Marketing and Communications Majors and Potential Jobs

The things we read, watch, and listen to don't just come out of the ether. And if you're passionate about any of these mediums--or just conveying a message with creativity and conviction--you may find your niche in marketing and/or communications.

Last Updated: May 2, 2014

The things we read, watch, and listen to don’t just come out of the ether. And if you’re passionate about any of these mediums—or just conveying a message with creativity and conviction—you may find your niche in marketing and/or communications.


Advertising is a specialty within the area of business. It examines the techniques used to communicate a message, whether in print or through the audio/visual media, attempting to persuade readers, viewers, or listeners to take some kind of action or change their life, such as to buy a product or support a cause or candidate.


Undergraduate programs in advertising include courses such as consumer behavior (exploring factors or conditions which lead people to buy), market research (gathering information needed to know sales potential of a product), principles of advertising, and sales management. Core courses in business organization, finance, and accounting will also be included. Students can expect many advertising courses to be largely project-based and require significant amounts of group work. Classes include introduction to psychology, statistics in business, operations research, algebra and calculus in business, advertising, information studies, graphic arts, communications law.

Possible careers

  • business education teacher
  • buyer
  • credit analyst
  • fund raiser
  • manager
  • market research analyst
  • public relations specialist
  • purchasing agent
  • sales manager
  • sales representative

Communications, General

Communications” is a broad term for a major that studies how information and ideas are exchanged in modern society. Programs in this area also may be titled “Communication Arts,” “Communications and Media,” or “Communications Studies.” This major provides a comprehensive background in writing and speaking techniques, familiarity with the workings of the mass media, and the skills for utilizing the media to deliver the intended message. There are many directions in which a communications major can head after college. Perhaps this is why it is one of the more popular college majors.


The plan of study includes writing skills development, speech writing and delivery, interpersonal skills development, principles of advertising, public relations, broadcasting techniques, history of the media, and related offerings. Some colleges may combine a communications major with one ins speech communications, journalism communications, mass media, or broadcasting. Since program quality varies widely, careful comparison of program majors is strongly urged. Classes include introduction to communications, mass communications, public speaking, radio and television production, communications theory, small group communication, introduction to psychology, social psychology, ethical and legal foundations of communication practice.

Possible careers

  • college professor
  • communications center operator
  • disk jockey
  • editor
  • journalist/broadcast journalist
  • lawyer
  • management trainee
  • marketing/advertising manager
  • media specialist
  • news copy writer
  • radio/TV announcer/newscaster
  • secondary school teacher


Journalism is a specialty in the communications field concerned with printed media such as newspapers and magazines and broadcast media such as television and radio. Relatively few colleges offer a true major at the undergraduate level; those that do are often able to provide internship experiences working with local news publications to enhance the employability of students. There are a number of graduate programs in journalism, usually of short duration, that students may want to consider after undergraduate studies to improve their job prospects. Journalism is a demanding and competitive profession.


The plan of study emphasizes writing ability, analytical capacity, research skills, preparation of written copy in accepted professional formats, and skills to apply technical competency to creative projects. In addition, courses may be required in other communications areas such as radio and television, public relations, or allied professions. Classes include introduction to journalism, news writing and reporting, interviewing techniques, advanced composition, feature writing, public relations, mass media, copy editing, media law, digital media, broadcast news, photojournalism, e-writing.

Possible careers

  • copy writer
  • freelance writer
  • investigative reporter
  • lawyer
  • lecturer
  • magazine or digital magazine editor
  • news editor
  • news or feature writer
  • photojournalist
  • proofreader
  • public relations manager
  • radio/TV announcer
  • reporter
  • technical writer


Marketing is the study of the production, sale, and distribution of goods or services. Beginning with the product idea, the market specialist seeks to determine the demand for the product, the most attractive way to present the product, and how best to advertise it. The market specialist also needs to determine sales volume requirements and distribution sources. Candidates in this highly competitive field should be resourceful, imaginative, and well-motivated.


The plan of study begins with the study of every aspect of the business environment. Other topics of study include accounting, finance, management (with special emphasis on sales and promotion), consumer buying habits and motivators, sales techniques, and analysis of distribution. Classes include introduction to management, microeconomics, business law, marketing, sales management, consumer habits, psychology, distribution systems, co-op or internship work experience.

Possible careers

  • college professor
  • employment research director
  • management analyst
  • market research analyst
  • military officer
  • political consultant
  • sales representative
  • survey worker

Media Studies

The making of films, videotapes, computer-generated images, and other forms of communication are included in media studies. Also known as “communication media,” this study may be offered within a communications department or applied arts area. Students learn to understand the meaning and power of words and images through an interdisciplinary approach that links the various media to each other and places them in social and historical context. The emphasis may also include actual media production for use in television, cinema, broadcasting, and advertising.


The plan of study includes both theoretical and practical courses combing the purposes of media with knowledge of how to communicate a message to an audience. At some colleges, students can pursue either a B.A. or a B.F.A. and this will determine the student’s specific program. Hands-on experience in the production of various media forms and training in the use of equipment leading to the completion of actuarial projects requires a great deal of time, effort, and imagination on the part of the student. Classes include beginning filmmaking, introduction to digital arts, documentary basics, urban media, cultural impact of media, electronic image analysis, history of film and media, journalism.

Possible careers

  • college instructor
  • film critic
  • film editor
  • film producer
  • film researcher
  • freelance writer
  • historian
  • media lawyer
  • media librarian
  • media specialist
  • newscaster
  • radio/TV announcer
  • technical writer

Radio and Television

This communications specialty involves the organization, creation, and production of programs through the electronic media. The radio and television major prepares students for a variety of careers in corporate video, local radio and television, cable television, and newer technologies. R-TV majors concentrate on writing, studio and field production, and management. This is generally a hands-on major in which the student is exposed to the theoretical aspects of radio/television work and then becomes directly involved in actual production. Colleges offering this program as a true major are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to conduct instruction. Participation in campus radio or television station operations is often required, either as an on-air performer, studio technician, or both. Internships with nearby radio or television stations may be available.


The plan of study incorporates liberal arts courses and introductory communications courses at the outset. During the junior year, time is often spent in a laboratory environment, learning about the techniques for operating a radio or television station and producing short pieces or documentaries. Students take more and more specialized courses as the major progresses. Ideally, they coordinate extern or co-op opportunities with their field of interest. Classes include communications, electronic media programming, communications law and ethics, television documentary, social aspects of electronic media, techniques of radio/television production, public speaking, broadcasting methods; broadcasting public affairs.

Possible careers

  • college professor
  • copywriter
  • news editor
  • radio/TV broadcaster
  • radio/TV director
  • radio/TV producer
  • management consultant
  • station manager
  • station owner
  • technical writer

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