Communication studies is a very broad academic field, and the range of jobs and careers associated with it is even longer. Communication studies deals with communications processes, with a special emphasis on how communications are received by a person or group. This is important in any job where there is significant interaction with a public audience.
Mass and Interpersonal Communications
The field of communication studies can be broken down into two major categories: Mass communication and interpersonal communication. Mass communication is generally institutional and aimed at groups; interpersonal communication is face-to-face communication. Mass communication jobs include advertising, marketing, journalism, broadcasting, entertainment, teaching, human resources, politics and policy. Interpersonal communications include counseling, teaching, consulting and social work.
Skills that communication majors are expected to develop cut across many jobs. You might be a consumer advocate or a convention organizer, a public relations representative or a publisher, a speechwriter or a stock broker. In every case, you need to master reading and writing effectively, speaking in public, critical thinking, persuasion, information gathering, problem analysis, active listening and the ability to clarify and respond in dialogue.
Which program you choose as a communication major will depend on you having some idea what kind of job you want to do when you graduate. Northwestern University has a highly respected communications department, and its list of programs is emblematic of what specialty a communication major might be able to choose. These programs include cognitive science, interaction and influence, rhetoric and public culture, media and technology, film and television, screenwriting, theater direction and ethnography of performance.
Communication majors usually have their educations augmented by a variety of internship opportunities that give the students a chance to gain experience in actual work environments. This is important, because the job a communication major thinks he wants may turn out to be quite different from what he imagined. In one example, Hollins University offers internships in six areas: Media law and policy, argumentation and advocacy, organizational communication, global communication, writing for print media and writing for electronic media.
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