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Communication & Media Studies

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Communication & Media Studies Major

65,932 yearly degrees
#14 in popularity
$68,000 median salary

Communication and media studies is a major that typically falls into the Communication & Journalism category.

There are 306 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in communications, 1,365 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 338 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 89 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Communications Degree?

In 2017, roughly 56,900 communications majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree, making it the 6th most popular major in the country. This major is dominated by women with about 65.8% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of communications majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 4.3%
  • Black or African American: 11.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 14%
  • White: 59%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 3.8%
  • Other Races: 7.2%
Communication & Media Studies Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in communications. About 3.8% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending communications majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Communication & Media Studies Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to communications to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Communications Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Communication & Media Studies Majors

Skills for Communications Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to communications:

Important Skills for Communication & Media Studies Majors

Abilities for Communications Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a communications student include the following:

Important Abilities for communications Majors

What Can You Do With a Communications Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with communications:

Careers Related to Communication & Media Studies
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary




Public Address System and Other Announcers



Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers



Copy Writers



Reporters and Correspondents



Radio and Television Announcers



Public Relations Specialists



Communications Professors



Communication & Media Studies Major Salary

Average salaries range from $52,000 to $73,000 for careers related to communications. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Communications Major  ( 52000 to 73000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Communication & Media Studies Major Jobs

Some careers associated with communications may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for communications careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Communication & Media Studies
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Communication & Media Studies Programs

There are 1,365 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies, with 130 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Communication & Media Studies Major Worth It?

The median salary for a communications grad is $68,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 76% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $590,800 after 20 years!

communication and media studies salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: UNU-WIDER from Helsinki, Finland via License

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