Columbia College Chicago

Communication, BA

Every industry needs good communicators. As a Communication major, you’ll be in demand with skills that give you a competitive advantage. You’ll develop strong presentation, writing, research, and analytical skills that provide you with the versatility to succeed in a constantly changing world. You’ll learn to create messages that inform a variety of audiences, including journalists--who unlike communication strategists, focus solely on reporting news, not creating it. You’ll have many career options, including advertising executive, publicist, editor, nonprofit director, political activist, lobbyist, business manager, speechwriter, public affairs director, television producer, radio talk-show host, and webmaster.

Your class assignments at Columbia happen in a living, breathing creative laboratory, where you’ll collaborate with other creative students from many majors. And you’ll be taught by working professionals in communication fields. You’ll be strategizing, analyzing, developing concepts, storytelling, and producing in the nation’s third-largest media market. You’ll also have the option to explore other creative interests and pursue a complementary minor.

What to Expect Your First Year

During your first year, you’ll learn communication essentials. You’ll discover the broad range of ways that information is transferred from one source to another. You’ll study communication practice and storytelling. Courses in the first year include Writing for Social Media, Fundamentals of Interaction, and Radio Storytelling, where you’ll practice writing for the ear and produce a series of essays. Or you can learn artistic goal setting in Cinema Notebooks and Radio Podcasting. You’ll develop and present a communication portfolio for review, and you’ll quickly begin to learn how to develop working relationships with colleagues and clients.

What to Expect Your Last Year

During your last year, you’ll put your new understanding of media ecosystems into practice. You'll immerse yourself in the Communication Capstone course, where you’ll use your storytelling, analysis, cultural, and relationship-building skills. You'll function as a communication specialist within an integrated team and provide media services for an external organization (for example, a nonprofit, civic, or corporate entity). And your work will focus on digital content development for podcasts, websites, blogs, native ads, publicity, social media, videos, and films. You might also provide influencer communication or internal/external messaging for community outreach. You'll complete the capstone experience with portfolio-ready work. As a senior, you’ll likely be on your second internship, an assignment that complements and reaffirms the other real-world experiences covered in the program.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Columbia prides itself on giving you real-world opportunities while you’re in school. You’ll have the chance to experience important discussions and events as they unfold in many spheres, including politics, technology, and business. You’ll participate in student chapters of professional associations like the Public Relations Society of America and the Society of Professional Journalists. You may also participate in the many student organizations on campus. And volunteer opportunities include community engagement projects that expand your professional network and sharpen collaboration skills.

What are my internship options?

You’ll have access to internships in Chicago and beyond for companies ranging from globally known Fortune 500 businesses and media outlets to dynamic startups, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Our students have interned at Leo Burnett, FCB, Energy BBDO, Digitas, Havas Worldwide, Chicago Fire, Ogilvy, Univision, Viacom, CNN, Turner, Chicago Magazine, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and Kartemquin Films. Our full-time internship coordinator can help you find opportunities and professional environments that best complement your coursework—you won’t be getting coffee or making copies all day. We don’t require an internship to graduate, but we highly encourage you to complete multiple internships beginning your junior year.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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If you can’t make it to campus, don’t worry! We have a full schedule of events all across the U.S. and around the world.