What Are the Top Communication Studies Schools?

Learn about rankings for top schools that offer communication studies program. Find out what degree programs and specialties might be available as well as tips for choosing a program. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Communication Studies School?

Communications studies can lead to broad employment opportunities. You could work in the public relations, media, health or technology fields, to name a few options. Look for schools that offer specialized degree concentrations, institutes or study abroad options that address your research or career interests. You might also want to consider programs with project funding or internship opportunities.

Three Top Communication Studies Schools

Northwestern University (NU) in Evanston, IL

NU was tied for U.S. News & World Report's 10th-ranked national university in 2019. NU offers communications students study abroad opportunities in Britain, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and India. It also operates a campus in Qatar. The School of Communication sponsors the Center for Global Culture and Communication to address worldwide communication issues through symposiums, lectures and projects. Its Center for Technology and Social Behavior also brings together cross-disciplinary researchers.

Undergraduates can use the Student Resource Center to help plan their curriculum according to their career goals. Graduate-level concentrations allow you to specialize your studies on areas such as interaction and social influence or rhetoric and public culture. As a working professional, you could pursue a master's degree with an emphasis on managerial communication. The following degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Master of Science in Communication
  • M.A./Ph.D. in Media, Technology and Society
  • M.A./Ph.D. in Technology and Social Behavior
  • Ph.D. in Communication Studies

Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN

In 2019, Purdue was tied for 56th among national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. As an undergraduate communication student, you could choose concentrations ranging from public relations and rhetorical advocacy to mass communication. Semester or summer internships with non-profit organizations, public relations firms or advertising agencies are encouraged. You could also earn extra credit in your courses by participating in research experiments. Study abroad is available through the Italy Consortium Program, the summer London Internship Program or through other partner institutions. Students can also participate in faculty research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

The graduate health communication specialty offers students the opportunity to teach medical residents and observe patient rounds. Students in the interdisciplinary information security program can access information security-related networks, databases and archives through the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security. If you're interested in the public relations and issue management specialty, an exchange program with the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark is available. Department facilities also include interaction research and integrative multimedia equipment laboratories. Multiple degrees are available.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Public Health - Health Communication
  • Ph.D. in Communication
  • Ph.D. in Communication and Gerontology
  • Ph.D. in Communication and Philosophy

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

This Ivy League tied for eighth in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national university rankings. Undergraduate opportunities include a concentration in communication and public service, available through the Institute for Public Service. Partnerships with the Cardiff School of Journalism's Media and Cultural Studies program in Wales and schools in South America, Europe, Australia, Israel, Japan and Korea permit study abroad.

Doctoral candidates have access to award-winning centers like the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the Center for Global Communication Studies, with their affiliated research projects and publications. You could also conduct research through the school's visual communication program or the children's media lab. The following degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

More Schools with Communication Studies Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition (2018-2019)*
Appalachian State University4-year, PublicBoone, NC$7,000
Arizona State University--Tempe4-year, PublicTempe, AZ$10,000
Clemson University4-year, PublicClemson, SC$15,000
DePaul University4-year, PrivateChicago, IL$39,000
Florida Atlantic University4-year, PublicBoca Raton, FL$4,000
Fordham University4-year, PrivateBronx, NY$52,000
George Mason University4-year, PublicFairfax, VA$12,000
Georgia State University4-year, PublicAtlanta, GA$9,000
Illinois State University4-year, PublicNormal, IL$14,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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