Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communications Degree

Bachelor of Arts in Communications

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Gain Foundational Skills for Many Professions With a Communications Degree

Interpersonal and organizational communication is the foundation of human societies. As a communications degree major at Grand Canyon University (GCU), you will explore the principles and best practices of communication exchanges. The BA in Communications is offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU. It examines interpersonal and organizational communications, with an emphasis on the latter to thoroughly prepare individuals to pursue professional objectives.

You will develop foundational skills that are applicable to a wide range of professional functions, including public relations, sales and marketing, human resources and political communications. You may earn your BA in Communications degree online or on campus. All online communications degree courses offer the same high-caliber education as the on-campus classes, with some additional flexibility. They are taught by fully qualified instructors who provide effective guidance and mentorship.

Ranked No. 2

Communications is ranked second among top 10 college majors.1

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What You Will Learn in GCU’s BA in Communications Degree Program

The BA in Communications degree program at GCU integrates a research-based approach into the curriculum to provide you with a thorough framework for achieving personal and professional success. Beyond becoming an effective communicator and presenter of ideas, you will acquire key advocacy and conflict resolution skills. This will involve exploring small group exchanges, public relations fundamentals, critical thinking skills and ethical decision-making. Some of the courses that are integral to the communications degree program include the following:

  • Argumentation and Advocacy
  • Principles of Public Relations
  • Conflict and Negotiation
  • Communication Research Methods

As a private Christian university, GCU emphasizes the role of ethics in decision-making and business leadership. You are encouraged to explore the Christian worldview and understand how it applies to everyday situations. The instructors will guide you in learning how to become an effective servant leader. Some of the additional core competencies you will acquire with a degree in communications include the following:

  • The theoretical art of persuasion and its strategic applications in communication campaigns
  • Communication styles, rituals and traditions, including verbal and nonverbal communication, in a diverse and intercultural world
  • Designing, developing and delivering corporate training and development programs
  • Principles and processes of small group communication, including skills pertaining to participation and leadership

Career Opportunities for Graduates With a Degree in Communications

An in-person or online communications degree can provide the basis for rewarding careers in many different fields, industries and positions. Here are some industries and careers that BA in Communications graduates may pursue:

Media

  • Print and digital journalism
  • Videography
  • Entertainment

Marketing

  • Copywriter
  • Account specialist
  • Social media manager

Other Jobs With a Communications Focus

  • Human relations manager or coordinator
  • Sports broadcaster
  • Client services representative
  • Public relations specialist
  • Corporate trainer

Career paths in virtually every field and area of expertise can benefit from the skills learned in a BA in Communications degree program. Graduates may choose to pursue work in a private company, agency setting, public organization or nonprofit entity.

Communications Degree Program FAQs

Learn more about earning your communications degree with GCU’s answers to these common questions.

A communications degree can be either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) depending on the college that offers it. GCU offers a BA in Communications degree program that teaches traditional aspects of a Bachelor of Arts degree. This includes effective practices in small and large group communication, ethical considerations, public relations and conflict and negotiation techniques.

A Bachelor of Science in Communications, by contrast, has courses that use more analytical reasoning and are often aligned with technology or science-based careers.

According to The Princeton Review, communications is ranked second among the top 10 college majors.1 If you are looking for a career in media, marketing or any career that deals with client service, like human resources or public relations, a communications degree is absolutely worth it. Communications degrees teach valuable professional skills that overlap with a variety of careers, teaching strong written and oral communication abilities and how to construct and organize common business practices that benefit all employees and stakeholders.

Earning a traditional or online communications degree gives you the essential skills in effective communication. Whether you are selling products, creating awareness of a public health crisis, maintaining strong relationships with your clients, teaching the next generation or developing short and long-term business plans, your degree in communications will prove invaluable throughout your career.

There are many career paths you can pursue with a degree in communications. Encompassing a variety of occupations like public relation specialists to technical writers, the median annual wage for those in a related media and communication field is approximately $61,310 as of May 2020.2 If you are interested in a career that focuses on human relations and interpersonal communications, human resource managers had a median annual wage of $126,230 in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.3

Whether you pursue a campus or online communications degree, you’ll experience courses that are more challenging than others. However, the perks to a communications degree is you can often choose an emphasis program that allows you to focus on the area you are most passionate about. This can include broadcasting and new media, human relations and interpersonal communications or the political arena. If you love to talk, write and help people, you should consider a degree in communications.

1 Retrieved from The Princeton Review, Top 10 College Majors in May 2021

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Media and Communication Occupations as of May 2020. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates in Media and Communication Occupations. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.

3 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(“BLS”), Human Resources Managers as of May 2021, retrieved on Oct. 25, 2022. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Human Resources Managers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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Online: 7 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Online: $485 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
52 credits
Open Elective Credits:
28-34 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the field of communication with emphasis on the history of communication study, relevant communication theories guiding current research, the contexts in which communication occurs, and issues faced by students of communication. The course focuses on introducing students to various communication models as well as theories and skills in interpersonal communication, small group communication, mass communication, intercultural communication, and public communication.

Course Description

This course examines the principles and processes of small groups and the development of skills for participation and leadership in small group settings, as well as practice in problem solving, decision making, critical reasoning, and information sharing.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course focuses on improving communication among people with different racial, ethnic, cultural, and minority backgrounds. Students explore verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors in a variety of communication media and contexts. Communication styles, rituals, and traditions are explored through an examination of mass media, family structure, religion, politics, education, social life, art, and literature.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce the concepts and theories relevant to understanding conflict communication and the negotiation process. In this course, students are introduced to various elements of conflict and negotiation communication across a variety of contexts including interpersonal, organizational, and international. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to analyze power dynamics in relationships, identify conflict styles and tactics, and apply intervention techniques in contexts that are relevant to their future relationships and careers.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the study of ethics as it applies in the communication field. As aspiring communication professionals, students need to learn how to engage in communication that is not only appropriate but also responsive to sound ethical principles. In this course, students learn about major ethical theories and explore how these theories are applied in workplace communication, interpersonal relationships, mass media, and intercultural communication contexts.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the concepts, methods, and tools for communication research design, implementation, interpretation, and critical evaluation in communication research. Prerequisite: COM-100.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the relationship between argumentation and advocacy as well as the role of worldviews in shaping the arguments surrounding relevant social issues. This course presents the concepts and skills related to the study of argumentation. Students are introduced to the principles and elements of argumentation in everyday communication across contexts, as well as the skills necessary in constructing and evaluating written and oral arguments.

Course Description

This course investigates the principles and theories of public relations. Students receive an overview of the function and practices of the growing public relations industry in both profit and nonprofit contexts. This course examines the relationships between the public relations practitioner and various groups including clients, consumers, employees, and media.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course focuses on the communication processes in personal relationships such as romantic relationships, family relationships, and friendships. Through quantitative and qualitative methods and other theoretical perspectives, students in this class examine the expression and interpretation of messages in everyday personal interactions as well as significant relational events. Students also explore communication processes involved in developing, maintaining, and dissolving relationships, how communication impacts partners and their relationships, and how to improve relational quality or individual well-being through communication.

Course Description

The course covers historical and contemporary organizational theory and application across organizational contexts of corporate communication, team/small group communication, and interpersonal communication. Organizational theory and application topics, including leadership, are covered within each major area.

Course Description

This course is designed to help students develop an understanding of training and development in an organizational setting with a particular focus on teaching communication skills and learning the art and science of designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating training and development programs. Training and development as a career field is a significant focus. Prerequisite: COM-355.

Course Description

Communication campaigns use a myriad of persuasive strategies to reach a specified audience. This course emphasizes the theoretical art of persuasion and strategic applications in communication campaigns. Students analyze a variety of social, political, environmental, health, and marketing campaigns. Additionally, students design and institute a communication campaign of their choosing. Prerequisite: COM-355.

Course Description

This course includes a culminating reflection and collection of integral works from students' time in the major. Students engage in research specific to their career or graduate school goals and develop a project that displays what they have learned while in the program. Students are exposed to practitioners in the communication field. Students are taught how to effectively communicate their research and develop other skills that support a successful transition into the workforce or graduate school. Prerequisite: COM-333, COM-355.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.