Annenberg majors

Annenberg majors DEFAULT

Communication Major Requirements

From introductory classes to small seminars, Annenberg courses give students a rich understanding of many facets of Communication.

Graduation with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication requires a total of 34 course units, including 14 courses in the major:

Peruse our course offerings to learn more about the Communication major curriculum.

In addition, students can take advantage of our many academic opportunities including choosing a concentration, engaging in the Communication and Public Service (ComPS) program, completing a thesis and graduate with honors, creating their own independent study, participating in an internship for credit, conducting research with a faculty member, and studying abroad.

Communication majors are eligible for a variety of academic honors and awards.

Course Requirements

Introductory Core Courses

Students must complete two of the following three courses, all designed to introduce students to major Communication theories, research, and substantive topics of study. If a student completes all three introductory core survey courses, the third course may count toward the Comm major elective course requirements. The three introductory courses are:

Research Methods

To fulfill the research methods requirement, students are required to complete COMM 210: Quantitative Research Methods in Communication.

Alternatively, an equivalent research methods course providing a basic introduction to the principles and techniques of social research methods completed through another department can be taken to satisfy the requirement. Below is a list of approved courses, some of which may carry prerequisites:

  • INTR 350: Research Methods in International Relations
  • HSOC 100: Introduction to Sociological Research
  • MKTG 212: Marketing Research
  • SOCI 100: Introduction to Sociological Research
  • URBS 200: Introduction to Research Methods

Communication Major Elective Courses

Students are required to complete eight Comm courses in addition to the two required introductory core survey courses and research methods course. Students who complete a third introductory core survey course can count the course toward their major. A minimum of four Comm courses at the 300 to 499 level are required. 

A complete listing of Communication courses can be found here. As you peruse the course list, bear in mind the following:

100 Level SeminarsOpen to first-year students only
200 Level Intermediate Lectures & SeminarsOpen to all students
300 Level Advanced Seminars and Small LecturesRecommended for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
400 Level Advanced SeminarsPriority is given to juniors and seniors.
400 Level Internship and Thesis Seminars & Independent StudiesBy approval only

Non-Comm Elective Courses

Students are required to take three non-Comm elective courses from other schools and departments that support a student's interests in Communication. All non-Comm electives must be related to the student’s Comm major and be pre-approved by a member of the Comm Undergraduate Advising Team. Only one non-Comm elective may be at an introductory level.

General Policies

Annenberg has a longstanding policy requiring all courses that count toward the major must be taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, pass/fail courses from Spring '20, Fall '20 & Spring '21 can, however, count. The change in grading policy is an exception due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There is no guarantee that this policy will continue in future semesters.

A maximum of three major courses may be transferred from another college or university, including courses completed while studying abroad. Undergraduates are generally ineligible to register for graduate level courses. Students who may have an interest in a specific graduate course are advised to contact Basha Starr well in advance of the registration period.

Annenberg students, as members of the Penn community, are responsible for adhering to the principles and spirit of the Code of Academic Integrity.

Understanding the Online World

“I am really interested in marketing, and being a Comm major has allowed for me to take classes that specialize in learning about human behavior, interpersonal communication, societal norms and virality, as well as how people think through different messages they receive in an online space. As a senior, I now realize how relevant and important it is to understand the online world, as it is rapidly evolving along with society.” — Raven Sulaimon C'21, Houston, TX

Sense of Community

“The Comm major has created a fantastic sense of community that I believe has been a strong part of my academic journey at Penn. I’ve made and cemented so many friendships through the courses I’ve taken in the major, and I have learned so much from the faculty. I’ve always felt guided and supported by the staff as well. Comm is something I truly love and I can tell that my peers and mentors feel the same way.” — Jaden Baum C'21, Norfolk, VA


Communication is a dynamic, interdisciplinary major that helps students understand the ever-changing media and communications landscape.

One of the oldest in the nation, the Annenberg School for Communication's undergraduate program focuses on communication systems, institutions, processes, and effects. Our students gain deep insight into how communication shapes our individual and collective social, political, economic, and cultural lives both historical and contemporary, local, and global.

Across a diverse variety of seminar and lecture courses, Comm majors learn both qualitative and quantitative research methods, from interviews, textual analysis, and focus groups, to& surveys, experiments, and data and network analysis. Whether studying public health messaging or presidential speeches, social media networks or social justice movements, free-speech or digital surveillance, our undergraduates produce scholarship that is rigorous, relevant, and multimodal.

Communication intersects with many other disciplines, including history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, law, and economics. Not surprisingly, our majors go on to a wide variety of careers including media and entertainment, law, politics, consulting, education, non-profit work, and more.

The major in Communication is granted by the College of Arts and Sciences, but the curriculum is designed, administered, and taught by the Annenberg School for Communication. Learn more about declaring the Comm major.

Read a message from Annenberg's Dean.

Alumni Reflections

Thoughts from our recent graduates on the value of their experience as a Communication major

Karen Yang C'20

“The Comm major both made me a stronger, more thoughtful critical thinker and gave me the tools needed to articulate those thoughts with nuance and impact. I find connections to Comm almost every day in the books I read, news I consume, conversations I have, and work I do.”

Fahad Ahmed C'20

“I always say that being a Comm major was one of the best decisions I made as an undergrad. The ideas I learned in undergrad completely changed the way I think effective communication happens in every field. I will take these lessons with me throughout my career in medicine/health care management and how I approach communicating health information at both a small and large scale.”

Hadeel Saab C'20

“Declaring the Communication major was one of the best decisions I made at Penn! Mass media affects every aspect of our lives and the field of communication offers a fascinating range of lenses to explore our ever-evolving relationship to it. I now have a greater curiosity for and flexible framework to understand life as we know it.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about the Communication major? We've got answers! 


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Programs by Major

Want to know which study abroad programs will allow you to earn Annenberg major credit? Consult the lists below and click on the program location/name for more details.

The number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of major units that students may earn for the program.  Unless otherwise noted, the overall maximum number of units that students may earn for a semester-long study abroad program is 16. 

Auckland, New Zealand (12)
London, United Kingdom (16)
Hong Kong, China* (12)
Sydney, Australia (12)
Rome, Italy (16) 
International Communication Studies (4)- summer program, maximum of 4 units available

Auckland, New Zealand (12)
Sydney, Australia (8-12, based on course availability) 
Hong Kong, China* (8-12, petition process may be required)
London, United Kingdom (12)
Rome, Italy (8) 
International Communication Studies (4)- summer program, maximum of 4 units available

Auckland, New Zealand (8-12)
Sydney, Australia (8-12, based on course availability) 
Hong Kong, China* (8-12, petition process may be required)
London, United Kingdom (8-12)
Rome, Italy (8-12) 
International Communication Studies (4)- summer program, maximum of 4 units available

* Students studying in Hong Kong earn 15 USC units.

General elective credit offered. Students may have the option to petition for major elective credit depending on their degree program. 

During competitive application cycles (when Annenberg International Programs receives more applications than the number of spots in a study abroad program), all factors that negatively impact applications will be taken into consideration when evaluating students for admission. Please click here to read more information about competitive application cycles and factors for possible disqualification.

Interview with Jeffrey Cole, USC Annenberg School for Communication

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Annenberg Building on the edge of Founder's Park
Entrance to the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism comprises a School of Communication and a School of Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). Starting July 2017, the school’s Dean is Willow Bay, succeeding Ernest J. Wilson III.[2] The graduate program in Communications is consistently ranked first according to the QS World University Rankings.[3]

Wallis Annenberg Hall, opened in 2014, features advanced technology for communication and journalism programs.


The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism was established in 1971 through the support of United States Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg.[4] The USC Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and the School of Journalism became part of USC Annenberg in 1994.


School of Communication[edit]

The USC Annenberg School of Communication is the school's center for general communications. It offers degrees from undergraduate to doctorates. Its current director is Sarah Banet-Weiser, who took over from Larry Gross in 2014. It offers the following degrees: B.A. (communication), M.A. (global communication/global media, communication management, public diplomacy, strategic public relations, digital social media, communication data science), Ph.D. (communication).

School of Journalism[edit]

Annenberg's School of Journalism's director is Willow Bay, who joined in 2014. It offers the following degrees: Degrees offered: B.A. (journalism, public relations), M.A. (journalism, specialized journalism, strategic public relations).


  • The USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations: Connecting the PR industry with students and academics to define the future of the profession and develop its future leaders.
  • The Annenberg Networks Network: social network studies and computational social science.
  • The Annenberg Research Network on International Communication: research on international communication issues.
  • The Johnson Communication Leadership Center provides undergraduate scholarships and conducts research on the role of African-Americans in the media.
  • The Center on Communication Leadership & Policy sponsors research and organizes courses, programs and symposia. The center's director is the former dean of USC Annenberg Geoffrey Cowan.
  • The Center for the Digital Future "communication technology and mass media, and their impact on individuals, communities and nations.Includes the research project: Surveying the Digital Future
Wallis Annenberg Hall, unveiled on Oct. 1, 2014, is a five-story, 88,000 square-foot building.
  • The USC U.S.-China Institute: public discussion of the U.S.-China relationship through policy-relevant research, graduate and undergraduate training, and professional development programs for teachers, journalists, and officials. It produces public events, documentary films, and magazines. It was established in 2006 by USC President C.L. "Max" Nikias (then provost). In fall 2011, it became part of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism,
  • The USC Center on Public Diplomacy, in partnership with the USC College's School of International Relations: government, corporate and non-state actors engagement with foreign audiences. Includes the: U.S. Canada Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy
  • The Haptics Lab: integrating the sense of touch into human/computer interactions, is supported by the Integrated Media Systems Center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center.
  • The Metamorphosis Project: the transformations of urban community under the forces of globalization, new communication technologies and population diversity.
  • The Norman Lear Cente: convergence of entertainment, commerce and society.
  • The Annenberg Innovation Lab
  • The USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media & Society

Professional education[edit]

  • Knight Digital Media Center
  • USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
  • USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
  • Institute for Justice and Journalism
  • NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater

Awards presented[edit]


Student activities[edit]

Students are active with USC's student-run newspaper, the Daily Trojan; USC Annenberg's online news publication, Neon Tommy; USC Annenberg's nightly television newscast, Annenberg TV News; its TV newsmagazine Impact; Radio show Annenberg Radio News; Community digital journalism news website focusing on South Los Angeles. USC Annenberg is also home to student chapters of the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Public Relations Student Society of America. Students also run an in-house public relations agency that works with non-profit and small business clients.

Annenberg TV News airs Monday through Thursday at 6 p.m. on Trojan Vision. Students are responsible for reporting local, national and international news and producing the newscast live on air.


USC Annenberg's career development office provides services exclusively to USC Annenberg students and alumni.


Resources include a fully digital three-camera broadcast studio, a television newsroom, a digital lab equipped with Adobe Premiere nonlinear video editing systems, four computer classrooms and the Experiential Learning Center. Fourteen classrooms feature multimedia display capabilities. Professional media and research software applications are installed on more than 200 computers available for student use.

International programs[edit]

USC Annenberg offers study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate students in Amsterdam, Auckland, Buenos Aires, Christchurch, Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Sydney. Graduate journalism and public relations students may complete summer internships in Cape Town, Hong Kong and London, and public diplomacy students have the opportunity to complete summer internships abroad. USC Annenberg offers a joint MA/MSc graduate degree program in global communication with the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Notable faculty members and instructors[edit]


Admissions statistics[edit]


Total undergraduate enrollment (Fall 2015): 1,440

Freshman class statistics[edit]

Number applied 2,232
Number admitted 283
Number entered 155
Average GPA (unweighted) 3.61
Middle 50% SAT1920–2180


Total graduate enrollment (Fall 2007): 546

Graduate program statistics[edit]

Program No. Enrolled
Communication Ph.D. 93
Communication Management 171
Journalism 98
Public Diplomacy 16
Strategic Public Relations 26

Finances and fundraising[edit]

  • Annual operating budget, 2007–08: $49 million
  • Endowment (as of July 1, 2007): $228 million
  • Undergraduate tuition & fees (with living expenses): $45,810 ($58,403)
  • USC undergraduates receiving financial aid: 60%

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


Majors annenberg

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What is a Communication Major? Studying Communications at the Annenberg School at Penn

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