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top bachelor's in communications

Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty has the #1 best com­mu­ni­ca­tion bach­e­lor’s degree.
  • Grad­u­ates can pur­sue var­i­ous roles such as pub­lic rela­tions spe­cial­ists, event plan­ners, jour­nal­ists, and social media man­agers.
  • The aver­age salary for bachelor’s degree hold­ers in com­mu­ni­ca­tion is around $66,320.
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­grams empha­size skills in ver­bal, non­ver­bal, and writ­ten communication.

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. In this arti­cle, we name the best com­mu­ni­ca­tions schools in the nation!

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished: Novem­ber 2016
Last updat­ed: Jan­u­ary 2024

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
  • Social Media Manager

BLS.gov reports that bac­calau­re­ate grad­u­ates in com­mu­ni­ca­tion reap aver­age salaries of $66,320. The Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics projects that media and com­mu­ni­ca­tion occu­pa­tions will also grow by 13 per­cent through 2032.

Methodology: Best Communications Schools

Since many stu­dents seek the tra­di­tion­al col­lege expe­ri­ence, we’ve done con­sid­er­able research to high­light the Top 10 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 10 Bach­e­lor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Degree Programs:

1. Stanford University

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Arts in Communication

best communications schools

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.

2. Northwestern University

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Arts in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Studies

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. 

  • Forbes gave a finan­cial grade of A+ for Amer­i­ca’s 45th most grate­ful grads from North­west­ern University.
  • 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.

3. Cornell University

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Communication

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.

4. Wake Forest University

Degree: Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sci­ence, Media Stud­ies or Rhetor­i­cal Studies

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).

5. Vanderbilt University

Degree: BS in Communication

best communications schools

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 an SEC Cham­pi­on in Debate, Van­der­bilt encour­ages majors to com­pete in the Frank K. Hous­ton Pub­lic Speak­ing Contest.

6. Washington University in St. Louis

Degree: BFA and BA in Stu­dio Art & Design, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Design

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.

7. University of Southern California

Degree: Under­grad­u­ate Communication

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. 

  • Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is deemed Amer­i­ca’s 23rd Best Col­lege and the 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.

8. University of California, Los Angeles

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Arts in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Studies

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.

9. University of Pennsylvania

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Arts in Communication

best communications schools

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.

10. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor

Degree: Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stud­ies Major

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 research in the Media Psy­chol­o­gy Lab, join­ing the Michi­gan Asso­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stud­ies (MACS), and run­ning The Michi­gan Daily.

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 com­mu­ni­ca­tions schools.