The 10 Best Colleges for Communications in the US

According to the National Communication Association’s Executive Director, Trevor Giles, “A communications degree is broadly situated to take on a number of different kinds of positions.” These positions exist in the private and public worlds, from speech writer to event planner, producer to podcast host, journalist to policy-maker.

Communications majors study how humans send and receive messages, and how those messages are interpreted. Messages can be read in print, seen on a screen, or heard live in a speech; these messages may be carried over the Internet and viewed by millions of people. Changes in communications happen quickly, and colleges prepare communications majors to stay current with these trends.

Where do the future leaders of these communication fields receive the best education?  Where can students combine hands-on experience with student-centered learning from expert professors?

For this list today, we are looking at 10 amazing communications schools with outstanding faculty, student accomplishments and awards, opportunities for on-campus communications training (e.g., student newspapers), and alumni placement into the industry. 

Here are College Gazette’s picks for the 10 best colleges for communications majors in the US.

10. Villanova University (Villanova, PA)

Villanova University
abbike18, Corr Hall, CC BY-SA 3.0

Located less than 20 miles from Philadelphia, Villanova University offers communication majors numerous opportunities for student-centered learning. World-class professors combine with over a century of communications experience to make Villanova a must-see for any prospective communications major.

Opportunities for communications majors include writing for The Villanovan, the university’s recognized and accredited student-run newspaper, which publishes 12 issues per semester at 6500 copies per issue. The newspaper has run continually since its founding in 1916.  

Additionally, there is a bi-weekly publication called The Villanova Times, recognized by the Collegiate Network in 2009. TVT is entirely student-organized and published by communications majors. Yet another publication, The Belle Air Yearbook, has been student-run for nearly 100 years. Villanova students have won national awards and honorable mentions for their yearbooks from a number of organizations, including the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Villanova also has its own student-run television and radio stations, where communication majors learn production techniques by creating original content. Radio station WXVU can be heard at 89.1 FM and globally via the Internet, while television station WVTV keeps Villanova informed on current events, politics, and campus news.  

Howie Long, NFL player and Fox NFL Sunday host, is an alumni of the Villanova communications program.

9. Northwestern University School of Communication (Evanston, IL)

Northwestern University
Smandlso, The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, CC BY-SA 4.0

Historically, Northwestern’s communications program has been among the most accomplished in the entire world, having graduated many of the world’s most famous personalities. Some of these alumni include Stephen Colbert, Warren Beatty, and award-winning actress Heather Headley, among many others.

Whereas many other communications programs have a focus on production, journalism, and broadcasting, Northwestern’s numerous specializations in communications include performing arts, designing digital media, speech-language pathology, and more. This all said, Northwestern’s communications program does also include a more traditional education in television, film, and radio.

Faculty in Northwestern’s communications program include Todd Rosenthal, a Tony-award winning scenic designer, Anna Shapiro, director of the legendary Steppenwolf Theatre, and Dilip Gaonkar, the director of Northwestern’s Center for Global Culture and Communication.

8. Boston University College of Communication (Boston, MA)

Boston University College of Communication
Fletcher6, BU College of Communication, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Boston University College of Communications offers several Bachelor of Science degrees in specific areas of communications. A college situated on the banks of the Charles River, Boston University and its students benefit from the urban opportunities afforded to them in a city brimming with professional media companies.

At Boston University, communications students can work toward degrees that specialize in advertising, media, film and television, and public relations.

Student-run radio station WTBU was named College Station of the Year twice in a row by the College Radio Awards in New York City. This radio station broadcasts 20 hours a day from the third floor of BU’s College of Communications, programming sports and news topics as spun by its students.

Two of the College of Communication’s best experiential offerings are the AdLab and PRLab, student-run initiatives focused on providing students real-world communications experience while in college. Faithfully accomplishing this mission, the AdLab and PRLab provide both paid and pro bono communications services to Boston area businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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