Earning a bachelor’s degree in communication is an excellent path for quick-witted storytellers who are intrigued by the strategies behind great presentations. Communication majors study how people express information verbally, nonverbally, visually, and in writing. According to the Princeton Review, communications is among America’s “Top 10 College Majors.” Holding a communication degree can segue into exciting careers like public relations specialist, event planner, sales manager, technical writer, advertising manager, journalist, interpreter, and social media manager. PayScale reports that baccalaureate graduates in communication reap average salaries from $32,251 to $101,297. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that media and communication occupations will also grow by 4 percent through 2024.
Since many students seek the traditional college experience, we’ve done considerable research to highlight the Top 15 Bachelor of Communications Degree Programs available on-campus. We began by consulting with the U.S. News and World Report national rankings. We narrowed to the country’s top 50 colleges and searched each one for a bachelor’s major in communication. Special consideration was given to communication schools recognized by PayScale for the best salary potential. Each bachelor’s degree had to be regionally accredited and include face-to-face class time for speaking skills. Average yearly tuition for undergraduates was calculated using the NCES College Navigator database. Other factors were experiential opportunities, class size, retention rate, concentrations, faculty credentials, and post-graduate success.
Here are our selections for the Top 15 Bachelor of Communications Degree Programs:
1. Stanford University
Dedicated to the late child of railroad tycoon Leland Stanford in 1885, Stanford University is a prestigious private, nonprofit RU/VH research institution carrying a $22 billion endowment to educate around 15,800 students in California’s Silicon Valley. Ranked #1 for Reuters’ “World’s Most Innovative Universities,” Stanford is the fifth Best National University and fourth Best Value according to the U.S. News and World Report. From McClatchy Hall, the School of Humanities and Sciences confers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. The 60-unit major studies the techniques and technologies that shape personal interaction. Students benefit from the Daniel Pearl Memorial Internship, Rebele Symposia, and Stanford in Washington Program.
Average Tuition: $46,320
Learn more about Stanford University’s Bachelor of Communications Degree Program here.
2. University of Pennsylvania
Located in Philadelphia’s University City district along the Schuylkill River, the University of Pennsylvania is a private, non-sectarian Ivy League member affiliated with 30 Nobel Laureates and over 24,800 high-achieving students. Named the 12th “Hardest College to Get Into” on Niche, UPenn is applauded as America’s eighth Best University and third Most Veteran-Friendly school by the U.S. News and World Report. With a 6:1 student-faculty ratio, the Annenberg School for Communication awards a Bachelor of Arts. This 14-course major offers concentrations like Political Communication, Media Effects, Marketing Messages, and Critical Journalism. Penn Quakers gain experience through the Communication and Public Service (ComPS) program.
Average Tuition: $49,536
3. Northwestern University
Endowed for $10.1 billion, Northwestern University is a private, nonprofit RU/VH powerhouse historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church that’s enrolling over 20,900 students in Evanston, Illinois, along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Given a Forbes financial grade of A+ for America’s 45th most grateful grads, Northwestern is ranked the 12th Best National University by the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Communication’s cutting-edge curriculum offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. Students select from 14 modules, including Creative Writing, Digital Media, Music Theater, and Sound Cultures. Within the 120-credit program, majors could also study abroad at Northwestern Qatar and conduct research in the Social Media Lab.
Average Tuition: $49,047
4. Cornell University
Affiliated with 54 Nobel Laureates, Cornell University is a private, nonprofit Ivy League institution holding land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant status in Upstate New York’s Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region to serve the Big Red community of 21,900 students. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Cornell is America’s 15th Best University and 14th Most Innovative School. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences grants a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Tackling the 120-credit curriculum involves picking from four focus areas, such as Communication and Social Influence. Majors also complete off-campus practicum through the Ithaca College Exchange, Cornell in Hollywood, or CALS International Exchange programs.
Average Tuition: $49,116
5. Vanderbilt University
Belonging to the elite Association of American Universities (AAU), Vanderbilt University is a private, non-sectarian RU/VH research institution attracting over 12,600 students from 90+ countries to study in the West End of Midtown Nashville, Tennessee. Placed #2 for the Princeton Review’s “Happiest Students,” Vanderbilt is named America’s 15th Best University with the 10th Top Undergraduate Programs by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Arts and Science redesigned its 30-credit Major in Communication Studies in 2015. Bachelor’s students survey rhetorical traditions and improve their oratory skills. As a SEC Champion in Debate, Vanderbilt encourages majors to compete in the Frank K. Houston Public Speaking Contest.
Average Tuition: $44,712
6. Washington University in St. Louis
Established in 1853 by Unitarian minister William Greenleaf Eliot, Washington University in St. Louis is a selective private, non-sectarian research institution enrolling around 14,800 students with an acceptance rate of 17 percent in Missouri’s second-largest city. Washington University in St. Louis is the country’s 19th Best University and 10th Best for Veterans school according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts provides a unique B.F.A. in Communication Design. Within the 128-credit curriculum, the “New Ivy” surveys information conveyance through emphases in Graphic Design, Illustration, and Interaction Design. Students complete a nine-week artistic summer program in Florence, Italy.
Average Tuition: $48,093
7. Georgetown University
Devoted to the Jesuit tradition, Georgetown University is a private, nonprofit Catholic research institution enlightening over 17,800 students in northwest Washington DC and at auxiliary campuses in Italy and Turkey. Crowned America’s 17th “Most Diverse College” on Niche, Georgetown University is proclaimed the nation’s 20th Best University and 34th Top Value School by the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Continuing Studies awards the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (BALS) with a Communications Concentration. This transfer-friendly, 120-credit program features evening courses to prepare Hoyas for mass communications jobs. Graduates could continue into the Master of Arts for Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT).
Average Tuition: $48,611
8. University of Southern California
Sitting between Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street two miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is an esteemed private, sea-grant and space-grant research powerhouse founded in 1880 that’s enrolling 42,400 Trojans. Recognized by PayScale for a median mid-career salary of $92,700, the University of Southern California is deemed America’s 23rd Best College and 19th Most Innovative School by the U.S. News and World Report. The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism grants a B.A. in Communication for exploring rhetorical processes. The 48-unit major offers electives ranging from contemporary sport to health communication. USC students also intern with top-notch companies like 20th Century Fox and NBCUniversal.
Average Tuition: $50,277
9. University of California, Los Angeles
As part of the Pac-12 Conference, the University of California-Los Angeles is a public, land-grant APRU member institution opened in 1919 that’s educating over 43,300 Bruins from Westwood just south of Sunset Boulevard. Placed 12th in the Shanghai ARWU rankings, UCLA is crowned the 24th Best National University and second Top Public School by the U.S. News and World Report. With a 96 percent retention rate, the Social Sciences Division bestows a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. Students in the 45-unit major often join the UCLA Speech & Debate team. Communications faculty have earned seven Distinguished Teaching Awards.
Average Tuition: $12,763 (in-state) or $37,471 (out-of-state)
Learn more about the University of California – Los Angeles’ Bachelor of Communications Degree Programs here.
10. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Chartered in 1817 by Judge Augustus B. Woodward, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is the state’s oldest public, co-educational RU/VH research institution with enrollment surpassing 44,700 on its urban campus separated by the Huron River. Honored as America’s #2 “College with the Best Student Life” on Niche, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is the 27th Best National University according to the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts supports a 40-credit Communication Studies Major. Bachelor’s students can benefit from researching in the Media Psychology Lab, joining the Michigan Association of Communication Studies (MACS), and running The Michigan Daily.
Average Tuition: $13,856 (in-state) or $43,476 (out-of-state)
11. Wake Forest University
Based on the Reynolda Campus around T.K. Hearn Plaza in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Wake Forest University is a private, non-sectarian research institution serving over 7,500 co-eds from a $1.16 billion endowment. Recognized for the country’s #3 “Best Career Services” on the Princeton Review, Wake ties for America’s 27th Best University according to the U.S. News and World Report. From Carswell Hall, the Undergraduate College delivers a B.A. in Communication. The 30-credit major allows specialization in Communication Science, Media Studies, or Rhetorical Studies. Learners in good standing can complete 120-hour internships and participate in the Documentary Film Program (DFP).
Average Tuition: $47,682
12. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
With enrollment approaching 30,000, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public, co-educational RU/VH research giant with a metropolitan campus in the Tar Heel State’s Research Triangle tracing back to 1789. Commended in the Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Green Colleges,” the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is named America’s 30th Best University and fifth Best Public School by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Arts & Sciences houses a B.A. Communication Studies Major with concentrations for Rhetoric Studies, Performance Studies, Interpersonal & Organizational Communication, or Media & Technology Production. UNC tied for first place in the ACC Debate Championship.
Average Tuition: $8,591 (in-state) or $33,673 (out-of-state)
13. Boston College
Within the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (ACJU), Boston College is a private, nonprofit Catholic research institution serving over 14,100 Eagles in historic Chestnut Hill just six miles from downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Noted as Niche’s 28th “Best College for Student Athletes,” Boston College is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as the 31st Top National University and 41st Best Value. The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences has a Bachelor of Communication program with an optional Journalism Concentration. The 33-credit liberal arts major investigates interpersonal and intercultural relations. Students could intern with the Boston Globe, study abroad in 30+ countries, and join the Fulton Debating Society.
Average Tuition: $49,324
14. New York University
Ideally located in the buzzing Lower Manhattan district of Greenwich Village, New York University carries a $3.57 billion endowment as an influential private, nonprofit AAU member with more than 50,000 scholars. Claiming the #16 spot for the Princeton Review’s “Lots of Race/Class Interaction,” NYU is ranked the 36th Best National University and 13th Most Innovative School by the U.S. News and World Report. The Steinhardt School awards a 128-credit Bachelor of Science in Media, Culture, and Communication. Majors can undertake the Honors Program, participate in Comm Club, and complete the Steinhardt Dean’s Global Seminars. NYU boasts a 95 percent placement rate with organizations like Viacom and CBS News.
Average Tuition: $47,750
15. Northeastern University
Noted for alumni like Wendy Williams and Maggie Hassan, Northeastern University is a private, non-sectarian R1 research institution educating over 24,900 Huskies from its main campus in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Picked for America’s #4 “Top Internship Opportunities” on the Princeton Review, Northeastern University is deemed the 39th Best University and seventh Most Innovative School by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD), undergraduates could pursue the Communication Studies B.A. The four-year, 120-credit program can include service learning with Girls LEAP, global trips to Prague, and research with the Eastern Communication Association. There’s also a Cinema Studies and Communication B.A. option.
Average Tuition: $45,530
How Do You Find the Best Schools for Communications?
If you want to study mass media in higher education, communications students have had good experiences in colleges like Purdue University, the University of Florida, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin Madison, and the University of Texas at Austin. These have some of the best communication programs.