Versatile, useful and often misunderstood, a major in communication can lead to many places.
According to the article “Why Communications Majors Might Have More Choices in Life,” on Collegerecruiter.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists more career opportunities for communication graduates than for graduates from any other major. These include journalism, public relations, marketing and television.
Some lesser known fields where a communication degree can help include government, mediation and working for nonprofit organizations. Also, combining the communication degree with another field such as political science or business could pay off, since skills in these other fields combined with communication would be very useful in many real world settings.
“There are a number of subfields for a communication graduate [to enter],” said Barry Smith, associate professor of communication and chair of the MUW Communication Department.
“Specific examples would include public relations, advertising, journalism, which could include print, television or radio, also television production, film production radio and web design.”
Students enter the field for multiple reasons.
“Communication covers a wide range of areas of study, as well as professions that are of interest to me, like television and radio,” said Marissa Vaughn, a junior communication major from Bruce, Miss.
Braxton Maclean, a junior communication major from West Point, Miss., said that he ended up a communication major after a stint working at a photography studio inspired him to switch from theatre to communication.
Smith elaborated on some of the qualities he felt that a good communication student should have.
“I think people should consider studying communication if they are interested in learning how to creatively and effectively reach or communicate with other people through mass media,” he said.
Although some mass media industries have suffered in recent years because of the economy and because the Internet brought a disruption to the way they do business, communication still has a lot of opportunities for graduates.
However, it is not well known on MUW’s campus. For some students, their only association with the department comes from the oral communication course that is part of the university’s general education curriculum. But the field encompasses much more, including web design, video production and radio.
Smith dispelled some misconceptions about the communication field, saying that some people thought that it was public speaking only, that public relations was planning parties, and that writing was not important. All of these statements are false.
“Some people think it’s easy because when you do a good job it looks easy,” he said.
Communication is a very strong field, despite what might be said about it. The possibilities for a communication graduate are virtually endless, and a bright future awaits in most cases.