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How Many Years of College Does it Take for Mass Communications?

by Cara Batema, studioD

Mass communication majors learn about the creation, aesthetics, application and effects of mass media, and graduates often work in journalism, advertising, film or public relations. Some students in major tracks, like advertising, sociology, business or English, might also double major in mass communication to evaluate the effects mass media have on daily life and how that information can be applied to their major field of study. Other students focus entirely on a mass communications major, which allows for a broad range of career options.

Associate Degree

Associate degrees or certificates in communications give some career-focused education outside of high school, according to Glendale Community College. These programs prepare students for a wide range of career options, or they can be used to transfer to a four-year college course, if the student desires, for his education goals.

Bachelor's Degree

Most mass communications programs take four years and end with a bachelor’s degree. Some universities offer specific “tracks” for their mass communication majors, meaning you can focus on a specific area depending on your career goals. For example, if you wish to work in journalism, you can choose a journalism and new media track, while a student focused on advertising can choose that track, according to Towson University. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines some career options for individuals who study mass communication, and nearly all of them require a four-year bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.

Double Majors

Some students majoring in subjects like advertising, anthropology, business, English, film journalism, marketing and public relations can also major in mass communications to gain a broader understanding of how mass media is created and presented. Sometimes core classes for these majors overlap, so only a few extra classes are required to complete the mass communication double major within a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Graduate Programs

Students can earn a master’s or doctorate degree in mass communications, each of which should take about 2 years for full-time students. These programs can focus on research or communication studies and further prepare students for media-related careers. Some universities also offer joint or dual degrees, such as a dual law degree and one in mass communication, which takes about 3.5 years.

About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

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