What Can You Do With a Degree in Communications?

by A Guest Author

There’s no sugar-coating the truth: some people come down hard on the BA in communications degree. It’s too broad a discipline, they say. What are students really studying, they wonder. Communications as an academic field is a multidimensional area which studies how information is transmitted and then the means by which it is received. It can go by many names at different schools, like “media studies” or “mass communications,” and it encapsulates nine distinct sub-disciplines, like technology, health and political. Courses feature a wide range in topics: journalism, digital media in society, elections and the media and social media. Analysis and writing are often emphasized, with many programs offering hands-on experiences as well as theory.

Thanks to the dabbling in so many different fields of study – law, psychology, anthropology, economics, just to name a few – communications graduates are versatile, well-rounded and qualified to take on many different jobs (as well as graduate work). But in order to pursue a successful career with a degree in wide-ranging communications, the student must be driven, ambitious and focused. When someone asks “What can you do with a degree in communications?” the answer is as broad as the discipline itself: quite a lot! Here are a few exciting careers and opportunities you can land with a communications degree.


One of the most significant ways in which people communicate with each other is through the news. Since the invention of the printing press and the widespread distribution of pamphlets, people have clamored to hear the latest current events and debate their meaning. As a journalist, you’re at the fore of this centuries-old tradition and what you do directly impacts others. Furthermore, working in a print or online newsroom will directly or indirectly teach you layout and design, diplomacy, negotiation, how to read body language, the all-important Associated Press style of writing and how to take criticism. If you choose not to stay in journalism, you have a handful of marketable skills to take elsewhere, all of which are built on the foundation of a communications degree.


Speaking of marketable skills, marketing is a fast-paced industry where communications graduates can thrive. A good starter career is that of the marketing assistant, with duties that vary from keeping in touch with clients to organizing and helping to plan marketing campaigns. Strong people skills are necessary, like the ability to make a positive impact the first time you meet someone. Graduates with a degree in communications may find themselves climbing the ladder of success, as communications studies which teach students to analyze the most effective ways to reach consumers can translate into both effective advertising and branding strategy.

Public Relations

Public relations and marketing have a lot in common, not the least of which is providing communications degree holders an environment in which to thrive. If you’re unsure what PR entails, consider the PR staff for the BP oil spill in the Gulf; their job was to minimize the media sensation (which they attempted to do, to the consternation of many), issue numerous sincere apologies and then create a new, contrite image of BP as deeply environmental problem solvers who reverently sought to restore the Gulf to its original state. For the most part, it wasn’t much of a success and BP went on to be vilified further. Think you could have done better? Get into PR and your mettle may just be tested in the same way.

Graduate School

In much the same way you can pursue numerous career paths, you can also go back to school in a number of different programs. The Masters in Communications seems like an obvious choice, with its emphasis on the mastery of the research and writing skills which enable graduates to design and implement the most effective communications campaigns possible. After core classes, students can focus in specific fields like Political Communication, Digital Communication or Corporate/Non-Profit Communication, giving them a career-smart edge and enabling them to command a higher salary. And there are other graduate options as well, such as business school for an MBA, the MS in Marketing, the Masters in Public Administration, even the Masters in Leadership with a specialization in a field such as public safety or leadership coaching.

About The Author

Helena Messing is a contributing writer who recently went back to school for her Masters in Communication with a focus on politics. 

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

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