Free Online Lectures and Courses for Communications

Communication studies appeals to students with a highly diverse range of interests and goals. In the age of digital content, communication specialists must be fluent in both current and emerging media. They must also be dedicated to presenting information in clear and innovative ways both on and offline — they can choose to work in multiple formats and often dabble in print, online, television or film media. Content-wise, communications students have multiple specialization channels to explore, including politics, public relations, business, and mass media.

Throughout their education, communications students will be asked to engage with the public, work on collaborative projects, and hone their speech and writing skills. Communication majors can pursue degrees from the associate level to the doctorate level, and enter a range of careers, starting at entry level and moving up to management roles as editors in chief or as public relations directors.

Sample Courses

Communications majors will spend the majority of their time taking courses that emphasize public speaking, writing, and rhetoric. In addition, programs will offer courses on effective debate and group mediation strategies. Many communications programs require advanced English composition courses, which will strengthen your abilities to share perspectives, present arguments, and communicate information clearly in prose. Example projects can include investigative reporting projects, creative essays, group presentations, and even broadcast news video productions. Students are encouraged to apply communications theories and techniques to work done outside of the major. Courses in political science, digital marketing and journalism, or business management fit neatly alongside a communications degree.

Possible Specializations

During the second half of their undergraduate career, communications majors can choose from specializations such as public policy, journalism, mass media, or organizational leadership. While specializations aren’t a given at the undergraduate level, a specific subfield of communications must be chosen by graduate students. The most popular specialities in today’s communications master’s programs are more tech-oriented than they have been in the past. Today’s graduate-level communications students specialize in areas such as IT, digital advertising, graphic design and technical writing.

Degree Types

Communications degrees are awarded at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Academic advancement in the field depends on the amount of time a student wants to attend school and the type of career they want to pursue. Here are the degree options commonly available to prospective students:

Associate

This degree can prepare you for entry-level jobs in radio entertainment, marketing organizations, public relations departments, customer service, and news media. It usually takes about two years to complete an associate degree. Your education will cover the fundamentals of public relations, mass media communications, and written composition. Additionally, an associate’s degree can be a great launching point for students who may someday pursue a bachelor’s or beyond.

Bachelor’s

In the field of communications, a bachelor’s degree is all but required. This degree can generally be completed within four years, and it offers students several employment and continued education opportunities. Students will have time to explore communications courses with further specification, such as social media ethics, foreign correspondence journalism, and mass media workflows.

Master’s

Students who pursue communications at this level will be encouraged to choose a specialty, such as business leadership, public relations, education, IT or marketing. Earning a master’s degree can help students distinguish themselves with an expertise. It is very likely that instructors at this level will require students to write a master’s thesis on a topic within their specialty before graduation.

Ph.D.

Students who wish to dedicate their time to teaching adults or researching communications developments, technologies, and theories typically pursue the highest degree offered in the field. Graduate degrees at both the master’s and Ph.D. level can open up leadership and administrative roles within businesses, political campaigns, and non-profit organizations.

There are several professional societies available to communications graduates with various specialty backgrounds, such as the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Professional Communications Society (IEEE PCS). These organizations provide industry professionals with networking and continued education opportunities.

Ideal Candidates for Communications

It is a given that communication majors will need to interact with others, so outgoing individuals with strong interpersonal skills, curiosity, and empathy tend to find the degree and career path to be a good fit. Students and professionals in this field should feel comfortable around people, and they should be able to engage groups of strangers. Employers and clients often look to communications graduates and professionals to deliver clear news, public relations data, verbal instructions, and marketing information via multimedia.

Career Pathways

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who graduate with communications degrees gain access to careers in several industries, such as motion pictures, public relations, radio and television broadcasting, academic administration, and government. On average, professionals who specialize in communications will earn $52,550 a year, or $25.27 an hour. States with the highest employment rates within the field include California, Minnesota, New York, Florida, and Maryland.

Communications professionals who work as radio djs or television broadcasters generally have the lowest median pay amongst industry peers, earning $27,750 annually. That said the BLS considers a broad range of careers in the field of “Media Communications” so these broadcasters are compared to the more highly specialized sound engineers, technical editors, authors, and broadcast analysts. Overall, the job outlook is unfavorable for this field, with a projected growth rate of only 2% before the year 2022. However, these roles give employees a high degree of public exposure, which can lead to new career opportunities down the road.

Technical writers tend to make the highest average annual income within media and communications, collaborating with professionals in tech industries to develop usage manuals and instructional articles. By 2022, openings in technical writing are anticipated to grow by around 15% — this is the most encouraging job growth figure the BLS cites for the Media and Communications field.

3 Courses

Get More Out of Your Online Communications Courses

Communications Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • Computer Communications

      The EJC is dedicated to communications theory, academic developments, and industry topics that affect European educators and professionals.

    • Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications

      See what it's like to get a start in communication studies with these examples of compelling student contributions.

    • International Journal of Communications

      This multidisciplinary periodical highlights the latest research, trends, and expert commentary from the field of communications studies.

    • Journal of Communication

      The International Communication Association, a leading professional organization in this field, publishes this quarterly periodical highlighting key research, policy developments, and theory.

  • Trade Magazines

    • ConnectWorld

      This global and multidisciplinary publication is released on a monthly basis, covering information and communications technology.

    • IEEE Communications Magazine

      The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers publishes this print and digital magazine devoted to communication systems, policy making, industry ...

    • IEEE Wireless Communications

      This trade magazine covers the newest advancements in wireless networks and digital communications from a global and multidisciplinary perspective.

    • Telecoms

      Mobile Communications International publishes this free digital resource, which covers telecom intelligence and industry trends.

Communications Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

  • Scholarships

    • American Copy Editors Society Education Fund

      Deadline: November 13th

      Award Amount: $1,000 - $2,500

      These annual awards are given to undergraduate and graduate-level students who demonstrate a commitment to copy editing within mass media and communications ...

    • AQHF Journalism or Communications Scholarship

      Deadline: December 1

      Award Amount: $8,000

      The American Quarter Horse Association is offering new undergraduates funding for journalism or communications-related studies.

    • Breylan Communications

      Deadline: June 30th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      New undergraduates with a 2.5 high school GPA or higher might qualify for funding awards from this communications firm.

    • Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship

      Deadline: March 15th

      Award Amount: $2,500

      Prospective students who are ethnic minorities and members of the United Methodist Church are invited to apply for this funding, which emphasizes a commitment ...

    • Marketing Edge Scholarships

      Deadline: May 9th

      Award Amount: N/A

      This organization offers dozens of scholarships for students of integrated marketing communications, and applicants can submit a single application to be ...

    • National Association of Black Journalists Scholarships

      Deadline: March 22nd

      Award Amount: $1,500 - $2,500

      The NABJ offers seven different annual scholarships to prospective and current undergraduate students entering journalism or communications programs.

    • New York Women in Communications Sponsored Scholarships

      Deadline: January 31st

      Award Amount: $2,500 - $10,000

      Every year, prospective undergraduate and graduate communications students can apply for up to 15 scholarships using a single application form.

    • Penn State College of Communications Scholarship

      Deadline: April 15th

      Award Amount:

      Students applying to Penn State's communications program can apply to receive tuition funding.

    • The Jim McKay and Mike Wallace Memorial Scholarships

      Deadline: March 10th

      Award Amount: N/A

      Undergraduate communications students get a chance to earn annual awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences by submitting examples of ...

Communications Internships

  • Bipartisan Policy Center

    Deadline: N/A

    This non-profit political advocacy organization is hiring undergraduate and graduate students to produce blog and social media content.

  • Discovery Communications Internships

    Deadline: N/A

    The same media organization that brings us the Discover channel is offering students paid 12-week opportunities to work on mass media projects.

  • Earthjustice

    Deadline: August 1st or December 1st

    Communications students with an interest in environmental law can explore this internship, which emphasizes blogging, social media, and multimedia content.

  • Fleishman Hillard

    Deadline: N/A

    This communications agency is hiring interns across 47 international cities to work with local corporations on marketing strategies.

  • Seattle Offices of Film and Music Economic Development

    Deadline: February 11th

    This 6-month paid opportunity will have interns working with the City of Seattle on community outreach tasks, film projects, and web interactions.

  • The National Bone Health Alliance

    Deadline: N/A

    Interns will get experience generating web content, press releases, and social media posts for this non-profit organization in Washington D.C.

  • Urban League of Greater Madison

    Deadline: June 13th

    Interns will work with marketing teams to create digital and print materials for donation campaigns with this minority right advocacy group.

  • Youth Guidance

    Deadline: N/A

    This Chicago-based non-profit is offering 3-6 month internship roles that focus on social media content production, promotional fliers, and report generation for academic programs.

Communications Student & Professional Organizations

  • Student Organizations

    • International Communications Association

      This organization is spread across 77 different countries, encouraging academic communications research and networking with annual conferences and exclusive ...

    • Kappa Tau Alpha

      Students focusing on journalism and mass media communications can join this honors society to network, earn college funding, and keep track of industry ...

    • Lambda Pi Eta

      This honors society is run by the National Communication Association, and is dedicated to recognizing academic achievements within the communications field.

  • Professional Organizations

    • IEEE Communications Society

      Leading influencers who work in computing, tech, and engineering communications can explore award, funding, and education opportunities as members of this organization.

    • National Communication Association

      This is an umbrella organization that serves academics, instructors, and active professionals within communication fields through publications and career networking events.

    • Public Relations Society of America

      There are over 21,000 members in the PRSA, a group dedicated to continued education and employment standards advocacy for public relations specialists.

    • The American Communications Association

      Gain industry insights with this non-profit's continuing education textbooks and publications geared toward communications professionals and researchers.

    • Toastmasters International

      This group focuses on fostering public speaking and leadership communications, with professional representation across 122 countries.

    • Women in Communication

      This professional society serves as a networking, news, and funding resources for women working in a wide range of communication roles across the United States.