What Is a Communications Degree?

Students talking to each other in class

If you are interested in a degree that provides skills which transfer to just about any field, consider majoring in communications. A communications degree helps improve your verbal and written communication. These skills will serve you well both in your personal life and in a professional capacity, regardless of where your career takes you. Communications degrees can come as a bachelor’s or master’s program.

What Is a Communications Degree?

The history of communication is the history of humankind itself. Throughout human history, people have relied on spoken and written communication to teach, build relationships, conduct business transactions and much more. A communications degree program takes a close look at the many ways in which people communicate, and how people can learn to communicate more effectively. An academic background in communications can prepare students to excel across a wide range of professional fields.

What Do You Study During a Communications Degree Program?

The curriculum depends on the specific degree program. Undergraduate students will generally complete the core requirements of the university. Students may also choose from a list of electives. It is a good idea to select electives that complement your major or your career interests. For instance, communications majors may wish to study Spanish.

In addition to these core requirements, students will complete program-specific courses within the major. These courses are designed to teach students to communicate effectively in different settings and through different methods. This may include the following:

  • Communicating across distinct cultures
  • Understanding conflict communication and negotiations
  • Exploring communication within specific relationships
  • Conducting corporate communication
  • Applying persuasive communication in social, political, health, environmental and marketing campaigns

A master’s degree in communications provides an in-depth look at topics like this. The specific curriculum can vary, depending on whether the student chooses a specialization. For instance, at GCU, the MA in Communication Education focuses on effective communication within academic settings.

What Can You Do With a Communications Degree?

What can’t you do with a communications degree? Communication is essential for all industries and sectors. Consequently, graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in communications have a variety of positions to pursue in marketing, technical writing, journalism, entertainment and sports. Other positions include the following:

  • Event planner: Event planners coordinate all the planning of a big event, from choosing the venue to arranging keynote speakers.
  • Human resources specialist: HR specialists handle hiring, training and managing of a company’s employees.
  • Attorney: A bachelor’s degree in communications can serve as an excellent foundation for students who wish to apply to law school and become attorneys.
  • Public relations specialist: PR specialists help individual clients and companies build and maintain a positive public image.

Do Communications Majors Need to be Extroverts?

It is often thought that all communications majors should be outspoken extroverts. However, it is not necessary to be an extrovert to be an effective communicator. For example, there are plenty of authors who would describe themselves as introverts. Despite this, it is crucial to be willing to learn how to communicate more effectively with spoken and written language. Both introverts and extroverts can learn how to become polished and confident public speakers. It is also essential for communications students to be willing to put in the time to conduct thorough research. Effective communication is often based on research. For example, a marketing expert needs to conduct research on the target audience to design a compelling advertising campaign.

What Is the Job Outlook For Communications Majors?

The job outlook is favorable for communications majors because they have valuable skills that transfer well across different sectors and industries. Here is a look at the statistics for some popular careers. The following data is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it reflects the predicted job growth rate for the profession from 2018 to 2028.

  • Human resources managers: 7 percent (faster than average)1
  • Technical writers: 8 percent (faster than average)2
  • Advertising, promotions and marketing managers: 8 percent (faster than average)3

At Grand Canyon University, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers both BA and MA degrees in communications. You can prepare for an exciting career by earning your Bachelor of Arts in Communications. If you already hold a BA, you may apply for the Master of Arts in Communication with an Emphasis in Education degree program, which is uniquely designed for aspiring educators.


1 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm

2 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm

3 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.