Jobs in Communications
The communications industry is huge and expanding; there are a wide variety of jobs available today.
The School of Communications offers two distinct programs of study to students: Journalism and Media Studies.
The Journalism sequence in the School of Communications concentrates on giving students key news-related skills (writing and reporting) within a liberal arts context. The Journalism sequence is accredited, which means that it is one of the 105 (out of nearly 500) journalism programs in the country that meet standards for high quality instruction. Journalism majors find jobs as reporters, editors, free-lance writers, in media-relations (working in business or in politics, helping clients frame their media messages), as cyberjournalists and in jobs that require the ability to write well (such as speech writers, policy analysts, etc.). UW Communications majors are working at all of the major newspapers in the region. For more on coursework and application requirements, see the School of Communications homepage.
The Media Studies major in the School of Communications gives students a good deal of freedom in the types of choices they take. Courses cover three major areas: New Media, Institutions and Effects and International Communication. Students may take courses in all three areas if they wish, or they may try to focus their studies in one area.
Students who have taken new media courses in Communications have found jobs in multimedia production and graphics, as webmasters (doing html/web page design), as multimedia producers, doing computer assisted reporting, in new media management, in traditional media (such as print, broadcast -- as they go on line) and as librarians/cybrarians (managing information in the new media era is a challenge).
Courses in the Institutions and Effects area focuses primarily on issues such as media history, government-press relations, media law and on media effects. Communications graduates with a particular interest in this area of study have found jobs in government (working in agencies, Congress, on city council staffs, at non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross, and in business). In these cases, students found that their knowledge about how media operated helped them be productive staff members. Other students have found that media studies in general (and a focus on institutions and effects) provided a good foundation for later work -- in law school (focusing on media law), in public policy studies or in education.
The School also offers courses on international aspects of communications. Students in media studies who acquire a strong background in international communications have found jobs in a wide array of media companies (where a background on world media and information systems was helpful). They have also found jobs in government agencies (such as US information agencies, the UN, UNESCO, foreign service). These kinds of jobs require knowledge about cultural differences and interactions, and our students have knowledge and sophistication there. Our students have also found work in specialized agencies (such as foundations, non profit organizations dealing with the environment, health, education) and in international business (where a knowledge of how intercultural interaction, and how culture affects communication, is important).
For more information on courses and on application requirements, see the School of Communications home page.
Public Relations, Advertising, Broadcasting.
The School of Communications does not offer skills courses in public relations, advertising or broadcasting. If you are interested in a career in public relations, advertising or broadcasting, your best bet is to go to another school (such as the University of Oregon, Washington State University, Western Washington State University or any of a number of California schools). Some students interested in these areas need to stay in the Puget Sound region, however. Some (particularly those interested in advertising) have majored in business and tried to get internships with local advertising agencies. Some of majored in communications; they do not get skills courses in PR, advertising or broadcasting, but they do get a sense of the role of these media practices in society. Then, with internships, these students get some actual professional experience. Still, itís not easy.