of 2015, Assistant News Specialist at WMBF News
If you feel limited with this major after taking courses solely focused on the history of media, you’ll be wishing you had those same narrowed options when your job hunt starts. With skills like writing, analyzing, researching, and the infamous communicating, you can be anything you want to be, kid.